The four C’s of diamonds are cut, clarity, carat, and color. All are important aspects of a diamond to evaluate before purchasing. Carefully going over these aspects of a diamond ensure quality and beauty that will dazzle for years to come. But maybe something else should be considered.
A fifth C that is often overlooked (unless you’re the one footing the bill) is cost. A London woman thought she had a bargain when she purchased a ring for $13 at a car-boot sale, but she never would have guessed that a $13 investment would have such an exponential return. Shopping at West Middlesex Hospital in London in the 1980s, a woman stumbled upon a piece of costume jewelry that caught her eye. The setting was a little outdated, but she loved the ring so much she wore it everywhere, even casual trips to the grocery store.
The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, was recently curious about the ring and took it to a local jeweler to have it valued. What she found out next shocked everyone. The 26-carat ring was real and was valued at $456,000. For over 30 years this woman had been wearing nearly half a million dollars on her hand.
The ring was then taken to the Head of Sotheby’s London Jewelry Department, Jessica Wyndham. Wyndham explained how an expensive piece of jewelry could be mistaken for costume. The diamond was cushion-shaped and set in a 19th century mount. Adding to its age, the silver had started to tarnish, making it appear dull and outdated. Wyndham explained that when we think of diamonds today we think of their sparkle and brilliance. This diamond, however, was hiding its true shine under years of dirt and a deep setting.
To confirm its worth, the ring was tested at the Gemological Institute of America where it was confirmed that the ring could sell anywhere from $325,000 to $456,000. The woman decided to sell the ring at Sotheby’s Fine Jewels sale on June 7, 2017. Next time you think your jewelry box needs cleaning, be wary of what you get rid of. A piece of seemingly cheap costume jewelry could be worth a fortune.