Thirty-six years after it was lost in Peconic Bay, a class ring was returned to its owner on Saturday.

Debbie Cassidy remembers losing her Mattituck High School class ring on a summer afternoon in 1981. She was swimming in the bay with friends when the loosefitting ring fell from her finger. She searched but never found the gold ring with a blue stone, which she had received upon graduating the year before.

“I didn’t think I’d ever see it again, but I never forgot about it,” said Cassidy, 54, of Mattituck.

Two years ago Cassidy told her friend, Jimmy Parsons, a metal-detecting enthusiast, to keep his eyes peeled for her class ring, and Parsons spread the word to his fellow beachcombers, Cassidy said.

Last Friday, Rich Miliauskas found the ring under “3 feet of water and 10 inches of sand” while he was searching in the bay with a metal detector, according to Cassidy. The next day, Miliauskas returned the ring to its owner.

“When I saw my name engraved on it I went up and hugged him,” Cassidy said. “I was just so ecstatic.”

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The ring may have lost a little of its luster and has a few chips on the stone, but Cassidy said it fits much better now and she plans to wear it often.

“I always had a dream that I’d find it, “Cassidy said. “I just didn’t think it’d be after 36 years.”