William Rink, Author at The Ring Finders

Lost Ring On Bellingham Bridge Over Troubled Waters

  • from Bellingham (Washington, United States)

Got a call from a gal who lost her ring while walking on an elevated path over the water at Boulevard Park in Bellingham Washington. It was a simple gold band but it was a family heirloom that had been passed down to her. She was messing with it as they were walking and off it went, ping onto the concrete path, then a second sound as it went down the side and into the water. We scheduled a meet at low tide, which aren’t very low this time of year. Brought all my water gear prepared to get wet. When I arrived she was on the beach in her rubber boots. After introductions we talked about what had happened and how it went down. The water below the bridge was approximately 6′ feet deep still so I was looking at a very difficult situation as the bottom was rocky with medium size stones. The conditions were not great and there was some chop and small swells. I was debating whether to even attempt it.

But first I wanted to go up on the pathway and get a view from there. The water was crystal clear and I thought coming at night with calm water with a flashlight might spot a glint and get an exact location to make the dive a bit easier. She had marked where it went off and I wanted to recreate the scene. So you were walking in this direction about here, it fell off and you heard it, and saw it hit the concrete, then go through the railing and heard a second sound that came from the side of the bridge. It went through right next to one of the railing posts. The posts were about six feet apart so based on where she had marked it we narrowed it down to two posts. Again the water was very clear, so I began looking for any type of reflection, then BAM I spotted it. Caught on the side of the bridge on a small ledge behind the post in a small space. It was standing on edge leaning against an I-beam ready to fall off. A gust of wind could have easily knocked it off into he water. The space was so small I could not fit my hand into it and you could only see it by looking over the railing but to reach it you had to reach through the bottom of the railing. Well I became the eyes and she the grabber, as she reached her small hand down, I guided her vocally, to where she could insert her finger into the ring to keep it from dropping. She pulled it up and held it in her fist in a sort of state of shock.

It was an amazing find! I was looking at one of the most difficult hunts that quickly turned into the easiest. Never even got a detector out 🙁  Always, ALWAYS, recreate the moment and rule out all possibilities before taking a plunge into troubled waters!

Winchester Mountain Lookout – A High Elevation Find!

  • from Bellingham (Washington, United States)

I am very fortunate to have the North Cascade Mountain range and the Mount Baker Wilderness practically in my backyard, here in Bellingham, Washington. We have backpacked and explored much of the area and trails but there was one jaunt that had been elusive and escaped us. My wife and I have never hiked the Winchester Mountain Lookout Trail. We’ve always wanted to but it just never happened until last week when I received a call from a young couple who lost a ring on the trail up the mountain.


The Winchester Mountain Lookout is an old Ranger fire lookout built in 1935 and staffed until 1966. It was slated for demolition in 1982 but rescued by the Mount Baker Club who now keeps it up and is used for overnighters who want to spend nights there. It is quite comfortable but no longer has a wood stove in it. But the key feature to this spot is its views. A magnificent 360° view of the Mount Baker Wilderness and into British Columbia.IMG_1881

So when the call came in I was excited, saddened by their loss but excited at the opportunity to get up there and take a look, for the ring and the view. So my wife and I met Ethan and his wife at the trailhead and up the mountain we went.

The ring was lost about a mile up the trail, maybe a bit less, about 6000 ft. elevation. They had it marked with a GPS coordinate. But they knew the spot all too well as they had been back looking for it with a rented metal detector with no success. If there is only one piece of advice I can give someone who has lost some jewelry, it would be to not waste time and money on a rental metal detector. Probably 90% of the people who contact me had already rented a metal detector and tried. It is not worth it because in most cases it will not be an adequate detector and they are not as easy to operate as one might think. Well we made it to the spot and went to work.

The ring was lost when a large bug landed on her hand and she quickly whisked it away along with the ring down a steep slope off the trail. They pointed out the area where it happened and we recreated the mishap. I started with the area where they thought it was and had no luck. I then worked my way out from there and made the find.

IMG_1866It is always nice to put a smile on someone’s face, in this case I got two big smiles. Then we packed up and headed to the top. It turned out to be a beautiful clear day with spectacular views. What a rewarding day. I love this hobby and love The Ring Finders.


Buried Silver Cache, or Is It?

  • from Bellingham (Washington, United States)

As part of The Ring Finder network I receive a fair share of calls regarding lost rings, well of course, it is probably the most common lost item of value, hence the name “The Ring Finders”, and the item most would like to see back in their hand or on their finger. But what many people don’t realize is that there are many other services we Ring Finders offer such as property searches for homeowners, insurance companies, banks etc.

Did your parents bury something and never tell you about it or told you but you can’t find it? Maybe a previous owner of the property buried something? You never know what is in your back yard? There is a history to your property whether it is 5 years old or 100 years old and the items that lie beneath can recreate that story.

Recently I received a call from an older woman who was a little distraught about her husband who was spending a lot of time digging holes in the forest behind the house, insisting that he buried a cache of silver approximately 30 years ago. The story goes something like this; The gentleman decided he wanted to bury a bunch of silver and supposedly he had. He picked a location in the forest on his property and after burying the silver marked it with a broken piece of concrete. At the time he had a different wife than his now current wife. Fast forward 20 years and his current wife has a pet possom. Not the cutest pet but I’m sure it was quite the conversation piece. Well sadly it passed away and she decided to bury him in the forest. After digging a grave site in the forest she buried her possom and found an interesting piece of broken concrete she used as a headstone.

