A Scuba Diver Found an Engagement Ring in a Sydney River 18 Months After It Was Lost

The precious piece of jewelry was over 100 years old.

Antique diamond engagement ring

Robert Kirk / Getty Images

When Michael Vink proposed to Joanna Vink with an antique engagement ring that’s been around for 100 years, Joanna knew it was a one-of-a-kind, prized possession. That’s why she was in complete shock when the sparkler fell into the Parramatta River in Sydney, Australia, in September of 2021. When the Sydney resident was out on her family’s boat that September day, she decided to reapply sunscreen. To make sure her vintage ring didn’t get damaged, she put the piece of jewelry between pursued lips, which is something she says she’s done “a million times” before. This time, however, the sparkler hit the floor before springing into the air. “Then, with a plop, it fell into the water,” Joanna tells Yahoo! News Australia.

Immediately, the woman says she was “dumbfounded” by the “freak” happening, but she refused to give up hope. She snapped pictures of the boat’s location before telling her husband what had happened. The two of them reached out to professionals for help retrieving the missing ring. According to the outlet, the couple arranged three different professional search missions. Despite endless hours of digging, they didn’t spot the sparkler. Michael even tried to take matters into his own hands by using a scoop pool net, but still, there was no luck. The couple was starting to get discouraged. “It’s like losing the ring all over again any time someone tries to look for it,” Joanna shares. 

A year and a half later, Nick Richards, a metal detecting scuba diver, reached out to the couple on Instagram after hearing their story. Since Richards has found over 400 hidden treasures over the past 25 years, he wanted to use his hobby for good. He and his friend Stuart Allan swam through the depths of the river for six hours with very little visibility, trying to recover the lost ring. According to the publication, they reached 16-and-a-half feet below the water’s surface to cover their bases. “I think anyone that gets an invitation to dive in the Parramatta River is best to have an excuse ready,” Richards jokes. “It’s not pleasant by any stretch. I think it’s a sense of adventure that makes me want to do it.”

Miraculously, the scuba diver got a signal from his metal detector. Richards had found the ring, which he says felt “indescribably good.” After the successful mission, Richards sent the couple a text message with a photo of the ring to break the news. At the time, Joanna and Michael were attending a function in Sydney, and after receiving the message, Michael was about the cry. Joanna describes the moment as “wonderful,” and she tells the publication that she was so grateful for Richards’ efforts.

Now, the diamond ring is placed safely on Joanna’s left hand. Over the past year and a half, ever since she had lost her precious gemstone, Joanna discloses that she had struck with grief. Now that she’s reunited with the sparkler, she describes it as having a long-lost friend back. "I wasn't surprised to have it back,” she notes. “I was surprised not to have had it in the first place. I wasn't even aware for 18 months I had been going down to the boat and sort of quashing down this lonely sense of sadness. I’m so delighted to have it back.” Now, Joanna mentions she’s able to go back on the boat without feeling any guilt.

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