HISTORICAL EMERALD GREATLY EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS AT AUCTION
Despite its estimated range of $50,000 to $70,000, a ring made from a 6.25-ct emerald found on the shipwreck of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha, went far above, garnering $1.2 million from an anonymous buyer.
The Atocha was a Spanish treasure galleon that sank in a hurricane off the Florida Keys in 1622. Among her precious cargo was a trove of gold bars, silver coins, Venezuelan pearls, and Colombian emeralds.
When the shipwreck was discovered in 1985 by Mel Fisher, one of the expedition’s funders, Frank Purdue, received a cut of the Atocha’s treasures, valued at $1 billion. He donated most of his share to the Smithsonian and the Delaware Technical Community College but kept one emerald, which he had made into an engagement ring for his future wife, Mitzi.
In December 2022, Mitzi sold the ring through Sotheby’s to raise money for humanitarian aid in Ukraine. (Image: Sotheby’s)