A piece of jewellery bought at a car boot sale for £5 is set to sell for more than £20,000 after it turned out to be a diamond, emerald and ruby brooch.
The owner of the brooch gave it to her daughter to wear to church but she placed it in the bottom of her handbag and forgot about it.
On a chance visit to a jeweler many months later, she pulled out the brooch and was sharing the story about how she acquired it.
To her complete surprise, she was told the brooch was not a ‘costume’ piece made with imitation gems but the real deal.
The Gemological Institute of America has now tested the brooch and confirmed the quality.
They found it is set throughout with diamonds, including a 1.39 carat old mine-cut sparkler, a rectangular-shaped Colombian emerald which weighs 1.50 carats and an oval-shaped Burmese ruby, weighing around 0.60 carats.
Bonhams will be selling the brooch, which was bought in Ohio, USA, at its New York jewellery auction on September 19 and they have given it a guide price of around $30,000 (£22,000).
Susan Abeles, head of jewellery, Bonhams US, says: “This is a really wonderful story and it just goes to show, treasures are really everywhere.
“What makes this brooch particularly impressive is that it features gem quality stones.
“For example, the brooch includes an old-mine scissor cut diamond – these scissor cut diamonds have old world charm.
“These kind of discoveries do not happen a lot so we are always excited to see how much the piece will achieve at auction.
“We expect it to catch the eyes of discerning collectors and jewellery lovers and I have a feeling it won’t end up in a garage sale again.”
On top of the garage sale brooch, Bonhams is selling a number of very valuable items of jewellery.
This includes a 16.90 carat step-cut diamond is set with round brilliant-cut diamond shoulders. Certified as D color and internally flawless, it has an estimate of £1.2m to £1.6 million.
The second most valuable items is a sapphire and diamond ring, which weighs 7.54 carats and is expected to sell for around £375,000.
Bonhams has now appealed to members of the public to trawl through their old jewellery boxes in case they have valuable or intriguing items they’d forgotten about
Susan added: “Jewellery can often be left sitting in a jewellery box or in a safety deposit box with the owners unsure what to do.
“It can remain untouched for years so we encourage people to contact us, discuss the piece, and they can bring it in for a free and confidential valuation with a view to sale.
“Many people do not realise how valuable their jewellery is because the hallmarks, signatures or initials of its creators go unnoticed or unrecognised.
“This is why it’s important to bring it to an independent jewellery expert.
“People tend to think designer pieces of jewellery are very obviously branded by their creators but that’s not always the case.
“The identifying marks of many leading designers can be incredibly subtle.”