When Wendy Porter lost her engagement ring gardening, she was frantic. Not because of the monetary value-the gold ring with a half -carat diamond had only cost about $400 when it was first purchased at a mom-and-pop jewelry shop in Vancouver which is now long gone-but because it after wearing it faithfully for 45 years, the band was a link to her husband George who passed away a year ago after a struggle with pancreatic cancer.
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Although she calls herself computer illiterate, Porter managed to locate Chris Turner, a self-described treasure hunter whose specialty is finding lost rings, on line. Turner started TheRingFinder.com, a directory of more than 200 people in 20 countries who are specially trained in using metal detectors to reunite owners with their lost jewelry and other important keepsakes. In less than four years, they have collectively located over 900 rings valued at more than $2 Million. Most members work on a reward basis and many donate to charity. "I've done it for a loaf of banana bread," Turner told Yahoo Shine.
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"When Wendy called me, she was gutted," said Turner. "It took me three minutes to find her ring, and then she told me about her husband for an hour and a half. Every ring is a story." The couple had been teenage sweethearts. They met in 1964, when they were both 17, and got engaged three years later. "She even showed me the receipts for the ring-George paid for it in installments."
"9 out of 10 times, I can find the ring," said Turner. Porter's ring was relatively easy to locate. Although buried under the dirt, it was in an area that she pointed out under some vines in the back of her garden. Turner has also found rings in lakes, the ocean, and along the side of a road. "You are just throwing an apple core out the car window, and there goes your ring."
He says one of the most common reasons people lose their rings is weight loss. Grieving during the year since her husband's death, Porter had dropped seventy pounds. "After I find their ring, I make people promise to get them resized."
Other common ways people lose their rings are playing sports and swimming. "A mom takes of her ring and puts it on her towel to put sun lotion on her kids and forgets about it," he said. While summer is his busy season, he also warns that fingers shrink in the cold weather and rings can fall off while people are scraping ice or shoveling snow.
Turner says he got hooked on metal detecting when he was a kid. He saw an ad for a metal detector in his father's Field and Stream magazine and begged for one. "My dad told me to get a job, I worked all summer at a chicken farm to pay for it." For the last 20 years he's used it almost exclusively to recover people's lost property.
He's reluctant to name the priciest ring he's ever found. "Every ring I've found is valuable. I once found a silver wedding band and the guy was all choked up. Doesn't matter if it's a platinum and diamond engagement ring."
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