How to Find a Lost Gold Stud Diamond Earring in Frederick, Maryland
Josh’s 14 Karat White Gold, 1/2 Carat Diamond Stud Earring and 14 Karat White Gold Backing
CALL BRIAN RUDOLPH WITH THE RING FINDERS AT (301) 466-8644 AND HE WILL RETURN TO YOU WHAT HAS BEEN LOST!
I will never forget the phone call that I received from a young man who was desperately seeking my help to recover something very special to him. As I was shopping at the local Walmart, Josh shared with me what happened the day earlier when he was playing a football game in Frederick, Maryland. It was supposed to be a fun event for he and his friends who gathered on this particular field from cities located as far away as ones in Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland. The two teams placed the boundary cones on the middle school sports field and marked off a 50 yard by 30 yard football field section, with 10 additional yards for each end zone. The afternoon was filled with much excitement and thrill until the game was finished, and Josh realized that one of his two white gold diamond stud earrings (and the gold backing) had gone missing. Instead of him taking off and heading back to Pennsylvania where he resided, he resolved to find his very sentimental piece of jewelry that was picked out by his wife Adriana. It was a very bold task that he was embarking upon to try to eyeball a tiny object like a stud earring in the midst of so many yards to search on that field. Anything that small would have settled down into the underworld of grass, completely unseen by the naked eye. Josh’s admirable efforts led to no avail. He eventually left the football field completely defeated as he headed back home. None of his teammates had any luck in finding the stud diamond earring either. If you want to learn just how determined Josh was in trying to get his keepsake back on his ear, then you must know that he and his very supportive mother returned to the field once more that evening, driving all the way from Pennsylvania (which is a 45 minute commute back to Frederick Maryland) to do a second search. The two of them brought flashlights and scanned the entire football field that Josh was playing on earlier that day. Again, their efforts were futile. There was just too much territory and the object that they were looking for was way too small to locate within all of the blades of grass. There was nothing more that he could do but to return back home empty handed once again.
It was sometime after Josh arrived back at his house from the unsuccessful recovery attempt that he and his wife researched information on the internet regarding metal detecting. One of the links that popped up happened to be The Ring Finders directory. The couple had never heard of this company that provides a resource to locate a local Ring Finder metal detectorist member who is able to search for people’s lost items. My name happened to surface when they sought to find a detectorist in the Frederick, Maryland area where the earring was lost. Josh got on his smartphone and immediately called me to request my help.
It would be unfair of me if I didn’t share a particular moment that I had while talking with this disappointed young man on the phone about losing his beloved earring. You see, when Josh first started talking to me about his football game in Frederick, Maryland, and the fact that he lost something out on the field where he was playing, I had no idea that what he had lost was not a ring. Most of what I recover happens to be rings, but I also search for plenty of other objects including: smartphones, watches, hearing aids, bracelets, other type of bangles, chains and pendants, and lots more. I will hunt for anything that has metal attached to it. If the object is worth something to somebody else, then I am alright about going off to search for it. Josh innocently forgot to mention what it was that he specifically lost until much later in our conversation. When I started asking questions about the type of ring that had disappeared on the playing field, Josh corrected me and shared that he didn’t lose a ring, but rather a 14 karat white gold, ½ carat stud diamond earring! You should have seen my face at the department store’s checkout counter when I learned of this! I smiled with utter amusement at the realization of what this gentleman was asking me to do for him! A tiny object like his earring, lost somewhere on a football field that was 2100 square yards wide, was not likely to ever be recovered! I truly love a great challenge, but this one was way outside the box! Most detectorists would never even attempt to tackle this recovery scenario because the odds of finding something this small on that much property without having a hint of where the lost earring may have fallen, was astronomical! It would just end up being a big waste of time. However, while Josh was still on the phone, I gave it a quick thought by saying to myself within, ‘Wouldn’t this be a great story if I could somehow pull that little stud earring off of the field and return it back to the ear that it belonged to?!’ ‘What if I could metal detect that much surface area and actually overcome such odds against me with trying to recover that piece of jewelry?’ I played with the idea in my head and at the end of my moment of day dreaming, I absolutely fell in love with the idea of going after the earring! I didn’t even know if my detector would be able to pick up that little bit of white gold coming from his ½ carat diamond stud earring setting. It’s hard enough to get a strong enough signal to recover a lady’s petite white gold band, let alone something this tiny. And I wasn’t even sure the angle of where the post had settled in the grass which would certainly help to determine the type of signal strength that would be picked up by my detector. The backing to the earring would also be comprised of 14 karat white gold. Finding both pieces would be nearly impossible to accomplish. However, I didn’t want to tell Josh that I could not recover his sentimental piece without first giving it a shot and see what I might be able to find on that field. I love “the thrill of the kill” and this hunt would certainly be one of my top prized stories if I could pull it off! Without a blink of the eye, I agreed to help Josh!
