A large, rare diamond that was rescued from being thrown out has been valued at £2m, in what came as a “huge shock” to the owner.
A woman in her 70s found the 34-carat diamond while clearing out her home in Northumberland, but thought it was a costume jewellery stone.
Auctioneer Mark Lane from Featonby’s Auctioneers in North Shields, North Tyneside, told the BBC that the owner, who wished to remain anonymous, almost put the stone “in the bin”.
She could not remember where or when she found it, but Lane said she frequented car boot sales, where she “bought trinkets”.
“She told us she’d been having a clear out and that it nearly went in the bin before her neighbour suggested bringing her items to us to get valued,” Lane said.
The woman had brought a bag of jewellery, including her “wedding band and a number of low-value costume jewellery items” to the auctioneers while she was passing through town for another appointment.
“We saw quite a large stone, bigger than a pound coin, and I thought it was a CZ,” said Lane, referring to cubic zirconia, a synthetic stone often used to imitate diamonds.
He said he left the stone on his desk for several days before using a diamond tester machine, and then sending it to the auctioneers’ partners in London.
It was later certified by experts in Antwerp, Belgium, who confirmed it was a 34-carat diamond – making it the largest-value item Lane had ever dealt with.
“The colour, the clarity, the size… to find a 34-carat diamond is off the scale,” he said.
The diamond is currently being kept safely at London’s Hatton Garden jewellery quarter, where it will remain until it goes on auction on 30 November.
A description of the diamond of Featonby’s website, titled “The Secret Stone”, reads: “A truly magnificent and outstanding 34.19ct round brilliant cut, natural diamond.
“H colour, VS1 clarity with a triple excellent cut grade and laser inscription. The stone has been certified by the HRD Diamond Grading Laboratory in Antwerp.”