Mill Valley, CA – San Francisco Bay
It’s Monday, July 15th, around 11AM and Susan is walking her dog along the top of Richardson Bay at the Mill Valley Dog Park. When some kids lose their soccer ball in the water, Susan, being a good hearted person, wades into the water to retrieve the ball, only to find herself knee deep in sticky black mud. Alarmed, she attempts to retreat, but loses her balance, sticks her left hand down to catch her fall, which sinks in up to her elbow. When she finally frees her left hand from the sucking black muck, she immediately sees that her engagement ring is gone! At that moment she recalled experiencing all those awful, sinking, devastating emotions that come with deep loss and disappointment; the kind that hit you right in the gut.
Super bummed out, Susan called her fiancé, Brian, who came directly to the park in his work clothes. Then the two of them spend the rest of the afternoon wading around in the oozing black, San Francisco Back Bay mud, with the incoming tide up to their waists, feeling through the stinking dark muck with their hands and fingers, hoping beyond hope, for a miracle.
Happily someone at Brian’s office thought to check the web for a solution, and immediately found www.TheRingfinders.com.
First Brian called me, still in the water, shaken, mumbling incomplete sentences “Wife, ….. lost engagement ring, ….. dogpark, …… ocean, water, tide coming in, mud, deep mud, lost, … lost … ring … dogpark …”.
Susan called me a little later, more lucid than Brain, but shaken, and I could hear in her voice that she was feeling pretty heartbroken. She and Brian are due to be married in two months and the sad thought of replacing the custom designed ring at this late stage, was almost overwhelming. She explained the circumstances. She had lost her ring at low tide chasing the kid’s soccer ball. We checked the tide tables only to find that the upcoming morning low tides, would only be getting higher for the rest of the week. We had to act fast. We agreed to meet the next morning, an hour before low tide, to resume the search.
We met at the dog park and Susan showed me the mud flats where she had lost her balance. The water was about 10 feet away. Smartly, she had a pretty good idea where she had put her left hand down. They had been digging there yesterday. I set up a 2×2 meter search grid and methodically scanned it with my Garrett AT Pro in both Pro Audi and Standard modes. The search conditions were about as poor as could be hoped for. Salt water mud is highly mineralized and constantly sets off the detector in the low 40-42 conductivity range, (which turns out to be same range as Susan’s platinum ring). All that mineralization caused a lot of false signals and interference, which made holding solid target signals very frustrating.
Susan, who had been encouraging me from the dry bank for about 45 minutes, wanted to do something and finally waded into the mud herself with a big bucket and a large piece of 1/4″ wire mesh. I thought that showed great pluck. We worked out a little system where I gave her buckets of promising muck to sift through. Pretty soon we settled into a little routine: family mud farming.
Low tide had been at 11:30 and the tide was just starting to come back in. I had been searching for about 2 hours and was feeling a little bit frustrated. I had searched my grid several times at 90 degree angles and still could not locate a strong, consistent metal signal. Susan was just coming back for another bucket black goo, when I looked down in the muck in front of me and spotted the shiny side of a small silver band. I must have brought it up to the surface with my last bucket of goo from the hole. I knew instantly that it was a ring, reached down, plucked the glinting circular band from the muck and sure enough, there was big fat diamond attached to it!
Susan was standing next to me waiting for her next bucket of muck. I handed the sparkling little glob to her and said, “Is this the one?” It was like a miracle had happened.
We were both amazed by our good fortune. Susan was beyond thrilled. Coated in sticky, stinky, black, back bay mud up to our pockets, we were oblivious to our ridiculous appearance as we traipsed back across the dog park to the great amusement of the gawking dog walkers. We took turns dipping in the bucket under the dog water faucet until we cleaned most of the heavily caked black clay mud off our legs and hands. But we were still pretty dirty!
And then I took Susan’s picture, with her just recovered custom platinum and diamond engagement ring, below. Wow, happy ending!
Speaking as a jeweler, that’s a pretty sweet set diamonds she’s got! And that custom platinum setting must have cost Brian a bundle of cash. But the emotional value of recovering their engagement ring? Priceless. That made it well worth my efforts.
I have a very good feeling about this couple, they have luck on their side. I wish them every happiness.
Cheers, Marshall Smith
Marshall, barefoot, knee deep in muck, soon to be thigh deep. The ring was found in white circle.
Susan’s ring fresh from the muck.
Great cut and color on Susan’s gorgeous brilliant cut round diamond. Fine workmanship on the custom platinum setting.
A very happy Susan after the return of her stunning diamond engagement ring!
For more information about finding your lost ring or metal detecting in Half Moon Bay, San Mateo, Burlingame, Hillsborough, Redwood City, San Carlos, Pacifica, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Mill Valley, Sausalito, Marin County, Larkspur, Stinson Beach, or anywhere the greater San Francisco Bay Area, please call Marshall at 800-214-8534 or send a text to 415-895-0334.