LYNN, Mass. – When Jim Carafa uncovered a high-school class ring under several inches of dirt in a Danvers park in October, he had a funny feeling he might be able to return the ring to its owner.

He was right.

Two hours of research in the Lynn Public Library and help from City Clerk employees Jean McManus and Mary Gokas helped Carafa return the English High School Class of 1974 ring with its red stone and the initials “MJG” engraved inside it to owner Marion J. Guiffre.

“When Mary called me and said, ‘Did you lose a ring?’ it felt surreal. I described it and then I went down to City Hall to pick it up,” said Guiffre, an East Lynn resident.

Finding long-lost objects – some of them valuable – using a metal detector has been an occasional hobby for Carafa for almost 20 years. The Peabody resident has passed his detector over beach sand and lawns, sending radio waves into the ground and getting hits on diamond rings, Colonial-era coins and Civil War bullets. He found Guiffre’s ring almost as soon as he activated the detector in the park.

“I didn’t walk five feet and there was the ring – seven or eight inches deep,” he said.

Carafa has kept some of the items he has found but, in recent years, he started searching out the owners if he can identify characteristics.

Gokas said Carafa has become a somewhat notable visitor to City Hall, stopping in three times in the last two years to reunite found rings with owners.

“He tries to find the owner. Other people find things and sell them,” Gokas said.

The date on Guiffre’s ring and her initials proved helpful to Carafa and lucky for Guiffre. He pored through the English Class of 1974 yearbook looking for class members with initials that matched Guiffre’s and then closely approximated Guiffre’s birth year and brought the initial matches to Gokas and McManus. The pair compared the matches to birth records and pinpointed Guiffre.

“She was ecstatic,” Gokas said.

Guiffre said she was wearing her class ring in the park during a General Electric outing in 1976.

“We were playing wiffle ball. I put it in my friend’s pocket. It must have fallen out. Of course, we looked around for it – I really missed it,” she said.

Carafa said his discovery might not have been possible a few years from now. He said objects dropped on the ground sink into the soil, settling deeper and deeper until they cannot be located using a detector.

Guiffre and Carafa met after Guiffre sent him a thank-you note. A man of few words, it didn’t take him long to explain why he returned the ring to its owner.

“If you get it and give it up – it comes back to you,” he said.