Bonhams - Finds of Fortune


Did you ever consider that tiny, dirty ring could be worth a fortune? Bonhams says so!

By: LF Correspondent

Posted on: June 24, 2015 

Old ruby broochBonhams is inviting collectors, or even those not, to get their jewelry estimated and probably auction if agreed so by the owner. Result: many incredible finds are coming to the fore as unique pieces are ushered out from boxes and casks.

A dusty ruby brooch bought in a charity shop for £1.50 sold for an amazing £2,400 after being identified as valuable by experts at Bonhams auctioneers. The incredible provenance of the flower brooch – found in a basket of ordinary trinkets - was finally revealed after ‘scratches’ on the back turned out to be a Cartier signature!
 
The valuable antique piece was rescued from a Cambridgeshire charity shop after its buyer decided she rather liked the pattern. On a whim, she decided to get it valued and, after the leading international auctioneers identified it as by Cartier, it sold to a collector for a staggering 1,600 times its purchase price.
 
It is part of a haul of forgotten jewellery worth an estimated £60 million that is gathering dust in drawers and attics across Britain.
 
Millions of pounds worth of earrings, necklaces, bracelets and other pieces are simply set aside and forgotten as a result of changing tastes, according to Bonhams. Picture these: a £20,000 diamond ring buried in a back garden; an art deco brooch bequeathed to a young girl by her grandmother and considered ‘costume jewellery’ until it was valued and sold for £12,500; and a ring inherited from a client’s grandmother that was revealed as an ultra-rare Burmese unheated ruby which sold for £134,500.
 
Old flower broochJean Ghika, head of jewellery in the UK and Europe at Bonhams, said, “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.”
 
Hundreds of pieces of jewellery are valued for free every year with a view to sale by Bonhams during its long-running Jewellery in June campaign. “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,” said Ms Ghika.
 
Some of the stories are made of fairy tales, literally. A Bonhams 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! 

Bonhams plans to hold over 40 dedicated jewellery auctions across the world, including London, New York and Hong Kong. The auctions attract interest from international buyers who can bid online, on the telephone and in person in its salesroom. And for these auctions, during June, Bonhams team of jewellery specialists is giving confidential valuations, free of charge, on any piece of jewellery you may be considering for auction.
 
For more information, please call 020 7468 8278 or email jewellery@bonhams.com

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