January 16, 1984 12:00 PM

You’ll never find your gold on a

sandy beach,

You’ll never drill for oil on a

city street,

I know you’re looking for a ruby in

a mountain of rocks,

But there ain’t no Coupe deVille

hiding at the bottom of a

Cracker Jack box.

—Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad

You won’t find a Coupe deVille at the bottom of a Diamond Jacks box either, but if you’re lucky, you might find a certificate good for a piece of ice worth $1,000. That’s what happened to New York teacher-actor Charles Korn, 41, when he opened a box of the new candy-coated popcorn on Christmas Day.

Every box of Diamond Jacks includes a teeny-weeny ruby, sapphire or emerald and a riddle whose solution will yield a $10,000 diamond. One out of every 2,000 boxes contains a $1,000-diamond certificate, not to mention a zircon worth about $30. So far Chicagoans Lee Brady, 40, and David Sanderson, 36, who came up with this gem of an idea last May, have shipped 20,000 boxes of the candy to stores across the country. Thousands of people have shelled out $12.95 or more for a pound of popcorn, nuts and caramel, proving that diamonds can be an entrepreneur’s best friend.

“Lee and I both think there’s a yearning for something magic, something mystical—treasure hunts and sunken galleons and ancient maps,” says Sanderson. That hunch, along with Brady’s secret recipe, has proved a formula for success. Though their product is similar in name and taste to Cracker Jacks, Brady and Sanderson have received no complaints from Borden (the company that makes Cracker Jacks).

The riddle remains unsolved. “Come pass with me into the land of odds,” the enigmatic lines begin, “where land is not as it seems….” To one sleuth, the riddle suggested latitudes and longitudes leading to a town in Queensland, Australia; others have suggested Scotland, Monte Carlo and even Atlantis. When the riddle is solved, Brady and Sanderson will offer a new one.

This isn’t the first foray into the novelty food biz for Brady and Sanderson. In 1975 they created and sold Candy Pants, the notorious edible underwear, which grossed $150,000 a month at their peak. With Diamond Jacks, Brady and Sanderson are hoping they have again found an answer to that age-old riddle: How do you strike it rich?

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