Northland Jewellery Recoveries Tag | The Ring Finders

Sentimental Dog Name Tag Found and Returned – Tutukaka, NZ

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)

Not all recoveries are planned.

I was doing a casual hunt at Tutukaka the other week, and dug a pets name tag, Rizla.

I always offer found tags to the owners, in case the pet has passed and they would like them as a keepsake.

It had two cell phone numbers on the reverse, one was not connected (unsurprising as the tag had been there a while).

The other put me in touch with Scott, Rizlas previous owner still living in Ngunguru.

Rizla is still alive, although now residing on the other side of the planet, in the UK.

Scott was very pleased to hear I had found it and met me in Ngunguru the other day so I could hand it back to him.



How to find a ring lost in a garden? Call the Kerikeri Ring Finder.

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)
After reading of my recent recovery of a lost earring in a garden near Kerikeri, Lucy contacted me to see if I could help locate her aquamarine engagement ring, lost in a lawn four months ago.
She had her jewellery out while getting ready for a trip out, and when she came to put it on noticed it had been moved, and her precious ring was missing.
It didn’t take long to discover her three year old had been playing with it, and taken it outside.
On careful questioning, her daughter admitted she had lost it « in the grass ».
After the inevitable immediate search, Lucy gave up hope of ever seeing it again, and more so after the lawn was inevitably mown.
Until yesterday, when I turned up to see what I could do.
Being a farm environment, the going was very slow with the many targets you find in this sort of ground, each needing to be verified before moving on.
I cleared the likely play area, and moved down to the orchard – after all, what three year old can resist fresh plums!
It wasn’t long before I got a low tone in the headphones, in amongst the trees.
As I lifted a small plug of soil, the edge of a ring was visible – I teased it out from the grass roots and gave it a quick rinse in a nearby puddle while Lucys son went to find her.
Her tears flowed freely as I handed it back to her, and she explained to a confused three year old that these were « tears of happiness », and not like the « sad » tears when she realised it had been lost.
I waited a while for the teary red eyes to subside before the reunion photo 🙂

Tiny Diamond Ear Stud found in Kerikeri Lawn

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)
Adrienne had been working in her Kerikeri garden a few days ago, when she felt her diamond ear stud flick off her ear – and disappear into the kikuyu lawn.
After searching for some time on hands and knees, they gave me a call in the hope I would be able to locate the lost ear stud.
I turned up today to find they had already marked out primary and secondary areas with spray paint, along with a generous safety margin of unmown grass. Textbook stuff.
Whilst they had been able to isolate most of the adjacent electric fences, there was one which they couldn’t trace – that and a buried powerline running right through the search area weren’t going to make life easier when listening for a whisper of platinum though.
I got started with a very tight search pattern and the machine running as sensitive as I could stand, the phones twitching and chattering incessantly from the electrical interference.
After clearing a few false hits, I was pulling at the kikuyu down to the moist soil underneath, where a tiny ear stud was making itself very comfortable.
It’s always warm fuzzies when I’m able to return something so precious.

Gold Ring Lost in Garden at Taupo Bay for nearly a Year – Found!

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)

Billys wife sent me a message asking if I would be able to find a lost ring in their garden at Taupo Bay in Northland, New Zealand.
« Certainly ».
Billy had lost his gold ring around 8 months earlier and repeated visual searches had been unsuccessful.

I arrived at the property and Billy described where he thought he had lost his very sentimental gold and ruby ring.
Whilst he didn’t recall losing the ring which was apparently very loose on the finger, he thought it was when he had been sitting on the lawn idly pulling at grass and weeds.

The indicated area was small and very quickly cleared, albeit with no ring found.

They’re very rarely where they are supposed to be, and this is where the experience, discipline and tenacity of a dedicated ring finder come into play.

I started asking specific questions to build alternative scenarios with potential to lose a ring, and based on the answers given focused on several other areas.
These yielded nothing other than a few coins, lots of mown bits of foil – and a long lost key to their front door!

It was now apparent that the ring could potentially be anywhere on the property, so I settled in for a long, systematic and thorough search which would eventually cover nearly every foot of the 3,000 square yard property.
Just over 2,000 yards later, I was almost at the point of switching to the tiny coil to get up close and personal with the shrubs and house surrounds, when a « Dig Me! » target passed under the coil just off the edge of a mown area.

About as far as it could have been from the originally indicated area and still be on the property, a beautiful gold ring separated itself from the roots and soil as I lifted the cut plug out of the ground.

The ring is now safe and destined for a visit to the jeweler for a good clean – and resizing so it doesn’t slip off again.


Lost earring at Cable Bay, Mangonui – Found using Metal Detector.

