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Jim Hemmingway

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Jim Hemmingway last won the day on July 18 2016

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About Jim Hemmingway

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    Fish & Wildlife Biologist (Retired), Prospecting, Mineralogy, Music, Reading, Fly Fishing, Camping.

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  1. Jim Hemmingway


    Hi Chris… it’s a subjective decision, but for whatever it’s worth I wouldn’t do any treatment to your sample. It displays well and is otherwise quite an attractive specimen in its current state. Dave hopefully can satisfactorily identify it for you shortly. It is not a simple task to identify your mineral based on a photograph. A black streak test result implies a mineral compound, and not strictly a native metal. Some non-metal minerals do react to both VLF and PI units, producing good metalliferous type signals. In northeastern Ontario, these include solidly structured pyrrhotite, niccolite, cobalt, safflorite, skutterudite, and quite a number of potential silver-cobalt-nickel-iron-arsenide mineral permutations that you will never encounter in generally circulated mineralogical texts. The silver mineral combinations are sufficiently complex and numerous as to require a reference list from the local museum, and more sophisticated identification techniques are required than the common mineral field tests normally available to hobbyists. We can easily imagine that such minerals would present insurmountable identification issues for hobbyists in the field and certainly the same applies in the context of forum discussion here. Many of these minerals freshly exposed would produce a similar appearance to the silvery material in your photo. But the primarily cobalt-nickel-iron-arsenide related minerals do not necessarily account for the black host material in your photo with any real confidence. And frankly, I have no idea if these mineral types potentially even exist in your search areas. There are other suggestions above, such as the enriched copper sulfides (bornite-covellite-chalcocite) that do produce VLF target signals, but do not react to my PI units. Unfortunately I’m not familiar with GPZ responses to various minerals because we have no hands-on experience with it to date. Attached are a few mineral examples mentioned in this thread including a photo of low-grade cuprite (it’s all I’ve got). Chris R. above makes a perfectly viable case for this mineral’s consideration. Thanks for an interesting topic, it’s been an enjoyable diversion to post our possible solutions for you!!!
  2. Howdy Chuck… I’ve been metal detecting for coins, jewelry in freshwater knee-to-shoulder depths, prospecting for native silver and many other minerals, and digging old bottles for 32+ years. Our Ontario substrates range from moderate to high non-conductive ferromagnetic mineralizations. I’ve experimented with multi-frequency detectors in the past without any significant improvement in overall results at local coin hunting sites. That is not to suggest that more recent multi-frequency market releases might not be an improvement. Membership posts here certainly suggest, for example, that the Minelab Equinox represents a meaningful VLF technological advancement. Nearly all my coin and jewelry recoveries over the years have been detected with single frequency units that range from a 2.5 kHz Fisher Aquanaut to roughly 7kHz White’s coin hunting units. Both 13 / 14 kHz Fisher F75 / White’s MXT are employed for hunting naturally occurring native silver, particularly for trenching and close-up work. We also use both the White’s TDI Pro and Garrett’s Infinium PI for prospecting silver where conditions, for example the substrate’s magnetic susceptibility, and light trash density make these units equipped with larger coils more desirable tools compared to current VLF technology. We continue to enjoy good success primarily because we think about what we’re trying to achieve, do the necessary research to get results, and make the effort to get into the field. A good deal of our research is completed “hands-on” in the field. Aside from the frequently discussed search strategies we read about on the forums, for example achieving depth, covering ground and so on, a part of our success in coin hunting and prospecting native silver is that we do not employ detectors that are overly sensitive to small material. In such applications, tiny signals are a time-consuming distraction that subtract from our productivity in the field. How we employ metal detector technologies to satisfactorily accomplish a task is certainly of the utmost importance, but make no mistake that placing your coil over productive ground is by far and away the primary goal of experienced, consistently successful hobbyists. That means complying with basic research requirements first and foremost. It is hard work, particularly evaluating field sites for future reference, but without that information in hand, the fancy new technology has little or no value………………….Jim.
  3. Jim Hemmingway


    Hi Chris… that’s an attractive specimen you have there. It certainly looks like native silver. Have a look around the house for an unglazed white or beige porcelain type of surface. The unfinished bottoms of some types of soup bowls or coffee cups will suffice nicely for a simple streak test. Silver is soft, it reacts to metal detectors similar to native gold, and it produces a silvery streak. Galena with sufficiently solid structure will certainly react to VLF metal detectors and pinpointers such as my Garrett Propointer. But none of my large galena samples will react to a PI unit. Galena produces a soft wide black streak that cannot be misidentified as silver. The black mineralization adjacent to the silvery metal on your sample could also be comprised mostly of native silver with a black silver sulfide coating. That would help to explain the strong signal produced in the field. However, it could very well be a silver sulfide such as acanthite or perhaps even a dark silver sulfosalt. I can’t be more specific from a photo, although I'd put my money down on it being native silver embedded in acanthite. In any practical sense, related silver minerals such as acanthite do not react to metal detectors in the field.
  4. Jim Hemmingway

    Silver Sings! Happy New Years To All!

