By Will Carless
On a glorious early morning in Rio de Janeiro, the long beach is dotted with curious figures. Men, some wearing trash bags, are wielding long-handled contraptions, which they work rhythmically into the sand.
The men stand knee-deep in the churning water. The surf explodes all around them, splashing brilliant white in the morning sunshine. The guys work silently, dragging their tools, known as rapinas, wiggling them, then staring intently at the contents of a curved, meshed bucket at the tool’s end.
These are Rio’s urban "gold miners," known as "garimpeiros." They’re a loose tribe of part- and full-time treasure hunters who roam the city’s beaches searching primarily for jewelry, but also for anything of value, from sunglasses to GoPro cameras to gold teeth.