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)

Alexandra had been with family at Little Cable Bay in Doubtless Bay, enjoying the sun and a warm but deep rockpool during the day.
She was understandably very upset to learn later that she had lost a very precious gold and diamond earring.
Her partner contacted me as to whether it was possible to recover it.
Unfortunately, I had spent the day conducting a dive search for a lost propeller in a marina at Whangarei, so was too tired to make the drive safely that night. however I was able to negotiate with my long-suffering boss to take the afternoon off the following day and headed up to search for it.
There were two high probability areas; Where they had been based on the beach, and the rockpool.
I quickly scanned the indicated area on the beach, although nothing found.
So, a quick trip back to the car to change in preparation to get wet in the rockpool, accessible only at low tide.
Alexandra had to head back to work so left me to it.
An earlier promising signal in the rockpool turned out to be an ancient 2c piece, followed by an old fishing knife, and many small fishing leads.
Confident the time-critical pool was cleared, I returned to the beach and started a systematic high level search of the dry sand.
About an hour later, the earring surfaced in the scoop, some 15m away from where it was supposed to be, and probably flicked off a towel.
Alexandra met me later in Coopers Beach for an exchange of big smiles and the earring.

Gold Ring lost in Sea at Uretiti Beach – Found !

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)

Frances was enjoying a swim with her friends at Uretiti Beach, near Whangarei after a round of golf.

While in the water, she suddenly felt her very sentimental gold ring slip off her finger. Looking down, she could see it although couldn’t get to it. After repeated efforts she finally lost sight of it – Gone.

She was understandably very upset when she phoned me, the emotion of losing an obviously very special item was clearly evident over the phone and she wasn’t entirely convinced it would be worth trying to find it again.

I assured her that after hearing the details I didn’t consider it irretrievably lost, and made arrangements to drive down the following morning.

Onsite, we walked down to, and along the beach a little way.

She had taken a photo of the dunes, which helped narrow down where they had been – Nothing boosts the odds in your favour like having an accurate start point!

I walked down the beach and straight into the tide – with a 150km drive each way, I needed to ensure I found it on this visit.

The waves were small today, which was a pleasant change for this ocean beach

After about an hour and a half, I lifted the scoopful of sand and there was a lovely gold band.  I held it up to show Frances who was up by the dunes and waded in.

On handing it to Frances, I joked, « This where you say it’s not yours » with a chuckle.

I stopped grinning as soon as she replied, « It’s not mine. »

« What? »

Back into the tide.

Thirty minutes later, another ring.  The reaction when I showed Frances was enough to tell me that this time it was definitely the right one.

That job done, I now start the sleuthing to locate the owner of the other ring…



Keys Lost in Kerikeri Paddock – Found

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)

My current run of enquiries to find lost keys continues…

Nadège contacted me through the local Paihia Facebook group – a visitor of hers had lost keys in a paddock while working the previous day.

These lost keys were critical as they held, amongst others, the keys to his van and lockup.

On arrival, the « Long Grass » turned out to be rank overgrown pasture, and the search area covered an hours-worth of meandering track around the paddock and through two swampy streams.

I prepared myself for a prolonged mentally and physically difficult session.

Bob took me around and showed me where he had walked including where he had deviated to fix various things or pull out weeds. Identifying his original route was very difficult due to his previous attempts to retrace his steps looking for them at the time which gave me several tracks all the same age – and the cows that were also wandering around had added their own tracks, although they were mostly readily identified as such.  I did a cursory scan as we walked, finding several piles of old metal stakes, wire, poles and pipes buried in the grass. Farms are almost as bad as suburbia for background noise.

We completed the circuit, and Bob left me to it. As the coil would be 1-2ft above the ground due to the rank growth, I wound the settings right up to maximise the chances of picking up the keys. Whilst this would ensure a strong signal (as long as the coil went over them), it meant the phones were chattering constantly with other background noise from the neighbors electric fences, long lost buried tools, wire, fence staples and so on. Each strong signal had to be checked through the grass, before moving on. Whilst this was quick, it was a very frequent occurrence, however if it wasn’t the intended target, it could stay there, whatever it was.   I was on a mission.

Nearly three hours later, with the highest probability areas now cleared to a 90%+ detection rate, I was struggling to work out where they could be – Were they even in the paddock? Could Bob have left them somewhere back at the house?

Bob had walked along the short grass of the mown track each time he’d done the circuit looking for them, and indeed, I had walked it with him today- but a bunch of keys with a red tag would have been easily visible here.

I started back up the hill to focus on a few spots which had a lot of metal rubbish, absent-mindedly swinging the coil over the mown track as I went, when the headphones screamed!

In the middle of the track, was a cow pat with a solid signal!  On closer inspection, I could see the blade of a key and the edge of a red plastic tag emerging from underneath.  The cow must have dropped the pat on the dropped keys, between Bob losing them, and his coming back this way to look for them!

Hidden, in plain sight.

