An Interview with “Metal Detector Man” Stan Ross, The Ring Finder Extraordinaire, With 750+ Recoveries

Stan recovering a ring.

Metal detecting transcends being merely a hobby for some; it embodies a lifelong passion fueled by curiosity and the thrill of unearthing hidden metal treasures. Stan Ross from Orange County, affectionately known as the “Metal Detector Man,” epitomizes this dedication. Over the years, he has refined his skills in metal detecting, earning a reputation as one of the world’s foremost Recovery Specialists, also hailed as a “Ring Finder.”

In an exclusive interview, we explore Stan’s extraordinary path to becoming a revered recovery specialist, boasting over 750 successful recoveries.

A native of Pico Rivera, Stan relocated to Orange County, choosing Newport Beach as his new home during his college years at Orange Coast College, a time he warmly remembers as the “Surfing Years.” Post-college, he settled down in Seal Beach with his family. It was in 1971, while residing near the beach, that he embarked on his metal detecting journey with a Metrotech Metal Detector, initiating his first recoveries. Given that metal detectors at the time were not waterproof, Stan shared how he used plastic bread bags to shield his coil from water damage.

Younger Stan with his Whites Coinmaster 6000.

Minutes into the conversation, Stan’s passion and expertise in metal detecting were unmistakable. He boasts a collection of detectors suited for a variety of recovery situations, along with several backups of his favorite models. Currently, he primarily conducts his searches with the Minelab Manticore, the XP Deus, and the XP Deus II, showcasing proficiency gained through years of practice. His deep understanding of the dynamics of sand, water, and the typical movement of lost objects has been cultivated over decades.

While in his earlier years, Stan’s recovery missions spanned from San Diego to nearly Fresno, driving up to 250 miles to assist someone in retrieving a lost item, he now, at the age of 81, typically confines his travels to within about a 60-mile radius from Newport. From beaches and waters up to 20 feet deep to backyards, hillsides, forests, rest stops, inside homes, and vehicles, Stan has successfully located items for individuals across a diverse array of settings.

Below are my questions and Stan’s answers.

What kinds of treasures or artifacts initially captivated your interest, driving you to delve deeper into the world of metal detecting?
Beachcombing got me into it. I always loved walking along the sand and discovering treasures washed up by the surf, which sparked my interest in metal detecting. My first metal detector was a Metrotech a transmitters and receiver type detector, which set me back $160 in 1970. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite up to the task in saltwater environments. Therefore I upgraded to the VLF, Whites detector, a Coinmaster 6000, a detector that promised greater success on beaches.

Apart from common items like rings, jewelry, keys, cellphones, and coin caches, can you share some of the most peculiar items you’ve been called to recover?
A survival bomb shelter was located on private property. After the property changed hands, the new owner enlisted my metal detecting services to locate the entry chamber. I successfully uncovered it.

Pre-Digital Era Marketing: Before The Ring Finder network and social media, how did professionals in metal detecting recovery specialist services market their expertise?
Before the internet became the ubiquitous tool it is today, metal detectorists specializing in recoveries relied on a network of personal connections for their quests. They often cultivated close relationships with local dealers, who would frequently reach out to the detectorists for assistance in retrieving items that individuals had lost and contacted the dealer. These individuals who lost items would come to their storefronts seeking help in finding their items. Additionally, membership in local metal detecting clubs provided another avenue where individuals who misplaced items would contact local metal detecting clubs, seeking the expertise of their members to help locate their lost possessions.

Could you recount one or two heartwarming stories of reuniting individuals with their lost treasures that have had a profound impact on you?
The first case that comes to mind involves a 90-year-old woman who lost her wedding ring, tragically just two weeks after her husband passed away. Despite being informed that she lost it in the water, I discovered it was actually in the dry sand. Recovery experts must think outside the box. Although the family believed it was lost in the water, I examined the family’s movements on the beach and, using my intuition and knowledge found it in the dry sand where they had toweled off their grandmother. Returning the ring to her, especially considering her recent loss and her age, was immensely gratifying.

The second case that comes to mind involves an elderly man who was 101, a widower living in a senior assisted living facility, and who had worn his wedding ring for 78 years. He believed he had lost his ring on the patio. His children called me to help find the ring either on the patio or below it. In the end, it was found in the bathroom, likely lost while he was drying his hands. It meant so much to me to see him have his ring, and his memories, back. As we age, our fond memories and connections fuel us to keep going. That ring represented his memories of his dearly departed wife, whom he loved so much. It meant a great deal to know he has it back and is wearing it again.

Thirdly, we could even refer to them as cases. Many of my calls are from couples who haven’t lost their rings while drying off at the beach or swimming but from someone who threw the ring in a moment of upset, often out of a window, off a patio, or from a car window. There is one couple who has called me three times to find their rings that were thrown, and we have become so close that I have renewed their vows for them for the last three years.

What have been some of the most challenging scenarios you’ve encountered during your searches, considering factors like terrain or the location where an item was lost?
I found myself donning a bee suit, a necessity for the recovery that was to locate a diamond earring perilously close to an aggressive bee’s nest.

