NAPLES — A North Naples woman’s tiny finger is missing its ring.
Valentine’s Day is just a few hours away as Julie Burroughs, 22, posts alerts on social media websites desperate to find the engagement ring she lost at the shops in Mercato on Friday night.
Despite its unusually small size, Burroughs’ ring, a size 3½, which is very small compared to the average woman’s ring size of about a size 6, was still slightly too big for her.
“It just slides off my finger sometimes and I can’t feel it,” Burroughs said.
She was working at the cash register of Charming Charlie, a women’s fashion accessories store that sells a lot of costume jewelry, when she was last wearing her ring.
“So, it may have slid off my finger and slid right into someone’s bag,” Burroughs said.
It’s not that she neglected to try to get the proper size. The design of the ring, which includes a row of small diamonds on each side that meet and then crisscross around a larger diamond, made it challenging to bring the ring size down to the diminutive size 3 she needed.
Nearly six months ago, Burroughs and her boyfriend had been dating for about five months and went to eat at the Turtle Club Restaurant. They ordered cheesecake. Inside the strawberry on the dessert was the ring. In traditional style, Silviu Balaban got down on one knee and proposed. She, of course, said “yes.”
When asked how many diamonds are on the ring, Balaban said, “A lot,” as his eyes widened.
“I can go now and get another ring. That’s not it,” said Balaban, 28, an assistant store manager at Five Guys Burger and Fries, noting the ring's irreplaceable sentimental value to the couple. “It’s not going to be the same.”
Burroughs and Balaban are doing everything they can imagine to find the ring. They wrote a letter to the editor, have a Craigslist posting, wrote “reward $500 for our engagement ring” on their Facebook walls and are searching pawn shops.
They’ve scoured Charming Charlie and looked in places the ring would likely not show up just to keep trying.
“It couldn’t have been lost in a worse place. They have a bunch of fake jewelry in the store,” Burroughs said.
However, she doesn’t think it’s in the store anymore.
“I think it fell off my hand and into the shopping bag of the old couple that I last helped on Friday night,” she said. She looked back at the transaction time. It was 7:11 p.m. She could even track by the use of the credit card who the couple was, she said. However, her store manager said it was against policy to track them down and contact them.
Burroughs and Balaban, who met while working together at Bob Evans restaurant about a year ago, are due to be married on Nov. 11 — 11/11/11 — at the Inn on Fifth in downtown Naples.
“I was just thinking how we were to be married in exactly nine months,” Balaban said.
Then she lost the ring. It was definitely on her finger when she entered the store for work and was gone before she ever had a chance to leave the store, she said.
It’s almost Valentine’s Day. “That just makes it even worse,” she said.
Burroughs expressed her sadness in a posting on Facebook after work on Friday night. It ended with a message to her fiancé: “To my silviu - I am so sorry.”
If the ring is found, please call Silviu Balaban, (239) 687-9088.