An unemployed man claims to be making £300 a week combing the streets of New York with tweezers for dropped gems and gold.
Jewellery setter Raffi Stepanian, 43, has begun crawling around the Diamond District on his hands and knees, reports the Daily Telegraph.
Armed with a pair of tweezers, Mr Stepanian, from Queens, claims to have collected more than £600 worth of precious metals and stones in the past fortnight.
"I'm surviving on it," he said. "I may be about to trigger a new gold rush on the streets of New York. The soil in the sidewalks of 47th street are saturated with the stuff."
Mr Stepanian's haul so far has included chips of diamonds and rubies, bits of platinum, and gold fragments from watches, earrings and necklaces.
He has sold most of his discoveries to metal refiners or diamond sellers, while keeping some gold with a view to melting it down for future use.
"You might get $30 per piece, but it all adds up," he said. "It is a rich area and people simply drop things, or their jewellery falls on the street, and it gets stuck in the mud or the gum."
Mr Stepanian said that his surgical inspection of pavement cracks had been so fruitful that he had taken 25lb of soil from the area home with him to sift later on.
"Being in the jewellery industry for 26 years, it was second nature to spot glistening fragments on the floors and in elevators," he said.
"It was always tempting to pick them up. Now that's what I'm doing."