An 80-Year-Old Florida Woman Accidentally Swallowed $5,000 in Diamonds at a Charity Ball

The Tampa Women's Club thought they'd come up with a pretty cheeky way to raise some money at their big banquet last weekend: Attendees could pay 20 bucks for a champagne flute with the chance to grab the one lucky glass with a $5,000 brilliant cut diamond inside. Yet when every glass was purchased and lunch came and went, still no one had leaped up to jump and shout that they'd found the lucky gem. Where did the hell was that diamond?

Yeah, you know where this is going.

As a pair of professional jewelers went table to table to look in each glass to make sure someone wasn't mistaking their diamond prize for the worthless cubic zirconium dropped in every other glass, an 80-year-old attendee named Miriam Tucker finally realized she may have screwed up, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

"I thought I'd drink a bit of champagne so I didn't have to stick my finger so far into the glass," Tucker, a retired real estate broker, tells the paper. "We were laughing and talking when I realized I swallowed it."

An embarrassed Tucker stayed quiet until nearly the whole room was empty, hoping all along that she'd gulped down a cubic zirconium and the winner would be found.

Nope. That $5,000 of bling was in Tucker's stomach.

The event's organizer insisted they rush to a hospital for an X-ray, which couldn't find the gem. But, as luck would have it, Tucker was already scheduled for a colonoscopy the next day, and -- after getting a rundown on the missing diamond story -- her doc found the gem.

Tucker's daughter took it -- wrapped in a biohazard bag -- to a presumably fairly grossed out jeweler who confirmed it was the real deal, cleaned it up and returned it to the winner. (And, we hope, was heavily paid for his services.)

"All's well that ends well," Tucker tells the Times.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink