NEWS

Swallowed Diamond's Value Up For Debate

05/22/2012 04:25 EDT | Updated 07/22/2012 05:12 EDT
Alamy

A $20,000 diamond swallowed and expelled by a man who allegedly tried to steal it could soon be for sale.

After photographing it for evidentiary purposes, Windsor Police returned the 1.7-carat gem to Precision Jewellers on Saturday.

Store owner Dan Thomas said he will hold onto the well-travelled and now famous diamond for a while because he wants to see if all the hype will help or hurt its value.

"There’s been a lot of interest and a lot of questions about the diamond. We thought it best to keep it on hand and make a decision later in the month or in early June.

The diamond was sterilized by the police and steamed cleaned again by Precision.

"The diamond looks just the way it did when it left the store that day," Thomas said. "With the story behind it, we're not sure how that's going to be taken."

Clerk saw alleged theft

Richard Mackenzie Matthews, 52, swallowed the diamond May 10.

A salesperson at Precision said the man swallowed the gem in a botched attempt to steal the stone by switching it with a cubic zirconia.

Thomas, said surveillance video shows Matthews swallowing the diamond.

After his arrest, Matthews was held in a dry cell under close surveillance. He agreed to take laxatives and other fluids to assist in bowel movements.

Investigators say they spotted two fake diamonds inside Matthews after he was taken to hospital to undergo an X-ray.

Police said a diamond does not show up in an X-ray because of its composition.

Matthews expelled a cubic zirconia Friday, according to police, and then the real diamond Saturday.

"This is a great story," Thomas said. "It’s a heroic story on our staff’s part and a good ending now that we have the stone back."

Thomas said a potential buy might want to say "I have the actual diamond everyone was talking about."

Four C's most important

However, Gemologist Trisha Kharwell said only four things matter most when valuing a diamond; clarity, cut, colour and carat weight.

"Provenance comes into effect when it’s royalty or celebrity. Elizabeth Taylor’s jewellery would have that provenance," she said.

A prominent pawn shop owner in Windsor said the stone's value is unchanged.

Mark Bradac owns Economy Exchange Pawn Shop and starred on History Television's Pawnathon Canada. He said the story behind the diamond "does nothing for me."

"It is a great story. But I don’t think your wife wants you to by that diamond," Bradac said. "It probably does matter [where it's been] because I don’t think you’d want to know it’s been there."

Matthews has been charged with theft over $5,000 and breach of probation.