Josh and I scheduled a time to meet the following evening at the middle school where he lost his stud earring. Losing this piece of jewelry weighed so heavily upon him that he was willing to give up some of his son’s birthday celebration time in order to show me where he was playing football the day that he lost his earring. I should mention that when I asked Josh about his whereabouts the day he lost the diamond and asked when was the last time that he remembered wearing the stud, everything was a bit fuzzy in his memory. He could not specifically remember if it was on his ear when he left his house to go play football. He checked his video camera at the front door but the door camera did not show evidence of whether or not he left the house with the earring on or not. I asked him to keep searching around in his car and also in the house just to make sure that he didn’t miss any spots where it may have fallen off his gear before he even went to the football field. He agreed and did as I had suggested before we met that evening.
Both of us arrived at the school sometime around 7 p.m. I had the opportunity to meet the birthday boy who turned sixteen. From the parking lot, Josh took me across one field and then eventually we reached the particular field where he was playing. He started to point out all of the white chalk lines that the guys used as end zones and sidelines. On the day of their game, cones were set up on one side of the field to mark off the width of the parameter. As I shared above, they played 30 yards from left to right and 70 yards from end zone to end zone. Essentially the dimensions were 1/2 of a pro football field. Due to the fact that Josh had no way of measuring 30 yards from left to right (the night I was detecting), he estimated the approximate location of where the cones were placed to indicate the left sideline. He stood in a particular spot and then I counted a certain number of feet until I reached where he stood to show how wide his playing field was that day. I counted 30 yards in total. Josh was fairly confident that what I measured was the width of their football field that day.
Once I had all of the dimensions, I wanted to do a test on Josh’s one remaining stud earring. I needed to get a reading on my metal detector as to the type of signal his earring would give off. Then, I could search for that type of metal in the field that would resemble the same reading. In addition to that, I wanted to increase the sensitivity level on my detector and see just how high I needed to crank it up in order to capture the signal coming from the lost earring in the field.
The three of us huddled together on the grass to conduct the tests. Josh carefully took his only remaining stud earring out of his ear and placed it on the grass so that I could swing my metal detector over the earring. Surprisingly, the Minelab Equinox 800 detector wouldn’t even recognize the metal. Because the diamond stud setting and post were so small, there was very little precious metal for the detector to read. Even I was taken back by this outcome.
I knew that most studs, if they were below the ground, would barely be readable at all. But I was testing an earring that was above ground and I was still getting nothing. Then, I took out my Garrett handheld pinpointer and placed the end of the detector on top of the earring. The result was just as surprising, if not more so than when I swung the detector over the white gold. The 14 karat white gold piece would not even react to the metal unless it was positioned in a certain direction. I couldn’t believe it. All of this was documented on video which I will publish in the next few months.
