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Antiques Roadshow: Owner of Charlotte Bronte memorial ring stunned at £20,000 valuation | TV & Radio | Showbiz & TV

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The guest brought along a small ring for Geoffrey Munn that had been inscribed round the inside with “C.Brontë” as well as the date Charlotte died.

The Antiques Roadshow contributor explained how they had found the ring in a locked box inside her recently deceased father-in-law’s attic.

Inside the ring behind a hinge, a lock of the Jane Eyre author’s hair had been plaited and placed.

Geoffrey explained on the BBC show how memorial jewellery was common at the time.

He said: “It was a convention to make jewellery out of hair in the 19th Century.

“The terror of not being able to remember the face and the character of people who had died, and so this is part of make a true souvenir, an incorruptible fragment of the person that has died and to wear it. It wasn’t uncommon.”

He went on to explain how Charlotte herself had similarly themed jewellery for her sisters.

“It echoes a bracelet Charlotte had that the hair of her two sisters which she wore with an amethyst for devotion.

“So it is absolutely the focus of the mid to the late 19th Century but also the focus of Charlotte Bronte herself.

“The inscription looks completely credible to me and the date of death. Everything points to this being exactly what you thought it was and it’s not only pulse making for you but it’s pulse making for me.

“Here we have something from my point of view, utterly and completely credible. An exciting part of British literary culture and enormously difficult to value.

“Intrinsically it looks as though it’s some sort of nine carat gold alloy and I doubt frankly that it would be worth more than £25.

“But I think as a relic of one of the greatest romantic novelists of the 19th century, the author of Jane Eyre, that we have to put a very different sum on it indeed.

“The excitement is escalating for me and you and for everybody else because I think this tiny, tiny little thing is worth £20,000.”

The guest couldn’t believe what she was hearing as she was visibly shocked and brought her hands up to her face.

“Oh my gosh! You should’ve provided me with a seat!” she exclaimed.

Referencing her daughter she had brought with her, the contributor continued: “She can have the rabbit she’s been going on about!”

Speaking to the camera she also added: “My husband has just done a 12 hour nightshift and this is why he’s not here today, he’s in bed right now.

“So I’ve got some pretty big news to tell him!”

Antiques Roadshow continues Sunday at 8pm on BBC One.


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