Anonymous donors drop diamond rings in Fayetteville, Durham kettles

— Ringing bells outside grocery stores are a common sound during the holidays.

But last week, when two separate Salvation Army volunteers checked their red kettles, those familiar bells had a different ring to them.

Joy Lewis was standing outside the Walmart Express on Strickland Bridge Road in Fayetteville on Dec. 14 when an anonymous woman approached her kettle.

“Merry Christmas,” the woman said as she dropped an engagement ring and wedding band set into the kettle. “I hope these can help you.”

Stacey Prevette, spokeswoman for The Salvation Army, said the ring was appraised by a local jeweler at $1,770. The money, she said, can help the nonprofit provide a cot to 350 people on cold nights.

But Lewis’ kettle wasn’t the only one with a diamond.

On the same Monday morning, The Salvation Army in Durham was taking inventory of a kettle from the weekend. As staff counted the donations, they pulled out a carefully folded $1 bill, said Capt. Robert Viera.

Inside the bill was a diamond ring.

Viera, who is working his first Christmas in Durham, said the diamond weighed in at .34 karats and was set on a 14-karat gold band. Altogether, the ring is worth around $800.

Viera said he’s seen jewelry dropped in kettles before. Sometimes, he added, rings accidentally find their way in, but this one was given intentionally.

“It’s not that uncommon (to get jewelry),” he said. “But it’s very awesome when it does happen.”

,The Salvation Army in Fayetteville and Durham found diamond rings in their kettles last week. The rings have a combined value of more than $2,500.

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