Tears of joy streamed down Valerie Lynch’s cheeks when she was presented with the wedding ring that she lost outside her sister’s Plymouth home in 1995.
“I can’t even believe it,” a surprised Lynch said on Friday evening as she sat in the same house where she lost the ring 17 years ago, surrounded by friends and family members. “In my mind, it was gone forever.”
The Bridgewater woman had taken off her 1.2-carat marquise diamond wedding ring and band at her sister’s house to put sunscreen on her children. After a walk to the beach, she realized that the rings were missing and went back to the house. Neither ring could be found.
A couple of years later, the band was found, but not the ring.
“We came back with the metal detectors and searched the yard so many times,” Lynch said. “I had given up on it.”
Last Sunday, after talking to Lynch’s sister, Vicki Belanger, metal detection hobbyist Kent Blethen of Manomet offered to use his equipment to search the backyard for the ring. Forty minutes later, he had found the ring under an inch of soil.
Belanger said she was so thrilled about the finding that she invited members of the family over on Friday evening for an unveiling.
“I couldn’t believe he had actually found it,” Belanger said. “I knew everyone would love to be here when we surprised my sister.”
Blethen, a member of the Silver City Treasure Seekers in Taunton, has been doing metal detection as a hobby for more than 15 years. He rarely asks for compensation; he says he just enjoys people’s reactions.
“I charge everyone a picture and that’s it,” Blethen said. “The look on their faces is priceless.”
Blethen does most of his searches on beaches and in the water on the South Shore and Cape Cod – places where tourists often lose jewelry while swimming.
He has found wedding rings, class rings, crematory tags and lots of change in his searches. He says the hobby is an art form, and he hopes that by returning lost items he is paying it forward.
“You hope good karma comes your way eventually,” he said. “But no matter what, it’s a great feeling.”