£25 Antiques Roadshow ring found to contain lock of Charlotte Bronte's hair

A Victorian ring believed to be worth just £25 has now been valued at over £20,000 after a lock of Charlotte Bronte's hair was found inside it.

The Bronte Parsonage Museum
The Bronte Parsonage Museum

The Bronte Society, based at the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth, near Keighley, have verified the rare find after it appeared in an episode of Antiques Roadshow.

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The trinket was discovered in a Welsh attic and belonged to the father-in-law of the woman who took it to be valued on the BBC show.

The braided hair has now been confirmed as being 'very likely' to have belonged to Jane Eyre author Charlotte.

The inscription inside bears Charlotte's name and the date of her death - 1855, when she passed away from severe morning sickness aged 38.

The owner of the ring told Antiques Roadshow jewellery expert Geoffey Munn that holding it gave her 'goosebumps'.

Munn said it was also common for locks of hair to be hidden inside rings in the 19th century as a tribute to dead relatives. Charlotte herself wore a bracelet containing the hair of her sisters Emily and Anne, who predeceased her.

Ann Dinsdale, principle curator of the Bronte Parsonage Museum, later added her support to Munn's belief that the ring was genuine.

She said she would be interested in acquiring it for the attraction's collection, which already includes samples of the sisters' hair.

Munn said he would have valued the ring at £25 initially, but that it would be worth £20,000 now.