Peter Wakefield Jackson is internationally known for his lustrous career as a potter—the craft of making ceramic wares by hand on a potter’s wheel. Together with Megan, his bride of 24 years, Peter lives on a 17-acre farm outside Cambridge, Wisconsin. In addition to the pottery studio in the farm’s century-old outbuildings the property is home to Megan’s 2 horses, Annie and Mo, which she uses for equine-assisted therapy.
On November 8th, 2016, the day of the USA Presidential election, Peter removed his 24-karat gold wedding band and a malachite-inlaid silver ring from his fingers so as not to risk scratching several unfired pieces he was handling while loading them into a kiln.
The gold band was an heirloom from Megan’s side of the family. It once belonged to her great uncle Nathan Kawin, a dapper young man who received it from his bride, Lottie Goldstein on their wedding day on January 5th 1885 in Chicago. Inside the gold band is the inscription, “NK to LG”.
Due to a previous scare with losing his rings by putting them loose in his pocket, Peter always put a twist-tie around the two rings for added security. It would be the last he would see of them. Later that night, after a full day’s activity, the rings were nowhere to be found.
I received an email from Peter asking for my assistance. He had written a meticulous chronology of his activities on the day of the loss. The remarkable detail was evidence of the huge sentimental value Peter’s rings held, especially the 132-year-old family heirloom. But the chances of finding the twist-tied pair bordered on impossible.
On a 17-acre hobby farm the likelihoods of where the rings might have escaped Peter’s pocket seemed never-ending. On the day of the loss he had fed horses, installed a feeder, made numerous trips to his kiln, retrieved tools from his workshop and had driven to town and back on 2 occasions. The rings could be anywhere, lost in town, shipped out with a pottery order, maybe even ingested by Annie or Mo—perish the thought!
My 40-plus years metal-detecting experience kept telling me to decline the search and not get Peter’s hopes up. But I could sense the earnestness in Peter’s email; perhaps I could help to bring a sense of closure to his loss knowing he had done all he could to find them. Conducting the search, however, would be a long shot, a very long shot.
On May 25th 2017, six months after the ill-fated, twist-tied rings went missing, I arrived at the Wakefield Studio to begin the search. My strategy was to try and eliminate the outdoor areas. After a couple hours, it seemed all the more certain that the rings would never be seen again. But it was while searching the horse corral that a high-silver signal on my XP Deus detector warranted investigation. Probing deep into the manure, mud and water, a glint of metal caught my eye. It was Peter’s rings—still twisted together as when Peter tucked them into his pocket 6-months before!
Just how the rings ended up in the middle of the horse corral will remain a mystery. One thing is for sure this happy find will go down in my books as a ring-find with a twist!
Rejoicing with you both, Peter and Megan! May the story of your rings continue for many happy years to come! And thank you for your kind gift; the hand-thrown Wakefield Studio pottery pieces will be treasured for the extra special memory they hold.
If you or someone you know has lost a ring or other piece of sentimental jewelry, don’t give up! Peter didn’t. And his persistence paid off.
Contact The Ring Finders today for a metal-detecting specialist near you.
“I can recommend Paul without reservation to anyone who has lost a wedding ring. From our first communications, I could tell he had a sincere and honest approach to solving such a puzzle. It was a pleasure to work with him, and I could not be happier that he was able to find my long lost rings!” Peter – Cambridge, WI