BRIAN RUDOLPH, LOST ITEM RECOVERY SPECIALIST (LAND, WATER, SAND, HOUSES & VEHICLES) WILL FIND YOUR LOST KEEPSAKE! CALL ASAP (301) 466-8644!
I received a call from a young lady named Erin who was requesting help with recovering her mother-in-law’s ring that had gone missing four months earlier in the month of August, 2019. Erin’s 5-year old daughter, Journey, was gifted a Black Hill’s gold ring that had belonged to her grandmother, Janet, for many years prior to its recent disappearance. Unfortunately, the ring was lost somewhere on “Grammy’s” Springfield, Virginia front lawn just days after it was given to the little one during a family summer vacation visit from California. I came to learn that the ring had very special meaning to Janet.
When Janet was 11-years old, back in 1967, her best friend and fellow private school classmate, Kathy Vasil, gave Janet a pretty Black Hills gold ring as a special friendship gift. The keepsake’s design depicted the classic Black Hill’s signature images of leaves, grape clusters and vines, made with alloys of gold with standard yellow gold, as well as green and pink accents. It was quite pretty! Janet had worn the ring for over 50 years!
Over the years Janet’s mother, Charline, admired her daughter’s ring so much that Janet decided to search for an exact duplicate of her gold ring to bless her mom with such a gift. Amazingly enough, with much unrelenting diligence, she found the same item and both ended up with matching Black Hills gold rings! Charline treasured the piece of jewelry up until the time of her death two years later in the winter of 2011. She was only 77 years old.
After Janet’s mother passed away, she decided to hand the ring down to her daughter Krystal Marie who cherished the piece of gold jewelry for the next 5 years. But then, in the month of October, 2016, at the age of 35, Janet’s beloved daughter, also tragically died. She was beyond devastated, her world completely shattered.
Sadly, there would be even more catastrophic events that would take place. Between the years 2009 and 2018, Janet and her family not only lost her dear mother and precious daughter, but she would end up losing her 34 year old son, Jacob Daniel, in April of 2013, and Janet’s youngest sister, Julie, who died at age 47 in the month of April of 2018! No one could have ever imagined such a devastating plot would have to be endured for Janet and family. Tragedy was at every corner of this family’s existence for nearly a decade. It has been a miracle that this woman has been able to survive through such grief and despair. Janet shared with me that she has had no other choice but to cling to her faith in the Lord, for there is no other hope to hold onto after losing so many people that she has loved so much!
This article honors the memory of these dear people who lost their lives so prematurely: Mother Charline, Son Jacob Daniel, Daughter Krystal Marie, and youngest Sister Julie. May these loved ones never be forgotten, ever!
Three years had gone by since Krystal Marie passed away, and Janet decided in August of 2019 to gift the family heirloom ring to her precious granddaughter Journey Danielle whose initials “J.D.” were inspired from her late uncle, Jacob Daniel. When Janet’s son Jason and daughter-in-law Erin brought their family to Virginia to have a summer vacation visit, “Sunshine” (the nickname that Journey and Janet both happen to call each other after years of traditionally singing together the classic song “You Are My Sunshine”) felt emotionally compelled to bless her granddaughter with that special matching ring that had once belonged to Journey’s great grandmother and aunt. It would be something very special to share between the two “Sunshines” throughout the years ahead. Little did Grammy know that within a few days of enjoying the ring on Journey’s finger for the first time, the precious little girl would accidentally lose the keepsake out in the front yard as she was playing with some other children and family members.
During the summer trip, Journey Danielle very much enjoyed wearing the special ring that her grandmother had given her during her stay in Springfield, Virginia. She wore it on her index finger most of the time. But on the afternoon when the ring was lost, the granddaughter switched fingers and the family heirloom ended up on her middle finger which made it more susceptible to slipping off.
Janet was sitting on her front porch step while the kids were playing in the front yard. Before long, Janet noticed her granddaughter whispering something into her parents’ ears. She didn’t know what had happened when she saw some of her family members crawling on all fours searching for something on the front lawn. Nonetheless, she was about to find out. She turned to her son Jason and asked what was wrong. He replied by saying, “Its worse.” He then explained that Journey had just accidentally lost the ring in the course of her playtime.
