Metal Detecting Lost 24 Karat Gold Chain…Found on Bethesda, Maryland School Playground
BRIAN RUDOLPH, LOST ITEM RECOVERY SPECIALIST (LAND, WATER, SAND, HOUSES & VEHICLES) WILL FIND YOUR LOST KEEPSAKE! CALL ASAP (301) 466-8644!
I received a phone call from a young lady named Jaclyn who found out about my Maryland metal detecting service on an international metal detectorist directory website called THE RING FINDERS. She was looking for a professional metal detectorist who was capable of recovering lost gold chains and pendants. Jaclyn’s son, Connor, a seven year old 2nd grader, lost his 24 karat gold chain while having fun on his Bethesda, Maryland elementary school playground during recess time. A fellow student playfully grabbed a hold of Connor’s collar and accidentally locked his fingers around the boy’s chain, causing it to break and fall somewhere on the playground’s wood chips. Immediately, Connor looked down to make sure that his chain and pendant (which were a gift from his father) were still fastened around his neck. Unfortunately, neither of the family heirloom pieces could be found. At that point, a search ensued for the next five minutes before all of the children had to return to their classes. Teachers and some of the kids helped the alarmed child look for the missing chain and pendant which meant so very much to him. The young boy began to cry when he was told that the search had to be concluded and that he needed to head indoors. As Connor was escorted back inside the school building, a few of the staff members continued to search for the jewelry. However, even after the playground was extensively scanned over, sadly nothing turned up.
Connor’s mom shared with me on the phone that the chain and pendant had been in the family for many years. The boy’s father used to wear the jewelry throughout his younger years, right up through college and beyond. The same gold chain had originally been gifted to him by his own father (Connor’s grandfather) when they were living in the Middle East decades earlier. The pendant was also a gift to Connor’s father which was a 14 karat gold “Number 2” symbol, which was Connor’s father’s baseball jersey number when he played in college. It was worn through all of those years in school and then Connor received the chain and pendant as a gift from his dad just six months before it was lost.
The boy was extremely upset about losing his special family heirloom. As soon as he returned home from school that day, with tears in his eyes, he immediately told his mother what had been lost on the elementary school playground. They immediately returned to the school to search for the missing jewelry. Unfortunately, they too still could not find the chain or pendant anywhere. After 25 minutes, Jaclyn had to take her son to drum classes and their search had to come to an abrupt end. It was quite possible that the chain and / or pendant had already been picked up by another student between Connor’s recess period and when the after-school daycare kids came out to play that day.
The next morning, Connor’s mom continued to look for the items throughout the day and still nothing turned up. Sadly, all of her added efforts led to no avail. It was at that point that Jaclyn searched online for help. That’s when my information became available on THE RING FINDERS’ website. I told the concerned mother that I would be happy to conduct a search later in the evening after finishing up at another site. She was extremely grateful that I was willing to come out at such a very late hour that evening. I told her that time was of the essence because if one or both pieces of jewelry were not found yet, they could easily be picked up the next day!
Just a side note: When Jaclyn and I first spoke on the phone, she had excitedly shared that she personally witnessed a successful recovery of her friend’s lost engagement ring a couple years back that was found by THE RING FINDERS’ very own legendary metal detectorist, Stan Ross! She was hanging out on a beach in California when her friend’s ring went missing in the sand. Jaclyn told me how impressed she was at the whole search process! I responded by sharing with her that I had just ironically spoken to that very “hero” earlier that morning! We both got a kick out of that coincidence! She hoped that I could bring the same encouraging results for her beloved son.
So, later that same night, after I wrapped up my earlier search in Northern Virginia, I traveled to Bethesda, Maryland to attempt a recovery of Connor’s lost jewelry. Though it was after one in the morning, I still wore a smile on my face as I drove past my childhood house on Greentree Road. I blew a kiss in the direction of that special piece of real estate where my mother still resided. Then, moments later, I turned the corner to where the elementary school was located and parked over by the playground.
