A ring bought at a garage sale for $13 in London decades ago could actually be worth nearly a half million dollars when it goes up for auction at Sotheby's next month.
The ring was purchased during the 1980s at what is called a car boot sale, an outdoor market where people sell personal items out of their vehicle, wrote CNN. Assuming it was costume jewelry, the owner wore it for years before someone suggested getting it appraised.
"Much to the owner's surprise, the ring turned out to be a genuine cushion-shaped diamond weighing 26.27 carats with an attractive color grade of I and impressive clarity grade of VVS2," said Sotheby's website.
The 19th century diamond, which Sotheby London's Fine Jewels will auction on June 7, could be worth from $325,000 to $456,000, said CNN.
"The owner would wear it out shopping, wear it day-to-day," said Jessica Wyndham, head of the auction house’s London jewellery department, per the United Kingdom's Press Association. "It's a good-looking ring. But it was bought as a costume jewel. No one had any idea it had any intrinsic value at all. They enjoyed it all this time.
"They had been to quite a few car boot sales over the years. But they don't have any history of collecting antiques and they don’t have any history of collecting diamonds. This is a one-off windfall, an amazing find."
Wyndham said the older style diamond cutting was "slightly duller and deeper," which could fool people in thinking the gem was not a real stone.
"The diamond cutter is looking to maximize the amount of brilliance from the stone because that's what makes it sparkly," said Wyndham. "With an old style of cutting, an antique cushion shape, the light doesn't reflect back as much as it would from a modern stone cutting.
"Cutters worked more with the natural shape of the crystal, to conserve as much weight of the crystal rather than make it as brilliant as possible. The older stones have quite a bit of personality. They sparkle in a different way."
The owner has remained anonymous.
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