St. Augustine man finds $40,000 lost engagement ring then gladly returns it to Jax owner

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Imagine treasure hunting at your local beach and finding a diamond ring. Then imagine finding out that ring is worth more than $40,000.

Action News Jax got an exclusive interview with a man who experienced that exact situation.

The St. Augustine local says he was just having some fun on the beach when he found a ring buried in the sand not an uncommon occurrence for a man like Joseph Cook.


Taking part in one of his favorite hobbie’s, Cook was out searching for hidden treasure at this St. Augustine beach: but instead, he found a diamond ring.

“Holy crap, is that real because just the weight of it alone. I find a lot of rings but that one was exceptionally heavy,” says Joseph Cook when describing his experience.

Thrilled and shocked with his discovery, Cook took the ring to a local jeweler who told him the ring was worth $40,000. Cook just wanted to know if anyone could claim it.

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“I’ve returned at least 50 rings so far this year and a lot of other stuff, but my main concern is to get it back to the people,” says Joseph Cook.

With no one to claim the ring, Cook posted his finding to social media. Two weeks later he got multiple calls from an unknown Jacksonville number, it was a man claiming the ring was his wife’s engagement ring.

“He had the receipt also matching the GI certification number. All those big diamonds like that are certified with a laser inscription,” says Joseph Cook.

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A few days later Cook met up with the owner’s husband at a nearby hotel and returned the ring.

“Good karma, do you believe in it? 100% karma is real. After verifying his ring, I found another diamond ring 5 minutes later I kid you not,”

Cook says he’s been treasure hunting here at St. Augustine beach for 5 years now and in that time, he has found over $60,000 worth of items ranging from apple watches to more diamond rings. He says he holds onto everything in hopes of one day finding the owners.

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