London--A chance find at an outdoor market in London could turn out to be a major payoff for one lucky woman.
Next month, Sotheby’s London will auction a ring purchased at a car boot sale (where people sell possessions out of the trunks of their cars) in the 1980s.
The owner, who is choosing to remain anonymous, paid $13 for the piece, believing it to be costume jewelry.
She wore it for decades while doing all sorts of activities like shopping and chores, unaware of its value, but recently decided to have it appraised after a jeweler told her it could be real, the auction house said.
Sotheby’s confirmed the stone’s authenticity after having it sent to the Gemological Institute of America, noting it is indeed a 19th century 26.27-carat cushion-shaped white diamond of I color and VVS2 clarity.
The stone’s history--including how it came to be sold out of the trunk of a car--are unknown.
The ring could sell for between $320,000 and $450,000 when it hits the auction block at Sotheby’s Fine Jewels sale on June 7.
Jessica Wyndham, head of Sotheby’s jewelry department, told CNN that it wasn’t that surprising the original buyer didn’t realize it was a real diamond, noting that its sparkle likely was hidden by the ring’s dark mounting and its old-fashioned cut.
“When we think of diamonds, we think of modern cuts, of brilliance,” she was quoted as telling the news outlet. “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.”