Case kept in house in far north of Scotland for seven decades
• Once belonged to owner’s grandmother and two maiden aunts
• Owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, was about to throw case out
• Curiosity made her force case open to reveal incredible collection
• The 22 pieces will be sold at Bonhams’ Edinburgh
Among the valuable items she found were a pair of diamond single-stone earrings, weighing approximately seven carats, estimated to fetch £15,000-20,000; and a 19th century Indian enamelled necklace with a Footprint of Vishnu (Vishnupada) pendant, estimated at £2000-3000.
Other items included a French cameo brooch depicting Flora, the goddess of flowers sprinkling flowers over cherubs, estimated to make £700-900; and a variety of natural pearls, diamond necklaces and gem-set brooches.
Ms Blatherwick said: ‘This has all the ingredients of a fairy story — a locked case, a missing key and hidden treasure.
‘There were a lot of boxes of papers and it was assumed this was just another. It must have been a wonderful moment when the case was opened and the jewellery saw the light of day for the first time in 70 years.