Emerald From Shipwreck Being Auctioned for Ukraine

Mitzi Perdue puts up gem that came from 1622 Spanish galleon
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2022 7:55 AM CST
Emerald From Shipwreck Being Auctioned for Ukraine
The emerald ring is expected to fetch up to $70,000.   (Sotheby's)

A little piece of history is being auctioned this week, and all the proceeds will help humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. On Wednesday, Sotheby's will auction an emerald ring owned by 81-year-old Mitzi Perdue, wife of the late chicken magnate Frank Perdue, reports the New York Times. The ring, expected to fetch between $50,000 and $70,000, has an unusual back story, explains the Times and the Washington Post. It came from the 1622 shipwreck of a Spanish galleon, the Nuestra Señora de Atocha, in the Florida Keys. Frank Perdue came into its possession because he bankrolled the treasure hunter who found it (Mel Fisher), and Frank Perdue gave it to Mitzi upon proposing to her in 1988.

“I don’t want to give it up,” says Mitzi Perdue. “But it occurred to me that the awareness that it could bring would be something that I could do.” She visited Ukraine earlier this year and wrote in Psychology Today about how human traffickers are exploiting people there. She says she wanted to do more than write a check. “And then I started thinking, ‘What can I do to be most helpful?’ And then I thought, ‘I own something that’s of historic significance.'" A Sotheby's rep says the ring itself is special. It's a "Goldilocks stone,” he says, “where it’s a very strong green, a pure green, and also neither too light nor too dark.” See more images of the ring via Sotheby's. (Read more Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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