The brooch features an old mine-cut diamond, a rectangular-shaped emerald, and an oval-shaped Burmese ruby.
A piece of jewelry bought at a garage sale for $8 is set to sell for $30,000 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 costume but was, in fact, a very real and very valuable piece of 20th-century jewelry.
The Gemological Institute of America has now tested the brooch and confirmed it is gem quality.
Set throughout with old European-cut diamonds, the brooch features an old mine-cut diamond, weighing 1.39 carats, a rectangular-shaped emerald originating from Colombia and weighing approximately 1.50 carats and an oval-shaped Burmese ruby, weighing approximately 0.60 carat.
Bonhams will be selling the brooch in New York on September 19 and they have given it a guide price of $30,000.
Susan Abeles, head of jewelry, 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 jewelry lovers and I have a feeling it won’t end up in a garage sale again.”
Bonhams is selling a number of very valuable items of jewelry alongside the “garage sale” brooch.
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 estimated value of $1.6 million to $2.2 million.
The second-most valuable items is a sapphire and diamond ring, which weighs 7.54 carats and is expected to sell for around $500,000.
Bonhams has now appealed to members of the public to trawl through their old jewelry boxes in case they have valuable or intriguing items they’d forgotten about
Susan added: “Jewelry can often be left sitting in a jewelry 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 realize how valuable their jewelry is because the hallmarks, signatures or initials of its creators go unnoticed or unrecognized.”
“This is why it’s important to bring it to an independent jewelry expert.”
“People tend to think designer pieces of jewelry 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.”