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Ring lost 7 years ago returned to owner thanks to a metal detector and online sleuthing

'I think he's still freaking out'

Losing a piece of jewelry, especially one with sentimental value can be heart wrenching. After an exhausting search, there comes a time when any hope of ever seeing the piece again, is lost. But sometimes, when you least expect it, something incredible happens. Take for example a man, originally from North Bay, who was recently reunited with a ring he lost seven years ago.  

Mark McCallion was metal detecting like he does most days, when he unearthed the school ring lost in 2010.  

"The full name was engraved on the ring. It was a Chippewa ring and I went to Chippewa. I called the school and they couldn't give me any information. I started an internet search and found an article with the guy's name in a band from North Bay. I eventually narrowed the search and found him living in Montreal. I think he's still freaking out," laughs McCallion.

The hobbyist began metal detecting just over a year ago. It was something he always wanted to do, but it wasn't until he saw some videos online that his interest peaked, and he took up the hobby in earnest. 

"I got a used machine and just came out, to keep out of trouble basically," said McCallion."It gets me out of the house, I get some exercise and do some stuff."

The third day metal detecting he found a gold chain, worth $1,600 new.

"It was buried really deep, and it was broken too, so I cashed it in and bought some more stuff for metal detecting.."

McCallion has found other lost pieces of jewelry, buried below the surface. He got lucky with the school ring but finding the rightful owner is virtually impossible.

Depending on how far he wants to go on any given day, McCallion will drive or ride his bike to different locations around the city.

"I've been basically been all over. I do a lot of scouting in the area too, like places I personally have never been, but I know there's something there. So I take my detector and check it out. It might be a waste of a day, but it keeps me busy."   

He finds the hobby relaxing.

"I can think whatever, shut my mind down, just do whatever I want. Its just calming, and you can actually make a fair amount of money from it if you're lucky," said McCallion.

His one tip for anyone starting out is to buy a reputable machine.

"Just don't go buy the nearest knock-off, cheap thing you can find because most of them won't do what you want and you'll end up wasting your money. This machine I have, I bought it used for $100, then I waterproofed it which is probably another $50-$60. The pinpointer which is another metal detector, a more accurate one, is almost $200. So it can get expensive very quickly, by the time you add gloves and diggers."

McCallion is also environmentally friendly. 

"You really have to be careful because it gives us detectors a bad name. There's a code of ethics for metal detecting and one of them is leave no trace, a minimum impact is really important. You also don't go on someone's property without permission, you clean up after yourself and it's basically being a good neighbour."  

There is no club in town, but last year McCallion created a Facebook page, North Bay Metal Detecting.   

Following the interview, McCallion wandered a short distance away when his detector went off. He dug down to find a dime, nothing to retire on but the day was still young, the sun was shining and he was out of the house getting exercise and some fresh air.