It might be time to dig through your old jewellery in search of hidden gems.
A British auctioneer struck gold last month when a woman showed up on his doorstep with two rings to be auctioned for charity, only to discover they were collectively valued at £70,000 (AU$128,200, US$99,700).
The Daily Mail reports that Gareth Wasp, who works as a vintage valuer and auctioneer in Somerset, was awe-struck when a women presented him with two ring boxes – one containing a massive diamond, and the other a sizeable sapphire. He said he recognised immediately recognised the diamond was in a Cartier box, but wasn’t confident its contents would be genuine.
However, he soon identified it as a four-carat Cartier diamond ring sapphire ring, which he valued between £15,000 – £20,000.
The woman selling the rings was clearing out her mother-in-law’s property when she stumbled across them. Despite their value and sparkling allure, she was uninterested in the gems and insisted they be auctioned off for charity.
“She kept repeatedly emphasising to me to get rid of it and give it to charity – thinking they weren’t worth anything,” Wasp told the Daily Mail.
“If I hadn’t had been on the ball that day the rings would have ended up in the charity shop for someone lucky enough to find them.”
Ten bidders ended up fighting it out for the rings and the Cartier diamond eventually sold for a whopping £42,000, while the sapphire went for £28,000.
Wasp said he was shocked by the rare discovery and called the special find the “highlight of my career”.
The diamond was revealed to only have very slight inclusions that minimally affected its clarity, which is rare for second-hand diamonds.
This discovery comes only months after long-running TV show Antiques Roadshow uncovered a £1 million ornament during one of its shows. Jewellery expert, Geoffrey Munn, immediately recognised the creator of the piece to be Faberge – the maker of the famous decorative eggs.
This was only the third time in 40 years that the show had reached the coveted £1 million mark for undiscovered gems.
Vintage valuers are always urging the public to search through their personal collections as some people could be sitting on an undiscovered gold mine.