Anyone who metal detects here in the states knows who Dominique is but if by chance you don’t, let me introduce her. Dominique Ivy Da Silva is the much better looking half of the Silver Slingers, with Mark, her companion, being the other half. They’re also members of the White’s field test team and inseparable, thus the often used “we”, “our” and “us” in the following question and answer session…..
Just to get you up to speed here’s one of their latest YouTube videos….
Q. Dominique, (if you don’t mind me asking) I know you live on the East coast but where in particular?
A. We live in NH, but detect all over New England with occasional trips to other states.
Q. What was it that got you interested in metal detecting?
A. Mark and I used to be avid bass fishermen. That’s basically all we did; pack up the canoe and spend the days out on the water. We always wondered about the stone walls we could see crisscrossing the woods along the shore, and one day decided to get metal detectors and start exploring. The rest is history (ha! See what I did here? “History”! I crack myself up….).
Dominque Ivy Da Silva
Q. When did you start and what was your very first metal detector?
A. We started about 2.5 years ago. My first detector was a White’s VX3 (my beloved “Vixen”), and Mark’s the MXT Pro.
Q. What was it that made you purchase that particular brand/model?
A. Mark’s uncle is a White’s user, and he strongly recommended the brand. I love how versatile the VX3 is, and the MXT Pro is simply an all-around beast.
Q. What was your very first signal/find?
A. I wish I could say it was a bell, but it was actually a clad quarter.
Q. What was your very first good or decent find?
A. On our second day detecting, we found a beautiful 1817 large cent right at the edge between a cornfield and the woods. I will never forget that. This coin is now 200 years old. Blows my mind.
Q. In the beginning did you concentrate on one particular treasure? i.e., did you hunt for coins, relics, jewelry….
A. I hunted primarily for relics, and Mark focused on coins, but since then we have both been focusing on either. I get excited about something as simple as a reign’s guide or even an ox knob. All proof of who walked on this land before, and to me that’s priceless.
Q. How long did it take you to find your first silver coin and do you remember what it was?
A. Oh yes, I remember that more than anything! My very first BIG silver coin, just a few months into detecting, was an amazing 1773 4 Reale Coin in unbelievable shape. Before that, I dug a few merc dimes and a couple of Barber dimes. Mark dug an amazing 1898 Barber Half Dollar just weeks after we started. We seriously almost fainted.
Q. Dominique how long did it take you to find your first ring and what kinds of ring was it?
A. Mark is the one who found our first ring. It was a silver Claddagh ring found near a picnic area.
Q. Did you spend a lot of time researching in the beginning and if so how did you go about it?
A. In the beginning we just detected any areas we had easy access to. We focused on places around stone walls, as we knew these were obviously old. Since then, researching locations has become a major part of our hobby. We use old maps, satellite imaging, and talk to a lot of old-timers in our area as well as hunters, hikers, etc.
Q. You and Mark are obviously close detecting partners. How did you two meet?
A. We met riding our mountain bikes on trails near where we now live. We started talking to each other right next to a beautiful covered bridge (yes, we detected around that bridge years later!)
Q. As a team, who decides on where to detect?
A. Mark is the one who primarily researches our sites, so he calls the shots on that. My biggest concern is the proximity of the nearest Dunkin Donuts. I need my caffeine fix!
Q. Curious….do you two ever argue about anything detecting related?
A. I wouldn’t say argue, but we sometimes disagree about the age of a location. And that goes something like this:
Mark: “What do you think of this house? Colonial”?
Me: “Yes, the foundation looks old, but it’s obviously been added on to. I foresee a lot of nails and other construction material in the ground.”
Mark: “Well, we could focus on the area behind the house.”
Me: “Doesn’t look like there’s a whole lot to detect!”
Mark: “That’s perfect for a short hunt then. And we can grab coffee after!”
Me: “Let’s knock on the door.”
