Lost High School Class Ring…Found on Celebrity Figure Skater, Dorothy Hamill’s Former Estate in Cockeysville, Maryland
BRIAN RUDOLPH, LOST ITEM RECOVERY SPECIALIST (LAND, WATER, SAND, HOUSES & VEHICLES) WILL FIND YOUR LOST KEEPSAKE! CALL ASAP (301) 466-8644!
A woman named Janice was referred to me by someone who knew that I was on the elite international metal detectorist directory called THE RING FINDERS. She checked out my information and success stories regarding countless rings and other items that had been recovered throughout the last couple of years. That’s all it took to convince Janice that I was the one capable of finding her daughter’s lost 14 karat gold high school class ring.
Lauren had lost her class ring while hanging out with the family on a beautiful warm spring evening. They had a lovely picnic in the backyard of their gorgeous historical mansion located in Cockeysville, Maryland (17 miles from downtown Baltimore). The senior in high school, her sister, mother and father all sat at the picnic table overlooking the most perfect scenery of endless acres of grass, trees, streams and fields. The setting was simply paradise! Lauren asked her sister if she would hold onto her two rings (one of them was the gold class ring) while eating at the outside table. She obliged and put the jewelry in her short’s rear pocket.
After the family dinner picnic, the two girls went for a walk around the back of their estate, listening to music and enjoying each other’s company. They even ran around a bit, having the best time of close sister fellowship with a bit of exercise attached to their fun! Upon their return inside the mansion, Lauren requested her rings back from her sister. When her sister reached back into her rear short’s pocket to retrieve the two rings, there was only one ring to be found. The class ring had come out of the shorts during their time outside earlier that evening.
The family immediately switched into sleuth mode! Everyone headed down the grassy hill and over to the picnic table area to see if the yellow gold high school class ring could be spotted through the grass. They also looked around the hill area because Lauren’s sister had been carrying some of the dinner items back and forth from the kitchen to the picnic spot and then back up the hill again. Still, nothing was found. Flashlights and phone lights were used to look all over the field, and yet they still could not find the missing ring anywhere. There was so much territory to cover, and frankly I don’t think they knew where to begin because the ring could have fell out of Lauren’s sister’s shorts just about anywhere. The family tried to retrace the girls’ steps, but all of their efforts led to no avail. Eventually, they had to surrender their search attempt that night and figure out what their next plan of action would have to be.
Lauren’s mother, Janice, was really upset about the missing ring because it meant just as much to her as it did to Lauren. It represented a great accomplishment for her daughter and there was a lot of sentimentality attached to this particular class ring. She wanted to do everything possible to recover this beloved keepsake for her daughter. Instead of buying a metal detector (which neither her husband or herself knew how to operate effectively), Janice decided to contact a professional metal detectorist. This is where I come into the story. I had the pleasure of talking with Janice about the situation and I told her that if she invited me to their property, I would guarantee the return of this ring to Lauren’s finger! I didn’t know how long it would take, but I told her that I would find the piece of gold jewelry and it would stay within the family storyline for years to come! Janice was extremely encouraged by my words. We scheduled a time for me to come out sometime later that evening and I looked forward to solving the mystery as to where Lauren’s elite private school class ring ended up.
Later that evening, I finished up with a previous client in Northern Virginia and I traveled towards Baltimore where the search site was located. I had no idea that I would be conducting the recovery operation at not only a very historical site, but also a very nostalgic one for me, as well. Let me explain. It turned out that the mansion and the land which it sat upon was owned by a very famous quarryman owner with the last name of Scott. He not only built the mansion back in the late 1700’s, but in addition to that, in the 1800’s, Scott provided the famous stones that were used to build the first Washington Monument located in Baltimore, Maryland, as well as the same marble that was used to build Washington DC’s famous Washington Monument! Upon arriving at the estate, I also learned that the mansion had been previously owned by none other than Dorothy Hamill, the famous figure skater just seven years prior. This was the sentimental part of my search because I grew up watching Dorothy Hamill on television and in person when I was taken by my parents several times in the 1970’s to an ice-skating event called The Ice Capades. I thought it was so cool that I was searching for a missing ring on the very grounds where Dorothy and her family took their walks, enjoyed picnics and entertained guests over the years at this particular historical mansion.
