Valerie Lynch of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, will be celebrating her 21st anniversary with her husband, Mike, this week. She'll be wearing her engagement ring, recently found after being lost for 17 years, to celebrate.
Seventeen years ago, while visiting her sister in Plymouth, Lynch removed her 1.2-carat marquise diamond engagement ring and wedding band so she could apply sunscreen to her young children.
After a walk to the beach, she remembered she hadn't put her rings back on. When she returned to the house, she couldn't find the rings anywhere.
"I was totally shaken up. I called my husband, he was very upset," Lynch told CBS Boston. "I was devastated."
A few years later, the wedding band was found. The engagement ring, however, was thought to be gone forever.
"We came back with the metal detectors and searched the yard so many times," Lynch told the Patriot Ledger. "I had given up on it."
Two weeks ago, after talking to Lynch's sister, Vicki Belanger, metal-detecting hobbyist Kent Blethen offered to help search the beach where the ring went missing so long ago.
After just 40 minutes of searching, Blethen found the engagement ring under more than an inch of dirt. He then had the ring appraised: It's worth $5,000.
Last Friday, Belanger surprised Lynch with the ring.
"I was in complete shock — absolute shock. I just keep looking at it now, and I just can't even believe its on my finger," Lynch said. "It's more beautiful than I ever remember."