Car boot ring first bought for £10 sold for £657k at auction
A large diamond ring bought for £10 at a car boot sale in the 1980s has sold for a staggering £657,000.
The ring had initially been expected to fetch £350,000 at auction but soared past that amount following "heated bidding" at a Sotheby's sale room in London.
The successful final bid of £656,750 was made by an international buyer.
The 26.27 carat, cushion-shaped white diamond was snapped up at a Sunday sale in west London in the 1980s.
The owner of the ring had bought it as a costume jewel and worn it daily, before being told by a jeweller of its substantial value.
It is thought the stone is from the 19th century, when diamonds were not cut to show off their brilliance like today's gems.
This results in an appearance slightly duller and deeper than modern diamonds, which could explain why the ring's true value was ignored for so long.
It was recently confirmed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) as a genuine diamond.
Jessica Wyndham, who heads Sotheby's jewellery department in London, said: "The owner would wear it out shopping, wear it day-to-day. It's a good-looking ring.
"But it was bought as a costume jewel. No one had any idea it had any intrinsic value at all. They enjoyed it all this time.
"The majority of us can't even begin to dream of owning a diamond that large."Tobias Kormind, the managing director of jewellery website 77Diamonds.com, suggested the new owner of the ring could even extract more value from the large stone.
He said: "If ever there was a great return from investing in diamonds then this is it.
"The new owner is likely to re-cut it into a modern diamond that will emit even more sparkle and potentially be worth a multiple of today's price.
"The fact this exceptional 26.27-carat diamond was discovered among relative junk in a car-boot sale allowed it to be dramatically undervalued all these years."
He added: "I'm convinced the £10 ring was once owned by royalty or a person of great wealth, because it originates from the 1800s - before the discovery of modern diamond mines and a time when very few diamonds were available."