Help us reunite this lost Chinese “I love you” ring with its owner

Aug. 7 is the Chinese version of Valentine’s Day. Can we get this ring back to its owner by then?

By Matt Carroll and Jingfei Cui

Somewhere in the tea fields of China, some heartbroken person possibly lost their “I Love You” ring. We found it in Boston. Now we’re trying to put the ring back on that sad lover’s finger before the Chinese “Valentine’s Day,” on Aug. 7. Maybe you can help us.

The story starts with a bag of green tea from the Wuyi Tea Liability Co. Ltd., based in Yunnan.

The tea is called, “Wu Yi Sheng Tai Lu Cha.” That tea has traveled a long way, through a couple of different tea drinkers, to my desk at Northeastern University in Boston, where I am a journalism professor.

It’s a nice green tea, and I am a devoted tea drinker, so I drink it fairly often. One morning this spring, my hand brushed against something hard in the tea bag.

I dug out a slightly battered ring. Surprise, surprise.

The romantic inscription caught my eye — “(Heart) I Love You (Heart).” It’s written in English.

We were intrigued. Whose ring was this? Where did they lose it? Was it thrown away after a failed relationship? Or was its heartbroken owner crying themselves to sleep over its loss?

We set out to find out. First, we talked to the previous owner of the bag of tea, Ruan Chao, of Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, who had gifted it to me when she was visiting Northeastern. It wasn’t her ring. And, as it turns out, she had received the ring from another person. Not theirs either, we were told.

So that leaves … China, possibly somewhere in a tea region of Yunnan.

We have to say upfront that it is not an expensive ring. And it is a little beat up — it’s dented on one side, possibly from its travels.

We contacted the tea company in February through WeChat. An employee told us the factory is not large and the workers process the tea manually, so it’s impossible for a ring to get in a bag unnoticed.

Now we are stuck. So we are appealing to you. Can you help us reunite the ring to its owner? We don’t need much — just a little help spreading the word about the ring. Hopefully we can all work together to reunite this ring with its owner and give this love story a happy ending.

Matt Carroll is a journalism professor at Northeastern University in Boston. Jingfei Cui is a graduate student at Emerson College in Boston.