Ring found by metal detective in Petham could be worth thousands
A GOLD and diamond ring lost for 300 years could be worth thousands of pounds, an inquest heard.
Metal detective Shaun Martin Terriss found the piece of jewellery in a field in Petham on July 15 last year.
Speaking after a treasure trove hearing in Canterbury on Thursday Mr Terriss, who has been metal detecting for four years, said: "I knew it was special straight away.
"It was one of those days when it was sunny and it came out of the ground all shiny. I knew I was looking at a medieval ring but I didn't know what the stone was.
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"It would be pure speculation but I believe the ring could be worth in the high thousands. It would have belonged to someone of nobility but unfortunately we can't trace who it belonged to."
Mr Terriss hopes to sell it to Canterbury Heritage Museum, which has already expressed an interest.
He has been told it is rare to find a ring from that period containing a diamond and with the inscription still intact.
Judy Rudoe of the British Museum identified it as a gold finger ring from the late 17th or early 18th century with white enamel and a clear stone.
But Mr Terriss thinks it could be even older, possibly 16th century, and is seeking a second opinion.
The ring is so small it barely fits on his little finger.
Inside are the Latin words "et anulum et animam" – "I give you both this ring and my soul."
Coroner Rebecca Cobb confirmed the ring contained more than 10 per cent precious metal and could be called treasure under the Treasure Act 1996 allowing Mr Terriss to keep or sell it.
Mr Terriss, who lives in Ramsgate, had permission from landowner Barnaby Swire to search the field and will split any profits with him.
Miss Cobb said determining treasure was the most pleasurable part of her job.
She said: "I remember the time gold ingots were discovered just outside Canterbury's city wall and had been passed around the hearing for all present to hold."
Only photographs of the ring were on display at Thursday's inquest.