Eric Schmitt found the coins in 15 feet of water off Fort Pierce, approximately 130 miles north of Miami. The find included 51 gold coins of various denominations and 40 feet of ornate gold chain.
The gold chains are made of small, handcrafted, two-sided links of six-petaled olive blossoms. They were called money chains and are believed to have been used as a tax-free coinage, the news release said.
Under federal and state law, Florida will take possession of up to 20% of the find for display in a state museum. The Schmitt family will keep the remainder.