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Lost 1 Carat Diamond Stud Earring on Barnesville, Maryland Horse Farm…Found by Metal Detecting Service

  • from Washington (District of Columbia, United States)

Leena’s Diamond Stud Earring and Backing Both Recovered on Barnesville, Maryland Horse Farm by Brian Rudolph

Leena Excitedly Holds Her Brilliant 1 Carat Diamond Stud Earring After Recovered in the Grass by Metal Detectorist Brian Rudolph


I was so delighted to receive a call from a young lady named Leah who was trying to help her mother Leena find her lost 14 karat white gold, 1 carat diamond stud earring and earring backing. Leah’s mother was helping her daughter trim some high grass along a fence line on the family’s beautiful Barnesville, Maryland horse farm called Nixie Hollow Stables. While Leena was using the gas operated trimmer, a bug brushed up against her right ear, causing Leena to swat the flying creature. As a result, the earring flew off and landed somewhere in the grass. Just on instinct, Leena felt her right ear to see if the diamond was still fastened to her earlobe, but unfortunately she only felt the backing of the precious jewel – the earring was gone. She then tried to recover the 14 karat white gold backing, yet just as she was trying to handle it, it too fell into the grass and disappeared. For the next 15 minutes she looked for the sentimental keepsake that her husband Erwin given her many decades back, but all of her efforts led to no avail. Even her daughter and friend tried to search for the stud earring and the backing and none of them could recover either piece of jewelry.

At some point later that afternoon and into the evening hours, Leah went online to search for a metal detecting service to help Leena recover her lost jewel. She found THE RING FINDERS, an international directory of metal detectorists who specialize in finding lost rings and other items of value for thousands of people around the world. As soon as Leah used THE RING FINDER’S search locator to find the closest metal detectorist to Barnesville, Maryland (which is close to Dickerson, Maryland), my name (Brian Rudolph) appeared on screen. Leah immediately got in touch with me and within a few minutes we set up an appointment for me to visit Nixie Hollow Stables.

I will never forget how beautiful it was the day that I drove over to the Barnesville, Maryland horse farm. The country road took me far away from suburban city life and brought me to the most serene and breathtaking surroundings. When I pulled into the estate grounds, I followed a gravel driveway towards the back of the property where the main house eventually came into sight. It was a huge horse farm with an indoor arena, along with lots of other stables throughout the amazing property. Split rail fencing divided all kinds of areas that were being used to train beginners, equestrian enthusiasts and more advanced riders who were interested in continuing their education in horse riding. My eyes tried to take in all of this beautiful countryside before I would meet up with Leena and Leah. It was simply picture perfect out there on that farm!

Just as I parked my vehicle, Leena greeted me and before long we were walking together to the particular horse pen where Leena had lost her earring. I had the distinct privilege of learning the names of all of the horses that were grazing out in the far pasture, as well as obtaining a brief history of the land that I was standing upon. Leena and family truly built a magnificent horse riding farm!

While we were in the pen, Leena pointed out the exact location as to where she put the trimmer down just at the moment when she lost her diamond stud earring, as well as the backing. I could still see where she stopped trimming because there was a definite change of the grass height as I looked along the split rail fence line.

Once I got all the details regarding the loss of her very sentimental keepsake (which Leena said that she wore most of the time), we walked back to our cars so I could do a test on her matching earring that survived the bug attack. My objective was to get an idea of how my detector would respond to the amount of metal that was on the existing earring’s setting. By analyzing how well or poorly the earring would be detected by my machine, I could then formulate my plan of attack on how to find the lost piece of jewelry.

I got my Minelab Equinox 800 detector out of my vehicle, adjusted the settings for that particular test, and then Leena placed her existing earring on the concrete where I waved the coil of the detector over the piece of jewelry to get a reading. The cage of this particular diamond setting was large enough that I had a chance of detecting the earring that was still lost out there. I determined that I would need to set my detector to a very special mode (which I have used in similar situations like this one when the target is this tiny) in order to give me the best chance of locating the item in the grass.

Now that I was able to scan the existing earring, I gathered up all of my detecting gear, placed everything in my wagon and then pulled it over to the search site where I immediately started hunting for the little precious jewel. While I was working in that particular horse pen, Leena and her daughter Leah worked on other projects throughout their amazing property. I recall how I was completely aware of the serenity of my environment the entire time that I was searching for the earring and its backing. It was so peaceful and quiet out there on the farm. I also remember the fact that I was not in any hurry to leave the site as I had the whole day to carry out my “investigation”. Therefore, I was so relaxed in knowing that if I focused on every square inch of the ground that I was searching (without becoming stressed out and having to rush through the very tedious process of finding the earring), I would eventually discover the two targets that I was seeking after.

My basic strategy was to lay down some grid lines in order to keep my swings accountable as I moved across approximately a 10 foot by 10 foot section of land. I moved slowly over the grass as I carefully examined every sound and number that was registered on my detector. I was determined that I was not going to miss a single object as I swung from left to right and back again across my 2 foot wide grid lane. Even though you would not expect a lot of metal to be buried just below the surface of that particular area of land, I encountered numerous signals that indicated that there were in fact small pieces of aluminum or even possibly the earring that I was looking for. Each and every one of those objects needed to be analyzed just to make sure that I was not missing the very object that I was hoping to discover. Sometimes I will find the earring’s backing before I actually locate the stud itself. The reason for this is because the backing sometimes is made with enough precious metal that that the detector will have an easier time locating that piece more than the actual stud’s setting itself.

