Salvation Army leaders in Maryland say a donor recently dropped thousands of dollars worth of jewelry in a red kettle.
Capt. Ryan Vincent, commander of the Salvation Army in Annapolis, told the Capital Gazette everyone was shocked to find out the ring and two bracelets were real.
One of the bracelets, a yellow-gold piece by Tiffany & Co., has been sold for $1,500. A gemologist will soon examine the ring and second bracelet that features diamonds and rubies to determine their value.
Pearl Eldridge, the ringer who collected the donation, called the donor a "quiet spirit" and said the woman told her the pieces were sentimental but had been laying around.
Other unusual donations have been reported in Salvation Army kettles around the country, including a gold bar in Kentucky and a more than century-old gold coin in North Carolina.
Vincent says the Salvation Army has a policy for dealing with jewelry donations. Pieces found in a kettle are kept for 30 days, but if someone acknowledges leaving a piece with the bell ringer, it's immediately considered donated.
If big donations are found to be stolen, the charitable organization arranges them to be returned.