A family has claimed that a diamond and sapphire Princess Diana-style ring went missing from their 85-year-old grandmother's finger while she was being treated at the Ulster Hospital.
The pensioner - a retired civil servant - was rushed to the hospital on the outskirts of east Belfast last week after suffering a stroke.
Her granddaughter said her grandmother cannot remember anything about the ring going missing apart from waking up to find the ring was gone from her finger.
Determined to pursue the matter, the family contacted the Belfast Telegraph yesterday to tell of their family's heartbreak and concern at what has seemed to have happened - and also to launch an appeal for help.
The ring comprised of real diamonds and a sapphire, exactly like Princess Diana's famous engagement ring.
The pensioner's granddaughter said within minutes of sharing what happened on Facebook, it had been shared more than 30 times, with people expressing their horror.
A spokeswoman from the Ulster Hospital was unable to respond to the Belfast Telegraph's inquiry by the time of going to press last night.
The granddaughter said her entire family has been left devastated by the incident and begged for the ring would be returned - even anonymously.
"It is not just any diamond ring, it was the real thing, and a copy of Princess Diana's engagement ring," she said. "My grandfather gave it to my grandmother for a special anniversary.
"It has never been off my grandmother's finger from the moment my grandfather put it on her finger.
"She does not have much jewellery and this ring means so much to her.
"Everybody is so distraught at the idea this could have happened to an ill, and such a vulnerable, lady."
She said her grandmother suffers from dementia but is aware the ring is missing and very upset that it is gone.
"We have made a complaint to the hospital but we wanted to make this public appeal so we can find this ring," she said.
"We are hoping that by making this appeal, we will be able to get the ring back.
"However it comes back, we just want it back on my grandmother's finger.
"She is still in a bad way, that is why we have gone public."
The determined granddaughter, who did not wish to be named, even said she will scour pawn shops in the hope of finding the ring.
"Even if this ring ends up in a pawn shop, I will buy it back for nanny," she added.