Would You Return A Lost 12 Carat, $200,000+ Diamond Ring?

You might have heard recently that an unemployed architect by the name of Mark Epple found a whopping 12 carat, yellow diamond ring when he and his family was skiing in Vail.  The first thing that came to mind was who wears a 12 carat diamond ring?  That must be so gaudy!  My second thought was what is an unemployed guy doing spending thousands of dollars flying his family to Vail to go skiing?  Each lift ticket costs $100, not to mention lodging and food for the family.  Finally, I wondered whether I would return the 12 carat diamond ring if I was unemployed.

It’s easy to argue not to return the ring.  Anybody who can afford a 12 carat diamond ring probably isn’t hurting for money.  It turns out the original owners have a vacation home near Vail, so that sort of proves the point.  Based on the new rule of engagement ring buying, a husband can get away with spending up to the value of his car for his bride to be.  Cheap car, cheap ring!

And based on my 1/10th rule of car buying, one doesn’t spend no more than 1/10th their annual gross income on a car.  In other words, this couple is earning at least $2,000,000 a year.  Furthermore, they probably have personal property insurance coverage like so many do with expensive jewelry.

It’s also easy to argue for why one should return the ring.  If you lose something of value, you certainly hope someone will have the decency to return what doesn’t belong to them.  I’ve lost everything under the sun before and am so grateful when someone returns my lost item.  Furthermore, it’s not like you can easily sell a 12 carat diamond ring without bringing any attention to yourself.  The largest engagement ring I’ve ever seen is 6 carats, and that was just ridiculous.  Finally, if you do happen to return something of great value, more often than not the person will likely reward you for your good deeds.

What would you do?

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Regards,

Sam

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. David M says

    I would absolutely give it back!

    Why? I do not know why – I just know that I absolutely would give it back.

    Would I like and accept a reward – yes.

  2. says

    Would you be able to tell if the diamond is real?? Chances are I’ll probably think it’s just a costume jewellery.

    I usually never pick anything up so I’ll probably do the same if I see the ring and will never know it’s true worth. Hopefully, the owner would have retraced her steps and found her ring.

  3. says

    Ask me again when I actually find a big diamond ring. :)
    Never know what I would do in that kind of situation. The Mrs’ ring has a speck of diamond, maybe .25 carat.

    Thanks for including my video in your round up! I need to send it to Pepsi!

  4. says

    I’d try to return it/find the owner because the guilt would eat me up inside. What’s interesting is I’d probably search less if the diamond was smaller lol

    • says

      Ha! A guy with a conscience. But come on, everything is rational. If you can afford a 12 carat diamond ring, you are likely a MEGA MILLIONAIRE, which means you don’t have to feel too bad!

  5. Laura in Atlanta says

    I’d certainly tell the Ski Resort that I had found a ring and that if anyone had reported one lost to have them call me to identify it. I wouldn’t hand it over to the Ski resort though . . . finders keepers, I say. If no one claimed it back within a year, I would have no problems having it appraised and cashed in.

    I once found an envelope with cash in it, over $400. Same thing, I reported it to the Building Security that i had found it, even posted a couple of generic notes with my phone number in the hallway where I found it, but I held onto it. (“if you lost something very valuable in this building, call me at XXXXXXXX with description . . .” Within 6 months, I didn’t hear from anyone . . . finders keepers and i put it in the bank.

    • says

      Hmmm, I think that’s fair b/c you did make an effort. Reading up on law facts yesterday, there is a term called Statue of Limitations which allow for one to press charges/complain/whatever within a certain time frame.

  6. says

    The designer of the ring, H Bredemeier, hhjewels.com is a client of mine who also purchases diamonds from people as well. He said it would be very hard for someone to pawn or sell that stone. Because of it’s size and color, it would be very easy to track. It would have been a shame for a stone that rare to be cut down into a smaller stone which is the same thing that happened to the hope diamond which is reported to originally been in the french crown jewels.

  7. says

    I would absolutely keep it, sell it, and give 50-75% to some charity, or my church. I think it’s stupid to spend money on stuff like that, better to let people who can use the money have it.

    Remember the old rule, “finder’s keepers, loser’s weepers”? I think it still applies. :)

    • says

      Well, it’s not like if you are unemployed you aren’t allowed to have a good time. You should enjoy the time off and spend time with your family. I just wonder about Vail though, b/c I’ve been a couple times before it it costs a BOAT LOAD to go there as a couple, let alone a family.

