Just another day at a jewelry auction, or is it? A diamond ring that was originally purchased for £10 ($13) has just been sold for £656,750—that's $847,667 here in the U.S. That's nearly double its estimated value of £250,000 ($325,000) to £350,000 ($456,000). Where was the ring sold, you ask? At London's Sotheby's Fine Jewels auction. And, if you're still in your seat, the individual who originally purchased the ring for the low price assumed it was a piece of costume jewelry. Mind blown.
The 26-carat ring was first sold in the 1980s by an unknown seller, who bought the sparkler at a car boot sale. Think flea markets or garage sales on the other side of the pond. The diamond's true value was finally realized decades later, when the wearer decided to have it appraised by a local jeweler, who identified the ring as a cushion-shaped diamond set in a 19th-century mount.
Jessica Wyndham, head of Sotheby's jewelry department, found the sparkler's value very surprising, too, as the cut is nearly unrecognizable when compared to modern diamond rings. "When we think of diamonds, we think of modern cuts, of brilliance," she previously told CNN. "This wouldn't have looked like that. The silver had tarnished and there was probably some dirt. These diamonds were made for candlelight, not our white artificial light, so it was all about trying to bring out its fire."
Even more shocking, the final selling price of nearly $900,000 is likely to go up. "The new owner is likely to re-cut it into a modern diamond that will emit even more sparkle and potentially be worth a multiple of today's price,"said diamond expert Tobias Kormind.
"I'm convinced the ring was once owned by royalty or a person of great wealth, because it originates from the 1800s— before the discovery of modern diamond mines and a time when very few diamonds were available."
One woman's trash is another woman's treasure? We think so.