The expert eye of Wiltshire’s BBC TV star auctioneer Izzie Balmer is set to earn a lucky someone up to £5,000 this week – selling gems that they thought were worthless.

Izzie, the head of the jewellery department at Wessex Auction Rooms and a regular specialist on BBC1’s Antiques Road Trip, made an astonishing discovery when a woman visited the auction house with a box of what she thought was cheap costume jewellery.

But when she asked Izzie to give a valuation, both were delighted to discover that the “trinkets” were the real deal.

Martin Hughes, Izzie’s colleague at the Draycot Cerne sale rooms, explained: “A lady recently attended one of our valuation events with what she thought was a box of worthless costume jewellery. 

“However, when Izzie, who is not only head of jewellery at Wessex Auction Rooms but is also a qualified gemmologist, began to assess them she was stunned to learn that it was in fact a collection of Victorian and 20th Century jewellery and worth up to £5,000.”

The surprise find, which include a diamond and ruby ring and a sapphire, diamond and pearl bangle, will be among the lots at the auction of jewellery, silver, watches and coins on Friday, March 18.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Izzie Balmer wears some of the surprise find of jewellery.Izzie Balmer wears some of the surprise find of jewellery.

Izzie said: “The bangle has a lovely sapphire in the centre that the lady assumed was just coloured glass.” 

She added: “The best part of my job as an auctioneer is putting a smile on someone’s face when they have absolutely no idea that they are sat on something worth hundreds, or maybe thousands, of pounds.

“We are one of the few auction houses that are open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm for people to bring things along to have them assessed for auction suitability. 

"I am often told that people feel a bit intimidated by auction houses and I think that is all to do with the cliched idea of the classic ‘snooty’ auction house – but we are so different here at Wessex Auction Rooms. 

“We refer to ourselves as Wiltshire’s auction room, because we are here for everyone – whether you have a single item worth £50 or a fabulous find worth £5,000, we will be here to greet you with a smile and, sometimes, like on this occasion, a lovely surprise.”

The full catalogue for Friday’s sale can be viewed here -