Lifestyle & Belief

Tiffany diamond bracelet returned after Earthquake


Hundreds of items that were displaced after the February earthquake in New Zealand were finally returned to their owners, among them was an $8,000 Tiffany bracelet.


Peter Brandt

An $8,000 Tiffany diamond bangle stuffed in a sock was among hundreds of items sent to owners in  37 countries who had been trapped in hotels after the devastating February earthquake in New Zealand.

Thousands of dollars in foreign bank notes hidden in a fake soft drink can was also found, along with a rare Steiff teddy bear belonging to an Australian child, AFP reported.

The 6.3 tremor claimed 181 lives and hotel guests had to flee, leaving their luggage behind - in some cases for months because it was unsafe to re-enter the buildings, the New Zealand Herald reported.

New Zealand Hotel Council executive officer Rachael Shadbolt told the newspaper that more than 750 pieces of luggage had been painstakingly recovered in recent weeks and sent to owners in 37 countries.

She said an Australian woman had emailed to thank her after getting back her shoe collection.

"Perfect perfect perfect! I dreamt last night that my luggage arrived and today it's here (a girl needs her shoes)," the email read.

Scott Wallace, from the Millennium hotel group, said cranes were used to reach the upper floors of some hotels as staff worked with earthquake recovery specialists to retrieve the luggage.

Wallace said that among the luggage was a NZ$10,000 (US$8,285) diamond Tiffany bangle wrapped in a sock inside a suitcase, which belonged to a guest who had been traveling with an exclusive tour group.

Meanwhile, the Christchurch Press reported a guest trapped on the 22nd floor of the city's Grand Chancellor hotel had received a NZ$300 bill for his stay. He later escaped with his wife by climbing collapsed staircases. The hotel waived the fee after media attention.