“It’s pretty quick,” says Chris Turner. “You get a call, pack your gear and go. You don’t have time to wait.”

Turner isn’t a cop or a paramedic or any type of first responder. Instead, his line of work starts with him throwing a metal detector into his car before heading out to various parks, golf courses, beaches and yards across the Lower Mainland. 

There, he meets up with some-one who is often in a full-on panic: they’ve lost a ring and they need help. 

Turner has been helping people find their valuables for over 27 years, and has run the online directory The Ring Finders for the last 12. The group has representatives all over the world and has returned, collectively, around 8,500 items at a value of over $10 million. 

Most of the members (including Turner himself) charge customers only on successful finds and ask for whatever they can afford to pay (plus a $25 gas fee depending on the drive). “Most of the time the stigma of a person with a metal detector is that they’re trying to find stuff for themselves,” says Turner, who looks a little like a bigger Robert Downey Jr. with a ponytail (if RDJ didn’t dye his hair and beard to get rid of the grey). “We have found a way to use our metal detectors to help people.”

On this day, that call takes him to Stanley Park, where a woman lost her ring at a concert the night before. “She thinks she might have been slipped something—didn’t drink much but can’t remember much of anything.” 

It’s another in a long line of quests for Turner, who curates a well-worn highlight reel of finds that he’s proud of on his YouTube channel—many of which conclude in jubilant waterworks. 

Those have included finding a gold medallion in a West Vancouver soccer field, reuniting a young man with his departed grandfather’s ring in a Surrey forest and uncovering a wedding band lost in the water at a White Rock marina on the groom’s wedding day. 

Such finds delighted owners and reunited them with prized possessions, but they didn’t afford Turner
worldwide recognition. That happened last year when The Ring Finders got a call from actor Jon Cryer of Two and a Half Men fame. Cryer lost his wedding ring on a grassy median on the seawall. After a short search, Turner was able to come up with it. 

“The gods were on his side for that one... it really was about a five percent chance we were going to find that ring, based on the location,” he says, noting that the event was covered on media platforms from CBC to People magazine. “It definitely afforded us some crazy exposure and attention.” 

Unfortunately, there’s no ecstatic, teary, “voilà” moment today. Without a clear map of where his client was in the park, the search ends up futile. 

“I come into every search with the thought of finding the ring, but I’m a realist too,” he says. “I always say that people’s rings and jewellery have these beautiful and amazing stories attached to them. And those stories end when they’re lost.” 

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