When Joseph Cook was combing Hammock Beach in St. Augustine, Florida, with a metal detector in October of 2022, he thought he was going to make another run-of-the-mill discovery. Instead, he ended up finding a precious and expensive gemstone. “When I first found it, I thought it would just be a nickel, but then, I dug it up, and it was just this big old diamond and platinum ring,” he recounts. After the beachgoer spotted the sparkler, he took it to a local jewelry story, where he learned that the item was worth $40,000. “I just said, ‘Oh god, that’s been sitting in my scooter for almost a week,’” Cook tells SWNS. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Once he discovered the rock’s price estimate, he started posting about the missing piece on social media and asking local stores if they knew anyone who was looking for a lost ring, he explains to SWNS. After two weeks of trying to hunt down the owner, Cook started receiving calls from an unknown number. At first, he ignored the calls, but then Cook soon realized that the person trying to contact him could be the one who lost their ring, so he answered.
Sure enough, a couple from Jacksonville phoned Cook about the rock. “They were pretty happy,” he reflects to the outlet. “The wife was on a FaceTime call, and she just said, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe it,’ and then, she just started crying.”
Three weeks after Cook delivered the good news, he met the couple near Hammock Beach and gave them the ring, People reports. "It felt really good," he shares. "I’ve returned $60,000 of stuff this year, but nothing even close to this before." Even though the lost treasure was a rare find, Cook was happy to give it back to the rightful owner. “I really wasn’t disappointed that I had to return it,” he says. “Karma’s always good. Every time I return an item, I find something better, so I’m happy I could give it back.” Shortly after Cook returned the diamond ring, he ended up finding another one. He posted about the discovery on his social media page with the caption, “Karma is real.”
This isn't the first time someone has lost a valuable ring in the sand. In October of 2022, a couple was taking photos during an engagement shoot to celebrate their milestone when the bride-to-be's brand-new diamond ring fell and landed somewhere in the sand after the woman tackled her fiancé in excitement. Luckily, they were still on site once they realized the rock was gone. So, they asked friends, family, and strangers to join them on their hands and knees. They even used a metal detector to assist their search. Two hours later, the photographer spotted the ring using her hands and the flashlight on her phone. "The photographer found it,” the pair later shared on their joint TikTok account T&Kay. “I’m so happy.”
Engagement rings and wedding bands are such meaningful pieces of jewelry that symbolize your relationship, so there’s nothing more anxiety-inducing than losing one. If you’ve misplace your ring, recall the last time you were wearing the rock and then start retracing your steps. Think you might have lost it in the sand on your honeymoon? Call the hotel staff to do some digging. If you have insurance on your ring, file a claim within 24 hours of misplacing it, Brides recommends. Worse case scenario, call your jeweler to see if there’s a ring available in a similar or style or have them recreate the accessory for you. In the meantime, you can buy a temporary ring and cross your fingers that it might show up again soon.