Someone lost a very special sterling silver ring in the sand more than a decade ago and Tony Hewitson has found it.

The 65-year-old Tauranga man's metal detector beeped long and loud when it hovered over a sterling silver ring with gemstones inset at the southern end of Memorial Park last week.

The ring has "Love Jan" and the numbers 1970 or 76 inscribed on it.

"I can't quite read if it is a six or a zero," said Hewitson, who wants to reunite the ring with its owner.

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Hewitson usually pockets the goods he detects - but this time he didn't feel right keeping it.

"It has got someone's name on it. It is the first thing that I have seen that has a name on it."

Going by the date inscribed on the ring, Hewitson guessed the owner could still be alive.

"I thought 1970 or 1976 was about 40-odd years ago, so whoever had it was probably 20 so we are looking at someone who is over 60," he said.

"It could have been in the ground for about 10 to 15 years."

Hewitson said most things he detects are rusted and old, so he brings them home to wash so he can reveal the true value of his treasure.

"It [the ring] didn't look like much, but I put it in my pocket to wash it when I got home. You don't know what you have most of the time.

"You haven't got time to stand around and wash things when there is detecting to be done."

Hewitson said he had found a 1937 half-crown coin and a 1917 penny "that you could barely make out" in the same spot just a few days ago.

He often visited beaches in search of buried treasure.

"I am a novice detectorist, if you like," Hewitson joked. "It is very addictive."