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A Piece of Costume Jewelry Found at a Garage Sale Wound up Being Worth $325,000

If you've held onto a box of baseball cards for years, hoping against all odds it will be worth something someday, you might envy this individual's unexpected joy. A piece of "exceptionally sized" costume jewelry purchased at a West London garage sale in the 1980s carries a surprising value. The owner wore it for fun over the last 30 years, thinking it couldn't be worth anything. 

Recently, it was suggested that she take the ring to a jeweler to get it appraised. She took it to Sotheby’s Jewelry in London, where she was undoubtedly shocked by the news. This ring, bought for just £10 at a garage sale, is now up for auction with a starting bid of £250,000 ($325,000 USD).

The ring is a 19th-century 26.27-carat, cushion-shaped white diamond. Sotheby's adds that the ring has an "attractive" color grade of I and an "impressive" clarity grade of VVS2.

“We confirmed that it was indeed a diamond. We got it tested with the Gemological Institute of America ... and that then dictated the price,” Sotheby’s Jessica Wyndham told the Huffington Post

“It was in an antique style mount, so it was quite heavy,” Wyndham said, explaining how the owner could not know the diamond was real. “It is mounted in silver around the top and when silver becomes tarnished it becomes quite black. And that mixed with the cut of the stone probably would have meant that it didn’t sparkle very much, and if it was all dirty, you just wouldn’t think that was real.”

The garage sale ring will be up for auction on June 7. 

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Dustin Nelson is a News Writer with Thrillist. He holds a Guinness World Record but has never met the fingernail lady. Follow him @dlukenelson.