The Ring Finders founder Chris Turner, left, returned a wedding ring to Jordan Richards last week. (Aaron Hinks photo)

The Ring Finders founder Chris Turner, left, returned a wedding ring to Jordan Richards last week. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Jordan Richards was smiling ear-to-ear when a professional treasure hunter returned his wedding band last Thursday, which the newlywed lost in Surrey only 26 hours after he tied the knot.

Richards told Peace Arch News he lost his wedding band on the 6100-block of 136 Street while removing items from a vehicle.

His father and grandfather spent hours searching for the ring, using a Tiger Torch to melt away the snow and even rented a metal detector.

As a last ditch effort, they contacted White Rock’s Chris Turner, founder of The Ring Finders, which is a directory of treasure hunters in the Lower Mainland and beyond.

Turner, who films all of his finds, was able to dig the ring out of the slush within a matter of minutes.

“I can’t believe it,” Richards told Turner Thursday as his ring was returned. “It means the world.”

The ring, which was in good condition minus a few chips, was sitting on the side of the road for 18 hours before it was returned. Turner believes the ring may have been struck by a vehicle, that’s why the Richards family wasn’t able to locate it.

“I’m no longer a bad legend in the family. I was getting roasted pretty hard,” Richards told PAN.

Richards said it must have slipped off his finger while he was pulling his hand out of his pocket.

“Just incredible,” Richards said to Turner. “I can’t believe you found it… it’s going to make for a funny story now.”

Turner has recovered more than 500 rings since he turned his metal-detecting hobby into a business.

His passion for metal detecting began in 1972, when he read about the hobby in a Field and Stream magazine.

“I got a job all summer at a chicken farm – I think I was 12 – I worked all summer and got my first metal detector and I’ve been hooked ever since,” Turner told PAN.

Shortly after purchasing the metal detector at age 12, Turner returned a ring to his neighbour, who lost it 10 years earlier in her garden.

“I found it. I got apple pie for a year at my door. Just the look on her face… here I am 12 years old, not realizing that there’s a business there.”

Turner kept the hobby, but set it aside while pursing a career in the film industry and played professional soccer until 1984.

He realized the business potential for his hobby while living in Los Angeles in 1986.

“Every morning I would get up early and search the beaches,” he said, adding that one time, a guy ran up to him, yelling in a panic.

“He said his wife lost her engagement ring, and they had been there since 11 p.m. using flashlights,” Turner said.

“I walked up there and found it in minutes. The look on that guys face was priceless. She was crying and his wallet came out and he gave me everything in it. I looked at him and said ‘I don’t want your money,’ and he said ‘you’re taking it.’”

Turner continued the hobby in Cancun, and when he moved back to Canada in 1995 he began to focus on how he could turn his hobby into a business.

He was contacted by an angel investor, who helped him launch The Ring Finders, which is a directory that lists more than 430 ‘ring finders’ across the globe.

Each ring finder posts a photo of the recovered ring and a photograph of its rightful owner. To date, more than 5,111 recoveries have been recorded, an estimated $7.5 million worth of jewelry returned.

But not all ventures are successful.

Turner, who only accepts payment if he finds the lost item, has spent days – unsuccessfully – searching for a ring.

“If I don’t find it, I don’t get paid. I’m a fanatic. When I know there’s a ring, I’ll do everything I can. You would not believe how many times I look at them and say your ring is not here, start looking somewhere else.”

His process begins with detective work, Turner asks numerous questions in hopes of revealing a clue about where the ring was lost.

One of the biggest challenges, Turner said, is that people think they lose rings when and where they notice them missing.

“Beach people, if they’re swimming and their ring is gone, they associate the loss right where they’re standing. I get there and it’s not there. They wonder why I can’t find it, and it’s only because it’s not there. Association of loss could put you a half a mile away, or could put you three hours of searching away. That’s why I ask the questions,” Turner said.

“It’s a lot like being a detective, and it’s fun. I like the challenge. The beautiful thing about this service is the stories that are attached to people’s ring.”

Turner said he’s been called to recover rings that were in the range of $65,000 to a silver wedding band. But each time, the reaction is similar.

It’s not the price-tag that gives the rings its value, Turner said it’s the sentimental attachment that makes the rings irreplaceable.

In 2010, Turner said he was asked to go to Canmore to help an Australian man recover three rings for his girlfriend.

The Australian and his girlfriend were road-tripping through Canada, near Canmore, when they pulled off to the side of the road to take a photo of the mountains. Before exiting the vehicle, the woman took off five rings and put them in the pouch in her sweater.

It wasn’t until the flight back to Australia that she had noticed the rings were gone, and she had a good idea of where she might have lost them.

Turner said the Australian flew back to Canada and retraced their steps using photographs they took along the way. The Australian found the approximate area of where the rings were lost, and spent two days digging with a fork – “if you can believe it” – and was able to recover two rings.

The following year, the Australian contacted Turner and the two made an arrangement to meet in the area to find the missing three rings.

As Turner was driving up to the location, it wasn’t looking promising, he told PAN, adding that road crews had been digging up the side of the road, but stopped just before where the rings were lost.

After a grid-search of the area, Turner was able to find the remaining three rings an entire year after they were lost. The couple eventually got married.

“It’s a true love story.”

But not all cases end with a happy result. With a growing number of metal detector enthusiasts searching public areas like beaches, finding a ring has become a time sensitive task.

“If it’s lost on a private property, it’s still there,” Turner told PAN. “If it’s lost on a beach, you need to get on it right away.”

Although the challenge of the hunt lures Turner to the job, it’s the reaction of people – and giving them a second chance at finding their sentimental item – that makes it his passion.

On his YouTube channel, Turner edited together an eight-minute video that shows reactions of his customers as they learn he found their ring.

Their unfiltered reactions – sometimes accompanied with tears of joy – never get old, “I love it,” he said.

Although successful at returning numerous high-value rings, there’s only one find that truly stole his heart.

“My wife is the most valuable thing I found.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
81 new cases of COVID-19 detected in Interior Health Friday

One additional staff member at Kelowna long-term care home tests positive, no new deaths

Interior Health says Salmo’s COVID-19 cases have been contained. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Interior Health: Salmo’s COVID-19 cases are contained

Every person who tested positive has recovered

The Village of Salmo has told Cody Puckett and Ashley Nelson that clearing land at this property doesn’t constitute building a property according to a bylaw. Photo: Submitted
Work in progress? Salmo family, village at odds over property construction

Cody Puckett says he’s being evicted from his own land, which the village disputes

Finn Lydon. Photo: Submitted
UPDATE: Winlaw boy reported missing has been found

Finn Lydon was was located last evening

Dr. Albert de Villiers, Chief Medical Health Officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
‘People need to start listening’: IH top doc combats COVID-19 misconceptions

Dr. Albert de Villiers says light at the end of the tunnel will grow in step with people’s adherence to PHO guidance

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
B.C. hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced a Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

Victoria-based driving instructors are concerned for their own and the community’s safety with the continued number of residents from COVID hotspots in the Lower Mainland coming to the city to take their driving road tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Students from COVID hotspots travel to Vancouver Island for driving tests

Union leader calls on government to institute stronger travel ban

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
PHSA bought faulty respirators; spent money on catering, renovations: Dix

Such spending included ‘unnecessary, unbudgeted renovations’ to the authority’s headquarters in Vancouver

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan releases his election platform, Vancouver, Oct. 6, 2020, featuring COVID-19 relief payments promised for most households. (B.C. NDP photo)
Next $1.5 billion in B.C. COVID-19 cash ‘prudent,’ Horgan says

New round of payments for household incomes up to $175,000

Most Read