Archive for Thursday, December 8, 2011

Unusually shiny donation in Salvation Army kettle could ‘help a lot of families’

December 8, 2011, 10:07 a.m. Updated December 8, 2011, 1:40 p.m.


— A Salvation Army kettle from Shawnee turned up a sparkling surprise when workers opened it to count the day’s donations — a diamond.

Michele Heaver, the Salvation Army Corps Officer for Kansas City, Kan., displays a diamond found in one of the organization's kettles. The diamond is valued at $2,000.

Michele Heaver, the Salvation Army Corps Officer for Kansas City, Kan., displays a diamond found in one of the organization's kettles. The diamond is valued at $2,000.

Michele Heaver, the Salvation Army Corps Officer for Kansas City, Kan., displays a .83 carat diamond someone left in a Salvation Army kettle.

Michele Heaver, the Salvation Army Corps Officer for Kansas City, Kan., displays a .83 carat diamond someone left in a Salvation Army kettle.

A jeweler appraised the diamond Thursday morning, revealing its retail value is $2,000, said Michele Heaver, the Salvation Army Corps Officer for Kansas City, Kan.

“That could help fill our pantry, help many families who come in for food assistance,” Heaver said. “It could help with four or five utility bills, or help a couple people pay their rent.”

Someone dropped the stone in the kettle Nov. 30 outside the Walmart at Shawnee Mission Parkway and Lackman Road, Heaver said. When they opened the kettle to count its contents, Salvation Army volunteers discovered a piece of diamond paper with the loose stone inside.

Meierotto Midwest Jewelers, a well-known diamond seller at 4311 NE Vivion Road in Kansas City, Mo., appraised the stone pro-bono, Heaver said. The diamond — a .83 carat round cut — is thought to be 100 years old.

“It had some flaws, but it was a very nice diamond,” Heaver said.

Heaver the Salvation Army would probably sell the diamond but had yet to determine how to go about it. Discussions have included the possibility of the jeweler mounting the diamond and helping the charity auction it.

Heaver said the volunteer at the Walmart kettle didn’t report anything out of the ordinary and probably didn’t even notice the unusual drop.

Heaver said the Salvation Army has discovered rings in their kettles — they can slip off cold fingers and are typically reclaimed — but in her 23 years with the organization she’s never heard of a loose diamond.

“I would assume it’s a purposeful donation,” she said. “It’s absolutely wonderful that somebody would give this type of donation. We’re very appreciative, and it will help a lot of families.”


mjc2891 6 years, 2 months ago

last time i checked salvation army was a 501(c)3

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 2 months ago

consumer1, the exact value of a diamond is a matter of considerable debate and secrecy. Only high quality stones have any significant value, and even then many would be shocked at what they sell for in quantity at the wholesale level.

The price of diamonds is highly manipulated, mostly because of the De Beers monopoly. They only release enough stones for sale to keep the retail price of diamonds at ridiculous levels. They are not rare at all. The only exception is very large stones, that is, three carats or more, and naturally colored diamonds, which actually are very rare.

Clipped from: (Notice that's Public Broadcasting System's Frontline, which is a very reputable source for information.) "Because diamonds are so plentiful, it makes De Beers's virtual monopoly an astonishing feat." "Because it is a virtual monopoly, De Beers cannot operate legally in the United States. All sight-holders must travel here to buy their rough gems, to a building known only as 17 Charterhouse Street. This is a fortress, where 80 percent of the world's gem diamonds are sorted, graded and sold."

And, this one is not even a carat, so it really can't be worth that all that much. It's not at all impossible that $75 represents more than half of the value of the stone. And, if it has any significant occlusions, that would quite likely be its total worth at the wholesale level.

If you want to know what a diamond is really worth, take it to a pawn shop or a jewelry store and ask them what they will pay you to buy it. That is what its value actually is.

Has it ever occurred to you to wonder why jewelry stores always seem to have the money to be located in very fancy stores in high rent districts?

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 2 months ago

But, you'd be amazed at what you can get for a diamond that's already set in a ring while you're alone with a girl, and then ask her the right question!

Or, just ask the right question without a diamond. That very often works too.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 2 months ago

Actually, I can hardly believe that whoever is running the Salvation Army operation is serious about this. It's a no brainer that an appraisal is free, every time. Just go to three pawn shops and/or jewelry stores, and then sell it to the one that offers the most money for it.

Seems to me this is a publicity stunt more than anything else. What is it, a $100 stone tossed into the kettle? Now, how many people are going to hear or read about it and get generous at the other kettles?

(from a cynic)

JovianaRex 6 years, 2 months ago

No, you're not, it's possible. But also , some people might think they're giving something worth a lot, they haven't tried to really sell it for cash. I know someone who tried to sell a 3.2 carat in the 80's to a major jeweler in KC, a personal friend of theirs,and the markdown was unbelievable for what that size was selling for on retail. They could get about 1/3 of what the retail price was listing. No, they didn't sell it.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 2 months ago

I'm amazed that the stone appraised that high! It's the antique cut that's really the valuable thing about it.

Years ago, in the 1970s, I was told that it was a moneymaking proposition to take an antique cut diamond (but I don't know exactly what type of cut was being referred to), have it cut into a modern cut, and then sell it at a decent, but not major, profit.

Bob Forer 6 years, 2 months ago

Retail value tells us nothing. Jewelry is one of the bigger ripoffs around, and its not uncommon for a jewelry store to mark up items 500 per cent and more. My guess is that its true value is in tghe neighborhood of $200.00

sourpuss 6 years, 2 months ago

It probably fell out of a setting. Prongs break and cause diamonds to come loose and fall out. It is probably not a purposeful donation, but if no one claims it then, well, finders keepers.

On another note, the Salvation Army might indeed help many Lawrence families with the windfall given that the families are heterosexual and Christian. The Salvation Army is a church, not a charity. Treat their calls for money like any other request from a religious foundation.

JGr 6 years, 2 months ago

My initial thought was also that it had fallen out of a setting - but the original article says that it was found wrapped in a napkin. That sounds purposeful to me.

garyr 6 years, 2 months ago

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Stuart Evans 6 years, 2 months ago

"We’re very appreciative, and it will help a lot of families.”... unless they're LGBT

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