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How do I find my gold ring which is lost inside the grass in my garden?

Please tell me an easy way to find my ring quickly.

59

If you have 5-10 year old sons, daughter, nieces and nephews (basically kids you trust with a ring), get a group of them together and tell them that whoever finds the ring in the grass will get $20 (or some other appropriate, parent-approved prize). Also have cake & ice cream for those who didn't find it.

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    +1 for being a fun method... bring the minions, bring 'em all! – jimm-cl Apr 28 '15 at 2:16
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    This is, by far, the best Idea! Fun for the kids, as well as highly effective and cheap. – Sempie Apr 29 '15 at 6:21
  • Reminds me of the time I was taken to an event just like this when I was 3, and I was probably the only kid ever who managed not to 'find' an egg. :( – punstress Apr 30 '15 at 0:28
  • Even more fun if you lost it during Easter.. Egg and gold ring hunt! – Anthony Pham Aug 13 '15 at 14:13
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Go outside that night with a very strong flashlight or preferably a higher-intensity floodlight. With any luck, the glint of any metal object will stand out considerably compared to anything else you might find among the grass. Work systematically. Search the lawn one square at a time. You are much more likely to find something searching one square meter at a time rather than wandering aimlessly.

  • How are you going to know where one "square" ends and another begins IN THE DARK?What if you fail to illuminate the ring, then step on the ring as you pass it by, driving it into the ground? Gold is dense and tends to sink to the lowest place possible. What makes you think the ring will even be visible at a slant angle and not behind a tuft of grass or under a leaf? – Tyler Durden Apr 28 '15 at 13:44
  • @TylerDurden If you really care, you can mark out the metre squares with string and stakes. And a gold ring that weights only a few grams is not going to sink into the ground. Large numbers of leaves are unlikely in spring (the asker is in the northern hemisphere.) – David Richerby Apr 28 '15 at 21:14
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    As Robert mentioned, make it reflecting intensive Light and search for the reflection. Even more effective could be a night vision, maybe you know an Hunter or someone else, who could own one to borrow it for a night. Pro of the NV: You will not get distracted by the grass, which will be glowing as well by high intense light. – Sempie Apr 29 '15 at 6:17
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Obvious but expensive answer: wave a metal detector over your lawn. Maybe a friend has one you could borrow?

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    You can also rent a metal detector, but I imagine that even the $30-$50 toys would be able to detect a metal object sitting in the lawn. You might want to ask around or the read reviews of folks who buy these things. – Robert Cartaino Apr 27 '15 at 17:46
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    I once found a bolt from my lawn mower easily in tall grass using a $30 toy metal detector. If the metal is above ground, it doesn't take much. – Jeffiekins Apr 27 '15 at 20:34
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    You can also make a metal detector out of a radio and a calculator. Not sure if it would be strong enough to be useful though, never tried it myself. You can find plenty of tutorials on how to do it with a quick google search. – horns Apr 27 '15 at 21:59
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    +1 I actually found a lost gold ring using this method! I borrowed the metal detector, which was originally purchased from the Aldi supermarket... – EleventhDoctor Apr 28 '15 at 14:32
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    @EleventhDoctor That's awesome! – BrettFromLA Apr 28 '15 at 17:37
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First of all, do not assume it is in the garden unless you are absolutely certain. If there is any possibility it is somewhere else, then those other places must be systematically searched.

Do not use a rake. Do not walk around on, or otherwise disturb in any way the search area. Randomly casting around for the object is a bad idea.

The way to find the ring is to systematically search the search area. To do this with a plot of ground, like a backyard, what you should do is string it with a grid. Drive in wooden stakes around the perimeter of the area. Make sure the stakes are well outside anywhere the ring could have dropped. Next, pull twine around the stakes making a lattice pattern. Tie a heavy object to the twine and throw it across so you do not have to walk in the search area. When you are done you should have the yard divided into a grid, each cell being about 16 inches square.

Once you have divided the search area into a grid, begin searching it cell by cell, marking each cell after you finish it. If your ring is in the search area, it is likely you will find it as long as you thoroughly search each cell. Also, check all branches and twigs in each cell; sometimes an object will catch on a twig.

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    I think you missed the point where the OP asks for a 'quick' method... – MrPhooky Apr 27 '15 at 21:27
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    No, I read that. Unfortunately, there is no quicker method than I have given that will give reliable results. Any method that involves walking around in the search area will potentially make it worse if the ring is stepped on and pushed into the ground. – Tyler Durden Apr 27 '15 at 22:53
  • What's so magic about sixteen inches? – David Richerby Apr 28 '15 at 21:15
  • @DavidRicherby Cells that are larger than that will significantly increase the chance of something being overlooked. The smaller the cell, the lower the chance of missing the object, but the more tedious the search. For an object the size of a ring, 16 inches square is about as large as you can go without missing it. If the object was smaller, like a diamond, you would have to use smaller cells. If the object was larger, like a glove, then you could use larger cells. For example, if he was looking for a diamond, I would have recommended 4 inch cells. – Tyler Durden Apr 28 '15 at 22:13
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    @DavidRicherby I didn't say it was a fact. It is just my personal judgement that that is the right cell size for ring-sized objects. In search theory, your sweep width is generally around the same order as detection range. I just picked 16 inches as what i would consider a reliable detection range in a backyard environment, at least for me. Maybe if I was a really eagle eyed 16-year-old I would use a 20 inch cell. Without doing exhaustive experiments with the "subject" (the OP) there is no way to know for certain the optimum cell size for him. However, Cartaino's meter cell I think way too big – Tyler Durden Apr 28 '15 at 22:38
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Crows here in the Pacific Northwest find everything. I threw a loaf of bread squares onto my lawn one morning, trying to remember where I put my single car key. Voila, a crow buggered around and flipped the key so I could see it. Luckily he didn't use it for his nest.

  • "Luckily he did use it for his nest" How is that lucky? – Joshua Taylor Apr 28 '15 at 20:32
  • @JoshuaTaylor I think "n't" was accidentally omitted. (It would be more natural to say "he used it" than "he did use it" if the positive sense were intended.) – David Richerby Apr 28 '15 at 21:17
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    I edited the answer and changed "did" to "didn't". – BrettFromLA Apr 28 '15 at 22:32
  • I just read about some birds who left treasure like that for a person who'd been feeding them. – punstress Apr 30 '15 at 0:31
4

You could try raking the grass, with any luck the ring might hook onto one of the many tines on the rake and thus be retrieved.

If it doesn't hook on, it should be easy to hear the metal on metal 'ding' noise once you've scraped over it.

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    I strongly recommend you don't do this. The probability that you'll snag a ring with a rake is miniscule compared to the raking action that is most likely going to bury the heavy object deeper into the thatch. – Robert Cartaino Apr 27 '15 at 17:39
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    If you're unlucky, the ring will briefly hook onto a tine, then spring back and be flung far away from where it originally was. – Mark Apr 27 '15 at 22:44
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You could also try the old vacuum panty hose trick. Your neighbors might think you are crazy, if they see you vacuuming the lawn :)

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    I don't think that would work unless you have a very strong vacuum. It needs to be able to lift a gold ring and keep it from falling into the grass again. Also you will still have to search systematically like Tyler Durden suggests in his answer. – Alex Apr 30 '15 at 13:07

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