The engraved gold signet ring was found by treasure hunter George Taylor on a beach near his home in Carnoustie in Angus. Bearing only the inscription Russell and Kathleen 6/8/51, the 55-year-old fire training school technician set about trying to trace the rightful owners.
He launched a Facebook appeal with no success and was out of ideas until his friend Liz Neish used her genealogy skills to look for couples with the same name. After weeks of searching she found a couple, Russell and Kathleen Gordon, who had married a year after after the date on the inscription and George managed to track down their daughter Alex Jones.
The 61-year-old remembered the day her dad lost the ring on a family day out at St Andrews beach in Fife and was amazed to hear it had turned up 11 miles away across the River Tay.
Ms Jones from Balmerino said that the 9 carat gold ring belonged to her father, Russell Gordon, from Pittenweem, and was bought to mark his engagement to his Irish sweetheart Kathleen Moore.
Her dad’s career as a Merchant Navy chief engineer took him away from home for long periods and she remembers the family outing when the ring was lost.
Ms Jones said: “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.
“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.”
Ms Jones’ parents have passed away, but with December being the anniversary of her dad’s death she said it was an emotional and astonishing surprise. She added: “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.”
Mr Taylor said: “I was always hoping that I might be able to trace the owner so it was sad to find out that Russell had died, but it’s a magnificent feeling to have got the ring back to the family.”