Medieval ring found in Derbyshire field sells for £3,600

Medieval ring Image copyright Hansons
Image caption The blue sapphire is associated with the Virgin Mary, the auctioneers have said

A medieval sapphire ring found by metal detectorists in a field in Derbyshire has sold at auction for £3,600.

The gold stirrup-shaped ring with a blue gem at its centre was discovered in Belper and dates back to 1250.

Hansons Auctioneers said the ring's style was popular among wealthy members of the clergy and may have been lost during a religious festival.

A spokeswoman said despite a lot of interest from North America the ring was sold to a man in the UK.

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'Significant wealth'

The piece of jewellery had a guide price of between £1,500 and £2,000.

Adam Staples from the auctioneers' history department said the blue of the sapphire is linked to the Virgin Mary and suggested those of faith "may attain celestial bliss".

He said: "It does also reveal how powerful the Church was during this period, as to possess such an item would have been a sign of significant wealth of success.

"It is amazing to believe it has survived that long in such good condition and hadn't been hit by a plough."

The ring weighs about four grams (0.14 oz) and is heavier than others typical of this period, the expert added.

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