Antiques Roadshow guest devastated over expert’s valuation of sapphire ring
An Antiques Roadshow guest was startled when an expert revealed her sapphire ring was not a genuine gemstone.
The woman inherited the blue stone ring from her mother, who was then engaged to a pilot during World War II.
Sharing the story to jewellery expert Susan Rumfitt on the BBC One show, she hoped to learn more information about the ring.
The gold ring has two sapphire stones and three diamonds in the middle.
The guest mentioned that she tried to take the ring to the jewellers in Harrogate for a valuation but the staff "wouldn't give any value" and "wouldn't confirm if they were sapphires".
Susan said: "Well they are sapphires, but they're not natural sapphires; they're actually what we call synthetic sapphires, which is actually grown from aluminium-oxide which is of course what sapphires are made of.
"But they are grown in a laboratory environment, so when you look inside the stones, the growth lines of a natural sapphire will be parallel to each other."
She said the synthetic sapphire were grown in a "boule" so that it appeared in "curved growth lines".
"Now in some ways that might make you think 'Oh, synthetic sapphires, I don't like it anymore', but I'm sure you do still like it," Susan added.
Looking astounded, the guest responded: "I didn't know you could make synthetic sapphires."
The expert said the technique was developed during the Victoria period because the trade routes shut down during the post- Industrial Revolution.
She added: "Age-wise, we're looking at the first quarter of the 20th century, but down the centre, you do have diamonds and the white and yellow metal is gold."
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The woman then wondered if the ring was made in Britain.
"It looks as though it has been made in Europe, possibly in Poland, maybe in France," Susan replied. "But it's certainly not a British ring."
When it came to valuation, she said due to the synthetic material of the gemstone, the ring would fetch around £800 to £1,200 in auction.
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