Metal detector discovers medieval diamond ring estimated at $47,000

Written by Issie RonaldHafsa Khalil, CNN

Every metal detectorist dreams of digging up something valuable. For one man, the English countryside made an incredible find when he came across a medieval diamond wedding ring in “near perfect condition” near Thorncombe, in the south west of the country.

Now the item is expected to fetch between £30,000 and £40,000 ($35,500 and $47,300) when it goes up for auction later this month.

David Board, 69, found the “stunning” ring on his second attempt at becoming a metal detectorist after a stint in the 1970s when he scoured local beaches but found nothing of much significance, a Noonans auction house press release said earlier this week.

Board called the ring “a once-in-a-lifetime” find.

During an interview with CNN, he said, “There will probably never be another like this. Back then, each ring was individual and unique, not mass-produced like today. It’s amazing.”

Board started metal detection again in 2019. On the second day of a field search, he had nearly given up when he received a signal from his metal detector down a footpath.

At first the culprit looked like a candy wrapper, but Board soon realized it was a gold ring.

When he dug it all up from under the mud, Board said he thought it was just “scrap” and pocketed it.

“When I got home and washed it off, we realized it was much better than we thought,” he explained.

The inscription on the inside reads

The inscription on the inside reads in French “I hold your faith, hold mine”. Credit: afternoons

The ring is in “near perfect condition,” Nigel Mills, a coin and antiquities advisor at Noonans, said in the release. The piece has a gold hoop of two intertwined bands to symbolize the marital union and is set with an inverted diamond.

Inside the binding is a medieval French inscription that reads, “Ieo vos ten foi tenes le moy,” which translates as, “I hold your faith, hold mine,” according to the auction house.

Due to the location of the find and the quality of the ring, Noonans experts suspect it to be Joan Brook’s wedding ring, given to her by her husband, Thomas Brook.

Their marriage in 1388 brought great wealth to the Brook family, according to the release, as Joan was the widow of Robert Cheddar, a wealthy cloth merchant and twice mayor of Bristol, a city in the west of England.

It was at a time when medieval notions of chivalry and courtly love were at their peak, concepts the ring reflects, Noonans said.

Now known as The Lady Brook Medieval Diamond Ring, the item will be auctioned on November 29.

The board goes out three times a week, weather permitting, in hopes of discovering another great relic among the musket balls and King George I coins.

“It’ll be great if I did,” he replied, adding “you never know what the next signal will bring.”

The discovery adds to a list of incredible finds by UK detectorists.

An amateur discovered a shipment of Bronze Age objects in a Scottish field in 2020, in what experts called a “nationally significant” discovery at the time.
And last year, CNN reported that a huge trove of Iron Age gold artifacts had been found by a budding detectorist in Denmark.

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