Million-dollar ring with Colombian emerald found in a ship that sank 400 years ago is auctioned

The money raised will be donated to Ukraine to finance humanitarian aid after the invasion of Russia.

The Spanish galleon had about 70 pounds of emeralds.

The Caribbean Sea hides multiple treasures due to the extensive trips made by the Spanish conquerors on ships loaded with all kinds of jewels. Well, it was recently known that a ring of great historical importance was sold by the Sotheby’s auction house in the United Kingdom. This brand is internationally recognized for auctioning great works of art and pieces that awaken the ambition of all collectors.

The story of one of its latest auctions begins precisely in the Caribbean Sea, near the coast of Florida (United States). The galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha, which was part of the Spanish Indian Fleet, was shipwrecked while passing through a coral reef in 1622 following the passage of a hurricane.

According to Sotheby’s, the boat was overloaded with gold and silver treasures. It is estimated that in the ship’s hold alone there were about 180,000 coins and 24 tons of ingots that were minted with Bolivian silver. In addition, there were about 125 gold bars from different nations in the Andes, the Caribbean and Mexico.

The ship and its impressive treasures spent more than 350 years in the depths of the ocean. But in 1969 the American treasure hunter Mel Fisher began arduous search work that would only end on July 20, 1985, when he finally found the main remains of the ship, after having made other smaller finds such as cannons and silver ingots.

It was the prize for a long and sad treasure hunt, as several of Fisher’s family and friends died trying to find the ship.

According to Sotheby’s, the ship’s log spoke of about 70 pounds of emeralds that had been carved raw and extracted from the Colombian municipalities of Chivor and Muzo, in the department of Boyacá. The auction house pointed out that the Spaniards had realized the wealth of the region only until the beginning of the 16th century.

“As Spain presented these gems to a European audience and, over time, global, their striking depth of color, size and clarity did not resemble anything previously known from the Egyptian mines of antiquity exhausted for a long time,” Sotheby’s warned.

The ring they auctioned was set with a stone carved from an emerald crystal that had been found in the gallery of Our Lady of Atocha. Sotheby’s indicated that Mel Fisher and his partner Frank Perdue worked with famous emerald lapidaries from New York, United States, to choose the best emerald crystals to include in their personal collection. The idea was to cut a fine gem for each one.

“The resulting 5.27-carat stone was set in gold and Frank proudly presented it to his wife Mitzi Perdue as a precious gift of commitment and in memory of this tremendous enterprise,” Sotheby’s said. Perdue, who is a writer and graduate businesswoman at Harvard University, is also recognized for her activism in favor of environmental protection.

The ring with a 400-year-old emerald from the 1622 Nuestra Señora de Atocha galleon shipwreck.

Among other things, they stressed that the money raised for the jewel will be used to support humanitarian efforts aimed at mitigating the ravages of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. My late husband was the most philanthropic person I have ever met,” Mitzi Perdue said. “And I am sure that he would feel that the greatest and best use of this emerald is to help prevent suffering in Ukraine,” she said.

“A ring with a 400-year-old emerald from the shipwreck of the Our Lady of Atocha galleon in 1622 was auctioned by Sotheby’s to raise funds for humanitarian aid efforts in Ukraine. Its owner, Mitzi Perdue, visited Ukraine last summer,” the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense warned in gratitude.

The auction will start with 70,000 dollars, about 337 million Colombian pesos.