Thrift store shopper returns Q-tip box finding jewelry worth $1,800 inside

Loretta Simms of B.C.  walked out of a thrift store last week with a small box of Q-tips in her hand. She’d spent 50 cents and was heading home with plans to clean her windows with the cotton swabs.

Reaching home she realized that she has actually walked away with  jewelry collection worth about $1,800, hidden in a container the size of her palm.

Simms said, “They say you can’t find good finds at a thrift shop and I say, ‘Hey, I sure did.”

Tucked inside the box were eight rings set with diamonds, emeralds and rubies — including a diamond engagement ring — and an authentic string of pearls.

Without a second thought, Simms slid the box shut and travelled 20 kilometres back to the shop to return the collection. The staff were floored.

“I just took it for granted that they were Q-tips and put them out on the shelf,” said shop director Arlene Cristofoli, who’d priced the box at less than a dollar.

As it turns out, a man living abroad donated the jewelry from his late sister’s collection. All the items are back up for sale at the thrift store, with proceeds benefiting the Cowichan District Hospital.

Volunteers at the store said Simms was “wonderful” and “astounding” to bring the rings and necklace back. Simms said she wanted to be sure the higher selling price would help patients.

Simms said, “I just felt it wasn’t for me.Meant for me to find and bring back, but not for me.”