For an anniversary gift, my father bought Mom a 3.6 carat, diamond solitaire ring for $51,000 in the early 1970s. That's $340,000 in today's dollars.
In sketchy areas, Mom turned the huge diamond to her palm. "I could have my finger cut off for this ring," she said.
Mom died in 2008. During a bad recession. We had Mom's ring appraised: $55,000; excellent quality. My three siblings and I held off on selling the ring, thinking the economy was lousy and it will increase in value.
Meanwhile, the diamond market and technology changed. Conflict diamonds became an international issue. Now diamonds are computer-cut. Everyone wants computer-cut diamonds.
Mom's beautiful, hand-cut diamond ring was suddenly Beverly Hillbilly-style, not desirable.
It was reappraised at $26,500. Attempts to sell it for $25,000 failed for a year. $15,000 failed for a year. Finally found a buyer at $9,500. We got $9,275 after expenses.
A New York City jeweler bought the diamond. The setting was melted down and sold as gold.
Yesterday, I received a check for $2,318 (what each of us got).
"May I have the crispest $100 bill you have?" I asked while depositing the check. "It's for my daughter."
My brother bought an iPhone.
Glad my mother gave me her pearls! Now I need to get them re-strung.