News / Vancouver

B.C. woman finds treasure in thrift shop Q-tip box

$1,800 worth of jewellery was hiding in 50¢ cardboard box

A string of pearls.

Halfdark / Getty Images

A string of pearls.

When Loretta Simms spotted two boxes of Q-tips for 50 cents at her local thrift shop in Duncan, B.C., she thought they would be perfect for cleaning her window tracks.

But when she opened one of the boxes at home, however, she found a string of pearls and eight gemstone and diamond rings instead.

Thrift-store manager Arlene Cristofoli told Metro she was shocked when Simms came back to show her what had been hiding in one of her purchases.

“I was dumbfounded,” said Cristofoli, director at the Cowichan Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store, in a phone interview. “Normally we check – we check a lot of things but for the two little Q-tip boxes … one was sealed. I never thought to open the second box.”

Cristofoli says a man had donated the box – with its jewellery hidden inside – after his sister died. Not many people donate jewellery to the thrift store, which helps fund patient care at the local Vancouver Island hospital, she said.

“It's mostly costume jewellery," she noted, "nothing worth a heck of a lot.”

Thanks to Simms' generous decision to give back the jewellery, Cristofoli was able to re-sell the rings and pearls for their real value.

A local appraiser put the price of the ring set and string of pearls at over $1,800.

Cristofoli told Metro Thursday that someone had already bought it.

More on