By RENE J. ROY
Christa Stacey had never been to Prince Edward Island with her fiancé, Graham Philpott. So in May 2018 the couple decided to go over to the Canadian island tourist destination for a weekend getaway together. What was a spur of the moment trip ended up being an incredible experience to remember for the Port aux Basques couple. Philpott, a former resident of Prince Edward Island, took Christa to see several locations, and they ended up choosing to visit some of the beautiful local beaches.
“We stopped at Cavendish, around lunch time I would say,” recalls Stacey, “and I took a couple of pictures at the beach, we went for a walk, and on the way back, the sun was really bright, and I could see something shining on the boardwalk.”
When Stacey walked closer to the bright object, she realized it was a solid gold ring. She scooped it up.
“It looked like it was hand carved. There were intricate carvings into it, and I’d never seen a ring like it before. It looked really interesting.”
Christa and Graham approached the other vehicles in the parking lot, thinking perhaps one of the other beach-goers had lost the ring, but nobody laid claim to it.
“I felt that there was something special about this ring – that whoever owned it should have it back. To me, it didn’t look like a souvenir or store-bought ring. It just looked so special.”
Christa’s next step was to post about the ring on various lost and found groups of P.E.I. through Facebook.
“So I did that, and didn’t have any luck, so I put the ring away, and thought, ‘Well I’m going to continue to look.”
Anyone who uses Facebook is familiar with the Memories feature the social media platform offers. On the anniversary of your postings, Facebook sends a little notice reminding you of past posts and prompts you to share it once again. On the anniversary of Christa’s original post about the ring, it popped up on her timeline once again, reminding her that she still had the ring in her possession.
“So I posted it again, and no luck,” says Stacey.
No luck is not entirely accurate. Stacey was told that the ring looked like it came from British Columbia, resembling something called Haida art. She began to research the style, and identified the etchings inside the ring.
“Missy xxoxo Dad”.
This time, she shared the lost ring in all of the popular provincial Facebook groups, right across Canada. She still wasn’t making any headway, so she then made the decision to contact CBC, to try to get more exposure for the lost keepsake. They readily agreed.
“By Friday night (March 26), her sister had seen the story.”
When Stacey says her sister, she is referring to the sister of the ring’s owner, Melissa.
Melissa Greene lives in B.C., and she lost her ring 11 years ago. She has never been to Prince Edward Island in her life. Meanwhile, Christa was contacted by someone else who had seen the story, and informed her that the ring looked like the work of Thomas Greene. Thomas is a respected Haida carver, and a known maker of jewelry. Stacey sent him a photo of the ring, asking if it was in fact his work.
“Before I heard back from him, she (Melissa) had contacted me, and said ‘This is my ring!’”
Verifying that Ms. Greene was indeed the proper owner was easy. Melissa sent several photos that clearly showed her wearing the ring, and displaying it proudly. That left no doubt in Christa’s mind that she had finally found the owner after almost three full years of searching. They spoke a couple of times over the phone, and Christa learned a lot about the history of the ring’s journey. She declines to delve into that part of the tale.
“That’s not my story to tell,” she chuckles.
The ring is especially cherished by Melissa, explains Christa.
“Of all the rings and jewelry she has from her father, that is the only one she has made of gold. Everything else she has from him is silver.”
Ms. Greene never thought she would see the ring again.
“She didn’t know if it got melted down, or what happened,” shares Stacey.
Christa sent the ring back home to Melissa just last Wednesday, March 31.
“I’m pretty excited for her to get it back,” says Stacey.
After a three year long search, to have found the owner of a treasured keepsake makes Stacey happy beyond words.
“It’s amazing. It was just very emotional for me, when we were reaching out to each other, talking on the phone.”
But the mystery remains unsolved. How did such a treasured piece of custom jewelry end up on a boardwalk in a province its owner has never visited?