Gary Drayton from “Oak Island” found a ring worth $750,000

April 18, 2024
9 mins read

The mystery surrounding the supposed treasure hidden in Oak Island has been going on for centuries, defying the passage  of time by becoming one of the most popular legends around the world. Whether people believe there’s something hidden in the island or not, the fever awakened by History’s show “The Curse Of Oak Island” is undeniable at this point.

While the show’s popularity speaks for itself regarding this long-standing treasure-hunt, the cast formed by a large team of experts has also played an important role in making this mystery so entertaining to watch.

That being said, there’s more than just theories to work with, as so far several findings in the island have hinted and strengthened the probabilities of finding a treasure at last, but what role has the show’s metal technician Gary Drayton played in finding those artifacts? Is it true that he found a very valuable ring on the island? Stay with us to know all the answers to these questions about “The Curse Of Oak Island” and more!

What’s Up With The Ring?

While intelligence, expertise and lots of knowledge in history are necessary for successful treasure hunters, a little bit of luck is also welcomed by those who dedicate their life to this centuries old hobby, to some actually a profession.

In the case of Gary Drayton, all these factors played in his favor back in 1983, when he found an emerald gold ring most-likely belonging to the 1715 Treasure Fleet wrecked back in the day by a hurricane. The treasures on board the ships were once thought to be lost forever, yet in recent years, many people have uncovered its gold and silver items on Florida’s beaches, gaining the place the nickname of The Treasure Coast.

The cargo on the ships departed from Cuba with Spain as their destination, containing part of King Philip V’s riches and jewelry, for which he had allegedly been waiting for a long time: ‘(he) gave out the word ‘I need the treasure’, because he was married to Isabel, and she wouldn’t consummate the marriage unless she got the dowry of jewels’, as affirmed by Gary in the spin-off show “Beyond Oak Island”.


The 22-carat emerald ring valued subsequently at $750,000 was discovered by Gary while using his metal detector, finding several coins and other artifacts before finally stumbling upon the jewelry described by him as ‘the greatest treasure ring ever found in America’.

Gary’s Treasure Hunting Adventures

While finding such a valuable item is clearly a once in a lifetime event for most people, for a man as experienced as Gary Drayton this is just one of the many treasure hunting stories he has to tell. Nevertheless, uncovering centuries old treasures on the Floridian coasts isn’t a coincidence, but the result of decades long experience both as a metal specialist and history connoisseur.

As Gary admitted in an interview with Minelab in 2011, the key to his success at finding amazing hidden treasures lays on analyzing the area he’s researching: ‘(I) look at the beach and conditions present as clues on a treasure map, treasure is there if you have the patience and skills to find it’, he confirmed, listing some of said conditions as the weather, location and how many people are in the area.

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While Gary discouraged beginners from allowing themselves to be lead by rumors of findings while they explore an area, he also affirmed that a wise use of time and proper tools could lead people to success in their treasure hunting endeavors.

Gary’s vast knowledge has allowed him to write several guides on the treasure research topic, and lessons on metal detecting, all of it available on his website.

Did He Find More Incan Gold?

The 22-carat emerald ring found by Gary Drayton on the coast of Florida, is one piece of a bigger, legendary treasure lost in the ocean centuries ago.

When the 1715 Treasure Fleet was wrecked near Florida back in the day, much of the bullion gold it transported had previously been turned into jewelry in order to reduce taxes: ‘they would make jewelry out of everything they could, which is why they would wear as much as 17 pounds of gold on them’, as historian John Mattera in the spin-off “Beyond Oak Island”.

Although it’s unclear where exactly this gold was extracted from, in the show Gary affirms that lots of the treasure lost in the 1715 fleet wreck was of Incan origin. As well, Gary is convinced that the $750,000 ring in his possession was meant to be owned personally by Isabel, formally known as Queen Elisabeth Farnese, as part of her dowry.

That being said, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact origin of the treasures found by Gary in Florida, but it’s for certain that there’s an important piece of history in each piece he’s found.

Other Antique Artifacts

While the treasures Gary Drayton has found in Florida are his most precious possessions, he’s found many other impressive antiquities throughout his career. First is a pair of Dutch onion bottles he found in England’s countryside in his beginnings as a treasure hunter, which were apparently created between 1620 and 1640.

While the value of these bottles is unclear, these artifacts are valuable antiquities due to their good condition, and for replacing the centuries old tradition of ceramic pottery back in the day. Gary also owns a vast collection of blown glass articles and bottles, which despite being mere trash centuries ago, are now part of the world’s maritime history.


Always enchanted by the hidden secrets left by Spanish ships in America, Gary left his native England for warm Florida to search for those almost forgotten treasures. Gary’s dream was accomplished in the best way possible, by uncovering several articles made from gold and silver, including Spanish coins, religious artifacts from the 1600s, rings on top of emeralds and garnets, all uncovered by him.

Nonetheless, Gary admitted that the treasure he most hopes to find is nothing Spanish, but of rumoured Templar origin, and that’s definitely his main goal in “The Curse Of Oak Island”.

What Has Gary Found In Oak Island?

Ever since Gary Drayton debuted in “The Curse Of Oak Island” in 2014, his expertise both as a treasure hunter and metal detector specialist has led to some interesting and impressive discoveries. Here are some of them:

Lead Cross

Finding a piece of lead in the dirt might not be a remarkable event for most people, but Gary Drayton and the Lagina brothers aren’t just anyone. During the fifth season of “The Curse Of Oak Island”, the team was researching the area known as Smith’s Cove when Gary’s detector beeped over a barely explored set of stones.

After Rick Lagina proceeded to dig up the dirt, Gary was quick to pinpoint an article which would have gone unnoticed by anyone else. It turned out to be a cross, which was described by Gary as ‘medieval’ looking, though it was still early to positively identify.