    Hello Idahogold… thanks for another enjoyable video. I find it interesting to observe others in the field, their techniques, reactions and interesting comments. Attached below is some small silver, plus an additional specimen found a few years ago in the north country. More about its recovery can be read on this forum at.... Thanks again Idaho ……………..............Jim.
  5. Hi Simon… I generally agree with everyone’s comments. It certainly has been the case that our older local parks, schools, picnic groves, fairgrounds, and baseball diamonds have dramatically declined in the production of old silver coins, tokens, and other occasional valuable recoveries. We can still infrequently scrounge some nice silver, but the days of finding several dollars in multiple silver coins each hunt are long gone. It is also certainly true that there are many hobbyists who enjoy finding modern coins. Coin totals do matter to those folks. Others dislike detecting modern change, viewing such as trash. And comprised of clad iron here in Ontario, our small change is trash compared to the silver, pure nickel and quality copper coinage production that ended years ago in Canada. Hence we can see that the erosion of quality coin finds is nothing new. It began a long time ago for us. And now as you point out, even modern coins are seeing less circulation. As metal detection hobbyists, how do we counter these challenges? Of course longterm it doesn’t look terribly promising, but for the immediate or foreseeable future the answer is obvious here in our areas of Ontario.. For new ground, we look to the countless small towns, villages, crossroads, beaches, river crossings, abandoned country churches, schools, and picnic groves, and a vast array of other potential search sites where yesteryear’s people would gather for whatever reasons. With appropriate research and for example, compiling useful maps, we can identify where things existed or occurred some hundred or two hundred years ago and more. As we visit these sites armed with our metal detectors, we have gained insight and confidence that hobbyists can easily find desirable coins and other goodies if they make the effort to do so. For the present time, to address it plainly, there are many hundreds if not thousands of accessible town, village, and beach / water related detecting sites within a three-hour drive of our home in central Ontario. Our practice is to pack our detecting gear when we drive places for any reason. There is nearly always time to explore likely places for coins, jewelry, valuable artifacts and minerals with a metal detector!!! We continue to find plenty of valuable or otherwise interesting items in the field. For example the tokens below are almost worthless, but I think they’re really interesting finds. Well Simon, I suppose that’s about it for now………………..Jim.
  6. Hi Gerry… your boy grasping the pig is a great find, especially finished in brass. We even keep iron relics from prospecting country for future reference or use. Your recovery will make a fantastic mantelpiece and be quite a conversation piece over the years. WTG!!! I have not made any oddball finds in a few years, but depicted below is the last really different or unusual find that surfaced in the old Lion’s Club Park adjacent to an Anglican Church where we were married many years ago. It’s the only brooch I’ve ever found in thirty-two plus years of metal detecting. The soil was essentially a clay loam that became enriched with spruce and broadleaf detritus for well over a century such that it has evolved into quite a dark fertile substrate. I mention this factor because the silver brooch was at least six-to-seven inches deep, a fair indication that it has likely been in the ground for some sixty-to-seventy years and perhaps even more. It is infinitely exciting to dig down into the dark depths to find untarnished silver gleaming back at you. In fact there was no evidence of sulfide reduction on this piece, hence it was scrubbed with a toothbrush under warm tapwater and towel dried to what you see below. There are no markings on it, the target ID is in the lower silver quarter range, and looks to be about sterling quality. The stone may very well be colored glass, but then too it could be aquamarine. For obvious reasons I don't want to do a hardness test on it. Apparently aquamarine with silver is fairly common according to my wife. I don’t see aquamarine in our mineral collecting areas and really can't identify it with any confidence without utilizing a spectroscope. In this case it probably doesn't matter anyway. Many thanks for another interesting thread. It prompts us to actually think about our various recoveries and what we do with them after the hunt. My coin and jewelry finds normally get tossed into a container stored in the basement, never to be seen again unless my daughters or wife wish to have them. It’s the search with that magical metal detector that I so enjoy…………….Jim.
  7. Jim Hemmingway

