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How an owner got her diamond ring back 13 years after flushing it down the toilet

One man’s discovery in the trash turned out to be a woman’s treasured diamond.

Thirteen years after it was flushed down a toilet, an anniversary gift was returned.

At a Minnesota regional water treatment plant this past March, employees were shoveling through detritus when they came across the long-lost diamond ring of Mary Strand. According to NBC affiliate KARE 11, 13 years before the ring was found in the roughs of a waste plant, it was a 33rd wedding anniversary present given to Strand by her husband, Dave.

Ring discovered
Mary Strand with her diamond ring.KARE 11

Strand lost the ring one day when she was in the bathroom of her home. The ring slipped off her finger and into the toilet.

“It was swirling around. I truly dove for it, and it went down the drain,” she explained. “I was thinking, ‘He’ll never buy me another ring’ ... I felt really bad because it was a gift.” 

Down the toilet the ring went, and despite the spectacular coincidence of her husband being the owner of a drain and sewer company, it was cast adrift. Over a decade went by with it being lost.

Then came that fateful day that the employees at the Rogers, Minnesota, plant — John Tierney, a mechanical maintenance manager, amongst them — spotted a “sparkle of light” in the debris.

Noting the ring’s unique design, Tierney felt that attempting to return the ring wouldn't be a complete and utter wild goose chase. So the Metropolitan Council raised the flag on social media describing their discovery as a needle in a haystack. 

“Recently, we found a ring at one of our regional wastewater treatment plants,” they wrote in the tweet, which included an image of a ring in a haystack. “This is a rare occurrence, and we want to return the ring to its owner! Please contact us if you lost a wedding ring down the drain.”

Hundreds of calls poured into the plant in response to the post and the reports that circulated from wishful thinkers who were told to submit photos of the ring. Ultimately, two local jewelers examined photos and found that one picture looked like a match. It was the one that belonged to Strand.

The ring emerged from the plant — which of all places is located on a road called Diamond Lake — the worse for wear is back in Strand's possession. According to Kare 11, she'll have it reset and ready to wear for her 46-year anniversary with her husband.