“We estimate there is at least £60 million worth of unwanted jewellery that owners have forgotten or never worn just waiting for a new home. Many clients tell us they had forgotten about a piece of jewellery that might have been handed down to them when an elderly relative passed away or that it was just sitting in a safe deposit box and not being worn and enjoyed. A lot of people have no idea just how valuable these pieces could be.”
There are always amazing finds akin to the moment on Antiques Roadshow when someone is left quite literally speechless after being told their old pot is a priceless Ming Dynasty vase. We’re asking everyone to have a look in their drawers and jewellery boxes, dust off any items they haven’t worn for several years or may not know much about and bring them in to any one of our regional offices during June. It’s incredibly exciting not knowing what pieces will be brought in. Over the years we’ve had some astonishing finds, with items brought to us in carrier bags or wrapped in tea towels. The jewellery market is very robust at the moment and items such as natural pearls and good quality diamonds and coloured gemstones are achieving excellent prices.”
- A 4.50 carats single-stone ruby ring inherited from a client’s grandmother was brought in from Cambridgeshire. After Bonhams sent it away for testing, it turned out to be an ultra-rare Burmese unheated stone which sold for an eye-watering £134,500.
- Another client produced a 5 carats brilliant cut diamond in an early 20th Century ring mount that his mother had buried in the garden in a jar then died without telling him where it was. Incredibly, he had spent a year digging over the garden before finding it. The ring was eventually sold for £20,000 by Bonhams London.
- A gentleman from East Anglia brought in a bright green bangle for valuation. This was identified as jade with an estimate of £20,000-£30,000. Bonhams went on to sell this in its Hong Kong salesroom for £443,500.
- An art deco multi-gem brooch bequeathed to a young girl by her grandmother was considered ‘costume jewellery’ and used as a dressing up toy at home in Wiltshire. Valued by Bonhams, it was revealed to be Cartier and sold for £12,500 to a private collector.
- Another client organising his late mother’s belongings found a five shilling note sewn into a curtain hem. Spotting a bulge in the lining, he uncovered an antique amethyst necklace which was sold by Bonhams for £6,000.
- An elderly lady brought in a bag of predominantly costume jewellery to be valued by Bonhams in Knightsbridge, London. Among the collection was a ring set with a light blue stone. It was a rare blue diamond and later sold for £100,000 to a Swiss collector.
Current market conditions for fine jewellery, most specifically period pieces, fine coloured gemstones, diamonds and natural pearls, has never been stronger. During June, our team of jewellery specialists will be available to give confidential valuations, free of charge, on any piece of jewellery you may be considering for auction.”