Antiques Roadshow: Expert values ruby ring at £1,200
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In a previously aired instalment of Antiques Roadshow, expert Geoffrey Munn was asked to place a value on a stunning ruby and gold ring. The BBC show took its team of experts to the British Museum and Geoffrey was amazed when a guest revealed the heartbreaking story behind her grandmother’s ruby and diamond ring.
The guest began: “It was my grandmother’s she received it when she was 12 as a gift from her father.
“It’s a significant age in Judaism – she had it ever since, but she lost it and found it once again.”
“Well tell me the circumstances under which that happened,” the expert asked.
She replied: “In the winter 1944 German Nazi-occupied Hungary and Romania where my family comes from.
“And they were all sent to a ghetto but before the family was sent, the father dug a hole in the yard and just put all the family jewellery inside it and hope to return one day.
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“Well, they were authored into the ghetto and then quite immediately sent to the concentration camp Auschwitz where practically all of the family perished.
“She was the sole survivor and when she was finally released she found her way back to Hungary to her hometown and she came back to the house where they lived and dug.”
“And she found it in the garden?” Geoffrey questioned and the guest confirmed she had.
Geoffrey continued: “Extraordinary story, isn’t it? And it’s illustrated by this ring and the enduring qualities of precious stones it’s one of their deep fascinations really.
“In a way, it’s almost too, too effecting for words really, isn’t it? And, of course, it is for everybody and for everybody, genuinely. And it’s wonderful to be able to articulate it with something like this. Tell me the circumstances of how it has come to you.”
The guest explained: “Well, she almost lost it again in 1956 there was a very short period of time where they could leave the country and immigrate to Israel.
“But the only way they could do that is to leave everything behind all the possessions including jewellery and I don’t know how but she managed to bring the ring.”
“Fantastic and it’s a measure of the fact of its importance within the family,” Geoffrey said.
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“The Ruby stands for love and the diamond forever and so in a way, that resonance that deep-set meaning, that deep antiquity was taken with the ring to Israel and now it’s been widened beyond that.”
Opening up on receiving it from her grandmother, the guest said: “I always loved this ring half a year before she passed she says she wants me to have it she wants to see me happy.”
Geoffrey remarked: “It seems almost that there’s too much emotion and too much history to settle on an object like this it’s an extraordinary thing.
“But I must say it’s doing its job here the sun’s falling on it it’s still immensely permanent those are the colours that your predecessors saw. And it saw them through the worst kind of turmoil and tragedy in their lives.
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“In a way, it’s singing a silent song to us which is absolutely marvellous and the song begins in 1920 when this ring was made, in gold fronted in platinum and set with very pretty rubies and diamonds.
“It’s impossible to put the value on such an object after the story that you told me and I think the only way to value it is for us to put all that emotion aside and view it as a completely anonymous ring somewhere for sale without being able to articulate this extraordinary story and to tell you that it will be possible to buy another one without that history for somewhere between £800 and £1,200.
“But in my view, it’s totally irrelevant subject it’s irrelevant to you and irrelevant in its meaning to your predecessors and that’s what’s been the voyage of discovery today and it’s nothing to do with money.”
“The sentimental value is huge but I just think it’s a beautiful ring,” the expert concluded.
Antiques Roadshow continues on BBC Two on Sunday at 8pm.
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