I need to find a gold wedding ring that I dropped in the yard!
April 8, 2009 6:24 PM   Subscribe

I need to find a gold wedding ring that I dropped in the yard!

I know where I was when I lost it, I can narrow it down to about 10-15 square feet. I've tried getting on my hands and knees looking for it but can't see it among the grass and dirt.

If anyone in the austin area has a metal detector that I can borrow, that would be totally sweet!

If not, I'm wondering if there is somewhere I can walk into and rent a metal detector?

Barring that, would a metal detector like this be useful? I could use one anyway for getting bits of metal out of wood.

What about a stud finder? If I was slow and careful, think it might work? Or a smaller metal detector, like this?
posted by RustyBrooks to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Local pawnshops generally have cheapo metal detectors available for purchase/rent. Give them a call if nothing else comes up.
posted by unixrat at 6:26 PM on April 8, 2009

What about a rake with really narrow tines? Or if it's shiny, wait til night time and use a flashlight?
posted by JuiceBoxHero at 6:28 PM on April 8, 2009

if I'm correct a metal detector will not detect gold.
posted by WizKid at 6:47 PM on April 8, 2009

They do detect gold. But the flashlight-at-night scenario is what I'd try first.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 6:56 PM on April 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Do your neighbors have children who might enjoy a "Find the Ring Contest" with crisp $20 bill to the finder?
posted by applemeat at 7:01 PM on April 8, 2009

Forget technology for this one.

I think Applemeat has the best idea. A flashlight at night will also work if you are very patient and deliberate. If you do this, take some plates or something with you so can mark your path and do a very thorough grid search without veering off course. You will want to make dead-certain it's not within one 3' square area before crawling on to the next. Repeat. This will take a couple of hours, so plan for that.

10-15 square feet is small enough that you should be able to hand-sift every bit of ground. Don't be afraid of handling some dirt and bugs.
posted by rokusan at 7:06 PM on April 8, 2009

Response by poster: We've been over the ground pretty good although not with a flashlight. We have thick thatchy grass, dirt, and the worst thing is that it fell off while I was dropping an armful of dead grass over the fence (I didn't see it come off though).
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:09 PM on April 8, 2009

Metal detectors will pick up anything that conducts electricity.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:20 PM on April 8, 2009

If you do the inch-by-inch search again (and it's warm enough), do it wearing shorts & barefooted. No sense in deadening any part of your body that could potentially notice the ring (or, in the case of heels, drive it in deeper).
posted by IAmBroom at 7:28 PM on April 8, 2009

Rake the grass aside carefully and then put some panty hose over the end of a vacumm nozzle and vacumm the area. The ring will be sucked up and hit the panty hose. So will a bunch of other crap so it might take a while but you should find it easily enough.
posted by fshgrl at 7:37 PM on April 8, 2009

Radio shack typically sells a $60 metal detector. I had one as a kid, though I only found change I threw in the yard myself...

Also you mind find this funny: The world's worst hobby
posted by bottlebrushtree at 8:14 PM on April 8, 2009 [2 favorites]

We recently found a ring in a snowstorm at night by using the rake and a flashlight, going section by section.
posted by crankylex at 8:22 PM on April 8, 2009

How does gold react to flames?

I have found lost bits of metal by burning the grass around the site. It is far from the best solution in this scenario, but keep it in mind if nothing else pans out.
posted by bh at 9:37 PM on April 8, 2009

(I didn't see it come off though).

Are you absolutely, positively 100% sure that it came off when dumping grass over the fence? 100%? Totally?

I'd search the whole yard.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:30 AM on April 9, 2009

The archaeologist in me says to set up a grid - use yarn or something - and go over each square. Hell, that's a great idea to have the local kids go through it. It's like the plate idea but it will cover a larger area than plates. Sectioning it off physically seems to force a more thorough search.

And I will also second the 'go barefoot' technique, although this would be more effective if it was at all pointy, like lego, an earring, or a d4.
posted by cobaltnine at 7:58 AM on April 9, 2009

Use a metal detector.

If use properly they can pick up very small things, gold included. Walking around and trying to find it with a rake or something might hamper your search. You may step on it, pushing it further down into the soil. A metal detector will pick gold. If one isn't available to you, try looking in your phone book or locating a club in your area, and give them a call. They love doing things like this. Most of the time for free. Its the search they're after.

Good luck.
posted by Taurid at 1:55 PM on April 9, 2009

You should definitely use a metal detector
posted by Flood at 6:22 PM on April 9, 2009

Response by poster: Found it! I basically trimmed all the grass down very short, raked the grass carefully out of the way and sifted through it, and then started going around very carefully with a hand-held metal detector like I linked to. I found a couple pieces of junk metal and eventually I came across the ring. It had actually rolled a considerable distance, I think, further than I really thought it would. It was deep enough in the grass that I couldn't easily see it.
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:44 PM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: By the way I think a stud finder WOULD work if you were very very patient, but it basically considers the ground to be a "stud" and is constantly going off, so you have to watch it switch over from "wood" to "metal" (I did some control testing with my wife's ring). By the time you found it with a stud finder you'd probably just find it manually.
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:46 PM on April 9, 2009

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