Little girl Sunshine was very upset and at one point she began to cry knowing how special this ring was, not only to Grammy but also to Journey herself. Janet’s love and compassion for her 5 year old granddaughter was so deep that she looked outside of her own sadness and disappointment for the loss of the ring and decided to go back into the house, open up her jewelry armoire, take out her matching ring that was given to her by her childhood best friend and give it to her daughter-in-law Erin to give to Journey. Erin in turn placed the ring on the grass so that her daughter would spot it and find relief that the ring was back in her care. Janet chose this approach because she felt so bad for her granddaughter, but she also did this for the rest of the family, as well. She didn’t want her family guests, whom she valued their presence so very much, to spend the rest of their summer vacation trip worrying about the ring and be preoccupied with trying to find it on the front lawn. With all of the tragedies throughout the decade, this matriarch of the family just wanted to spend those remaining days making memories with the family, not searching for a ring presumed to be gone forever.
Eventually, Janet’s family had to return back to California and in the months that followed their vacation, Erin felt terrible that the ring had never been recovered on her mother-in-law’s property and that Janet had given her own childhood keepsake to Journey, leaving Grammy with neither ring. She wondered if there was a metal detecting service in Virginia that could provide assistance in recovering Janet’s ring. She searched online and discovered THE RING FINDERS metal detectorist directory. She found my name listed as one of the metal detectorists listed for Springfield, Virginia.
Erin and I talked for about 15 or 20 minutes and I answered all of her questions regarding what I do and how I provide services to recover lost items. Her biggest concern was that the ring may have been washed away down the hill of the property and into the street. I told her not to worry about that happening and that my professional assessment was that the ring was still resting exactly in the same place where it was dropped several months earlier. It may have settled slightly below the dirt, but not by much in such a short period of time. She was quite relieved. I told her that I was delighted to help recover this ring and I was excited to meet her mother-in-law Janet.
Erin and I agreed that she would be the liaison between me and Janet and as soon as she contacted her mother-in-law to approve the search, Erin would let me know that everything was in place for me to schedule an appropriate time for me to visit Janet’s property in Springfield, Virginia. Eventually, I spoke with Janet on the phone and I got all of the details regarding the type of ring that was lost and the story behind the lovely family keepsake.
Later that night, I visited the Springfield, Virginia property. It was pouring rain with no end in sight! However, that did not deter me from my commitment to finding the missing ring. Before I began, I introduced myself to Janet and she showed me the probable spots of where the ring may have ended up. Next, I bowed my head and asked my faithful Lord to help me in my efforts to recover the item. Lastly, I pulled out all of my equipment and rain gear from the car and started the wet search in the hot zones that were discussed earlier.
Janet explained that her granddaughter only played in the front yard when she lost the ring. It wasn’t long before Journey realized that the ring was no longer on her finger. Therefore, we were 100% certain that the Black Hills gold keepsake was in fact lost somewhere in the front yard and nowhere else. That gave me quite a bit of reassurance. The front yard was maybe about 90 feet across and perhaps 65 feet from the front door to the street. Because the ring was quite small and it had been missing for over a third of a year, it was most likely covered by a bit of dirt and grass by now. Therefore, I moved slowly and cautiously across my gridlines. Not only did I metal detect on the top portion of the lawn, but I also moved down the slopes and worked below as well. When I couldn’t find the ring in the middle portion of the lawn where Janet had initially directed me to, I switched directions and began a grid search on the right side of the house (if you are facing the front of the house from the street).
The rain was coming down pretty hard at times and yet I fought through the wet weather during the entire search process. I kept moving across that side of the lawn and down the hill and then back up again just to make sure that I didn’t miss a single target. Most of the potential signals that I got were pieces of metal that were too far below the surface to be seriously considered for being the ring I was looking for. However, as I stated before, I checked everything nonetheless, and very carefully indeed. When nothing checked out on that side of the lawn and down below in the areas of grass between Janet’s property and her neighbor’s house, I resolved to begin detecting on the left side of the front lawn (facing the front of the house) and working my way down the side slopes.