Things did not look good for an effective search to take place at that point. I couldn’t read the earring on the Equinox 800 and my pinpointer was pretty much useless. I wasn’t sure what to do at that point. Josh and his son were looking at me for answers and they frankly were dumbfounded themselves. At that moment, things even got worse. After I recalibrated my detector with certain adjustments that I hoped would help pick up the target signal from the earring, I placed the detector down towards the ground and I realized that I couldn’t find the stud earring that had been tested moments earlier. The three of us had not moved an inch since we started testing the piece of jewelry, so it was still in front of us on the ground, but our eyes couldn’t spot it! It went completely missing! I asked the two fellows to help me focus in on where the earring was and they too could not find it. Using my pinpointer was completely useless, so we needed to find it by eyesight only. I looked at Josh, and I said to him, “Now you have a really good idea of how almost impossible this is going to be to find your earring out there on the field. If we can’t find the sister earring that was just placed in front of us and it then disappears, how much more is it an impossibility for me to find the other earring out there!” Josh totally got the logic that I was conveying and he realized how bad we had it in trying to recover the earring.
Eventually, after 10 minutes of searching, Josh’s son found the test earring and we were all relieved that we didn’t have to spend any more time looking for the jewelry that had gone missing. Josh got a very good picture of how impossible this would be to recover something this small unless I came up with some other technique to help me detect the earring.
Figuring out a new strategy with how I could find Josh’s sentimental earring was my top priority. I thought about it for a bit and then a new idea came to mind. Thanks to Chris Turner, the CEO of The Ring Finders directory, for publishing his own search videos, I came up with an alternative plan that could possibly help me with our search. I recalled watching a video that Chris had shot regarding a stud earring that he was trying to recover for someone during the summer. He was getting so much interference from the electrical power lines above the property that he took his metal detector and tried to detect with a setting called: Gold Mode. It’s a very special setting that is used for mining gold. Usually, the metal detectorist will not need this setting because it’s not the usual type of hunting that most of us do on a regular basis. Though the technique proved to fail for Chris because of the constant electrical interference he was experiencing, his idea was filed in my head for a future time as this one. Chris ended up finding the earring that he was looking for by implementing a different strategy. He ended up stretching out his entire body on the ground like a sniper, scanning the yard with a handheld pinpointer like a windshield wiper until he finally located the jewel! Incredible! A must-see-video on his YouTube Channel called: The Ring Finders.
I told the guys what my next plan was and I immediately set my detector to Gold Mode. Then, I swung the coil over the diamond stud earring and I did get a signal! It was barely anything, but I did in fact get a reading of the earring! This was my only technique for trying to recover Josh’s missing sentimental piece. I would have to go very slowly over the ground and have the coil as close to the surface as possible. The problem with using this particular mode was that I would end up picking up signals coming from all sorts of other targets. The numbers that kept coming up on my screen were in the range of Number 1 and 2. I would end up getting a lot of trash that would be in that range, but I had no choice but to try this setting out on the field. After a couple of more tests with this function, Josh picked up the earring, safely placed it back in his ear and the three of us would say our goodbyes shortly thereafter.
I stayed on the field in the dark with my headlamp powered on while Josh and his birthday boy walked back to their car to head back to Pennsylvania to celebrate their son’s birthday. In the meantime, I would spend the next three hours grid searching the field for the missing earring. I moved very slowly forward with slow swings from left to right and back again, hoping that each signal that I picked up would potentially be the stud that I was looking for. I was also looking for the backing piece of the earring, as well. Once I finished the first grid line, I headed back the other direction and started the next one. The search was tedious, with tons of target signals coming up on my screen because of the type of mode that I was working with. Every signal that was in the Number 1 and 2 range would sound off that familiar signal through my headphones. Then I would take my handheld detector and place it on the ground where the signal was coming from and I would see if I could perhaps isolate and identify the target. I figured that if I couldn’t find the item with the pinpointer, it was either that the target was too far down in the ground or I may have found the earring because the pinpointer was having a hard time picking up the signal of the test earring unless it was in a particular angle.
I searched and searched and still there was no sign of Josh’s belonging. I have to admit that I wasn’t enjoying this type of hunt. There was no way of knowing for sure whether or not I walked right past the earring already. It’s even easy to overstep a larger object like a ring, so therefore it was very probable that I could have already missed the target and wasted the rest of those hours in a search that appeared to be futile. Still, I didn’t give up and I resolved to continue my search efforts until I had little left in my “energy tank”.
