It makes looking for a needle in a haystack seem easy.
When Maria Paterson lost one of her favourite – and most valuable – earrings on a forest walk with her family, it seemed likely she would never see it again.
But thanks to a bit of detective work from her husband, and a remarkable photographic coincidence, she soon had her Tiffany trinket back.
Mrs Paterson defied long odds to recover the piece of jewellery, one of a pair bought for her by husband Stewart on their honeymoon.
The couple and their two-year-old son Jack had enjoyed the balmy weather on Saturday to go on an afternoon outing to Dunnet Forest in Caithness.
It was not until the following day at home in Watten that she discovered one of the silver heart-shaped earrings was missing.
The 37-year-old bank worker said: “I don’t normally have earrings in for so long. The left one was getting on my nerves so I took it off but when I went to take the other one off, it wasn’t there.”
After a fruitless search of their house and the town’s swimming pool, where the family had been earlier in the day, 39-year-old Stewart, a Ministry of Defence policeman at Vulcan, had the idea of scanning the pictures he had taken on his mobile phone of their trip to the forest.
Incredibly, when they did so they saw one of the shots clearly showed the earring having detached itself from her right ear and in the process of tumbling down her back.
If that was a rare stroke of luck, they still had to retrace their steps and try and match the photo to the part of the wood where the earring had fallen off.
First thing on Monday, the couple drove to Dunnet.
Maria said: “We soon found the spot where we were pretty sure the photo had been taken and it was no more than 20 minutes from arriving at the forest to having the ear-ring in my hand.
“It somehow caught my eye even though it was under a bit of bark just to the side of the path.
“It looked like somebody had brushed it with their foot and it was slightly bent but it straightened out no bother.”
The earrings had been bought in the exclusive Tiffany’s store in New York during the couple’s honeymoon in the summer of 2014.
Maria said: “I still can’t believe that we found it.
“I went from being completely gutted after discovering it was missing to the absolute buzz of coming upon it. I was going mental at that point, screaming the place own.
“I honestly still can’t believe it turned up – it was pure luck.”