    Show Us Your Favorite Ring Find From 2018

    Hi Gerry… congratulations on such beauties!!! Impossible to pick out a favorite as each exemplifies my idea of what treasure can or should be. Fantastic finds, WTG!!! Most of my ring finds this past season were gold wedding bands and oddball silver rings as is the usual trend here. With that in mind, my favorite is a 13.6-gram 18K gold wedding band depicted below. It’s a good solid piece, most wedding bands are either 10K or 14K so I was quite pleased with its weightiness. The second find is a 7.6-gram sterling silver skull and crossbones ring. The probability of finding one always seemed forlorn but I had hoped one would surface someday. It was just out from the swing set at a local park, at maybe three inches depth, and therefore likely lost within the previous five years. I just stared at it in surprised disbelief!!! Ontario offers countless popular freshwater beaches for detectorists to search. In areas north of Toronto, these have attracted ever-increasing numbers of our Asian heritage community. A result is a corresponding increase in 22K gold ring finds, a typical example is the 5.9-gram 22K ring below. To date our 22K rings have generally been a smaller finger-size than we’ve seen with 10K to 18K rings over the years. Thanks for a really nifty thread Gerry, you have a talent for bringing forward the fun side of treasure hunting………………….Jim.
  8. Jim Hemmingway

    Old Santy Crashed His Sleigh One Night

    We've had the great pleasure of reading your countless narratives about searching for those sassy gold nuggets in the wilds of British Columbia for many years now Lanny. It has been an indescribably wonderful experience. Your literary work rivals or surpasses anything I've ever read. And of course, each year we look forward to reading your latest Christmas poetry, it is an established ritual with us. Christmas wouldn't be the same without you in it. Your admirers, Jim & Joanne Hemmingway
  9. Jim Hemmingway

    Ore Minerals Info Bomb

    Hi Idahogold… an excellent, fundamental review of some of the major ore types, with special emphasis on the sulfide and oxide groups. It provided specific information that would interest both newcomers and seasoned rockhounders. Glad I saw it, as we’ve recently been away scouting new collecting sites in eastern Ontario. We just happened to visit a site that produced radioactive minerals on a commercial scale, not unlike the uraninite discussed in this video. The radioactive example depicted below results from the alteration of uraninite to colorful, waxy luster gummite. I think that is a reasonable identification, but stand to be corrected. Many thanks Idaho for an instructive video, it was a pleasure to read over a cup of coffee.....................Jim.
  10. Jim Hemmingway

    Summer Goodies!

    JW and Lanny… back in the late autumn of 2011, after two plus months in the northern bush hunting native silver, I had posted to TreasureNet about something or other, can't remember just what it was now. Both you guys dropped around to ask me how the prospecting season had gone. Without too much elaboration, I described the season as the best I’d ever experienced. You may recollect that I later wrote it up as an article entitled Electronic Prospecting in Silver Country which subsequently earned a Banner Award. You guys were as enthusiastic in your responses as if you’d been right there working beside me. You made a lasting impression on me of what constitutes real friendship. At that time, I commented that “you guys are the very best”. Those enduring feelings of admiration and friendship for both of you have not diminished one whit to this day………………..............Jim. PS: Just lately, rocks and minerals have attracted more of our interest. The wife and I are packing tonight to head north for several days to the southern boundary of Algonquin Provincial Park to search primarily for large titanite, green and red apatite, and hopefully gem quality tremolite crystals. It’s late in the season, but we are determined to go regardless of winter conditions.
  11. Jim Hemmingway

    Summer Goodies!

    Hi Lanny… thanks for sharing your gold nugget finds from this season to date. I imagine you are still searching productive bedrock sites, similar to that depicted below, until Old Man Winter finally closes it out for this year. Reading your excellent prospecting articles at http://www.treasurenet.com/forums/metal-detecting-gold/69-bedrock-gold-mysteries.html over many years, we understand your boundless enthusiasm for prospecting the elusive yellow metal and appreciate that you love doing it in those remote wilderness settings. I quoted your scenery photos because they made quite an impression. These could easily have been taken from the various areas that we frequent, whether in the rich silver-bearing areas to the far north or the beautiful Muskokas of central Ontario. In particular, the photo with the bridge over the lovely rock-strewn watercourse reminds me of a nearly identical place on the Big East River at Arrowhead, Ontario, where we’ve endlessly hiked and collected rocks and minerals down through the years……………….Jim.
  12. Jim Hemmingway

    Roman Coins

    Hi Simon… I’m not qualified to state any opinion on Roman coins, because they don’t interest me at all. Viewing those coins in your photo, they don’t look very appealing. But then, how do we assign a value to historical interest? For example, I have a good collection of modern dug silver coins that are worn and not likely worth more than their silver bullion value. But I wouldn’t part with those coins, and certainly not for the sake of a dollar or two. I suppose that it also partly depends on one’s character. I place a high value on the finds that I made as a result of my resourcefulness, hard work, and personal expense. Coins and jewelry aside, it’s inconceivable to me to even consider parting with any of my prospecting recoveries. I want to see those rocks tastefully displayed in my den, and nothing else will do. Mind you, that’s not to pass judgement on those who do sell their finds, it’s strictly an individual decision. I’m afraid that this is not a terribly coherent reply Simon, but I do think that you will understand my point of view…………………Jim.
  13. Jim Hemmingway

    Crystals Before Color Tv!