Another problem that I forgot to mention earlier was that the ground was covered with droplets from an earlier rainstorm, so everything was glistening and sparkling from my headlamp light source that was hitting the water and bouncing off reflections of light. It was a visual nightmare to try to eyeball a piece of jewelry that small with everything else that looked like a small diamond reflecting light from beneath the grass.
I think I may have covered half of the field before calling it quits that night. I felt that I did an extremely tight search with my gridlines. I also felt that the speed in which I used to swing the detector was slow enough that I shouldn’t have missed much metal that was on the surface. Again, there were so many signals that read off the same numbers as the gold earring. With everything I had to detect and pinpoint, I really could have missed something in between all of those numerous targets.
One other thing I forgot to mention earlier. The sound coming from the detector was extremely irritating because of the mode that I set the detector to. The higher the sensitivity that I set it to, the louder the hum-noise sounded off in my ears and it was becoming unbearable to listen to as I continued deep into my search. I was glad to wrap things up because I had nothing left in me at all. I have to admit that I was extremely frustrated and I had no intention of coming back to this field even though I hadn’t finished searching the entire perimeter. I just felt like it was just too much for me and I wasn’t even sure if I could pick up the target signal accurately since it was so faint with the test earring. And nobody knew if the earring was actually lost on that field! I believe when I started heading back to the car, I had already searched for about three hours. I packed my gear up and left the school property with the intention of never returning! I wanted to get on with other searches that were much more reasonable to carry out and not something as crazy as this search and recovery operation. I was no longer excited about the challenge due to the obstacles that I had faced with the uncertainties that were constantly flowing through my mind.
As I drove home, I texted Josh to let him know that I had left the field and that I would give him an update the following day. I would reach out to Josh in the morning. However, I got no response back from him due to a family crisis that he had to endure for the next several weeks. My intention was to tell him directly that I would not be able to return to Frederick to resume my search, but after a couple days had passed, I refreshed my attitude about the whole situation and decided to give it another go around. It kept bothering me that unless I tried to find Josh’s earring, I really believed that nobody else would have ever found it for him and it would be lost forever on that football field. I truly did not want that outcome for Josh and I felt like I needed to finish what I started. Then, if I had no success, I could then walk away knowing that I did everything I could to recover his property. So, I sent a text to Josh sometime mid-week letting him know that I would be heading out the following day to continue my search for the missing earring.
By the time that I arrived back at the middle school later in the week, it was dark outside again but this time there was no evening dew on the ground and everything was dry. This was a huge advantage for me because I could identify metallic objects on the ground including anything that appeared to look like glass that showed some form of reflection of light – like a diamond!
With my headlamp on and detector in hand, I started searching at the very location where I had quit the other night. Because I then had a better understanding of how many feet I needed to count from the chalk lines out to one side, I counted 30 feet to the left and put orange cones up to identify the left sideline of the football field which Josh had set up with his friends. I then knew exactly how many yards I had to search before I completed the entire field.
It’s important to also remember that the entire time that I was searching for Josh’s earring, there wasn’t 100% confidence that the earring was ever lost on the field. There still was a chance that it was somewhere in his house, in his vehicle, or even perhaps on the grass leading from the parking lot to the field. There was no way of knowing for certain where the diamond came off. So while I was searching so diligently for this tiny object that was supposedly hiding somewhere on the surface of grass, there was always that question mark of whether or not the jewel had ever gotten lost during his game in the first place. The only fact that I could stand upon was that it was most likely lost as a result of being tackled, whereby the earring was hit and then it popped off Josh’s ear. It was the most likely theory.
I continued my search, swinging the detector from left to right at a very slow speed as I did a few days earlier. Having the machine set up in Gold Mode provided the only opportunity to detect something as small as this 14 karat white gold earring. Like I shared before, the hum coming from the machine into the headphones was quite annoying, but I had to put up with it in order to use this function properly. Every time I got a VDI (visual identification) Number 1 or 2 on the screen, I pinpointed the location of where the coil was picking up the object and identified the source of the signal. All of my finds came up negative.
