Jessie Shen donated a $835k pendant and ring to the Salvation Army.
Jessie Shen donated a $835k pendant and ring to the Salvation Army.

Woman gives $835,000 necklace and ring to homeless charity

A charity helping the homeless has been stunned by a generous gift of jewellery worth potentially several hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Businesswoman Jessie Shen has donated a family pendant and ring to the Salvation Army's Project 614.

Shanghai-born Ms Shen, who migrated to Springvale aged 18, went to Monash University and later built successful businesses across the fields of telecommunications, property and financial services.

Ms Shen decided she wanted to give back to society after going through a very dark period involving mental health issues.

Her good friend, City of Melbourne councillor Beverley Pinder, suggested she support the Salvos in their work helping the most vulnerable Victorians.

"I've seen lots of people who need help and certainly there are a lot of people in the city in poverty right now," Ms Shen said.

"I want to help by starting from the heart of Melbourne, which is the city."

Ms Shen has given the Salvos a pendant featuring a tanzanite stone which was originally owned by her great-grandfather in the 19th century.

It has an insurance value of $700,000, while a ring she's also donating is valued at $135,000.

Cr Pinder  said she was excited when Ms Shen told her about giving away the family heirlooms.

The pendant is worth an estimated $700,000. Picture Jay Town
The pendant is worth an estimated $700,000. Picture Jay Town

 

"The homelessness issue is top of my mind and the great work that the Salvation Army does, so I mentioned it to Jessie and she took to it like it was something she needed to do," she said.

Salvos' Project 614 leader Major Brendan Nottle said it was the most unusual donation his organisation had got.

"We've never had a tanzanite pendant before and I had to look up what they were when Jessie came and saw us," he said.

"I think the closest thing I've got to a stone before is a kidney stone."

Maj Nottle said that homelessness was a complex issue and he was extremely grateful to Ms Shen for the gifts, and to Cr Pinder for suggesting the Salvos.

"That's a fantastic example being set for everyone - this is a whole-of-community issue where we all need to be doing our bit," he said.

Leonard Joel is due to auction the items on November 25, with the proceeds to be used for housing rough sleepers.

john.masanauskas@news.com.au

@JMasanauskas