The cross was promptly sent to geochemist Tobias Skowronek, who determined that the cross was dated from before the 15th century, and its composition matched deposits of lead from Southern France. This discovery was equally exciting and baffling, as it prompted a new theory regarding the treasure allegedly hidden in the island: ‘In my opinion, the treasure is probably Templar related’, as Gary said in an interview with History UK.

Gary’s theory is exciting to say the least, but it also brings up many questions that are yet to be answered.

Brooches In The Lot Eight

Although finding lead and other types of materials which could hint to some ancient human activity in the area, for a treasure hunter there’s nothing like uncovering metal or a piece of jewelry.


In the fifth season of “The Curse Of Oak Island”, Gar Drayton and Rick Lagina were lucky to find some great artifacts of said nature. As they led research in the area known as Lot Eight, Gary’s metal detector alerted them to some metal pieces hidden under the dirt, which turned out to be a piece of old metal which looked as part of something bigger.

Further research in the same area resulted in the discovery of an ancient-looking golden brooch, which despite not being made of gold, had a beautiful ruby-resembling stone in its center, unlike any other articles they had previously found in the island. In Rick’s words, the brooch ‘even if it’s a semi-precious stone, this is treasure as defined by the Treasure Trove license’, he said in the show.

High-End Knob

It’s said that ‘all that glisters is not gold,’ which is why it’s important for treasure hunters to investigate the real nature of their discovery before jumping to conclusions. As the team researched the Swamp area for potential human-made structures during “The Curse Of Oak Island” eighth season, Gary Drayton discovered golden material on the ground near the excavations.

Visibly surprised and excited, Gary promptly declared that the artifact was a handle most like belonging to a boat, and could potentially be made of ‘low-grade’ gold. Rick Lagina found Gary’s theory plausible, given the heavy weight of the artifact, and how it was ‘untarnished’ and bright golden, despite the conditions of the ground and the passage of time.

The object was immediately taken to coin expert Sandy Campbell, who after carefully removing all the dirt from it with an ultrasonic cleaner, determined that the object wasn’t made of gold. However, the good news is that Campbell found the object rather old, theorizing that it was an ornament from a high-end chest or a similar object.

Despite being visibly disappointed by the result, the object wasn’t entirely dismissed by Rick, considering that it could have a connection to the man-made structures they were investigating at the time.

Ring Bolt

Even if uncovering jewelry or a whole chest is every treasure hunter’s biggest dream, other discoveries could be just as impressive, despite not involving gold or precious stones.

Such a case occurred in the show’s eighth season, when Gary’s detector beeped near an excavation area in the island. Despite initially thinking it was a coin, Gary and excavator Billy Gerhardt soon discovered that the article under the ground was an iron piece with a hole on its end, closely resembling a centuries old ring bolt.


While this discovery might not sound as impressive as a brooch or other jewelry, this piece of iron was actually part of something bigger. As it happens, in the 1960s an explorer named Fred Nolan discovered four human-made structures on his Oak Island property, forming a cross-looking area he traced on his maps. According to his notes, the four monoliths strategically placed over the area had ring bolts embedded in them, prompting the theory that a massive anchor had been built in order to place the treasure in its gallery.

The ring bolt uncovered by Gary fits the description of the artifacts discovered by Nolan, strengthening the mystery surrounding Oak Island.

Secret Tunnel

One of the goals the Lagina brothers have regarding their operations in Oak Island, is to find evidence that a structure was built on the land centuries ago. Discovering that human activity in the island precedes that of records dated from the late 1700s is important to establish whether treasure was actually buried in the island and its origin.

In the eighth season, “The Curse Of Oak Island” team took a step closer to that goal when Gary Drayton discovered a caster several feet underground. Gary was quick to reason that such an artifact probably belonged to a cart potentially used to transport cargo. Nonetheless, the most impressive part of the discovery was traces of a tunnel-like channel on the excavations, further giving a clearer form to his theory about the area’s former transportation use while hiding the alleged treasure.

Did He Find Gold In Oak Island?

Gold has indeed been found in Oak Island, yet it wasn’t Gary Drayton who made this valuable discovery. As happened in the ninth season of “The Curse Of Oak Island”, some pieces of wood recovered from a 88ft deep excavation were analyzed to determine whether it had been transformed by humans or if traces of other interesting materials were in it.

Surprisingly enough, the metal detector alerted the team to a piece of lead embedded in the wood. It was later determined that the wood carbon-dated from around the 1400s, added to the fact that the piece of metal had either come into contact with gold, or contained it.

Although the traces of gold found in the material might not be huge, it was enough to awaken the hopes that something big is waiting ahead on the road for the Lagina brothers and team. As we wait for that to finally happen, there’s no denying that so far “The Curse Of Oak Island” has done a good job at keeping us entertained and charmed by the centuries old mystery surrounding the island.

Martha Clifford

As an Author at Net Worth Post, I guide a dedicated team in the art of revealing the stories behind the world's most influential personalities. Fueled by a relentless curiosity and a knack for uncovering hidden stories, I immerse myself in the intricacies of our subjects' lives, weaving together accurate data and compelling narratives. My involvement spans the entire editorial process, from the seed of research to the final flourish of publication, ensuring that every article not only educates but also captivates and motivates our audience.

At Net Worth Post, we are committed to providing thorough investigations into the net worth and life achievements of innovators across diverse sectors such as technology, culture, and social entrepreneurship. My method merges meticulous research with eloquent storytelling, designed to bridge the gap between our readers and the remarkable individuals who redefine our tomorrow. Through spotlighting their journeys to success, the hurdles they've surmounted, and their contributions to society, we aim to give our readers a deep and inspiring insight into the luminaries who are paving the way for progress and ingenuity in the modern era.

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