Rob Ellis

  • Land/Shallow Water Search
  • Diver/Underwater Search

Cost For My Service

I work for the reward you want to pay to get your item recovered. There is a minimal charge of $25 to $50 for mileage, which covers most of Northern Virginia. I am also available for travel outside the region. You determine the amount of the reward based on what the item is worth to you. Please call so we can discuss your case.

I am a certified SCUBA search and recovery instructor. Searches requiring SCUBA diving require special planning and equipment. When you contact me, we will discuss any additional call out fee for underwater searches.

Search Types

DRY: any terrain including, grass, snow, sand, woods, leaves, beaches, vehicles, and buildings.

I have found rings, earrings, phones, keys, necklaces, and other items, including those purposefully discarded during emotional stress.

Having made several recoveries for people who requested anonymity, I can be trusted to be discrete.

WET: shallow and deeper water, ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, ocean, and docks. Use of SCUBA equipment and techniques apply to water deeper than five feet. Please note that currents and depth can make some searches impossible.

My certifications include: SCUBA Instructor with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, SCUBA Schools International, SCUBA Diving International, and Technical Diving International. I maintain diver insurance which is required by some marinas.

I am available for searches involving insurance claims and law enforcement evidence recovery.

Search Locations

I travel throughout the Northern half of Virginia. Please contact me to discuss travel to other areas. If I can’t help you, I will put you in touch with another member of “The Ring Finders” directory

Rob Ellis's Bio

I’ve been metal detecting for more than 35 years. I found the true treasure of detecting is restoring irreplaceable items to their owners.

Every circumstance is unique, and I own several metal detectors which provide specific technical capabilities in different environments. People often try renting or borrowing a metal detector to attempt their own search. Often, they are not successful. Please don’t be disappointed, it takes many hours of practice to become an expert with a detector.

I am a member of the Federation of Metal Detector and Archaeological Clubs. I follow the FMDAC detecting code of ethics, respecting archeology, private property, and history preservation.

As a former Marine and a retired science teacher, I learned not to give up, and I will do my best for you. Please see the stories and testimonials, then call or text (703) 598-1435.

Rob Ellis - Recent Blog Post

Rob Ellis - Testimonials

  • We are forever grateful! (2023)


    My son’s ring would still be at the bottom of the reservoir without Rob’s patience and metal detecting expertise. We are forever grateful! – Susan Coppage (Bailey’s mom)

  • I’m thankful to have found this website because if i hadn’t, i wouldn’t have ever gotten my dads ring back. (2021)


    Thanks to Rob Ellis i got my fathers ring back which means an awful lot to me. Rob was a very nice guy and eager to help me out. I’m thankful to have found this website because if i hadn’t, i wouldn’t have ever gotten my dads ring back. Thanks again Rob!

  • 10 out of 10! Definitely would recommend. Amazing professional, even better guy. (2020)


    This is my story and from the bottom of my heart I am so thankful. I found by chance, desperately searching the interned for what could be done. I said well even if this is fake, my earring can’t get more lost than it is and took a chance. Rob replied IMMEDIATELY and gave life to this search. I can now tell you, THIS IS FOR REAL!!!

    Rob had been relentless in obtaining permission and a permit to search the field. He had come out to the park numerous times, for multiple hours each trip! He was so methodical in his search: roping off sections, measuring, and recording to ensure every inch of that field was covered. He was clearly a professional and knew what he was doing!

    However, after so many times out, I asked “when do we call it quits?” Rob replied with “well we know it’s out here and I haven’t searched everywhere yet!” This is where I tell you that Rob NEVER lost the initial passion from when I told him how important this earring was to me. Even when my faith faded and I came to terms with at least having my other earring, Rob persisted with more passion than even I had. HE IS INCREDIBLE.

    Rob was alone in his search, so I think it speaks to his honesty and integrity that when he found my earring, he immediately texted me and waited at the park for me to come pick it up. He truly brings so much joy back to people’s lives.

    10 out of 10! Definitely would recommend. Amazing professional, even better guy. Thank you, Rob. Thank you!!!

  • For anyone reading, please give Rob a call if you have lost any jewelry. You will not regret it! (2020)



    We cannot thank you enough! At the end of that first day, we were just at a loss for where the ring could be. It was like the ground opened up and swallowed it whole. Having exhausted all other options, I turned to the internet just grasping for straws. We came across your page and immediately I knew we had to give you a call. What did we have to lose?! You were so helpful and optimistic that we could find the ring together, it made me believe there was hope again. Your quick response time (less than 2 hours!) and willingness to travel was so greatly appreciated. We had a lot of hoops to jump through, but your persistence and professionalism made all the difference in the successful recovery of this ring. I still can’t believe we found it, thank you again for everything!

    For anyone reading, please give Rob a call if you have lost any jewelry. You will not regret it! I would have never thought I would be in the situation I was in, or that a man I found on the internet would save the day. But he did, and I will forever be grateful!

  • Rob was an angel sent from Heaven... (2020)


    After losing my Platinum wedding band at the bottom of the murky James River with only a rough idea of the location, I was not confident it would ever be found.

    However, little did I know at the time that Rob was an angel sent from Heaven. We got in touch through The Ring Finders and he contacted me right away. After a phone call the evening after I lost my wedding band, we agreed to meet up the next day.

    Through increasingly heavier rain, rising water levels, and swift current, Rob continued his search and found it right before the skies opened up. I really appreciated how Rob listened, his professionalism, and expertise as a diver in search and recovery.

