A golden moment as Kev unearths 13th-century ring
A treasure hunter struck gold by unearthing a rare ring believed to date back to the 13th century.
Kev Duckett, from Fleckney, discovered the gold ring, set with a blue sapphire, while searching a field outside Mowsley, near Market Harborough.
When his machine began to bleep, Kev dug down about six inches and was sifting through the earth he had removed when he spotted something unmistakable.
"There is was, just gleaming in front of me," he said. "Because gold doesn't corrode, it looked brand new, like the day it was dropped. I knew straight away it was pretty special."
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Under the treasure trove process, findings have to be reported to a coroner within 14 days, with the finder and landowner awarded money if the Crown decides to claim them.
That is why, despite making his discovery back in March, Kev had to wait until this week for coroner Catherine Mason to officially declare it treasure.
Under British law, any item found which is more than 300 years old with a content of more than 10 per cent gold or silver is classified as "treasure''.
Preliminary research suggests the ring could have belonged to a high-ranking church official, such as a bishop.
Kev said: "The jewel is called a black sapphire, although it's blue in sunlight.
"It looks as if it has barely been worn, but it definitely dates back to about the 13th century.
"You had be of high status to have a gold ring in those days but only the very high-rankers had gems too.
"Sapphires were actually put aside for leaders of the church and most would have come from places such as India. which is why they were so rare.
"The old ruins of Knaptoft monastery are only down the road, so that's a possibility."
Kev, who is a member of Hinckley Search Society and runs his own house clearance business, only took up metal detecting in the new year.
"I've had an amazing run," he said. "I only got my metal detector in December and as well as the ring I've found a 9th- century silver coin with a bust of Ceonwolf, the Saxon King of Mercia, a gold coin from 1694 and a Saxon Broach. But none of them compare to the ring."
Kev now has to wait for the ring to be valued and local museums to decide whether they want to acquire it for their collection.
"Basically, if a museum wants it then the Crown will offer me a price," he said. "Otherwise, it will be classed as 'disclaimed' and it will return to me.
"Personally, I'd like to see it go on display for the public, but it would be nice to get a fair price, too."