I dug them out, gave them a quick rinse in a nearby trough and headed back up the hill. Relieved that this search, one of the most difficult in a while, was now over.

Assume Nothing, Check Everything…


Commercial Keys Lost While Mowing in Whangarei- Found Two Days Later.

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)

Steve is a Lawnmowing Contractor who, after finishing a job returned to his truck only to find his keys had vanished.

He throughly searched the property, and even lifted two storm drain covers and fished around in the ooze with a rake to try and find them, with no luck.

Reluctantly he arranged to have his truck and mowing gear towed home.

On phoning the Automobile Association the AA chap had seen my other recent key recovery from the side of the highway and recommended that Steve contact me, not having considered the metal detecting aspect of recoveries Steve was quickly on the phone.

Despite being an hour and a half away, I drove down straight from work to sort his troubles.

Steve took me through where he had been – and showed me the two drain gratings right where he had been fussing around the truck…

With some careful questions, I was able to put the drains right at the bottom of the list, although I had the waterproof remote camera and the nitrile gloves onboard, just in case!

I started the systematic grid of the garden, I could tell Steve was watching me with a funny look.  The keys would have stood out easily on the manicured lawn, however the secret to success is to have a method, and stick to it rigidly. Nothing would be worse than having a no-find and starting to second guess where you may have missed them.

The formality of searching the back lawn was over very quickly.  I started around the edges where shrubs overhung the grass, progressively crossing areas off and working my way towards the front yard – and those drains…

Then I got a good signal from under a bush on the other side of the path, I peered under and there they were.

Job done, the keys were exchanged for a good handshake and I headed off on the long trip home.



Tiny Gold Ear Ring Found in Sand at Cable Bay.

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)
Danielle contacted me after losing her tiny gold and diamond earring at Little Cable Bay, between Mangonui and Taipa.
She had spent some considerable time looking for it, but in the dry sand a tiny earring that blended in perfectly would have been virtually invisible to the eye.
I wasn’t able to get away from work for a few hours, but in this instance it worked out well with the tides.
She had sent me a photo which showed some trees lined up as a reference, so I could make a start as soon as I got there.
It didn’t take long to locate myself in the right spot and I started work, a very tedious process with a lot of interference from metallic rubbish that saturated the dry sands above the high tide line.
Danielle arrived soon after and was able to give me her best guess as to where it might be.
With a high probability location now identified, I changed up a few settings and started listening for the tiniest wisp of gold in among all the can tabs and flakes of tinfoil.
It was hard mentally processing each individual signal, digging the probable signals and flagging the unlikely, but possibles to revisit later if necessary.
About 10 minutes in, with the coil running under the surface of the loose and fluid dry sand, I got a repeatable signal only just audible over nearby rubbish.
I ran my hand through the sand, nothing was seen and the pinpointer didn’t pick it up, but I had moved the target. Was it yet another tiniest fragment of ancient drink can?
Slowly I progressively eliminated ever smaller piles of sand until there was one small heap left.
I grabbed it and slowly opened out my hand, scrutinising the grains as they fell through the slightest gap between my fingers, until resting in my palm was the distinctive shape of an earring.
Danielles eyes lit up when she realised her precious lost earring had been found in amongst several trillion grains of sand.

Precious Gold Ring Found in Kamo Paddock

  • from Paihia (New Zealand)

How do you find a ring in a paddock?
You call an experienced ringfinder.

Kareen was tidying up the house paddock with the scrubcutter and after returning to the house, she noticed the necklace her late mothers wedding ring had been threaded on was broken and hanging loose around her neck.
As you do, she headed straight back to the paddock to try and find the tiny gold ring.
And as you do, she had to give up after realising the area became impossibly huge when looking for a thin 3/4 inch diameter ring.

A work collegue later suggested she contact me.

Kareen needed to head south shortly after I arrived, and although she was happy for me to continue after she had gone I aimed to try and ensure she had the ring before she left.
She showed me the paddock, routes in and out and key locations, then left me to it as she headed back to the house to continue getting ready.

With the rare luxury of virtually no background interference, I was able to run the machine in an extremely sensitive setting and whip the big coil back and forth much faster than usual.
The chatter in the headphones was incessant with variations in ground mineralisation, the coil clipping a dead branch sent the headphones into a frenzy.
I ordinarily wouldn’t run in this mode, but it did have the great advantage of speed in this situation. A surface target would not be missed, although many loud subsurface signals each needed to be quickly verified.

An hour later, as the headphones filled up with ‘scribble’ due to a nearby underground powerline, a regular signal surfaced amongst the noise.

I parted the grass and revealed the ring, already flush with the soil surface, likely trodden on by Kareen.

Kareens face lit up with relief when I told her, and she asked if a hug was permitted.
Back at the house, her father came out and with an enthusiastic handshake explained the significance of the ring.

Job completed, I headed away and left them to finish preparing for their trip.