Car boot sale ring expected to fetch €400,000 at auction

A ring bought for £10 in the 1980s turned out to be a 26-carat white diamond

Car boot sale ring expected to fetch €400,000 at auction

Believing it to be a fake, the owner wore the ring daily for 30 years [Sotheby's]

A woman who purchased a piece of costume jewellery at a car boot sale in the 1980s has come in for an unexpected windfall as Sotheby’s expects the diamond to fetch more than €400,000 at an auction.

The “exceptionally sized” stone was purchased for £10 decades ago, with both the buyer and seller assured that it was a fake. The 26.27-carat cushion-shaped white diamond was sold at a Sunday car boot sale in west London in the 1980s, and will now go on sale in the famous auction house on June 7th.

The 19th-century stone was not cut like modern diamonds, meaning that its brilliance was obscured. In the past, gem cutters carved precious stones in such a way as to maintain as much of their weight as possible. Contemporary gems are carved to maximise their ability to reflect light, making them considerably more lustrous.

So convinced was the woman that the diamond was a replica that she wore it daily for decades, taking the valuable gem to the supermarket and keeping it on while cleaning the house.

Lot 364 will go on sale in London in June, with the owners wishing to remain anonymous [Sotheby's]

“They had been to quite a few car boot sales over the year,” said Jessica Wyndham, of Sotheby’s jewellery department, of the diamond’s owners.

“But they don’t have any history of collecting antiques and they don’t have any history of collecting diamonds. This is a one-off windfall, an amazing find.”

After 30 years of wearing the ring, the owners came into the London auctioneers with a hunch that it might be more than what they had long thought to be true.

“We had a look at it and said, ‘I think that’s a diamond.’ And we got it tested at the Gemological Institute of America,” Wyndham said.

“The majority of us can’t even begin to dream of owning a diamond that large.”

For more world news on Newstalk.com, please click here.