As the hours passed on, I continued with diligence in searching every single signal that was registering on my detector and I was determined to finish what I set out to do for the sake of Josh and his wife Adriana who gave her husband this very special gift. All of the signals that I was picking up led to no discoveries of either the earring or the backing. I recall praying as I swung the coil back and forth, just asking God to help me by providing me with the ability to find the earring and to make the impossible somehow possible! If one could think about how many gold stud posts and diamond gold settings would equal one gold ring; that’s how much easier this search could have been had I searched for a gold band. It was absolutely a needle in a haystack!
Target after target signal that I investigated turned out to be nothing at all. I pulled up pieces of aluminum and very small tiny objects that were in the range of what I was looking for. However, I did not find any gold earrings. Eventually, I got to the second to last grid line and in a matter of minutes I would be on the last pass which was 50 yards in length. If someone were to predict that I was about ready to find the 14 karat white gold stud diamond earring at the backstretch of my search, I would have most likely told them that they were a false prophet! I certainly have found rings and other objects at the very tail end of my recovery efforts. It always surprises me how those stories tend to end up successful at the 11:59 position on the clock! I certainly did not think that the conclusion to this search would resemble that kind of plot ending! Yet, a surprise was waiting in store for me!
As I continued detecting, I knew how close I was to wrapping things up and that it looked pretty grim for me to discover the missing earring. I even analyzed my search techniques and asked myself if I had perhaps detected over the jewelry at some point during the last 1,995 square yards of detecting. It was quite possible, yet I went so slow and was so careful with making sure that I stopped at every single signal in the range of this stud earring, that I felt pretty confident that I had successfully covered all of the yardage up to that point towards the end of the search. Again, I kept myself focused and said to myself, ‘I came here for a purpose which was to finish what I started and I am going to keep hoping for the result of finding Josh’s earring until I’m done with this search attempt.’
Eventually I got to the location in my search where I was about 20 feet away from completing the second to last grid line which would then be 50 yards in length remaining. After that last pass, I would have completed my search of the entire football field that Josh and his friends had marked off for their game. Just as I neared the end of that second to last line, I got another target signal which was no different than any of the other ones that I had to bend down to pinpoint before. Still, like with all the others, I knelt down to observe the target signal that I was getting and applied the pinpointer to the spot where the coil was reading the piece of metal in the grass. I looked at the depth meter on my detector screen and it told me that the object was just below the ground or on top of the earth. That didn’t mean too much to me because I had picked up all kinds of little objects that didn’t pan out to be anything. Just as I locked-in on the exact spot of where the target was located, my eyes immediately focused in on what appeared to be a small silver object that was laying sideways between the blades of grass! I then looked even more closely, and to my ultimate amazement and complete unbelief, I saw Josh’s treasured 14 karat white gold, one-half carat diamond earring hidden in the grass! I couldn’t believe it! I was blown away by what I was looking at! After all of the hours that I had been searching during the first evening and right up to the end of this second search effort, there it was, right at the invisible edge of the football field sideline! Nothing could describe accurately just what was going through me when I knew at that point that I had found Josh’s earring! It was too good to be true! It was a dream and that dream actually came true! Knowing that I set off on a mission to do something that was so far outside of the box in trying to find something this small on this much real estate, and that I pulled it off – there was just nothing like that feeling of excitement! I want to give credit where credit is due, which is that I believe the Lord helped me pull this search off! He gave me the abilities necessary to continue on, persevere and not give up, keep the focus, and apply the methods I used to effectively search for and ultimately recover the missing jewel from the huge piece of real estate!
