Family finds 300-year-old sunken treasure off Florida’s east coast

A Florida family scavenging for sunken treasure on a shipwreck has found the missing piece of a 300-year-old gold filigree necklace sacred to Spanish priests, officials said on Tuesday. Eric Schmitt, a professional salvager, was scavenging with his parents when he found the crumpled, square-shaped ornament on a leisure trip to hunt for artifacts in the wreckage of a convoy of 11 ships that sank in 1715, during a hurricane off central Florida’s east coast. After the discovery last month, a team of Spanish historians realised the piece fit together with another artifact recovered 25 years ago. It formed an accessory called a pyx, worn on a chain around a high priest’s neck to carry the Communion host. The dollar value is uncertain.

It was our follow-up to our big find. It’s been there 300 years, and it’s still intact. It’s just amazing that it’s not broken.

Lisa Schmitt, whose family owns the company Booty Salvage and hunts for sunken artifacts on Florida’s Treasure Coast

Schmitt, who lives near Orlando, last year discovered about $300,000 worth of gold coins and chains from the same wreckage. Schmitt’s parents have hunted for sunken treasure as a hobby for a decade.