Loretta Simms loves to find a bargain. One of the Shawnigan Lake woman’s favourite spots is the tiny Cowichan Hospital Auxillary Thrift Store.

“You never know what you’re going to find,” said Simms. “They say you can’t find good finds at a thrift shop,” she added giggling.

“I said ‘hey I did!”

She was picking from items there last Wednesday and found a box of Q-tips she decided to buy and take home.

“The Q-tips I could use for cleaning between my windows is what I was using them for,” said Simms.

Little did she know the box had treasure inside.

“Oh my God,” said Simms. “Like I couldn’t believe it when I found it right,” she said.

The tiny box was filled with diamond rings. Eight of the rings had diamonds, emeralds and rubies. There was also a string of flawless pearls.

“They are authentic pearls yes,” said Arlene Cristofoli, Director of Cowichan Hospital Auxillary Thrift Store. “I had priced the little boxes, I just took it for granted they were Q tips and put them out on the shelf for 50 cents each so she paid 50 cents for eight rings and a string of pearls,” said Cristofoli.

Simms brought them all back to the thrift store though and told them to put them to good use. She found out they had been donated by a man who lives abroad and was cleaning out his sister’s home after she had died.

Simms decided if anyone deserved to have them, it was the Duncan shop full of volunteers who give their time. Donations to the store that are sold go directly to helping patient comfort at Cowichan Hospital.

“I just didn’t feel like I should keep it right,” said Simms. “I just felt it wasn’t meant for me. Meant for me to find I think and to bring back but that was the main reason that I did it,” she added.

The rings and pearls valued at over $1,800 will go a long way in the shop of $1 books and clothing. The experience also gives Simms all the more reason to go bargain hunting just to see what she might find.

Skye Ryan