Cover A 34-carat diamond that was almost thrown in the bin is valued at US$2.7M (Photo: Pixabay)

The 34-carat diamond, which is being sold later today, was nearly thrown away by its owner

A 34-carat diamond whose owner believed it was a piece of costume jewellery has been valued at US$2.7 million.

The stone, which is about the size of a US$1 coin, belongs to a woman in her 70s living in Northern England. According to the BBC, the owner believes she bought the diamond at a flea market and, while recently cleaning her home, nearly threw it in the bin before a neighbour suggested she get it valued.

Mark Lane of Featonby's Auctioneers initially thought the diamond was a more affordable cubic zirconia worth about US$2,700. When he suspected otherwise, Lane sent the brilliant-cut jewel to experts at the HRD Diamond Grading Laboratory in Antwerp, who confirmed it was a 24.19-carat colour H VS1, which means the diamond is almost entirely colourless with no visible inclusions.

Lane will auction the stone later today (November 30) at a single-lot sale called, The Secret Stone.

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Tobias Kormind, managing director of online jewellery 77 Diamonds, tells Tatler: “This is not the first time that what looks like a trinket has turned out to be an exceptional treasure. In 2017, a 26.27-carat diamond nicknamed the Tenner, because it had been bought in a car boot sale for only GBP10, was estimated to fetch up to GBP350,000 at Sotheby's. When the hammer went down, it fetched a handsome GBP650,000.

“Meanwhile, in 2014 a gold egg bought in a flea market by a scrap metal dealer for US$14,000 turned out to be a long lost Fabergé egg, which Alexander III had given to his wife Empress Maria Feodorovna in Easter 1887, and was sold privately for a cool US$33 million.”

Despite describing the diamond as “exceptional”, Kormind suspects the 34-carat sparkler will fetch between US$1.3 million and US$1.5 million, rather than the considerably higher US$2.7 million estimated by Featonby's.

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