(At the end of this story, I provided additional historical information regarding Scott’s Quarry and the two famous monuments that were constructed in honor of our first president of the United States.)
I will never forget how beautiful my surroundings were as I drove to the mansion. There were horse farms on every side of the country road. As I drove down the very long private lane, it opened up to a marvelous circular drive where the mansion sat, along with a lovely guest house located on the opposite side of the front property. The lawn was exquisite and the trees and streams that surrounded this perfectly painted creation of God simply took my breath away.
As soon as I parked alongside the house, I was greeted by Janice and her husband. At some point Lauren also came out to greet me and it was there that I was guided towards the back yard where I would be shown the vast acreage where they believed the class ring fell out of Lauren’s sister’s pocket. The family was quite kind to me and was very grateful that I could come to help them recover Lauren’s beloved class ring at such short notice. As we made our way from the back stone patio, down the hill to where the picnic table was located at the edge of the field, I was given more details about what took place the night before. Because the family had been looking all over the estate grounds, they explained to me that the picnic table had been moved from its original spot. I would remember this piece of information later on when I returned from the car with all of my metal detecting gear. Janice and Lauren walked took me across the field and guided me to all of the different places where the sisters walked, jogged and played around during that evening when the ring came out of the pocket.
The scenery behind the house was absolutely exquisite. The most beautiful stream meandered around the 25 acres or so, approximately 75 yards away from the historical mansion’s rear hillside. I will never forget the stillness of the evening and the peace that I felt as I strolled across the grass with the two ladies. If there was any place on earth that I could choose to search for a lost item, this was the perfect environment! As I was walking around, occasionally I would glance up at the mansion at the top of the hill and thought to myself how cool it was that I was searching for a lost item where one of my favorite childhood celebrities once resided. Dorothy Hamill’s amazing ice skating abilities would simply take my breath away as she so beautifully danced about the ice arena during shows and competitions! She was definitely my all-time favorite figure skater!
Once I got all of the facts as to the many possibilities as to where Lauren’s sister may have dropped the ring, I returned to the car and gathered up all of my metal detecting gear. Because there was a lot of territory to conquer, I prepared myself that this could end up being a very long search. Nightfall was just starting to set in, so I made sure that I had all of the necessary night gear available at my fingertips. This included: my Minelab Equinox 800 detector, a high lumens headlamp, headphones, gloves, handheld pinpointer (small detector) and my detector harness vest.
The moment that I arrived back down at the search site, I immediately set up my detector to be able to locate the yellow gold ring that I was searching after. I am extremely experienced at finding lost class rings so I knew exactly how to adjust the settings for Lauren’s piece of jewelry. I utilized a large 15 inch coil (the large loop that is connected to the bottom of the detector shaft) which allowed me to cover a much larger area to detect in a much shorter period of time.
The first area that I searched was all around the picnic table. Once I made sure that there was no sign of the ring, I moved the table to a different place to detect the grass where it had been originally positioned. I covered the area a couple of more times just to make sure that the keepsake wasn’t lost close to the vicinity of where everybody was sitting the night before. It was definitely clear of the ring within a 25 to 30 foot radius around the table.
The next few sections that I wanted to detect were located closer to the stream. The girls had made their way from the picnic table over towards the water on a diagonal path. Therefore, I wanted to check the spots where they were hanging out before I started gridding across the field. When nothing turned up in those areas near the stream, I knew that it was time for me to start detecting from the picnic table over to the water on that diagonal course where they had walked. No one was quite sure exactly where Lauren and her sister had moved across the field, but they were certain that it was at a particular angle which took them towards the water. I started to make my gridlines across the field at that particular angle and then I returned the other way with a second grid line to see if maybe the ring came out of Lauren’s sister’s pocket when they walked from the table over towards the water.
