“Few people would do this.” Thousands in fine jewelry found on beach is returned to grateful owner just before Christmas

Mary Duncan

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*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.*

Last summer I went to the beach with my friend Thea a few times and after one of those times we went she called me crying saying she had lost her watch there. She’d taken it off before going into the water and laid it on her blanket and assumed that it had gotten thrown off and lost in the sand when she picked up her blanket to leave. She asked me to go back to the beach with her and look for it before the tide came in but it was getting dark and I was exhausted and knew we’d never find it, anyway.

Well, Thea went back to the beach alone and after combing the place for hours in the dark she did actually find her watch and she wasn’t happy with me for not being supportive or willing to help.

I’ve had the fortune to live on the Connecticut shore all my life so have spent a ton of time at the beach. I know things get lost there all the time, because I have found things. Jewelry, watches, wallets and more - and when I can, I hand them in to life guards or try to find the owners.

A couple of years ago it was an unseasonably warm winter. I went for a walk on the beach with my boyfriend in mid-December and as we were walking I saw something sticking up out of the sand that didn’t look like it belonged on a beach. I bent down and saw that it was a box, and pulled it out. It was about twelve inches long and four inches wide, but slim and light, closed with a simple metal clasp. I opened it up and gasped.

Inside was a collection of gold necklaces, laid out and then wrapped in a soft cloth.

“How could anyone lose this here?” I asked my boyfriend.

There was no one else on the beach and as it was buried it looked like it had been there for a while. Since it was winter, there were no life guards or authorities to give the jewelry to, so I took it home and decided what I would do.

I went on Facebook and Craigslist and posted ads that I had found jewelry on the beach. I said in the post, if you think it’s yours, please describe it and I will get it back to you.

The posts were shared in community forums over and over again and I got a lot of people emailing me who were obviously scammers trying to take jewelry that wasn’t theres, but finally the owner was found.

One day I got an email from a woman who explained that she had met her aunt on the beach one warm December afternoon and they had exchanged Christmas gifts early, and this woman’s gift was a collection of her family’s gold jewelry. Not only did she explain every piece in detail, she even had photos of some of the necklaces being worn, proving that it was hers.

To be safe, I met up with her in the parking lot of our local police station to give her the jewelry and she was ecstatic to get it back.

“I don’t even know how I lost it, it must have fallen out of my bag,” she explained.

“Thank you,” she told me. “Very few people would go through the trouble to do this and get something like this back to the owners. I thought it was lost and gone forever, for sure.”

The sad thing, is she is probably right. Not many people do the right thing.

What would you have done?

Hi, I hope you enjoyed this story! I am a freelance writing single mom trying to create a better life for me and my daughter through words. If you enjoyed this, please consider leaving a small donation: https://ko-fi.com/maryduncan

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I write about the weird complexities of relationships to make a better life for me and my daughter through words. https://ko-fi.com/maryduncan

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