20 May 2008:
Divers Find Golden Artifact From Keys Shipwreck
Golden Toothpick Found 32 Miles Off Key WestKEY WEST (CBS4) ― Treasure hunters have recovered another near priceless artifact as they follow the debris trail of a Spanish galleon that sank off the Florida Keys more than 380 years ago.
Sunday, divers from Blue Water Ventures found a gold artifact, believed to be a combination toothpick and earwax scoop, in about 22 feet of water, 32 miles west of Key West. The divers were searching the shipwreck trail of the Spanish galleon Santa Margarita that sank in a 1622 hurricane.
According to archaeologists, the 3-inch-wide, 17th-century grooming tool was probably worn on a gold chain. Research of the artifact should determine its historical origin and value, which could be as high as $100,000 according to underwater archaeologist Dr. R. Duncan Mathewson.
Almost a year ago, Blue Water divers located gold bars, gold chains and a lead box containing thousands of pearls that were carried by the Margarita. The value of that find was estimated at more than $2 million.
The search for Santa Margarita artifacts was begun more than quarter-century ago by the late Key West treasure hunter Mel Fisher. Today, the Blue Water team is leading that search under a joint-venture partnership with the Fisher family-owned company, Motivation Inc.