Rare rough diamond ring goes to auction in London

The 15th Century diamond and gold ring (courtesy Bonhams) The outside of the ring is inscribed with the words "amour mi tien" (love keep me)

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A rare 15th Century diamond ring discovered by a Leicestershire metal detectorist could fetch £20,000 when it goes to auction.

John Stevens found the gold ring in the Fleckney area in July 2008.

He said it had been "quite a shock" to come across the treasure just inches below the surface of a ploughed field.

Diamonds were not commonly used during the 15th Century as craftsmen did not have the tools to cut them, according to auctioneers Bonhams.

The crystal in the ring remains the same pointed shape as it would have been found in nature.

The original owner is unknown, but a Gothic script inscribed around the outside of the loop reads: "amour mi tien" (love keep me) in Old French.

'Gold paper'

Mr Stevens had been preparing to return home after a day of metal detecting when he found the ring.

"I was just walking to the car with [the metal detector] on the floor when I got a signal and dug it up," he said.

"My friend said, 'Oh, it looks like you've got a bit of gold paper'. I pulled it out and it was that gold ring. Quite a shock really."

Under the Treasure Act 1996, all discoveries of gold and silver objects over 300 years old must be reported to an official within the district.

Mr Stevens said he felt lucky that no museums had stepped in to buy the ring after it was registered, meaning it reverted to his ownership.

The ring, which has a guide price of £15,000 to £20,000, will be auctioned in London on 13 April, with the profits divided between Mr Stevens and the landowner.

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