Friday 28 October 2016

'I just broke down in tears' - Woman reunited with cherished €12k diamond ring after flying specialist diver to Majorca

Meadhbh McGrath & Tomas Heneghan

Published 21/07/2016 | 11:25

Majorca Credit: Google Maps

A retiree and metal-detecting enthusiast has found a missing antique diamond ring in the Mediterranean after the owner lost it while on holiday.

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Katie Patterson was devastated when she discovered the precious family heirloom, worth €12,000, was missing after a swim in the Mediterranean Sea.

Despite frantic search efforts, the 23-year-old was unable to recover it during the holiday, and continued the hunt when she returned home to Staffordshire, England.

After reaching out to a number of metal-detecting companies in the UK, she was put in touch with George Edmunds, a 75-year-old retired diver from Dorset who has 30 years of experience in underwater detection.

Speaking to RTE’s News at One, Mr Edmunds said: “She told me she had lost this ring in Majorca. Great sentimental value, worth about £10,000.

“It wasn’t so much the monetary value, it was the sentimental value because it had been handed down through the generations from her great grandmother. And she commissioned me and we flew out about a week after she lost the ring.”

Desperate to find the beloved Victorian platinum ring, Ms Patterson offered to pay him to fly to Majorca and help her recover it.

“The bay was only about maybe 150 metres across. She met us at Palma. She flew back to Mallorca to show me where she lost it and she went and stood out where she thought was the spot where she lost it, and I sort of detected around her,” Mr Edmunds told the show.

Equipped with a waterproof metal detector and snorkel, he dived in and within 50 minutes he had located the ring buried three inches under the seabed, a full 30ft from the shore.

“Katie had in the meanwhile, after about three quarters of an hour, gone back to the beach because she was starting to get cold because she had been stood in the water a long time.

“In the meanwhile I had found a handful of coins and another ring actually - I also found a diamond eternity ring.

“Katie went back to the beach to warm up. I carried on looking and about 10 minutes after she left I found her ring, got back to the beach and I tipped what I’d found out onto a towel.

“I kept her ring back and showed her the finds - the coins I’d found and another ring. The look on her face, she was a little bit crestfallen and then I said ‘I also found one of those Mickey Mouse rings that you can buy at funfairs, that kids can buy’ and I showed her the ring.

“She was absolutely speechless and aghast and then all the sobbing and crying and hugging and kissing. She was absolutely over the moon. It was worth all the effort just to see the look on her face.”

Mr Edmunds said that although metal-detecting is a hobby for him, he would usually ask people who seek his help to pay his expenses such as travel costs.

“Normally what I ask of people if I have to do a bit of travelling is to pay what expenses I have to incur.

“Normally it’s about 10% value of whatever the object is. But of course if I had stuck to that with Katie it would have cost her £1,000, so I waived that.”

Ms Patterson told the Telegraph she spent up to €1,200 on flights and accommodation for herself, Mr Edmunds and his partner to complete the search in Majorca.

She said she felt guilt over losing the ring as she was the fourth generation in her family to have it, and had only inherited it two years before when her grandmother died.

She added that she never thought she would see it again.

“When he produced my ring, I just broke down in tears. I was lost for words and just gave him a massive kiss,” she said.

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