For 20 years this man would occasionally see his broken piece of concrete and was reminded of the treasures that lie below until one day not long after the death of the family possom noticed it was gone. A bit concerned he went looking and finally figured out where it had gone. So now his treasure was no longer marked.

Another 5 years go by and he has a backhoe on the property for some driveway work and took it into the forest and began moving dirt in an attempt to find his buried treasure but with no luck. Another 5 years go by and he is more concerned and gets serious about finding this cache.

This is when the wife calls me with her concern. I told her I should have no problem finding it for them and she says if there is really anything there. If it is really there? I question and she believes it is all in his head. I said I would be happy to come and give it a try and she says she will talk to her husband and have him call me. We must have his buy in on this! A few days later I receive a call from the guy and the next day we are standing face to face and he is telling me the story. A few minutes later I begin the search for his lost treasure! We have the vicinity but looking at an area approximately 40’x 40’ and he is not sure how deep he buried it, but thought it was deep, also the ground had been heavily moved 5 years prior with an excavator, to where some places easily had another foot of dirt on top and some less.

A good hour into it and I am starting to question whether it exists. The wife gave up and was now inside and the man was getting a bit discouraged. There were quite a few large ferns in the area and I proceeded to hit those again as I knew they were keeping me from reaching parts of the ground and 30 years prior may not have even existed. Well it was in one of these ferns where I finally got a very weak signal and decided to dig out the fern. Once removed and my coil was on the ground the signal became stronger, but still on the weak side. I’m thinking that a cache of silver should boom in pretty good on the detector but I dug and dug and dug until my shoulder was on the ground and my arm was fully stretched when I felt plastic. As I dug more, now with my hand I starting feeling hard objects and out came a bag of silver. It was full of the tiny fat 1 oz bars. I held it up and the man was silent for a moment with a look of confusion on his face and he blurted out “the damn things must have had babies”. I said what? He said he buried big silver bars not these little ones. I reached in the hole and dug some more. Out came another bag of larger bars, then another bag. Well because he couldn’t remember what he buried I had to dig quite a bit more and use a probe to get down in there and make sure we weren’t leaving anything behind.

A total of 87 ounces was pulled from the ground. We were both estatic and he could not wait to go show his wife. It was a great day with both ups and downs but ending on a nice big up. Whether you know something is in your backyard or not, there is always something there. It may not be a cache of silver but there are items there. What is in your backyard? Call your local Ring Finder!

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Lost Fairhaven Gold Pendant Found in Bellingham

  • from Bellingham (Washington, United States)

Got a call this week from a women named Lori who lost a gold pendant. It was a beautiful custom ring and pendant matching set made by a local jeweler in Fairhaven, see article below. About a week ago she realized she had a loose chain hanging on her neck. The pendant was nowhere to be found. She was sure she lost it around her house but was all over the place that day on about a 1/2 acre of land. They have a beautiful garden and pathways, lots of grass etc.

We retraced her steps that morning and discussed all the possibilities. The grass had been freshly mowed the day before her loss and she had already retraced her steps searching the grass by eye. It was a fresh drop, about a week, so it couldn’t be deep although some of the garden beds were soft mounded dirt.

She had also borrowed a radio shack detector from a friend only to add frustration to the mix.

The first thing I did was take a reading off the ring since it was the same kind of gold and a similar design. I decided to start in a small wood chip area and then head into the garden mounds.

Immediately I got a dime signal. She has two preschool aged boys who were very interested in all this so I popped a quick plug and they retrieved the dime. Oh were they excited!

But I had to focus on the job at hand so I headed for the garden beds and in about 20 minutes I had made the find. It was about 2 inches down in one of the soft dirt mounds. Boy did she do the happy dance. She was very excited!

Coenraad Zielstra, see article below, the goldsmith who had made the pieces recently died of cancer and Lori was one of the nurses who had cared for him during his last days. The pendant and ring were hand made about 6 years previously so there was a lot of sentimental value to this lost pendant.

I turned off and set down my equipment and we were all enjoying the glory when her oldest son approached in tears and grabbed her leg.

He was so excited about finding treasures then it was all over, the hunt was complete and he was not a happy camper. So I grabbed my MXT and off we went around the yard to find a few more goodies. Spent another 20 minutes fulfilling this little boys treasure hunting dreams.

I sure love this hobby!
William Rink

Jeweler Metalsmith Artisan Will Be Missed

  • from Bellingham (Washington, United States)

Coenraad Zielstra graduated from Vakschool for Goud en Zilversmeden with his gold and silversmithing diplomas in 1963. But Coenraad was much more than a metalsmith, he was an exceptional artist with his own gallery of rings pendants and jewelry items. His creativity and originality were exemplified by his use of antique metalsmithing tools he brought with him when he immigrated from Holland.

Entering his studio in Fairhaven Washington, one stepped into another time with his collection of 18th and 19th century mahogany tables, display cases and cabinets.

A row of rolling mills marked the beginning of his studio workspace.

Anvils, crucibles, molds, hammers, files, a large rolling mill are all antiques that function as well today as they did centuries ago.

His historic collection of metalsmithing tools would be remarkable for a museum, but they weren’t for show, they were used to create beautiful, wearable sculptures for the 45 years Coenraad has worked with them.

Dutch Master Goldsmith Coenraad Zielstra (1943 – 2010)