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Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014

Ingested diamond is a jewel of a story for flustered winner

Tribune staff
Published:
TAMPA -

When it comes to winning a prize, this one was hard to swallow.

Miriam Tucker was at a Tampa Woman’s Club charity event Saturday afternoon for a fundraiser involving diamonds and champagne. For $20, you could buy a flute of champagne.

The hook: 399 of the 400 flutes had a cubic zirconia stone, valued at $10, at the bottom of the glass. One flute had a one-carat, $5,000 diamond donated by Continental Wholesale Diamonds in Tampa.

Tucker was the only woman in the room who had the real diamond in her glass.

She also was the only one who accidentally swallowed the stone.

Tucker, 80, of Tampa, said she knew right away what had happened. Embarrassed, she didn’t tell anyone at her table. The odds were someone else would have the diamond, she figured, and no one would be the wiser as to her faux pas.

But the jewelers visited every table looking for the diamond and kept coming up empty.

“We started to panic because we knew we put a diamond in there,” said Andrew Meyer, a partner at Continental Wholesale Diamonds.

Tucker finally confessed she had swallowed what she still didn’t know for sure was a mere bauble or a $5,000 diamond.

Coincidentally, Tucker already had a routine colonoscopy scheduled for Monday. She told her doctor what happened.

As she lay anesthetized, the doctor recovered the diamond from her colon. He put it in a plastic bag and gave it to her daughter.

After the procedure, Tucker and her daughter drove to Continental Wholesale Diamonds on West Shore Boulevard, where the diamond was cleaned, tested and verified, Tucker said.

“It’s an amazing story,” said Tucker, who is a member of the Tampa Woman’s Club.

She hasn’t decided on a setting for her new diamond. She plans to bequeath it to her granddaughter, 13, hoping it will become a family heirloom.

“(It’ll) stay in the family with a story to go with it,” Tucker said.

Meyer said he and his partner, Joy Pierson, had participated in other charity events in which they held a drawing for a diamond but had never dropped a stone in a champagne glass.

“We might change the way we’ll deliver the diamond,” Pierson said. “I don’t think we’ll put it in a glass again.”


jpatino@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7659

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