Q. Okay, do you two “ever” argue?
A. I can honestly say we don’t really argue. We have such similar interests and lifestyles that there’s no room for disagreeing on much. And we both realize that life is too short and precious to waste time being angry!
Q. Do you and Mark compete or have any running contests?
A. We have an informal silver count contest. He is slightly ahead at the moment. I have him beat on bells, though. By a landslide.
Q. What would you consider to be your best find so far?
A. That’s a toss-up between the 4 Reale coin (it is in such amazing shape!), and the three George Washington inaugural buttons we have found to date.
Mark & Dominique’s three GW inaugural buttons…
Q. Okay Dominique what is your weirdest find to date?
A. A masonic sword clip that somebody had buried under their front steps.
Q. What is your “oldest” find to date?
A. A 1673 Farthing!
Q. How did you and Mark become part of the White’s Field Test team?
A. About 2 years ago, White’s asked and we said yes! How could we not. I think they liked how many bells I find!
Q. Tell me about your first trip to the factory in Sweet Home…was the first time you observed the manufacturing process?
A. That trip was amazing! We finally met our Field Team friends and the company’s staff. They truly are incredible people who care very deeply about the hobby. It was my first time observing the manufacturing process, and I was very impressed to see the high-tech assembly of these machines juxtaposed with the family atmosphere of the factory.
White’s field test team, from l to r, Dave Wise, D.J. Yost, Mark & Dominique, Ed Cropski, Todd Hiltz, Jeff Williams, Bob Buttafuso, and John Ruth…
Q. Curious too how can you put up with Dave Wise and Bob Buttafuso? I mean jeezus….
A. Hahahaha! Do I have to answer this truthfully? It’s not easy, that’s for sure! Seriously, though, two of the kindest and most knowledgeable people I have ever met.
Well I know better and I will fill you in later….
Q. You obviously use White’s detectors but what model are you currently using and why?
A. I currently use mostly the MX Sport. It’s rugged, versatile, waterproof, and gets amazing depth.
Q. Are there certain settings you use a lot with the Sport?
A. Set-up: coin and jewelry mode, threshold 2, reject audio 20, tone ID 4, sensitivity anywhere from 3 to 7, pending ground conditions. I use High Trash mode for busier sites, such as a park or iron infested cellar hole.
Q. I know this is a dumb question but what accessories do you use?
A. I use the TRX Bullseye pinpointer, and a simple bag or backpack and that’s about it. I usually wear a baseball hat to mount my Gopro on and carry about 7 extra batteries for the cameras and additional ones for the detectors. Sometimes we also bring our drone along. And energy drinks. Lots of them.
Q. How often do you get out detecting today?
A. We get out a lot – almost daily during the regular season and weekly during the winter.
Q. Where do you concentrate your time….parks, rural areas, homesites, etc..?
A. We focus on woods (cellar holes) and old farms. A lot of our standing farms and their fields date back to the 1700’s, and luckily the farmers are very nice to us. We also door knock whenever we see a standing home that looks old and has a decent yard area.
Q. Dominique you surely have a bucket list. Care to share it?
A. A Pine Tree Shilling!
Q. Have you detected overseas at all?
A. Not yet, but looks like we’ll be detecting in Europe later this year. I can’t wait! My parents (they live in Austria) keep telling me about sites dating back to the 1200’s. Count me in!
Q. What would your ideal detector look like?
A. It would be pink. No brainer. It would have controls pretty much like the MX Sport has as I love the way the display is designed. Oh, and it needs a cellphone bracket! And a cup holder! Ok, let me call White’s real quick…
Q. Finally, if you could pass along one or two words of advice to other detectorists, what would they be?
A. Location is very important. Good finds are tied to where you are and what you are looking for. Research your area and touch base with seasoned people who detect in your state. And, most importantly, learn your machine! I don’t care if your machine cost you 200 dollars or two grand – learn it and learn it well. Once you speak its language, it will tell you where the finds are.
Thanks Dominique….you and Mark are a great asset to the White’s family and the treasure hunting pastime. Happy Hunting…..