A young girl found a wedding ring inside a mussel shell last week while on a trip to Stockton Springs. Credit: Courtesy of Paul Barclay

One child tourist in Maine found something entirely unexpected while seashell hunting in Stockton Springs over the weekend: a wedding ring in a mussel shell.

Scott Russell of New York and his seven-year-old daughter were down by the shore of the Penobscot River about a quarter mile north of Sandy Point Beach during their stay at an Airbnb in Stockton Springs when she ran over to him saying she found something on the beach.

“When kids find something it’s always a treasure, so I was picturing something more along the lines of just some garbage that washed up with the tide,” Russell said. “Sure enough, she holds up the mussel shell, and there is a golden wedding ring.”

Russell and his family joked with his daughter that she’s now officially a pirate out finding buried treasure.

Paul Barclay, who owns the property, said the girl found the ring not far from an area where he has chairs and umbrellas set up for guests, neighbors and other beachgoers to take a rest in the shade. It’s not uncommon to find stuff left there, though a ring inside of a mussel shell definitely presents a bit of a mystery.

“How would it get there? Somebody walking by dropping it?” Barclay said. “The scenarios are endless.”

Barclay wonders if it was put there as a tribute to someone who loved the ocean or if somebody who was no longer married wanted to get rid of the ring ceremoniously, he said. Or, someone out for a jog could have just dropped it, he said.

Russell thinks it’s probably just luck.

“Maybe the shell washed over and was sitting on top of the ring,” Russell said. “My kids will pick up any and every shell that they see on the shore, so it was probably just serendipity.”

Whatever the case, Russell and Barclay are hoping to find the ring’s owner to return it. The family left the ring with Barclay.

Russell himself had even almost lost his wedding ring while visiting Maine a few years ago, after it fell off the back of a dresser into a crack in the floor, so he understands the worry that a situation like this can bring.

Barclay didn’t find any inscription or other identifying information on the ring, he said. He has contacted previous guests that stayed at the property this summer and posted a photo of the ring in numerous Facebook groups, but hasn’t heard from a potential owner.

While Barclay will keep searching for the owner and hopes someone will come forward to claim the wedding band, he said the ring won’t just lie around forever.

“If all directions fail, I’d love to see it go back to the little girl,” Barclay said. “You have a great show-and-tell for school, or a great keepsake from Maine.”

If you think the ring might be yours, you can contact Barclay at paulbarclay@me.com.

Braeden Waddell is a reporter covering Belfast and Waldo County. He grew up in Waldoboro and joined the Bangor Daily News in 2023 after working as an associate producer for National Public Radio. He graduated...