GALVESTON — With his metal detector and scoop shovel, an islander found a valuable diamond engagement ring buried nearly a foot in the surf and returned it to its jubilant owner.
Clyde Longworth, 54, owner of a Galveston lawn-care business, heard from a friend about a Daily News classified advertisement placed earlier this month by Lisa Olson, which stated she lost the platinum ring near 45th Street and Seawall Boulevard.
Olson jumped for joy when Longworth reunited her with the lost treasure, which had 11 diamonds. The moment Olson lost the ring was captured on video, Longworth said.
“She said that you could actually see it come off her finger and tumble in the sunlight and go ‘kerplunk’ in the water,” Longworth said.
Olson placed an advertisement in The Daily News, filed a police report and placed fliers at pawnshops, Longworth said.
“She did everything right as far as trying to get it back,” Longworth said.
On Dec. 3, Longworth readied to go “hunting” when he heard from a friend about the advertisement.
“I came down here and there was another treasure hunter down here that was hunting, and there was a bunch of people out here actually going through the sand with their fingers,” Longworth said.
Longworth hunted for about six hours, finding four rings. None belonged to Olson.
Longworth then called Olson, who said she had lost the ring at the high waterline at the foot of the stairs maybe 14 days before. A friend of Longworth’s with the Galveston Island treasure hunters club told him platinum makes a sound on the detector unlike any other metal, so he should dig every target.
“I came back down here and started out into the water,” Longworth said. “I got three signals right in a row, two pennies and that ring. It wound up being diamonds and sapphires set in platinum. Really a beautiful piece.”
Longworth waded into ankle-deep water, shoveled twice and scooped the ring.
Longworth called Olson about the discovery, and she sent him a photograph of the ring, showing it placed on the toe of an infant.
Olson came to Galveston on Dec. 4 and met Longworth on the beach. She was quite grateful, Longworth said.
Longworth started hunting for treasure about a year ago after overcoming a debilitating back injury. He fell while working as an air conditioning technician.
Rings, change and a lot of trash are among Longworth’s finds, but none has been as valuable as Olson’s ring, which had 10 small diamonds and a quarter to a half-karat centerpiece surrounded by sapphire baguettes.
Messages left Monday for Olson weren’t immediately returned, but Longworth said she shared her gratitude with a surprising reward.
“She was very generous,” Longworth said. “It was more than I expected. Coming up on Christmastime, being a single dad, I was real grateful for it.”