During the first two hours, I went from one grid lane to another and I could not find either part of the earring. This did not move me a bit because I knew that Leena lost the items very close to where I was searching. If I effectively used my detecting tools correctly and efficiently, it was just a matter of time before I would eventually discover the first piece of jewelry. Every time I got a potential target signal, I would scour the ground with my pinpointer just to make sure that I did not miss anything. In finding stud earrings (even using a hand-held metal detector to zero-in on the target) they can still be very difficult to nearly impossible to recover. There is so little gold on the setting that even a device such as this one on the highest level of sensitivity may still not be able to pick up the earring. It just depends on the quantity of gold we are dealing with and the angle to which the piece of jewelry is positioned on the ground when the detector is moving across it. Leena and Leah came over to see how things were progressing a couple of times during my search and I confidently expressed to them that I was not moved by the fact that I had not yet recovered either one of the targets we were searching for.

Rudolph’s First Recovered Item – Leena’s Earring’s Backing Found at the Bottom of the Grass

By the time I reached the third hour of searching, I had finished two thirds of my grid area that I had sectioned out. There were times throughout my detecting that I would get on-all -fours and search with my pinpointer just to make sure that I did not miss a single object that may have been positioned on its side where it might have been missed by my main detector. While I was swinging the machine along one of the last grid lanes, I got a particular signal that was identical to my earlier test results on the matching earring over by the parking lot. I had encountered similar target signals but this one got my attention a little bit more than the rest of them. As soon as I narrowed the location on the ground as to where this signal was coming from, I knelt down and took my handheld metal detector and isolated the very spot where this object of interest was hiding. At that point I still did not know if the target was below ground or not, but my detector read that it was on the surface (or at the very least – very close to it). As my fingers moved through the plant life, my eyes locked onto a very small piece of metal tucked away below some of blades of grass. Immediately, I excitedly identified the object as the 14 karat white gold backing that went missing in action!

I was really encouraged by this find! Not only did it mean that I found part of the earring set, but also it meant that I had not missed 50% of what I was looking for! I concluded that I had to be close to the area where Leena witnessed the backing fall to the ground and into the grass. My hope was that the earring itself would be located within a couple of feet from where the backing was just discovered. I got back up off the ground and continued in the same direction that I was swinging the coil with the hope that I would find the stud diamond earring soon enough.

The 1 Carat Diamond Stud Earring Finally Discovered by Rudolph!

Item recovery specialists like myself never can guarantee how long it will take to recover something as small and as difficult as finding a stud diamond earring. However, with lots of patience and determination to pull such a sentimental piece like this one from the ground, it is truly obtainable and the likelihood of success is fairly good. In this particular case, I was not going to stop this search until I found both jewelry pieces to return to Leena’s ear! And as it happened, just about 10 minutes after I found the gold earring backing, I got another curious signal just about 2.5 to 3 feet from where I found the first piece of precious metal. Like before, I got down on-all-fours and began looking through the grass and detected the area of interest with my pinpointer. Again, I spread the blades of grass and clover to see where the target signal had originated from. Instantly I caught sight of the most beautiful one carat diamond “sparkler” in the midst of the dirt and weeds! I found it! I recovered the missing diamond stud earring!

I was so overjoyed for Leena’s sake and I too was happy for myself, knowing that the search was over and that celebration awaited the three of us who were on the horse farm during the time of my discovery! This beautiful keepsake would soon be reunited with its owner and its precious counterpart! I carefully picked up the stud and secured it inside the same case attached to my detecting harness where the stud backing was protected for safekeeping. This was such a happy moment for me to recover such a priceless symbol of love that meant so much to Leena’s husband Erwin who went out to buy the set of earrings way back in the 1970s. The man blessed his wife with this special gift to show his love towards her and now it brought me so much satisfaction to be able to help preserve such a special “story of love” upon returning that which meant so much to Leena through what Erwin had given her!

Leena’s Earring and Backing Both Recovered by Professional Metal Detectorist Brian Rudolph

Surprising Leena and her daughter Leah with the diamond earring and it’s backing was absolute fun for me! They could not have been more thrilled at my sweet results! In addition to the successful news, we were also touched to figure out that I happened to know the family who sold Erwin the earring set so very long ago! When Leena mentioned that the diamond set had been bought in a jewelry store located in downtown Washington DC (which is no longer there), I asked if her husband happened to have purchased the jewelry at a store called Lynn’s Jewelers. Leena gave me a look of utter amazement! She couldn’t believe I would have known about the small shop that once existed deep in the heart of the nation’s capital! Lynn’s was in fact the jewelry store where not only Erwin bought the gift, but it was also a very special place for them to purchase other fine jewelry items over time. Leena mentioned names of the owners and workers that I knew, as well! For forty-five years. I have been friends with the Lynn and Rubinstein family (Mr. Lynn’s daughter Vivian married one of the store’s top salesman, Bernie Rubinstein who then partnered up with his father-in-law in running the once popular jewelry store).


After I said goodbye to Leena and Leah, I took one more long look out into the spectacular countryside, breathing in the serene environment that surrounded me on all sides. I then got in my car and started driving back down the gravel path which guided me towards the main road. Excitement went through my entire being at that moment, knowing that I was able to help this very kind woman find her extremely special keepsake. But even further, I got the opportunity to be acquainted with two very special and kind people!



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