Experts to meet in York as Yorkshire Museum ponders mystery of sapphire ring

| 08 January 2013
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A photo of an intricately-designed gold and sapphire ring with a gold gem at its centre
© Kippa Matthews

Archaeology experts will descend on York later this month in an attempt to deduce the true story behind a £35,000 Medieval ring unearthed in a field in nearby Escrick in 2009.

Despite being declared nationally important when it was found by Michael Greenhorn, a metal detectorist from the York and District Metal Detecting Club, analysts have been unable to add historical context to the 2.5 metre-wide discovery, which is thought to be the second-earliest example of sapphire jewellery in Britain.

Researchers from the University of York and representatives from the museum will meet the maker of a replica ring from the Little Diamond Shop in York.

Together, they hope to elaborate on initial suggestions that the exquisitely-formed piece was made for a high-status, post-5th century figure, with their debate expected to focus on the style, materials and craftsmanship behind the gold and prestige glass sculpture.

“This beautiful ring has really got us puzzled,” admitted Natalie McCaul, who has been part of the team looking after the piece at the museum since 2011.

“Nothing like it has ever been found before, which means it is incredibly difficult for us to date it and therefore build up a picture around it.

“To try and get a better understanding, we have invited leading experts from across the country to come and see the ring up close and share their thoughts.

“It is a rare chance to get such a distinguished group together.

“We hope it will help us shed new light on the ring, which may reveal some of its secrets.”
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