London - A British holidaymaker who lost a precious diamond ring in the Mediterranean Sea has been reunited with it after she flew an underwater metal-detectorist to find it.
Katie Patterson was distraught when the £10 000 (about R190 000) family heirloom slipped off her finger as she swam in 5ft of water in Majorca.
The 23-year-old university medical student made desperate attempts to find the shiny platinum ring that had been passed down through three generations – but to no avail.
She returned home, phoned some metal-detecting companies and was put in contact with retired diver George Edmunds, from Weymouth, Dorset.
In total, Katie spent up to £1 000 on airfares and accommodation for herself, George, 75, and his partner Julia Stephens to fly to Majorca to look for the band.
They met up in the seaside resort near Palma, where Katie pointed out roughly where she had lost it six days earlier.
Using a waterproof metal detector and snorkel, George found the ring in just under an hour, buried three inches under the seabed and 30ft from the shore. He returned the item to Katie, who was overjoyed when she saw it. George, who has been underwater detecting for 30 years, said: “I’m a bit of a teaser so I showed her some coins I had found. She looked a bit crestfallen.
“Then I said I had found a Mickey Mouse ring kids can buy at fun fairs and brought out her ring. Her face was an absolute picture. There was a lot of crying and hugging. She was over the moon.”
Katie, who is originally from Belfast but now lives in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffordshire, while she studies at Keele University, lost the ring on July 12.
She was on a four-day break to La Playa De Illetas in Majorca for a friend’s wedding.
The Victorian platinum ring has a trilogy of diamonds in it and had originally belonged to her great-grandmother.
Katie inherited it two years ago from her late grandmother, Denise Swann.
She said: “When I lost it I got into a bit of a state and several people helped me look for it in the sea. I spent two hours looking for it with a few German holidaymakers who had snorkels. When I flew home I never thought I would see it again.”
Katie added: “The main feeling I had was guilt. I am the fourth generation of my family to have this ring. I was very close to my nana and I always admired the ring on her finger from the age of five. She left it to me when she died two years ago. I’m a very determined person and one thing my nana instilled in me was never to give up.”
George explained: “I’ve found hundreds of rings over the years, – but unless you’re commissioned to find one it’s impossible to reunite people with their lost treasures. It was a pleasure to find Katie’s for her.” Katie added: “When he produced my ring, I just broke down in tears. I was lost for words and just gave him a massive kiss. When I told my mum I had lost the ring she was very good about it and comforted me.
“But since I found it she has given me a real ‘b********g’ about losing it in the first place!” Kindly George waived his normal commission fee – as he and his partner effectively had a free holiday.