I swung the metal detector coil back and forth as I moved across the field and then back again towards the picnic table. I carefully made sure that I didn’t miss a single potential target that could end up being Lauren’s gold class ring. It was probably 45 minutes or so into the search when I hit a particular signal on my second grid line moving towards the picnic table from the water’s edge. I believe I was approximately 40 feet away from where the picnic table originally was situated. Though I had detected a good amount of area around the picnic table, this particular target was just outside of the zone where I had been searching prior to starting the gridlines. With my headlamp blazing above me, I knelt down to the grass and pulled out my handheld metal detector to check the specific area where my Equinox 800 was picking up the target signal. At first, it appeared that the piece of metal that I had detected was somewhere below the dirt because I didn’t see anything other than the many blades of grass ascending from the earth.
Until I was completely sure that this particular metal was below ground, I kept moving my pinpointer around that vicinity just to confirm that this was not the target that I was looking for. All of a sudden, to my greatest surprise, I saw a reflection of light that was bouncing off something that resembled a small piece of gold. My fingers moved through the blades of grass until I uncovered the very special treasure that I had been hoping to find for young Lauren! There it was peeking out from the jungle of green! It was Lauren’s high school class ring! Indeed, it was a very beautiful piece of jewelry! It was constructed with a 14 karat yellow gold band accompanied by a blue stone with Lauren’s private school crest engraved in the middle of the ring. I had solved the mystery as to where the ring had fallen out of Lauren’s sister’s pocket! I was beyond thrilled at what I had discovered and how quickly I found the keepsake in an area with so many acres of land that I potentially would have had to detect! It could have taken hours upon hours to find something this small. Yet, my methodical work paid off as I eliminated section by section, grid line by grid line until I eventually hit gold! Yes, I certainly did! I was so very happy to discover this gorgeous piece of precious metal!
After I marked the spot as to where the ring was found, I was hoping to surprise Lauren and her family with the wonderful discovery. However, Lauren’s father had coincidentally been looking through the house window as I was kneeling down in the grass while investigating my gold target signal. He thought to himself that perhaps I may have found what we were all looking for. So he started walking out of the rear door of the mansion as I approached the top of the hill. He asked me with an excited tone of voice, “Did you find it?” I then raised my hand in the air with the gold ring clutched between my fingers to show the gentleman my proud find of the evening! His face lit up with the most satisfied smile and proceeded to congratulate me on finding such a needle in a haystack! He was almost in complete disbelief that I was able to pull this ring from such a large territory! Within seconds, Lauren and her mother made their way across the stone patio to find out if perhaps all the excitement that we were experiencing had something to do with finding Lauren’s ring. They were happily surprised to see the class ring in my hand! Lauren was beyond thrilled to experience such a very special reunion with the ring that she cherished so very much! It was one class ring reunion that I will not easily forget! She was so taken back that I was able to find this extremely beautiful piece of craftsmanship that represented such an important accomplishment in Lauren’s life! Janice was equally excited and quite impressed that I was able to find the ring so quickly with so many acres of land out there to search!
It was there that night, on that famous ice skater’s formally owned estate that the four of us celebrated our own special victory with the successful search and recovery of Lauren’s gold high school class ring! It was absolutely thrilling for me to be invited onto such a lovely estate to help this dear family find something so important as Lauren’s beloved keepsake!
Not only was it a very nostalgic time for me, knowing that Dorothy Hamill once lived on the property where I had conducted my search, but it was equally exciting to know that two of our most prominent monuments honoring our first president, George Washington, were constructed with the rock that was pulled from this very propert nearly two centuries ago!