Connor’s mom was very helpful in giving me an accurate description as to where her son was playing at the time that the chain broke loose. Of course, nobody knew how long the jewelry may have stayed on Connor before it finally fell to the ground. But at least we had an idea of where the initial incident took place. Slowly and carefully, with all of my winter gear on, including my high lumens headlamp blazing above me, I metal detected over the wood chips, using a large 15 inch coil to help me cover more territory at a faster pace. During the search, I had to keep some distance away from all of the playground equipment poles which anchored the play equipment deep down into the ground. The metal poles make it difficult to detect close and around those structures because it causes a lot of interference for the detector. If I still couldn’t find the items after moving about the fairly large playground area, I would use a smaller coil to be able to get closer to all of the reinforcement bar metal and see if the jewelry ended up alongside any of the play equipment pieces.
I may have searched for approximately 45 minutes in the “hot spot” areas but I did not find Connor’s jewelry anywhere. It didn’t surprise me because he could have walked a bit with the broken chain and pendant hanging off of his clothes before both pieces fell to the “wood turf”. I continued my search around a new area and just as I made my way into a particular section of play equipment, I got a decent target signal on my detector screen. Up to this point I had many other signals that I had investigated and each one came up as something other than what I was hoping to discover. I found pull tabs off of soda cans, pencil erasers with the metal crowns that hold the erasers in place, various coins, foil from bubblegum wrappers, bottle caps and even hat pins and a matchbox car. I really wanted this target to be something different than all of the other “treasures” that I had previously uncovered from beneath the playground! Just as I leaned downed to the ground and began to use my pinpointer (a handheld metal detector that helps to “zero in” on where the metal object is located) over the area where the metal detector indicated that the object had been resting, my eyes adjusted to seeing traces of gold shining ever so brightly through the many wood chips that covered the long snake-shaped object! My heart raced with excitement and further anticipation of what I might have found! Carefully, I dusted a bunch of the wood chips that rested on top of this glorious object and there it was! It was Connor’s most handsome 24 karat yellow gold chain! What a fantastic find it was! That necklace certainly had some serious weight to it! I couldn’t have been any happier to recover such a special family heirloom! This only encouraged me to continue my efforts in recovering the 14 karat yellow gold number two pendant! I was really recharged at that moment when I discovered the missing chain and a new burst of energy came upon me!
I probably searched for another hour for the pendant but unfortunately it never showed up anywhere on the playground. I hoped that someone had not walked off with it, but there was no way of telling. I resolved to return bright and early the next morning before school started in order for me to double check every place that I had already detected. By the time I exited the cold and dark playground, it was nearly 3:15am in the morning. Driving home that night, I couldn’t wait to return the next day for a second go around.
A few hours after I arrived home, I was already waking up (sometime around 6:30am) and preparing to return back to the school playground to continue my search for the lost pendant. Not only did I recheck off of the territory where I had previously searched, but I made sure that the pendant didn’t fall alongside any of the reinforcement poles. My method to do this was to use my hands to push all of the wood chips that surrounded those play equipment poles away from that metal so that I could then use my detector to check everything that settled in those areas. Because they are made of steel, those reinforcement beams could easily mask the object that I was trying to detect. Therefore, it was crucial that I pushed everything that surrounded those poles at least a foot to a foot and a half away from them. I used a smaller coil at the end of my metal detector which helped to pick up small gold objects like this pendant located near and around playground reinforcement bars.
I searched for approximately two hours and I still couldn’t locate the lost pendant. I returned to the playground one more time later that afternoon but sadly I had to conclude that another student must have picked up the gold piece and walked off with it before I was called out to the scene. Eventually, I contacted Connor’s mother and shared both the good news and the “not so good news”. She was thrilled that I was at least able to recover the lost chain. Though I was quite disappointed that I was not able to find the pendant, I was quite content that under the tough circumstances I was able to find such a special family heirloom that would certainly one day carry another pendant like the one that came before it.
A few days later, I had the privilege of meeting Connor and his family at a local Bethesda, Maryland pizza place where I reunited the happy second grader with his most handsome sentimental keepsake! He couldn’t have been more excited to have received it back into his hands! As the young boy’s smile arose so brilliantly at the first sight of the very special family heirloom, I glanced up at Connor’s father, Jason to see his reaction. Such love and pride was emitted from his countenance, knowing that what was once his for so many years, had safely returned to his son until perhaps a time in the far distant future when Connor himself might pass the precious family treasure down to the next generation as did his grandfather and father before him.
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