LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — Nick Day proposed to his wife Shaina 21 years ago with a diamond engagement ring. But before the couple said “I do,” the token of Nick’s love went down the toilet. Literally.

“She came to me one day and said, ‘I think I lost my ring,'” Nick recalled of the incident, which took place at his mother’s house. “She said, ‘It was on the counter. Now it’s gone and I think I may have flushed it down the toilet on accident.”

The couple searched for the missing ring by getting down and dirty trying to find the diamond.

“I climbed down into the septic tank so we could pump every bit of it through a strainer to try to find it. No luck,” Shaina said.

Then, last month, Nick’s mother Renee hired a local plumber to replace her toilet. He discovered the ring lodged inside.

“He said, ‘Do you think it’s Shaina’s ring?’ and I looked at it again and I went, ‘Oh my God, yes!'” Renee recalled.

Proving diamonds are forever — even if this one needed a good cleaning — the ring was wrapped up as a Christmas present by Nick’s parents and given as a surprise to the couple on Christmas night.

“They brought this out. It was wrapped up in a little Christmas bag so we opened it up and both of us knew exactly what it was,” Nick said.

“It was kind of an ugly cry,” Shaina added. “I sat there and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is my ring. This is my ring.’ I’m wiping my eyes and mascara is going everywhere.”

The couple says they may incorporate the diamond into a new piece of jewelry, or pass it on for a future generation to enjoy. But they definitely learned a valuable lesson.

“Check your toilets when you lose things,” Nick said.