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Garrett ACE 300 on the Beach

Steve Styles walks along the surf line, sweeping the round coil of a Garrett ACE 300 metal detector back and forth across the sand. He listens for the telling beep-beep-beep in his earphones that will alert him to the possibility that he’s discovered something, perhaps of value.

Styles, who lives in Naples Park, digs with a scoop when the beep goes off and sifts through tiny bits of sand, shell and detritus looking for any speck of metal that might pop up.

“I dug it out, pulled it up, a little plastic bag, gold coins,” he recalls. “And I pulled the foil back on each one, and I found chocolate candy. Somebody must have put it in as a joke.”

This time he finds a thin and mangled little ring that is blackened from its undetermined time in the sea and the sand. “It’s silver,” he says, but worth only “a quarter or 50 cents. Silver’s not that valuable.”

His eureka moment came about three decades ago by La Playa Beach when he unearthed a ring with 56 diamonds and 16 emeralds. He got $12,000 for it. That was the only time Styles sold any of his beach quarry. The rest he keeps in a bank safe-deposit box. 

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