One target signal after another, I checked the depth readings on my detector screen and still nothing indicated that I had hit the object that I was hunting for. Unfortunately, the sky would not relent with dumping more rain down from above! I was soaked! Yet, I was determined to recover “Sunshine’s” beloved ring!
Approximately an hour and forty-five minutes after I began the very wet search, I got another decent signal that was coming from the left front side of the property. Maybe 15 feet from the house and just a foot or so from the slope leading down to the driveway, the target signal appeared to be extremely shallow in depth and it was in the VDI (Visual Display Indicator) number range on my detector that I was looking for on my screen. There was also a certain “bounce” to the tone that made me believe that I could have possibly found the ring! Immediately, I pulled out my pinpointer and began to narrow the target zone until that very special moment that I had been waiting for for nearly a couple of hours finally took place! My eyes and fingers laid a hold of the gold that I had yearned to find! The pretty little gold ring was resting at the bottom of the grass and was wedged part way into the ground! I had found it! I couldn’t have been more excited at that moment! I knew that Janet would be beyond relieved that her cherished momento that had disappeared four months earlier would finally be returned to her!
It really was a fulfilling experience to search for something that was on young Journey’s finger all those months back and now it was finally discovered right where it was lost! Finding the ring at that very spot where it was dropped during that playful time for the young little girl brought such a sentimental thrill for me! This was the very place where all the happy-go-lucky emotions had come to a standstill back in August. It went from a day of celebration and fun to a time of regret and sadness when the ring fell into the grass and was undiscoverable. It was right there, all of this time, from that summer afternoon in front of Janet’s house until two weeks before Christmas!
It gave me such gratification to my soul knowing that I was continuing the story of this ring for Janet and her family, especially knowing how much grief this woman had already gone through with the loss of both her mother and daughter who had both held possession of this very ring. In addition to the loss of Charline and Krystal Marie, as shared earlier, more pain was added with the passing of Janet’s son Jacob Daniel and sister Julie. Finally, with the return of this ring, there would be hints of sunshine peeking through the thick shades of darkness and dispair in Janet’s world! Something happy had just taken place.
That night, Janet would be surprised with the return of her beloved ring! She began to cry so beautifully out there on her front porch when I revealed to her what I had found deep in the grass on her front lawn! Watching those tears fall from her eyes onto her cheeks was worth every bit of the time I spent searching for the lost ring when the sky above cried its own tears during that cold and wet winter night! What a special time it was!
Janet’s daughter-in-law, Erin, who had originally called me to request my help in finding the lost ring, was equally moved emotionally by my successful recovery of Janet’s lost keepsake. She was so grateful. I shared with Erin on the phone and by text message just how happy I was to be a part of this reunion between Janet and her lovely Black Hills gold ring. It was Erin that made all of this possible!
I know without a doubt that Charline, Jacob Daniel, Krystal Marie, and Julie would have been so happy that this ring was finally back on the loving finger of their beloved family member after all that time gone missing. Perhaps their smiles were shining so brightly that night for their sweet Janet of Springfield, Virginia – the woman who they felt such love from during their brief years upon the earth, and the woman who will always be loved, cherished and remembered by her most treasured family…both near and from afar.
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THE BLACK HILLS JEWELRY HISTORY
Black Hills gold jewelry is a type of jewelry manufactured in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It was first created in the 1870s during the Black Hills gold rush by a French goldsmith named Henry LeBeau, who is said to have dreamed about the design after passing out from thirst and starvation. Black Hills gold jewelry depicts leaves, grape clusters and vines, and is made with alloys of gold with standard yellow gold as well as green and pink gold. In 1980, the Eighth Circuit affirmed an injunction, ruling that if a manufacturer was to call its jewelry, Black Hills gold, then it must be made in the Black Hills. The state of South Dakota designated Black Hills gold as the official state jewelry in 1988.
The designs use grapes, grape leaves and grape vines and are easily recognizable for their distinctive colors. Silver is alloyed with yellow gold to produce the green hue, and copper alloyed with the yellow gold to make the red or pink gold. The jewelry was originally made with South Dakota mined gold but in more recent years, since the closure of the Homestake Mine, the gold is sourced elsewhere.