Do you remember the story about the British woman who purchased a $15 ring in the 1980s at a flea market (called a “car boot” sale in the U.K.) and found out it was a real diamond? Well, the stone was just auctioned off this month and fetched a truly astonishing price.
Before the sale, jewelers expected the stone to go for around $450,000. But this week, the diamond was auctioned off for a stunning $849,637 (£656,750)—or nearly double the price it was expected to fetch at the Sotheby’s auction in London.
The diamond, which is now nicknamed “Tenner,” after the initial £10 price, is actually a whopping 26-carat (TWENTY-SIX CARATS), cushion-shaped white diamond from the 19th Century, according to the BBC.
Jessica Wyndham, the head of Sotheby’s London jewelry department, called the ring a “one-off windfall, an amazing find.”
Translation: Don’t go buying up all the costume jewelry at your neighborhood flea market.
The woman who bought the ring initially said she never knew it was worth anything because the stone didn’t sparkle like a diamond, and was actually quite dull. But apparently, that’s how diamonds were cut once upon a time.
“With an old style of cutting, an antique cushion shape, the light doesn’t reflect back as much as it would from a modern stone cutting,” Wyndham told Business Insider. “Cutters worked more with the natural shape of the crystal, to conserve as much weight rather than make it as brilliant as possible.”
The diamond-owner wore the ring around the house and to do errands for more than 30 years before a jeweler told her it might be more valuable than she realized.
“They came in with the idea that it might be real and they had no idea of its value,” Wyndham said. “The majority of us can’t even begin to dream of owning a diamond that large.”
But that’s not going to stop me from buying a jeweler’s loupe and heading to the nearest garage sale…