John Bidwell was told by a New York jeweler that his diamond from Butte County, California was worth $125. What would that be in today’s money?
According to the website Measuring Worth,
A simple Purchasing Power Calculator would say the relative value is $2,030.00. This answer is obtained by multiplying $125 by the percentage increase in the CPI from 1867 to 2013.
So it would take around $2000 to buy today what $125 would buy in 1867. That probably is about right if we are talking about groceries, clothing, or rent. But we are talking about a diamond, and that is an entirely different matter. We don’t know the size of John Cherokee diamond, but a good quality 1 karat diamond on today’s market costs more than $2000.
Measuring Worth goes on to explain:
If you want to compare the value of a $125.00 Commodity in 1867 there are three choices. In 2013 the relative:
real price of that commodity is $2,030.00
labor value of that commodity is $15,400.00(using the unskilled wage) or $31,200.00(using production worker compensation)
income value of that commodity is $29,100.00
Maybe the diamond was worth a lot more than a $2000 diamond today. It’s really impossible to tell what Bidwell’s diamond would be worth today, since he doesn’t say how big it was, or how it measured in karats. But I’ll bet it was a very pretty little sparkler.
I only wish I knew what happened to it.
More about the diamond ring next time.