Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa woman swallows diamond at charity luncheon

TAMPA — They say diamonds are a girl's best friend. But a guest at a recent fashion show fundraiser might give that distinction to her gastroenterologist.

Miriam Tucker was one of hundreds of women sipping champagne at Fashionollia on April 20, staged for the 65th year by the Tampa Woman's Club.

It cost $20 for a glass of the bubbly — and a chance to win a 1.03-carat diamond. Continental Wholesale Diamond plunked a single stone, a round brilliant cut beauty appraised at $5,000, into one champagne flute. All the rest got cubic zirconias.

The luncheon concluded without any ecstatic shriek from one of the 280 women in the ballroom of the Renaissance Hotel International Plaza. Event organizers and jewelers Andy Meyer and Joy Pierson were puzzled.

"We knew the winner had to be at one of two tables," Pierson said. She was hovering in that vicinity when Tucker, 80, spoke up.

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

Meanwhile, roving jewelers, armed with probes and a loupe, examined each stone. Tucker, assuming event organizers would announce a winner at any minute, chose not to draw attention to herself.

Until the room was near empty. Then she confessed.

"She said she swallowed what was in her glass," Pierson said, "but as luck would have it, she was scheduled for a colonoscopy in two days."

That wasn't good enough for Fashionollia chairwoman Gina Roth who insisted Tucker, who lives in South Tampa, follow her to St, Joseph's Hospital for an X-ray.

The diamond didn't show up on the X-ray, so Tucker prepped for her colonoscopy as planned. But as far as she could tell, the diamond remained stuck in her body.

Early the next morning, she alerted Dr. Bruce Edgerton "to be on lookout," briefing him on the case of the missing diamond.

During Tucker's examination, the doctor struck, well, a diamond. With the stone in a biohazard bag, Tucker's daughter drove straight to the jewelry store.

The jewelers confirmed Tucker's bling was the real thing. She took her prize home, cleaned, polished, sparkling.

As my son says, "All's well that ends well," Tucker said.

Champions for Children was the luncheon beneficiary.

Their motto: Protect Our Precious Gems.

Miriam Tucker’s glass contained the $5,000 gem.

Miriam Tucker’s glass contained the $5,000 gem.

Tampa woman swallows diamond at charity luncheon 04/25/13 [Last modified: Friday, April 26, 2013 11:17am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Cue the Scott Frost to Nebraska speculation

    Blogs

    Nebraska shook up the college sports world Thursday afternoon when it fired athletic director Shawn Eichorst.

    And that should scare UCF fans.

  2. Oh, Florida! Irma's gone, but she left behind plenty of lessons for us

    Columns

    I don't want to make light of the misery and death that Hurricane Irma inflicted on Florida this month. A lot of it was ugly, and some of it was downright criminal. We saw greed and pettiness on display, and it brought illness and death.

    Tampa Bay Times staff writer Craig Pittman.
  3. Make-A-Wish Foundation aims to help more kids in Tampa Bay

    Health

    The Make-A-Wish Foundation is on the lookout for sick children in the Tampa Bay area who need a once-in-a-lifetime pick-me-up.

    Grace Savage, a 10-year-old girl with a chromosomal disorder made a trek to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium last year, courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The foundation intends to beef up its presence in the Tampa Bay area after a reorganization. The region is now the responsibility of the foundation's Southern Florida chapter, one of the most active in the country, with more than 11,000 wishes granted so far. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times ]
  4. William March: Frank Reddick says all-white Tampa council possible

    Elections

    A decline in the percentage of black voters in Tampa's only majority-black City Council district, District 5, has council member Frank Reddick worried.

    City Council member Frank Reddick said that if Tampa can't maintain African-American voter numbers, he could be the council's last African-American representative. [JAMES BORCHUK   |   Times (2016)]
  5. Florida hides details in nursing home reports. Federal agencies don't.

    Medicine

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott widened his offensive Thursday against the Broward nursing home he blames for the deaths of 10 residents by setting up a tip line for information, but when it comes to access to the inspection reports of all nursing homes, the governor's administration has heavily censored what the …

    In the foreground is a document detailing the findings of a Feb. 2016 inspection at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills obtained from a federal agency, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Behind it is the state?€™s version of the same document, from the Agency for Health Care Administration, showing how it has been redacted before being released to the public. [Miami Herald]