In cases where you are unable to recover a lost item, how do you approach breaking the news, especially in emotionally sensitive situations where tears are expected?
Conveying the likelihood of an unsuccessful recovery feels like delivering news of a terminal diagnosis—truly, it wrenches the soul. Often, I can gauge when a recovery might be a long shot. By systematically eliminating less probable areas, I aim to provide some peace of mind. Some view recovery specialists as miracle workers, often we are someone’s last beacon of hope in finding their precious item. It’s not uncommon for individuals to place immense faith in our abilities. Despite the pressure, I dedicate myself tirelessly to the search for their lost items.  The key is understanding the emotional state of the person who has lost an item is crucial. Setting realistic expectations, while navigating the process with kindness, acknowledges the deep personal significance and memories tied to the lost items. Demonstrating compassion can make all the difference.

Small Sample of Stan’s Recoveries

Beyond the joy of reuniting people with their lost items, what motivates you to continue your work as a Metal Recovery Specialist / Ring Finder?
The thrill of the search, from leveraging my in-depth knowledge of my metal detecting equipment and a nuanced understanding of the terrain, including sand and water movement. It extends to analyzing human behaviors, allowing me to deduce where items might be lost, going beyond the initial information provided by the person reaching out for help. Simply it is blending technical expertise with detective-like reasoning.

What message or words of inspiration would you like to convey to aspiring metal detectorists who aspire to become Recovery Specialists / Ring Finders?
A lot of people think they want to become one, but it is actually more difficult than most people think. Being on the beach detecting in your leisure time and having someone run up to you to find an item is easy. When someone calls you and an item has been lost for days, and they can’t give exact details of where they dropped it is challenging. If it is a beach recovery, we also have to have the a good understanding of the elements, waves, tides, and types of grains of sand and how sand moves.

We also need to consider that often an item is not lost where people say they lost it. We have to think out of the box, taking into consideration how human movement and physiology of the various people we do recoveries for. You have no idea how many calls I get from couples that were mad and threw rings in a rage. With those calls, you have to think how mad they were, how far one could throw it, and what environment, the pitch of the ground could a ring roll.

The best advice I can tell you is don’t do it for the money or the expectations of getting a reward, and if you think you will get rich at it, take that mindset away, do it for the people, and care they get reunited with their lost items.. 

What words of wisdom would you give to anyone who wants to improve their metal detecting skills?
The proficiency in metal detecting isn’t so much about the latest and greatest technology of the metal detector, the more settings, and features a model has, but rather about the amount of time spent using it and becoming familiar with that specific model. Purchasing a new metal detector doesn’t necessarily improve your skills as a detectorist; it’s the effort and time dedicated to learning the setting of the specific model of metal detector and the actual hours spent actively swinging the machine that makes the difference in becoming a better metal detectorist. With each metal detector, one purchases often they spend more time out with it as they get deeper and more passionate about the hobby along the way; they learn more.

I believe in constant education, listening, watching, and reading any educational metal detecting podcasts, videos, websites, and forums. Even if you think you know it all, there are always tidbits you can get from them and use them to increase finds. At my age 81, I am still learning, I don’t take any of my knowledge for granted and always think I can improve on it. 

For the metal detector manufacturers, if you had a chance to put their management and engineers in a room, what would you like to tell them to help with advancing detectors and the hobby?
I wish for improved launch processes regarding the timing and manner in which new detectors are introduced to the market. Additionally, I hope for greater standardization of multi-frequency numbers across machines, particularly within the same brand. While I understand that bells and whistles can drive sales, it’s crucial to return to the basics and focus on the fundamental features that enhance the detecting experience.

Closing Remarks:

Stan Ross, “Metal Detector Man,” has not only found lost items but also brought hope and smiles to the faces of many. His unwavering dedication, compassion, and expertise have resulted in countless heartwarming reunions. We extend our heartfelt thanks to Stan for sharing his incredible journey with us and for his tireless efforts in making a difference in people’s lives.

To view photographs of the items Stan has recovered and read reviews from satisfied customers, please visit his website at and explore his Ring Finders Page at the Ring Finders Network Website.

In this interview, we’ve had the privilege of delving into the world of Stan Ross, a true hero in the realm of lost treasures, and discovering the profound impact his work has on the lives of those he helps. Thank you, Stan, for your contributions to the metal detecting community.

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  1. Absolutely inspiring article! What an incredible individual! Thank you for taking us into Stan’s world of metal detecting! He has certainly affected lives for decades through his beloved hobby! Thank you for highlighting such a special person and a really fun sport! Well written!

    1. Stan the greatest of all time! The shared stories, smiles and adventures Stan has collected over the years of perusing the thrill of the hunt has absolutely made this world a better place. We take time to appreciate the working example and humble spirit Stan has for those that need help in finding their lost treasures. We appreciate Stan for all his years of continued service to the community. A true inspiration and hero to hundreds of people who have called upon his service.

      Cheers, #SeattleRingHunter

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