Experts gather to reveal ring’s secrets

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A SAPPHIRE ring found near York has left experts baffled about its origins, but now attempts are being made to try to discover more.

Leading experts will gather in the city later this month to try to solve the mysteries of the piece, discovered at Escrick and described as a being of “major national importance”.

The ring, which is the second earliest example of the use of sapphire ever found in the country, has baffled archaeology experts because nothing has ever been found like it before. The intricately-designed piece of jewellery was made by a highly-skilled craftsman for an extremely wealthy and powerful person. But its style and material make it hard to date – meaning it can’t be placed in any historical context which would give clues to its origins or possible owners.

Now experts are coming to York on January 25 at an event organised by the University of York and the Yorkshire Museum, where the ring is on public display.

Natalie McCaul, curator of archaeology at the Yorkshire Museum, said: “This beautiful ring has really got us puzzled.

“To try and get a better understanding we have invited leading experts from across the country to come and see the ring up close and share their thoughts.”

Katy Cubitt, a professor of early medieval history in the Department of History at the University of York, said: “The early medieval gold and sapphire ring found at Escrick is a discovery of major national importance.”

Experts from some of the UK’s top universities and leading museums will be attending the event.

The ring was found by metal detectorist Michael Greenhorn, from York and District Metal Detecting Club, in 2009.

It is intricately made of gold, prestige glass and a large sapphire.

This is the second known use of a sapphire in jewellery found in the country.