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Thread: Larry Taranoff Antique Heirloom Ring

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  1. #1
    Jul 2012
    Littleton Colorado
    Whites Prizm 3
    32 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Larry Taranoff Antique Heirloom Ring

    Hi folks, Been a while since I posted. So I want to tell you about this ring I found. I could use some assistance in putting a value on it. I do plan to have it professionally cleaned and appraised at a local jeweler. Want to see what everyone here feels its worth.

    So back in April 2017 wife and I spent 10 days in the VI. One day we went to a private property beach where you can pay to park and enjoy the beach. The island we were on some folks frowned upon metal detecting so we got to know the owners a bit then I brought up my hobby and asked if they care of I detected. Not a problem they said. I have one of those Vibra Tector 740 detector I picked on Ebay used. I was excited about putting this thing to work and it was an awesome tool for sifting through the shallows.

    after a few hours of detecting in the shallow water I had a hit and sifted it out of the sand. Pulled up this ring that was super tarnished. I showed the wife and we were mildly amused by the ring. To be completely honest we thought it was costume jewelry. It was pretty badly tarnished so I threw in my pouch and had a blast the rest of the day pulling up change and other stuff.

    We get home and put the ring in my little bowl where I stick all my finds and there it sat till recently. Wife and I had conversations over the past few months about cleaning the ring up so we could investigate but we always spaced it out. The other night we broke out the ring and she has a silver and gold cleaner we keep in the bathroom. We started cleaning it up to get the tarnish and such off of it. You could tell this thing was in the water for a long time.
    Well we where very surprised to see a green stone coming through.... ok not a huge deal but thats cool. Then we cleaned it up more and found it had what looked like an Opal. ok thats pretty cool. When we cleaned it up more we could see gold coming through and it was inlaid on a Silver band. Now I was intrigued but at first thought maybe it was just gold plated and that it had rubbed off in the ocean but no once we got this cleaned off we could tell there was no plating on this ring.

    We started to clean the inside of the ring and started to make out an inscription. After about another 5-10 mins we could make out what it said with a good flashlight and a magnifying glass.

    Inscription on the inside of the ring was

    Larry Taranoff
    Sitka 88

    ok so we are thinking this must be the owner of the ring and they had their name put into it was a special date. I jump online and start putting in Larry's name and man was I shocked to learn that this was the jeweler who made the ring. After reading many posts about his work I researched more and learned that he had passed away back in 1994.
    Larry was one of the first Tlingit Artists to inlay gold over Silver in his rings and bracelets also found that his work is heirloom quality stuff that gets passed down from generation to generation and Larry often put alaskan gold nuggets into his rings and designs.
    I tried doing an image search for this particular style ring which is a fish made out of what appears to be a silver spoon handle and he has gold inlaid over the top of it. I could also see small gold nuggets in the fish tail and also his gill was a longer nugget that was flattened down. The eye is an emerald and the Opal is inlaid in a set in the tail part.

    I was stoked so I started looking around and found a Jeweler up in Alaska who I sent an email to about the ring and what he could tell me about.

    Email Sent: Hi there,

    So this Larry Taranoff Ring was found on a beach under about 3 feet of water. We went on vacation in April and I had found the ring then but till recently it has sat in my drawer. WE finally decided to clean it up and on the back we saw the inscription Larry Taranoff Sitka 88 inscribed on the inside of the ring. We thought it was a person till we did a little research and found out he is the actual jeweler who made this piece back in 88. Here are some photos which are not the greatest but hopefully you can tell me more about the ring. Looks like Silver base with a lot of gold overlaid on it. Also has some gold nuggets in the taill and the front of the fish frame for its gills. From what we can tell its an opal and Emerald stones. Appreciate anything info you can provide.

    the reply:

    Wow-nice find! Larry was a very talented carver-he passed away quite a few years ago. People would bring him a silver spoon and pay him $100 to carve and shape it into a bracelet-obviously he did rings too, and gold overlay would certainly be more expensive. You should get a silver polishing cloth to clean off the rest of that oxidation. Id estimate that that ring would be worth $1500-2k, but Im not an expert appraiser.

    I about fell out of my chair at this point. And to think I let this ring sit in my finds for 7 months before we started investigating it.

    I looked online you can find Larry's work out there but it is super expensive and it appears he did more bracelets then rings. I am guessing based on me not finding any photos of this model that this was a 1 of a kind ring.

    My next step is Im going have it professionally appraised and cleaned.

    some photos for everyone.

    140$ Detector hit the jackpot on its first voyage with me. I am still in shock about this entire ordeal. To find something this nice. I couldn't ever imagine.

    Let me know what you guys think.

  2. #2
    Charter Member

    Sep 2012
    Murrieta, CA
    Garrett GTI 2500, CTX3030
    52 times
    Metal Detecting
    Very interesting find! I can see why you thought it was just a junky ring at first. One of the neat things about this hobby is that it often requires research on historical sites or finds, or in this case, jewelry designers and artists. Due to your research, you are close to discovering the real value of a find that you had originally dismissed as junk or just a curiosity. Be sure to let us know the results.
    sky355 likes this.

  3. #3

    Apr 2007
    Clearwater, FL
    811 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Nice ring - thinking a toe ring? _ IMO

  4. #4
    Apr 2009
    Fisher F70
    545 times
    nice opal

  5. #5
    Jul 2012
    Littleton Colorado
    Whites Prizm 3
    32 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by sanmateo View Post
    Nice ring - thinking a toe ring? _ IMO
    Nah its definitely a finger ring its pretty decent size. I believe made for a guy. It wouldn't fit the wife.

    Yeah the Opal is as blue as the sea. Its gorgeous.
    RustyGold likes this.

  6. #6
    Charter Member
    Aug 2013
    OC, CA
    XP Deus, Equinox 800 720i Stealth Scoop
    4873 times
    Beach and Shallow Water Hunting
    Congratulations on such an awesome find. It looks like handmade art. Thanks for the pics.

    We are not what we take, we are what we leave.

  7. #7
    Grant Brandenburg

    Jan 2013
    Bounty Hunter Tracker IV
    14051 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    That's a rare one of a kind find. Not sure what the value would be? Maybe send an inquiry to these folks who have some of these Taranoff pieces for sale?
    Larry Taranoff's Jewelry for Sale

  8. #8

    Nov 2016
    Whites, Garrett, Minelab
    204 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Looks to be gold nuggets inlaid into the silver too! Awesome, rare find indeed!

  9. #9
    Charter Member
    May 2015
    North Georgia
    MineLab CTX 3030
    656 times
    Metal Detecting
    Dude, you killed it!
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet" General James "Mad Dog" Mattis (Callsign: Chaos), United States Marine Corps (Retired)

    Semper Fidelis !!!!!

  10. #10

    Aug 2018
    4 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Hello, I am Larry Taranoff's daughter and I can provide some information about the ring and about the artist. Your appraiser provided some erroneous information. Larry was not an Alaskan native. He was first generation Russian American. He tired once to make a bracelet from a silver spoon and discovered it was not actually possible without melting it down and there fore not worth the trouble. Gotta love wives tales and urban mythology don't you. He started making this style of jewelry around 1967, teaching himself how to do it. He started with just silver, then added gold, then abalone and later precious and semi precious gems.

    The ring you found looks to be of the salmon pattern and is not one of a kind. If there is still writing on the inside of the ring you should find initials LPT and a date. If your ring is the first of the design there will also be a #1 there.

  11. #11
    Charter Member
    Jul 2004
    South Florida Cesspool
    Tesoro Sand Shark, Whites M6
    9408 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Great find. Great read. Love the latest added info.



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