You Find Some, You Lose Some

Several months ago, I blogged about a woman who left her diamond ring in a restaurant washroom for just a short time but lost it forever.

Now here’s a story that runs in the opposite direction. Daniel Packer of Mervis Diamond Importers in Tyson’s Corner, Va., wrote in with the details:

Last week, someone walked into our store with a 3.02 carat diamond ring we sold several years ago that he found in a nearby parking lot with an estimated value of $40,000. We are now trying to find the owner of the ring and this has been a big news story here. I guess not everyone is greedy and some people are still interested in doing the right thing.

Here’s how the Mervis blog explained things, and here’s a followup from the Washington Post.

The twist, of course, is that if the kind-hearted stranger’s altruistic act doesn’t get the ring back in the hands of its owner, the store must decide what to do with its windfall. Keep it? Split it with the stranger? Donate the proceeds to charity?

[Addendum: The owners of the ring have been found.]


Did you read the article? Apparently, the ring was found by a guy flicking a cigarette on the ground at a garage.

He then goes altruistic about his find?

Elastic values in action.


I have learned over the last few weeks with all that has gone on with this find. Some of the comments have been hard to take & we have had to let a majority of them roll off our backs but thru it all the feeling that we have for what we did can never be taken away from us and we would do it again and again. Being honest and doing the right thing feels great, it doesn't matter what people think of you, just always follow your heart, being selfish will never get you anywhere in life. One more thing, as for my husband, I'm so very very proud of him, he lives life doing for others on a daily basis and requires nothing in return, says an awful lot about his character and for that I love him with all my heart!

Don't judge people for their actions, good or bad!


Jimmy, You haven't kept up with the story, the ring is back in the owner's possession, the story had a very good happy ending....just wanted to set things straight.


My wife didn't wear her engagement ring because she works in a hospital and has gloves on much of the time. The ring would tear the gloves, get full of powder, etc.

I took it to a jewler and had them set the three diamonds in a beautiful pendant and earings. They ring was not used in the new jewelry and I sold it to them as scrap.

I presented them to her for her birthday and she was thrilled.

I ask you this. Did I somehow remove the sentimental value of the diamonds? Is the sentiment in the ring, the diamonds or neither?

I think we place too much value on material goods. Our wedding photos and memories are much more important to us than any ring could ever be.


I'll go ahead and assume that the ring was insured, so I imagine it's really the insurance company's ring now.

Scott Wentland

You economists out there, you'll appreciate this one.

My wife found a $20 bill on the sidewalk a few months ago as we walked by a movie theater. (As an economist) I was, well, completely shocked...

She turned it in at the nearby box office. Then, I thought my head was going to explode...


"That is only the recommended three months salary for some one who make 160,000 and with inflation we will all be there soon."

Who do you think makes that recommendation? I recommend you spend three month's salary on figuring out some priorities.



No kidding that those Carbon crystals are overpriced. If "Aliens" ever visit us, they'll be amused by our overvaluation certain chemical compounds.


Obviously Drew can't read as for the dumb comment. The cigarette butt went in the trash, the hot ash went on the ground. Get your facts straight.....


I am happy that the owners got the ring back. It is ironic that something good (the return of the ring) resulted from something evil (flicking a used cigarette onto the ground).


Funny, just last week some neighbors were telling a similar story over dinner about finding a diamond ring in the bathroom at a mall store. She brought the ring to customer service, but most of her story was about the agony of her guilt over having not gone to the police. She thought too late that the customer service clerk would simply pocket the treasure for himself.

She never left any identifying information for herself, and I don't think the idea that she would have a claim to the ring ever entered into her head.

world traveler

To add a twist to this speculation. I would think a diamond ring (of any value) lying on the ground has a high probability of being thrown there. (Let's face it - after the initial presentation and subsequent fitting - no one is getting so thin their engagemetn rings are falling off)

Either the owner (or purchaser) will claim it, or be too embarrassed by the publicity to admit it is theirs. Must be a high volume store to have such an expensive ring not be remarkable enough to remember.


It's 3 months salary in the USA (but I bet Tiffany sponsored the "wedding guide" that set that standard!)

In the UK it's 1 month's salary - if and only if you believe the bridal industry magazines!

I think one week's salary gets you something acceptable.

As for it coming off - my mother lost her ring when we were sitting picnicing and she threw bread to the ducks. Her fingers had got slimmer as a 40+ year old than they were at 21.

Ben Karol

That is only the recommended three months salary for some one who make 160,000 and with inflation we will all be there soon.

Robin Reeves

Perhaps the true owner is the small African child who unearthed the diamond.


Split it with the stranger and a charity

Gene Morris

Would the man have searched for the rightful owner if he had been alone? The article says the couple. No accusation here, I'm simply pointing out how ridiculously honest people like to act around others.

Daniel Packer

After about a week of detective work, we were able to track down the owner. The generous couple who found it decided that if the owner could not be found, they would donate the value of the ring to charity. You can see the updates to the story at

Also, we were so inspired by this story that we created a website to help others try and find their lost diamond jewelry.


I dropped my ring at a bus stop last Tuesday and it showed up at the local police station by Saturday.

It seems to me that people's honest with found objects depends on two factors: the value of the lost property and its liquidity. Even though a person's wallet may have less monetary value than a lost diamond ring, the cash in the wallet can be easily spent, while the ring would have to be pawned, which takes more effort on the person's part. Of course, lost objects of no value (hairbands, notes, etc.) will probably stay lost forever because no one would think it important to return it.

Dennis Rice

If they don't find the rightful owner, I don't see that the store has any real claim. I think the honest stranger should get the full amount, less whatever the store spends trying to find the owner.