Lea: The £12,000 diamond which fell from space has finally been found

Allan Bell with springer spaniel Rosie and wife Pat and the diamond
Allan Bell with springer spaniel Rosie and wife Pat and the diamond

The diamond, worth £12,000, which was shot into space more than four months ago has eventually been found under a hedge by a man out walking his dogs.

Allan Bell, 75, was out walking his two dogs, Rosie and Dylan, along a country path in the village of Brattleby, Lincs, when Rosie got scent of something and shot under a hedge.

Mr Bell, a retired lorry driver, said Rosie was scrabbling about for 10 minutes before dragging a package, attached to a limp orange parachute, out of the hedgerow on Wednesday 23rd December.

The diamond floated up to the edge of space, around 100,000ft, in a helium balloon as part of a PR stunt by online diamond retailer 77 Diamonds.com on 7th August.

The plan was for the balloon to pop at the edge of space, where the sky turns dark, sending the sparkler parachuting back down to earth, with the lucky finder allowed to keep the diamond.

But as the gem parachuted back to earth the GPS signal was momentarily lost and the gem vanished with nobody on the ground spotting where it had landed.

It was thought to have landed within a five mile radius of the village of Lea, about 10 miles from Brattleby, and thousands of treasure hunters flocked to area to search for the valuable gem.

Nobody found it, however, until two days before Christmas, when Mr Bell was taking his dogs for a walk.

Mr Bell, who celebrated his silver wedding anniversary with wife Pat this year, said he had seen reports on TV about the missing £12,000 sparkler and had kept his eyes out for it since August during his daily dog walks.

He said: “As soon as I heard about this diamond landing around these parts I kept my eyes out for it but never in a moment did I think I would ever find it.”

“I was walking Rosie and Dylan along and Rosie suddenly darted under a hedge and got a hold of something big.”

“She took about 10 minutes dragging it out from under the hedge and I saw that it was covered in mud and leaves.”

“I didn’t fancy carrying it for the rest of the walk, so decided to leave it until we walked back along the road on our way home.”

It wasn’t until about 30 minutes later that it hit him that it could be diamond everyone was searching for and he dashed back to the hedge to retrieve the package.

He said: “I looked a bit closer and saw the package had an orange parachute underneath it and details of who to contact written on it and I knew it must be the diamond.”

“I got back to the car and drove home to open it up in a state of some excitement.”

He said he got home to wife Pat, a 59-year-old retired customer services worker, and the pair opened it up to find the gem inside, along with a number to call.

Pat called bosses at 77 Diamonds, telling them her husband had found the missing sparkler under a hedge.

She was congratulated on the find, but has yet to decide on whether to have the 1.14 carat diamond set in a ring or sell it.

Pat said: “Allan and I have kept our eyes open since the diamond went missing, but everyone was looking for the diamond around the village of Lea, so Allan never expected to find it in Brattleby, which is about 10 miles away.”

“I couldn’t believe it when we opened it up, you could have knocked me down with a feather.”

“I suppose if I led a glamorous lifestyle I would be wearing it out and about in all the best places, but I don’t lead a rip-roaring lifestyle, so such a beautiful diamond might be wasted on me.”

“Allan got me a lovely bracelet for my Christmas, but this diamond has trumped it just a bit.”

She said she and her husband would ‘probably’ sell the diamond and go on a Mediterranean cruise to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary.

Allan said Rosie and Dylan would be getting a special treat, adding: “Both the dogs will get something special.”

“I imagine a rib-eye steak would go down well, it’s the least they deserve.”

Bruce Linegar, who sits on Lea Parish Council and was a former policeman for the village, said excitement had ‘swept through the village’ when news got out about the diamond in August.

Bruce, 75, said at the time that he and many others were ‘keeping their eyes peeled’ for the diamond, but wished the finder ‘good luck’.

The £12,000 diamond was hand-picked for its ‘brilliance and sparkle’ and is a ‘modified cushion brilliant cut’, similar to the engagement rings of Kim Kardashian and Jessica Biel.

Bosses at 77 Diamonds say the ‘stunt’ was to raise awareness of the firm’s access to 80 per cent of the world’s finest polished diamonds.

Tobias Kormind, co-founder of 77 Diamonds said: “Having launched the diamond into space back in August we were starting to doubt whether it would ever be found.”

“It really captured the imagination of the nation at the time and we were overwhelmed by the thousands of people who joined in the treasure hunt to find it.”

“We were very surprised to receive the call from Pat after so many months of searching and just find it even more remarkable that it should be discovered at Christmas.”

“This, coupled with the fact that Pat and her husband Allan are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary makes it even more wonderful.”

“We hope they get great pleasure from the diamond and enjoy recounting their exciting story of discovered treasure.”

The stunt was to promote the jewellery retailer’s interactive universe, Diamonds in the Sky, which invites users to populate a virtual night sky with thousands of stars – each one unique and named after someone or something special.