Vadim and Zinaida Smit had no hope of staying in the country.
Vadim was railway minister for the east-west Siberian route and a personal friend of Tsar Nicholas II, and Zinaida was the godchild of the queen mother.
It contained jewels that her husband and the imperial family had given to her.
The Smits couldn’t afford to stop to search for it.
Kavchik said there are up to 300 other treasure hunters in the region who are on the lookout for lost valuables. A group of treasure hunters, including Kavchik, conducted a series of dives into Lake Baikal at the beginning of September.
The dives produced a handful of old coins and a heavy case, which Kavchik believes was used for carrying weapons.
Last year, another group found a female prosthetic hand made out of silver in the lake.
The hand was discovered at a 50-meter depth, and treasure hunters are still scratching their heads over how it got there, Kavchik said. It is more common to find coins and other small trinkets. “They dropped coins, and [the coins] always have value.” Kavchik said 90 percent of the 300,000 treasure hunters across Russia go searching for valuables as a hobby.
A silver ruble dating to the times of Peter the Great or Catherine the Great will fetch upward of ,000 on the market.“Many people have a bad outlook on the hobby,” Kavchik said. That is unfortunate.” But people are hearing the call, and many of them are heading out on the hunt.It doesn’t take a master sleuth to go online and find information to get started as a treasure hunter.A rare test coin recently found near Yekaterinburg was valued at a price equal to that of an apartment in the city.Irkutsk enthusiasts plan to open the world’s first and only museum of treasure hunting in their city in January to showcase their finds and change the negative perceptions some people have of their pastime.“There is always a possibility of finding treasure,” he said.