    Excellent video Idahogold!!!! Thoroughly enjoyed viewing the informative basics of crystal formation, and particularly the section describing cleavage. The examples used were superb. Below is a photo of a muscovite mica “book” found several years ago from a roadside deposit just north of Ottawa, Ontario. The "book" layers can be peeled back to the point where each layer is much thinner than everyday writing paper, and almost completely transparent. Alum (aluminum sulfate) has a wide variety of uses. This is especially true in municipal water and wastewater treatment. Similar to ferrous sulfate, alum solutions under suitable conditions may crystallize to plug feed lines in treatment facilities. I was involved with laboratory evaluation, and the practical application of these chemicals to precipitate colloidal material (water treatment), and to reduce suspended solids and phosphates from wastewater discharges. Under winter conditions, feed lines were necessarily heated to prevent such crystal formation. Incidentally, here in Ontario, Canlab, Walmart, and the Superstore carry aluminum sulfate. There are doubtless others. Municipalities are supplied on a much larger scale by commercial sources. Thanks again Idaho....................Jim.
  14. Jim Hemmingway

    End Of The Season At The Cabin

    Hello Peg…the distant photo looks to me to be more wolf than coyote, but that is only an impression. It is possible that it could be a hybrid despite that in natural environments historically we observe that wolves do attack and kill coyotes. But here in Ontario a highly unusual phenomenon has occurred in recent natural history. The Grey Wolf of Algonquin Park has mated with our traditional Eastern Coyote to produce a new species classified as the Coywolf. These animals reproduce and grow to approximately double the size of the Eastern Coyote. The adult male Coywolf generally tips the scale at about 80 lbs. Barking, howling and yipping is typical nightly Coywolf behavior, particularly as the summer season advances to autumn. Field studies indicate that these animals exhibit typical coyote behavioral patterns, and have quickly migrated across the eastern part of the continent to the Atlantic coast. The last article I reviewed a few years ago was about the Coywolf population in Chicago, so indications are that this animal is able to migrate and adjust to different habitats similar to coyote populations. At the moment I have no idea how far west Coywolf populations have been established. The link below briefly overviews the Coywolf activity in Ottawa, Ontario. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/residents-wary-afraid-increased-coyote-activity-1.4158127 On a different note, congratulations on a successful season Peg, your gold looks just dandy and your claim looks like a bit of heaven. All the very best to you over the winter in Florida, and let’s hope that you can find some of that elusive Spanish Gold!!! Jim.
  15. Jim Hemmingway

    Odd Beach Find?

    Hi Kevin… I think that oldmancoyote and Jeff have probably nailed down the more likely alternatives for you, given the location. Its moderate depth in Florida sand leads me to suspect that it is probably a manmade ferrous object that may have reached that depth over some number of years with the ensuing obvious corrosion. As Steve mentions, it is difficult to assess just what types of corrosion products exist on your sample. Iron metal corrodes to rust and manmade rust is a form of iron oxide called maghemite, which frequently does react to metal detectors depending on its physical characteristics, the ground conditions, the type of metal detector, and how it is operated. I very much doubt that a chunk of magnetite would naturally occur in your area. As mentioned above, limonite is a generic term describing a number of hydrated (containing water) iron oxides that can present themselves in different ways and in vastly different environments. A good example is to recall driving along a highway that has been blasted / cut through pre-existing igneous rock that could be comprised of any one of several different types of rocks. Iron is a very abundant element and in all probability does exist within such rocks. Upon exposure to weathering, even trace amounts of ferrous material will oxidize to form a natural rust on the exposed surface of those rocks. This is a good example of why limonite is described in mineralogical texts as “Nature’s Rust”. It is typically the goethite constituent that produces generally brown soils in temperate regions around the globe. My limonite samples produce no effect on a PI metal detector and very little on a VLF detector. It exhibits relatively little magnetic susceptibility and incidentally can be characterized as having a fairly low magnetic loss angle, thus permitting it to occupy a somewhat similar area to magnetite on VLF ground phase readouts. But it simply has no ferromagnetic strength that is comparable to magnetite or maghemite. Hence, I rather do think something metallic within your sample has produced the signal. The photo below depicts another commonplace example of what is described as amorphous (without shape) limonite. The F75 GB45 compensation point should ensure that all iron oxides produce only a negative threshold signal and that is the case. This sample does not react to my TDI Pro at the sensitive 10 usec pulse delay, small mono coil, full gain, and with ground balance turned OFF.