The woman who found the jewels paid just 50 cents for them, and shocked everyone by returning them to the store.
When Loretta Simms paid 50 cents for a box of Q-tips at a thrift store last week, she had no idea of the bargain she had just gotten.
Upon opening the box of cotton swabs, which she intended to use to clean her windows, she realized that there was something else besides Q-tips in it – over $1,000 worth of jewelry.
“They say you can’t find good finds at a thrift shop and I say, ‘Hey, I sure did,'” Simms said.
The jewels – eight rings set with diamonds, emeralds, and rubies, including a diamond engagement ring, and a string of authentic pearls – are valued at roughly $1,800.
Though most people would be floored by the deal they’d just scored, and likely consider it a day well spent at the thrift shop, Simms shocked the owners of the Cowichan Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store by bringing it all back.
“I just felt it wasn’t for me,” Simms said. “Meant for me to find and bring back, but not for me.”
The staff at the shop said that it was “wonderful” and “astounding” that she had returned all eight nine pieces, and were shocked that they hadn’t noticed them before she bought them.
“I just took it for granted that they were Q-tips and put them out on the shelf,” said shop director Arlene Cristofoli of the box that Simms had paid less than a dollar for. “She paid 50 cents for eight rings and a string of pearls.”
According to the shop, which donates its proceeds to the Cowichan District Hospital in Duncan, B.C., the jewelry had originally been donated by a foreign man, who had donated them all from his late sister’s private collection. Simms said she wanted to be sure the pieces sold for a higher price, to help more patients.
After being returned, all of the pieces were put back up for sale, though, of course, at more reasonable prices.