    The second we met in person, I felt more and more confident that he was going to be the answer to my prayers. My wife and myself will be forever grateful for Rob and his services. If you lose your prized jewelry and think all hope is lost, look no further than Rob!

  • You are truly a great human being and I’m super glad I called you... (2020)


    You have no idea how HAPPY you made me and my family that day. To be honest, I really thought I was wasting my time- but seeing you work and try so hard gave me a lot of hope(even if you had not found it- it would have been worth the try ????). You are truly a great human being and I’m super glad I called you(I feel silly for doubting you when I first called you).

  • This man is phenomenal! (2020)


    I called Rob to help find an acquaintance’s lost wedding ring. This man is phenomenal! You could tell that he really cared about finding the ring! After a while, I began to lose hope, but he kept at it! One and a half hours later, he found it! This is a VERY NICE man and he empathizes with your loss and rejoices with you when your lost item is found! It doesn’t get better than this

  • These two are the REAL DEAL…you lose and…they WILL find. (2020)


    I am an Army Reservist and was deployed to Afghanistan the summer of 2019. While gone, I dropped about 30 pounds and returned home a lean/mean machine. While unwinding on my farm in Essex County, Virginia, fishing post deployment, I caught a bass which prompted me to bend over to the edge of my floating pier to get the fish and BLOOP! My huge 42-penny college ring from VA TECH that I have worn every day for 25 years falls into the water. I was devastated and immediately mentally marked the location by triangulating my approximate location on the pond.

    I never lose or give up, so I decided I was going to drain the pond using gravity feed PVC pipes and find a diver; the planning immediately commenced. A Google search led me to Rob Ellis “Ring Finder” and then our journey began. I drained about 3 million gallons from the pond over 3 weeks (only about half the volume) and coordinated a date/time with Rob.

    Rob is the epitome of professionalism and caring in such situations of losing things that are very close to your heart. He and his wife showed up on a cold and windy Nov day with smiles, compassion and some of the most state-of-the-art equipment one could imagine. My pond is a farm pond that is 25 feet deep (about 12 feet deep now after draining some) and riddled with debris/structure and logs at the bottom. Diving in such an environment even seemed a bit dangerous to me, but not to Rob. He kits up and BAM he is in the water maneuvering through mud and under/over logs and debris like an otter. The tenacity he showed in the water was nothing short of amazing. He exuded the confidence that he WOULD find the ring or break himself trying. In 24 minutes, BAM he finds the ring! I was floored, amazed, astounded and happy to the point of almost crying all at the same time. I swear I could feel that Rob and his wife wanted to find the ring as much as I did, and that gave me hope and confidence. Their service, attitude and professionalism cannot be matched, and I thank them both from the bottom of my heart to be wearing my large 42 penny head-knocker again. These two are the REAL DEAL…you lose and…they WILL find. Thank you both again for the wonderful journey and beautiful ending.

    John Lewis

    Essex County, Virginia

  • Rob and his wife proved to me that miracles do happen. (2016)


    I am both pleased and honored to comment on Rob’s blog.

    I was absolutely devastated when my engagement ring, wedding band and a family wedding band from 1931, were accidently dropped in the river while I was swimming with friends. I do not think the devastation and grief I felt at that time can be expressed in words.

    After my friend accidently pulled them from my finger, my husband immediately dove and redove in an attempt to reach the bottom of the river to retrieve them; however, the water level was too deep for him to reach the bottom. Fortunately, he and his dad are very “Macgyver” oriented and believe there is a solution to all of life’s problems.

    After telling my father-in-law what happened, he immediately began making phone calls throughout Virginia to inquire what the best underwater detecting gear was and where he could purchase tools to begin recovery. Fortunately, one individual he spoke with had heard of Ring Finders and suggested we contact a professional instead of attempting the rescue ourselves.

    Excited that a group of individuals like Ring Finders existed, we immediately made contact with a group from Ring Finders and were back at the location I lost them one week later. Unfortunately, when things can go wrong they will, and our area was hit with a heavy storm the night before the dive, completely altering the river conditions. They still attempted the search to no avail and promised to return the following year since it was too late in the season to attempt another dive that year. Due to health issues, the individuals that previously searched for my rings last year were unable to go down this year and suggested I attempt to make contact with another diver with Ring Finders – that’s when I found Rob and his lovely wife.

    As Rob mentioned, the ring was lost on private property and it was difficult to arrange everyone’s schedules to make the search happen. Throughout the confusion of coordinating schedules, Rob was gracious, understanding, helpful and considerate. When one date did not work with everyone, he would give me two or three more to work with, eventually making the search happen. He and his amazing wife drove over three hours with all of their equipment to give me one last chance of finding my lost items. While I was not at the sight while they searched, I sent lots of positive vibes, prayers and hope that this would work, and it did – because of them, their dedication, patience and skill set. They sacrificed their personal time, expenses for travel and equipment expenses because a stranger had hope and faith that her lost items could be recovered and that they had a chance of retrieving them for her.

    Rob and his lovely wife not only returned an heirloom that has been in my family since 1931, they also returned my wedding set, which can now also be handed down for many generations to come thanks to their dedication and thoughtfulness.

    I feel that recovering three rings from a river a year after they were lost, that were buried in two inches of silt, 75 feet from the dock in almost 9 feet of water is nothing short of a miracle. Rob and his wife proved to me that miracles do happen.

    So – if you are missing anything of value – monetary or sentimental, do not hesitate to contact Rob and his lovely wife and keep faith and hope that your valuables will be retrieved. He made wonders happen for me and I have no doubt he will try his absolute best to make them happen for you too.