While a 16.9-carat step-cut diamond ring estimated at between $1.6- and $2.2 million will headline the Bonhams New York fine jewellery sale this September, one of the 180 lots going under the hammer that has caught the public eye is an $8 brooch bought at a garage sale, that now carries a pre-auction estimate of $20,000-$30,000.
Susan Abeles, the Bonhams US Head of Jewellery, and her team will be eagerly watching how Lot 24, a diamond, emerald and ruby brooch, circa 1900, performs at auction. The brooch was purchased at a garage sale in Ohio a number of years ago for $8. The owner gave the brooch to her daughter to wear for church. Reluctant to take it, the daughter placed it at the bottom of her purse and did not give it a second thought.
On a chance visit to a jeweller 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 real.
Bonhams was then approached and its jewellery experts sent the stones in the brooch to be tested by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and reports confirmed they were gem quality and of the highest standard. The brooch was immediately put up for auction by the delighted owner.
Set throughout with old European-cut diamonds, the brooch features an old mine-cut 1.39-carat, D-colour, VS1 clarity diamond, a 1.5-carat rectangular Colombian emerald and an oval, 0.6-carat Burmese ruby.
The 16.9-carat step-cut diamond
The 16.9-carat diamond in the sale-headlining ring is certified as D-colour, Internally Flawless and classified as Type IIa.
Another notable lot is a sapphire and diamond ring featuring an oval, 7.54-carat sapphire, set within a surround of round brilliant-cut diamonds. It is estimated at $375,000-$575,000. It is accompanied by two reports stating that the sapphire is of Kashmir origin and has no indication of heat.
The sale also features a number of other Kashmir sapphires and signed jewellery by Harry Winston, Cartier, René Lalique and David Webb among others.