Geoff Smith, who lives near Lancing Beach in West Sussex, found a ring from 1834 lying on the beach in the shingle.
He this week met family of Liz Honywood, the woman named on the ring, who were overjoyed to accept it.
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Alexina Berwick, Mrs Honywood’s four times great niece, said her family were now considering donating it to a museum to tell the amazing story.
Mr Smith has been a hobbyist metal detector since 2015 and often goes out scanning nearby land with his wife Kay.
Several weeks ago he was on a night scan of Lancing Beach in West Sussex when his head torch picked out a gold band glimmering in the light.
Picking it up, he was astounded to see it was an old ring with an inscription still clearly visible.
Although it had been fashioned into what looked like a top fitted onto a cane, the words Liz Honywood and the date – 29th September 1834 – were still etched deeply into the gold.
It is thought to be a mourning ring – made for widows who want to remember departed spouses.
Mr Smith, who lives near the beach, said: ‘It was just poking out of the sand.