A woman, who unknowingly bought a 26.27ct diamond for £10 at a car boot sale in London 30 years ago, is now £650,000 richer.
The gem, which has earned the nickname “Tenner” because it was purchased for a 10-pound note, sold for nearly two times the pre-auction estimate after a fierce bidding war at Sotheby’s London last week.
The unnamed owner had been convinced the showy ring was a piece of costume jewelry due to its low price, ostentatious centre stone and filthy mounting. She cleaned it up and wore it day-to-day, never realising that the gaudy centre stone was actually a VVS2, I-color, cushion-shaped diamond that dated back to the 19th century. Some experts believe that a stone of this size and value might even have royal provenance.
How the ring ended up at a car boot sale may never be known.
What we do know is that the owner, only recently, had been tipped off by a local jeweller that the ring could be very valuable. The owner took the ring to Sotheby’s, which confirmed the authenticity of the diamond with a report from the Gemological Institute of America.
“It was bought as a costume jewel,” said Jessica Wyndham, head of Sotheby’s London jewellery department. “No one had any idea it had any intrinsic value at all. She enjoyed it all this time.”
Wyndham explained that the centre stone didn’t sparkle like a modern-cut diamond.
“With an old style of cutting… the light doesn’t reflect back as much as it would from a modern stone cutting,” Wyndham said. “Cutters worked more with the natural shape of the crystal, to conserve as much weight rather than make it as brilliant as possible.”
Wyndham said the sale of the ring would be life-changing for the owner. She called the ring a “one-off windfall, an amazing find.”
The new owner, who has remained anonymous, is likely to have the Tenner re-cut into a modern diamond, a strategy that will trim its size, while boosting its value.
After reading this, it’s sure tempting to go find the nearest car boot sale isn’t it? Whilst we may not all be that lucky, that doesn’t mean you don’t have something at home with more value than you think! Why not bring it in to Mark Lloyd Jewellers? We have options to buy in your jewellery, or possibly sell it for you on commission where we take a small cut of the sale price.
Another popular option is to have any stones reset into new jewellery. If this is something you’re interested in contact us to make an appointment with Michelle to discuss your options.