British Columbia

B.C. woman's lost heirloom ring found 18 years later in dresser she sold

Salle Manning inherited the diamond wedding ring from her grandmother and mother 27 years ago. She said she values the emotional connection that the treasure embodies.

Neighbour buys the used furniture and returns the jewelry to her

Salle Manning has her long lost heirloom ring returned from a neighbour who found it when they purchased her used dresser. (Submitted by Salle Manning)

A Salmon Arm, B.C., woman didn't realize the wedding ring inherited from her grandmother was actually hidden in her own dresser for almost 18 years, until the furniture was recently sold to a neighbour who was honest enough to tell her.

Last week, retired elementary school teacher Salle Manning received a message from Katherine Bangma Sears who asked whether a piece of jewelry had gone missing, after purchasing the dresser listed on Facebook Marketplace. 

Manning was tearful when thanking Bangma Sears with a bouquet, for her generosity in returning the 103-year-old family heirloom.

"I almost felt that connection to the past," Manning said, as she described the emotional attachment to her grandmother and mother that she felt at that moment.

Manning inherited the diamond ring from her mother 27 years ago when she became engaged to her husband Frank. She wore both the ring and her grandmother's dress on her wedding day.

Manning said she shares her mother's habit of hiding belongings in a drawer to make them safe. She wasn't exactly sure how the ring went missing, but the loss was particularly stressful when coupled with other traumatic life events.

Salle Manning, right, who married her husband Frank, left, 27 years ago, had a stressful time when she lost her wedding ring 18 years ago. Her mother had died and her daughter Maggie, centre, now 20, had been diagnosed with hip dysplasia. (Submitted by Salle Manning)

"My own mother had passed away not too long ago. During that time, my daughter Maggie was diagnosed with hip dysplasia and was going to start a series of what has now been 12 surgeries," Manning told Chris Walker, host of CBC's Daybreak South.

Manning said there were many days of tears and despair as she searched every corner of her drawers and closets at home without finding the jewelry. During home renovations, she decided to sell some of her furniture, including the 1930s dresser she had kept in her bedroom for 25 years. 

Katherine Bangma Sears discovered Manning's ring after bringing the second-hand dresser home. (Submitted by Katherine Bangma Sears)

Bangma Sears, who lives only a few blocks from Manning, took the dresser home. Manning said she had emptied out the drawers before selling the antique and "felt chills" when she found her neighbour had discovered her long lost ring in the furniture.

The ring is on Manning's finger again. She said she looks forward to continuing the family tradition, passing the heirloom on to her 20-year-old daughter.

Manning wore her grandmother's ring and dress on her wedding day. (Submitted by Salle Manning)

With files from Daybreak South and Dana Kelly

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