Now, every time I pass the Washington Monument in our nation’s capital of Washington DC, I always think to myself how special it was to have found a lost ring on the same land where most of those blocks of marble were originally dug up from Scott’s quarry so many years earlier! And to think that this mansion was built and dwelled within by Mr. Scott himself dating all the way back to the late 1700s! It was truly a very special ring recovery adventure, filled with several sentimental and historical significances! I will never forget that magical night at Scott’s mansion in Cockeysville, Maryland! Never will I forget it!
More History About Scott’s Quarry
As shared above, Scott’s Quarry’s marble was used to build the very first monument (located in Baltimore, Maryland) honoring the life and legacy of America’s first president, George Washington.
Designed by architect Robert Mills and erected between 1815 and 1829, this was the first public monument erected to George Washington. The construction contract specified “the whole of the column is to be of the whitest and the best quality marble from Scott’s Quarry.”
Another great piece of construction honoring our great American leader is The Washington Monument in our nation’s capital. It too was made from the same marble limestone that Baltimore’s Washington Monument was made out of. It towers above the city that bears Washington’s name, serving as an awe-inspiring reminder of George Washington’s greatness. The monument, like the man, stands in no one’s shadow.
The Washington Monument, designed by Robert Mills and eventually completed by Thomas Casey and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, honors and memorializes George Washington at the center of the nation’s capital. The structure was completed in two phases of construction: Phase 1: (1848-1854) and Phase 2: (1876-1884). Built in the shape of an Egyptian obelisk, evoking the timelessness of ancient civilizations, the Washington Monument embodies the awe, respect, and gratitude the nation felt for its most essential Founding Father. When completed, the Washington Monument was the tallest building in the world at 555 feet, 5-1/8 inches.
In the beginning, the original idea for Washington’s statue was to have our first president sitting on a horse. Washington liked the concept. However, ultimately others didn’t favor the design when it came to deciding on the equestrian look. Then, in 1836, 37 years after Washington’s death, architect Robert Mills, who also designed Baltimore’s monument to Washington, came up with a new design for an obelisk (a pencil like structure) that appealed to planners. “It was modern in its concept,” said Baltimore County historian John McGrain. “It’s a very sleek, straightforward kind of design.”
Americans were urged to contribute $1.00 each for the stately structure. The cornerstone was laid in 1848, but construction was stopped as funding dried up and the Civil War was on the horizon. Work resumed and was completed in 1884, giving the monument two different shades of marble. According to park service research, the marble for the bottom section came from what is now Redland Genstar in Texas, Maryland near Interstate Route 83 outside the city of Baltimore, Maryland. The top 300 to 400 feet of the amazing 555 foot tall structure came from Scott’s Quarry in Cockeysville, Maryland only 18 minutes from Texas, Maryland.
In the early years of the marble business in the 1840s, the rock, dug from a string of canyonlike pits in the area, was used for such notable buildings as the Capitol in Washington, Baltimore’s City Hall and the Baltimore County Courthouse. Many of the city’s well-known white marble steps also came from the quarry. “They say this is the stone that built Baltimore,” Gease said.
In those days, marble was extracted tediously by hand, mostly by Irish immigrants who had fled their famine-stricken country for the $1.00 to $1.50-a-day wages at a quarry. The laborers chiseled the stone from beds that were formed millions of years ago as masses of mucky sediment were squeezed, melted and recrystallized. The cut marble slabs were heaved into carts and rolled about a half-mile to the Cockeysville railroad station for delivery to such destinations as Washington DC.
In 1998, during the more recent Washington Monument restoration project, fresh blocks of Scott’s Quarry limestone was discovered to replace old broken pieces from the weathered historical structure. This time, in the modern age, the stone was transported to DC in a more simpler fashion. A flatbed truck carried the designated marble to the Nation’s Capital where it was reunited with its 150 year old counterpart that originally helped to make up the world’s tallest free-standing masonry structure.
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