The chest got shelved, and nothing really came of it. Until this summer, when the Geek Dad blog did a short article on "Treasure Hunting with Secret Codes". Hmmm... I've got the chest, I've got some idea of a story to tell; what else would we need? Well, treasure, of course!
Enter, stage right: Penhec Gems.
So... they're not cheap gems; but they are gems. Chemically speaking, of course. Some snobs would insist that unless you pried them out of the cold, dead earth yourself, they're not real gems. To these troglodytes, I say, "Bah!" If it looks like a ruby, feels like a ruby, and tastes like a ruby, man, it's a ruby. Ahem.
Anyways - I'm thinking that a few large gems (say, one per kid participating), a couple of handfuls of smaller gems, a bunch of loose quarters, and some "gold" Sacajawea dollar coins would make a fine treasure for a bunch of kids to find. It might end up being $100-$200 in "treasure", but if we did it right, it would be the kind of thing that the girls would make for some really wonderful memories.