What do people usually come to flea markets for? For some, finding an antique frame for a mirror is a great happiness, someone considers “a dress like a grandmother's” a great deal, and someone rejoices in old vases and figurines. In the 1980s, in the same way, an Englishwoman was delighted with the acquired ring with a pebble, which she bought for 10 pounds sterling. But she was even more delighted 30 years later when she sold it for several hundred thousand.
This woman wished not to advertise her name. It is only known that she bought this ring, which at that time seemed to her to be ordinary jewelry for 10 pounds sterling, which is approximately equal to 13 dollars. It was at a flea market in one of the outskirts of London, and the ring lay with a bunch of other similar jewelry.
The woman had no idea that the ring could be of any value - the stone in it was large enough and did not particularly sparkle. Therefore, the Englishwoman wore it almost constantly for the entire thirty years, until the eyes of one of the jewelers fell on it. It was he who invited the owner of this jewelry to find out more about the stone.
So the ring got to the study of Sotheby’s auction specialists, who found out that it was not just a pebble, but a large diamond. For a more accurate assessment of this gem, they sent the stone to the Gemological Institute of America, which is the world's premier authority on the study and evaluation of gemstones. And there they confirmed that, indeed, the stone is a 26, 27 carat diamond.
As it turned out, this stone does not shine because it is a very old diamond, which was processed back in the 1800s, apparently for the royal family or for someone from the nobility. At that time, the rules for cutting gemstones were different from what is accepted today. Then they tried to preserve as much of the stone itself as possible, and now the priority is given to how the light shines and plays in the edges of the stone.
“With the old cut and square-shaped diamond, the facets do not reflect light as much as modern diamonds do,” says Jessica Windham, head of jewelry at Sotheby’s. "Then the cutters worked differently, they tried to use the natural shape of the stone and keep as much of the weight of the diamond itself as possible."
The ring was sold in 2017 for £ 656,750 ($ 849,740). Who bought it is not known, but as the representatives of the auction said, it is not a private collector. Perhaps the ring will become the property of a state or royal court. At the same time, experts believe that if this stone is processed according to modern standards, it can be sold at twice the price.
We also recently talked about three cases where people bought or found paintings that later turned out to be the works of great masters - we advise you read these stories.
Based on materials from thevintagenews.com