Joanna Vink: Woman 'delighted' to have century-old diamond engagement ring back 18 months after losing it in river

Joanna Vink: Woman 'delighted' to have century-old diamond engagement ring back 18 months after losing it in river
(Representational photo/Getty Images)

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: A thankful Sydney couple nearly broke down in tears when a scuba diver found their century-old engagement ring 18 months after they lost it in the dark waters of the Parramatta river. In September 2021, Joanna Vink was having fun on her family boat when she decided to reapply sunscreen. She briefly pursed her lips to hold her engagement ring, something she has done "a million times," but it accidentally fell out.


The ring dropped to the ground, "bounced at an angle," and then shot upward before falling into the water. The couple contacted experts in the hopes that they may recover their antique ring after rapidly taking images of the location of their boat.


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'Just gutting'

"[The ring traveled] a good half a meter and then with a 'plop' it fell into the water," Joanna told Yahoo News, expressing her shock and disbelief at the "freak" turn of events at Five Dock Bay. "We have been married for 40 years and it's been with us right from the start," her husband Michael (Mike) Vink told Abc News. "It fell and bounced onto the floor … it could have gone either way … unfortunately it flipped into the water. To lose it after so many years off the back of the boat was just gutting."


The couple hired three professional search teams and spent "hours and hours and hours" looking for their missing ring, but their "hopes were dashed" on each occasion. Even Michael's last-ditch effort to find the ring on their dinghy using a pool scoop failed to produce any results.

"It's like losing the ring all over again anytime someone tries to look for it," Joanna shared. Eighteen months later, a man they had "never heard of before" contacted them after learning about their situation from a mutual contact. Nick Richards has been a metal-detecting scuba diver for 25 years and has liked finding lost valuables. He planned to use his hobby to help the Vinks, but Michael and Joanna weren't very optimistic.


Scuba diver finds the ring 

Richards and his friend, Stuart Allan, began a six-hour hunt for the ring last Sunday, March 12, diving to a depth of five meters in "very little visibility" water. "I think anyone that gets an invitation to dive in the Parramatta River is best to have an excuse ready. It's not pleasant by any stretch," joked Richards, before adding. "I think it's a sense of adventure that makes me want to do it".

'Delighted to have it back'

After finding the ring, Richards returned it to the couple. Joanna compared the moment to meeting up with an old friend. "I wasn't surprised to have it back. I was surprised not to have had it in the first place," she said. "I wasn't even aware for 18 months I had been going down to the boat and sort of quashing down this lonely sense of sadness," she continued. "I'm so delighted to have it back."

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 Woman gets engagement ring back 18 months after losing it in river