    • says

      Still waiting actually. The TV I have still works pretty darn well, although the difference between the technology now and then is getting greater and greater. The LED TV is the game changer that ALMOST brought me over the edge, since I can really tell the picture quality dif. However, I decided that if I just wait 12 more months, I’ll could get better tech and prices will come down. Maybe the 3D/LED Tvs will be awesome by this coming Christmas!

  8. Charlie says

    I won’t lie, I know I would have thoughts about keeping it but I think my guilt would eventually build up that I’d want to return it and not have anything on my conscience. And I agree it’s such a great feeling when someone finds something you’ve lost. For me it’s usually nothing exciting but often a lost sock, missing glove, but once it was my credit card!! I went nuts for 24 hours panicking someone had found it on the street and was going to go on a spending splurge. I immediately cancelled the card when I noticed it was missing but still felt uneasy at my carelessness. Turns out it had fallen out of my bag in my office and a colleague returned it to me the next day. I was so relieved it hadn’t fallen into the wrong hands.

  9. says

    I too would return it. Too big and too much to even think otherwise. It’s probably easier to find the owner too I would say versus a small diamond that many could buy.

    I am curious if they lost it on purpose though … As you mentioned, there is insurance on it and the misses might have been tired of it.

    • says

      You’d think, but all the person got was a free stay at their vacation property. How about $20,000 instead! But, once again, they probably have insurance, so they’d be losing money if they paid!

  10. says

    Wow you’ve seen a 6 carat diamond ring? On a real finger? or on TV? ;)

    My friend just got engaged and she has a 2 carat ring and it cost a whopping $32,000. That is ridiculous! How can anyone justify walking around with $32,000 on their finger?

    • says

      $32,000 is big bucks! What do they, or her fiance do?

      Actually, the Tiffany’s saleswoman just last month was wearing a 5 carat princess cut. It looked ridiculous. She was older though.

      I guess it depends on finger size too.

  11. Andrea @ NickelByNickel.com says

    If I found the ring I would make every effort possible to give the ring back to it’s rightful owner. I would want someone else to do the same thing if it was MY ring that was found! Whether or not this person needs the money or is rich isn’t the issue, it’s not my property. I don’t think I would hand over the ring to the resort either, like some people have mentioned, but I would notify them and make every effort to get the word out there.

  12. Chubby Bunny says

    After verifying its legitimacy, I’d want to keep it, but from a pure logistical standpoint it would be nearly impossible. The market for 12 carat colored diamonds is obviously extremely small and there’s no way you’d be able to fence a ring like that.

    Even if you found someone to take it off your hands, you’d be lucky to get 5-10% of the ring’s value in cash. It’d probably be better to return the ring, hope for a generous reward from the owner and parlay the story into some sort of political or economic goodwill. Sounds pretty Machiavellian, but that’s what I’d do.

  13. says

    He really went out of his way to find the owner of the ring too! I was impressed!!!

    If I were unemployed and my family was starving, I don’t know if my standards would be so high…

    Under my current circumstances, I would try to get it returned though too.

    Honestly, I might be tempted to just throw it way thinking it was a gumball ring, since it looked so fake…

    • says

      If my family was starving, I’d sell it to provide for my family or give it back and tell the owners my family is starving and if they could provide some assistance, that would be great!

  14. says

    It would be a little difficult to see that, indeed, but doesn’t the adage “finder’s keeper’s” apply? I don’t know what I would do. I’m not unemployed and hurting, so maybe give it back, or maybe do what Jonathan suggested. I think the person would appreciate getting it back so I lean toward giving it back, but 12 carats is just so tacky! ;)

  15. says

    @Charlie – Doh! Yeah, I would think a lot about bad karma if I didn’t return it. Although, let’s say it’s a tiny engagement ring…. I would do everything in my power to give it back bc the couple probably isn’t wealthy.

    In this situation, I really am thinking about the mega millions this couple earns and not missing it due to their insurance policy. Hmmmm

  16. says

    I agree with the admin. Anyone who wears a yellow diamond ring on a skiing park would be someone who just wears those kinds of rings for casual fashion. If the owner is already wearing that diamond ring, what more is that person is wearing for professional gatherings? Maybe a stone from Mars perhaps. :D

  17. BRB says

    I’ve actually had something like this happen to me. A woman dropped a ring in the parking lot where I worked. I thought that I saw a coat pull or something and went over to the object to investigate. It was a huge ring. I took it up to a co-worker and she looked at it and said instantly that it was fake. We took it downstairs and found out that the woman had lost it. They called her to let her know and she was so happy, I ended up with a $500 reward too!

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