The 18-year-old said she and her friends stood on the beach in Asbury Park, N.J., and examined the ring, trying to decide whether it was real. She took it home before she figured out what she was going to do about it.
“It had been in the sand for over two years, so a little dirty, but when we looked at it, it said 14K,” Sinks’s mother, Tina Trebino, told The Washington Post on Thursday. “So I was like, this ring’s real. At least it’s white gold.”
Tony Silva, 33, said he bought the ring in 2016 to propose to his then-girlfriend, according to the Asbury Park Press, which was among the first to report the story. After she lost it on the beach in 2017, the couple thought the roughly 1.25-carat ring was gone forever.
Two years later, Sinks found their ring on the beach, and she and her mother set out to find the owner.
“Gabriel & Co.,” along with a serial number, was inscribed on the inside of the ring. Trebino said she thought about taking it to police in case someone reported it missing, but she decided to first see what she could find out online. She searched the serial number on the New York-based jewelry company’s website, and a photo of the ring popped up.
In a live chat with Gabriel & Co. staff, Trebino and Sinks were told the ring was sold to Bentley Diamond in Wall Township, N.J. They brought the ring to Bentley, which used a vendor number to discover that Silva had been the buyer. The store’s owner, Daria Bagheri, estimated the ring was worth $6,000.
Bagheri said she started calling Silva repeatedly at multiple phone numbers, but he didn’t call back. On Tuesday, she said, she sent him a text message asking him to call her. When she told him she had the ring, he was shocked and said he would stop by the next morning to pick it up.
In 40 years of business, Bagheri said, she had never seen anyone else reconnect with a lost engagement ring. She credited Sinks for making it happen this time.
“It wouldn’t have been possible if she didn’t also have the heart to turn it in,” Bagheri said. “Some people would find it and try to go sell it somewhere.”
Silva arrived at Bentley on Wednesday to find Sinks, Trebino and a host of local news reporters waiting for him. He immediately hugged Sinks, she and Trebino said, and told them that he had searched for the ring for hours and had not been able to replace it. The area where Sinks found it was exactly where Silva and his fiancee believed they had lost it.
The couple is still engaged and is planning a wedding for 2020, Trebino said.
Kimberly Robles, who said she was Silva’s fiancee, disputed his version of events on Friday. Robles, 29, said the pair lost the ring in July 2018 when she threw it into the sand during an argument. She said they broke up in December after a toxic relationship and are no longer engaged. She said she is glad Silva found the ring but urged anyone in a problematic relationship to leave it.
The Post was unable to reach Silva for comment.
As an expression of gratitude for finding the ring, Bentley Diamond gave Sinks a bracelet with a charm that says “The sea is calling” and Trebino a bracelet with a charm reading “Proud mom.” The store also gave Sinks a pair of diamond earrings.
Sinks said she felt it was important that she try to find the ring’s owner because she knew it was probably meaningful to someone. Helping track down Silva was the right thing to do, she said.
“I just felt overwhelmingly joyful, and I was so grateful that I was able to experience this with him and be able to reunite him with the ring,” Sinks said.