Jan. 22 (UPI) -- A North Carolina couple who lost their engagement ring on a Costa Rica beach said the precious item was found nearly a month later by a metal detector owner.
Michele Arias of Charlotte said she put her engagement ring in fiance Doug Cotty's tank top pocket for safekeeping Dec. 11 when they were on the Paya Chaman beach, and they didn't realize until too late that it had fallen out when Cotty took the shirt off to apply sunscreen.
The couple said they searched for the ring but were eventually forced to call off the search and fly home the next day.
Arias posted an appeal for help in a Costa Rican community Facebook group, but she said there were no leads until Jan. 9, when she received a message from a stranger named David Harris.
Harris, 67, a U.S. expat, saw the post when he was tagged by an acquaintance and had sent Arias some messages offering his help, but they ended up in her spam folder.
Harris said his metal detector found the ring buried in about a foot of sand.
"When I looked down in there, the sun was up and was shining, and the ring was sitting still in some sand, but it was sitting straight up and down," Harris told the Charlotte Observer. "And that center stone was just like a beacon."
Arias paid for a private courier to take the ring to where a friend's parents were staying on their own Costa Rica vacation, and she was finally reunited with the ring Sunday afternoon.
"I thought I was gonna cry when I got it back, because when I think about it, I keep thinking about when we lost it, and so of course that brings up a lot of emotions," she said.
The ring's long journey home was downright brief compared to the decades-long story of Angelita Kolodzieyczyk, whose class ring was lost during a 1971 construction project at Michigan's Comstock High School.
The ring was finally returned to Kolodzieyczyk after a worker taking apart lockers in the locker room -- the scene of the 1971 construction project -- caused it to roll free onto the floor.