Lost Diamond Engagement Ring Found and Returned to Brooklyn Bride-to-Be

By Nikhita Venugopal on June 6, 2014 11:20am 

Slideshow
 Rhiannon O'Leary lost her ring last week but good Samaritan Simone Duff found and returned it to her.
Lost Engagement Ring
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CARROLL GARDENS — Rhiannon O’Leary was walking down Court Street last week when she realized her diamond engagement ring was missing from her finger.

After a busy week at work, the bride-to-be had taken the day off last Friday to recuperate. O’Leary usually puts her ring on every morning, but there were days when she left it at her Carroll Gardens home. She assumed it was one of those days.

But when O’Leary couldn’t find the valuable ring at the apartment she shares with her fiancé, Nick Sheehan, they searched high and low, even scouring Court Street.

“It was just completely gone,” O’Leary said.

The ring, set with three diamonds that once belonged to Sheehan’s grandmother and great grandmother, was given to O’Leary last summer when he proposed in Berkeley, California.

Together, the diamonds have been in his family for more than 150 years.

“It’s really irreplaceable,” said O’Leary, 32.

The couple had already planned a trip that weekend, but O’Leary immediately resumed her search when they returned on Sunday, even combing through the trash. But her chances for success seemed bleak.

The band fit loosely on O'Leary's ring finger, and she thought it could have fallen off while she was removing a sweater walking down Court Street.

To bolster her search, O’Leary was about to post a “Missing” ad on Craiglist when she came across a post that read “Found engagement ring on Court St.”

Simone Duff, a 31-year-old freelance artist and set designer, often picks up interesting objects left on the street, like cans, bottles and other discarded items, for her artwork. The ring, which she discovered last Friday, was her most valuable find, she said.

People had already tried and failed to claim the ring after Duff posted fliers and the Craigslist ad. But O’Leary’s description was a perfect match.

“I’m so thankful that Simone was around,” O’Leary said.

Before the ring was recovered, O’Leary and Sheehan, who both work for nonprofits and are getting married in September, tried to ease their sorrow by reminding themselves that the ring was only an object. But its sentimental and monetary value were undeniable.

“This is the most valuable thing [we own],” O’Leary said.

“Besides our love,” Sheehan, 31, added.

For Duff, helping a neighbor gave her a sense of community that can be challenging to find even in small neighborhoods such as Carroll Gardens.

In finding and returning the ring, Duff also earned a new connection and friend that made her efforts worthwhile, she said.

“That was my payment for doing something nice,” she said.

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