A gold ring lost on the sands of St Andrews more than four decades ago is safely back in family hands after its remarkable discovery on the Angus seashore miles across the Tay.
In an astonishing tale of good luck and amateur detective work, Alex Jones has been reunited with her late father’s engraved signet engagement ring 43 years on from the day she vividly remembers hunting for the treasured item after it slipped off her dad’s finger on a family day out in Fife.
Carnoustie metal detecting enthusiast George Taylor’s chance discovery sparked a search that has now led to what Alex described as a “little miracle” after being reunited with the precious heirloom, still in pristine condition despite its incredible journey across the firth to Angus.
George uncovered the ring during one of his regular visits to the beach near his home when his metal detector signalled something in the sand around eight inches down.
Bearing only the inscription Russell and Kathleen 6/8/51, 55-year-old fire training school technician George set about trying to trace the owners with a Facebook appeal.
He feared the quest might come to nothing, but the mystery was finally cracked when Montrose pal Liz Neish used her genealogy skills to trace wedding couples with the names Russell and Kathleen around that time, leading quickly to Alex in Balmerino who was dumbfounded but delighted to learn of the find.
Alex, 61, explained that the nine-carat gold ring belonged to her father, Russell Gordon from Pittenweem and was bought to mark his engagement to Irish girl Kathleen Moore in 1951.
Her dad’s career as a Merchant Navy chief engineer took him away from home for long periods and Alex remembers well the family outing that turned to sorrow when the ring was lost.
“Mum had given it to my father when they got engaged but we were on the sands at St Andrews when it slipped off his finger and I remember us hunting for it.
“It was a sad time because we were on a happy family day but were so upset about losing the ring,” said Alex.
“They went to (Dundee jewellers) Henderson’s to get it in 1951 and were married in 1952.
“Dad didn’t wear the ring that often because of the work he did, so it was special to him and we spent ages looking for it.”
Alex and husband Dai said they were staggered when George made contact and then popped over to their north Fife home.
Both Alex’s parents have passed away, but with December being the anniversary of her dad’s death she said it was an emotional and astonishing surprise.
“It is in such good condition and after so many years it is just amazing that it has come back to us.
“We are really, really thrilled to have it back and it is just so kind of George to go to all the trouble to find us.”