If Marilyn Henderson of Edmond was heartsick when she lost a $2,000, half-carat diamond just weeks after her husband had given it to her for Christmas, she was dumbfounded when she recently learned the diamond — found loose in a crack of a parking lot — was being returned to her.
“It's a perfect example of a good Samaritan story,” Oklahoma City jeweler Mark Mitchener said.
If not for a savvy gemologist and principled finder, this “ForeverAfter” diamond likely never would have found its way home, Mitchener said. Its journey, he said, carried it from Edmond to Oklahoma City to Piedmont to Weatherford and back.
Henderson lost the diamond — which was mounted in a simple pendant setting for a silver necklace — on Feb. 13. She met friends for lunch at Cafe 7 on north May. When she took off her coat, she said, her silver chain was broken and the diamond, gone.
“I was frantic,” said Henderson, a retired director of a church children's program who will celebrate her 42nd wedding anniversary this August. “My friends and I looked all over the restaurant floor, and then I decided to go back and retrace my steps in the parking lot of Target, where I'd just been.”
After an unsuccessful search, Henderson returned to Cafe 7, where she watched her friends eat. She had lost her appetite.
Two days later, Shannon Skaley of Piedmont found the diamond outside the same re
staurant, where she and a group of friends who work with her at an energy company in Oklahoma City lunched.
“I got in the backseat of the car, looked down and saw it wedged in a crack in the asphalt, near the car's rear tire,” she said.
One of her co-workers urged her to check the authenticity of the stone after it cut the palm of her hand, she said. But Skaley wasn't in any hurry, she said. Three years ago, she similarly found a stone in another parking lot that turned out to be cubic zirconia, she said.
Weeks later, when Skaley was attending an event in Weatherford, she took the diamond to Kelley Jewelers, upon a friend's recommendation of the store.
Enter graduate gemologist Laurin Townsend.
“Not only could I tell it was real, but I saw it was a specialty cut,” Townsend said. Most diamonds have 57 to 58 facets, she said, but this diamond has 81.
Upon further examination of the outer rim, or “girdle,” of the diamond, Townsend saw that it not only was numbered, but also bore the “ForeverAfter” brand that Townsend knew was sold exclusively in the state by Mitchener-Farrand Jewelers in Oklahoma City.
“I came out to the front and told Shannon that it was real, and that we could probably find the owner. Was she interested?” Townsend said.
“She said ‘Absolutely. That's awesome — let's find her,'” Townsend said.
Skaley said at that point the stone became precious to her, “like an heirloom. I wanted to find out who it belonged to,” she said. “I thought maybe she got it in a ring on Valentine's Day, and it had come out of its setting after knocking it on a car door.”
Mitchener said a search of his store's receipts showed the numbered diamond belonged to Henderson.
‘Heart of a star'
Mitchener designed the special diamond cut himself over two years, he said. A Philadelphia-based colleague produces and distributes the stones worldwide. Mitchener's store started selling them in 2006, and patented the design in 2010, he said.
The stone's full name is “ForeverAfter, the diamond with the heart of a star,” Mitchener said. It features an eight-point star on its face, and its 81 facets have the same body surface so each lets in the same amount of light, he said.
“Because the light is evenly distributed, it makes the diamond look bigger,” Mitchener said.
Henderson and Skaley have plans to meet at Mitchener-Farrand on Wednesday to exchange the diamond.
“My husband probably will make me wear it only in the house,” Henderson said.
Said Skaley, “I'm just excited they found her.”