I picked up the stud earring and stared at the beautiful diamond that was sparkling in the light as I was observing it! This piece of jewelry that was made up of a valuable stone and precious metal was going back to its owner and would eventually be worn on his ear soon enough! It wouldn’t be left out there on that field, to be trampled over and eventually buried inches in the dirt, serving absolutely no purpose! I found it! I really did find it! Here I was in total darkness with just my headlamp lighting the way! It was just me, all alone out there on that desolate field, celebrating the discovery of something so special! It really was thrilling! I knew at that very moment that I had not missed a single inch of territory! Upon looking for the lost piece of jewelry, I was so encouraged to realize that my meticulous grid searching in Gold Mode was perfectly done and that I had not overshot the very target that I was after! Springboarding off of that thought came another crazy one. That is, that it was quite possible that with my success of finding the earring, the white gold backing to its counterpart may be somewhere in the vicinity of where the earring had fallen off Josh’s ear. The backing had to come off first in order for the earring to eventually slip off of Josh’s ear. Therefore, it was quite possible that the backing was most likely not detected yet by my Equinox 800 and it could be still in the path of my remaining yards to search! I got totally excited about the idea that I might in fact find the backing during this last stretch of detecting. Now that I had recovered the most important item of the two, this would be the cherry on the top if I could pull off another find!
I wasn’t going to leave that field until I covered every last inch of the football field that Josh had marked off last week. I may have searched 10 or 15 yards at the beginning stage of detecting the last grid line when I got another signal that was registering in the 1’s and 2’s. This time, I couldn’t wait to see what it was that I was picking up on my detector. Could it be the backing? Or was it another piece of trash like the handful that I had in my pouch pocket? I was about ready to find out, and to my shock again, it would not be disappointing! I got back down on the ground with my pinpointer, approaching the location of where this object was resting, and yes, once again, I hit gold! I found the backing! I couldn’t believe it! Yes, I found the 14 karat white gold backing to the earring! I was simply overjoyed at this discovery! It was incredible! It was absolutely fantastic to find even the backing to this earring! Most people would not have even taken the time and the effort to attempt a recovery like this because it was just too grueling and too time-consuming to detect every single signal in Gold Mode! This was not normal metal detecting by any means! I could not believe that I found the backing and yet it was a true reality! I was pump fisting and yelling out loud, “Yes! Yes! I can’t believe it! Yes, I found it!” I was praising the Lord and thanking Him for my abilities to find both pieces of gold! It was truly an amazing moment for me to experience something quite like this!
I stayed out there on that pitch dark field for a while, taking photos, video and commenting about the happiness that I was experiencing at that moment. Just thinking about the fact that I was so close to the end of the search parameter and that I was able to pull both pieces of gold off of the football field, was just an incredible thing for me to think about! What are the odds of this discovery? If I had placed the cones closer in and Josh did not give me a proper estimated distance from the chalk line extended out 30 feet from it, I may have undershot the search and would not have ever found the earring. Generally, I will search farther out from the parameter that is given to me so it’s possible that I still would have found the gold, but the techniques I was using to find such small objects was truly amazing with the results that I came away with that night! I kept thinking of how I was originally not going to return to the middle school field to attempt a second recovery and I was beyond happy that I chose to stick it out and continue to try to help Josh recover this earring with one more attempt! Wow! It was just awesome! I packed up my things and joyfully headed back to the car, thinking only thoughts of amazement and how blown away I was to find the earring and its backing!
I believe that by the time I got to the car it was nearing 10 p.m. I wanted to surprise Josh with my findings, so I eventually called him to see if he was still up since he told me that he was a night owl. However, I didn’t get any response. Eventually, I would surprise him with the good news and both he and his wife would be just as shocked as I was when I pulled his two pieces of jewelry from that field! It certainly was a fun moment to reveal my finds with the couple!
If you would like to see the search video and the moment that I revealed the missing earring and its backing to Josh, feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel at the link below.
I will never forget this search and the amazing finish to what was one of the most difficult search efforts that I had ever tackled. Nothing could compare to the type of excitement that I was handed as a result of successfully finding Josh’s gold diamond earring and its backing, as well! As I drove home from surprising Josh and his wife Adriana with what I was able to recover, I hoped inside that I would have more of these types of challenges in the future. However, for the time being, I wished my next few recovery missions would not involve something of this magnitude…at least for a while!
What a search and what a fantastic finish!
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