Company's prized £11m 'ruby' is a £100 fake



2015-06-26 11:41:16

Company's prized 11m 'ruby' is a 100 fake

A recession-hit construction firm's key asset, the 'Gem of Tanzania', is revealed as false

Building company Wrekin Construction collapsed in May, another victim of the recession.

Another reason was surely the re-valuing of the company's greatest asset: a 2.1kg ruby, the Gem of Tanzania,thought to be worth 11m.

The stone may well be 2.1kg, but it certainly isn't worth 11m. The "ruby" was revealed to be mostly anyolite, a low-grade mix of ruby and other substances.

Thefake stonewas first bought in 2002 by a South African businessman for 13,000, and later re-valued at 300,000. Itwas most recentlypicked up by Wrekin's owner, David Unwin in 2007, as part of a land deal.

In recession-hit 2009, the "ruby" was key to propping up the company's fortunes until six months ago, when the company went bust and 500 jobs were lost.

Ordinarily, a real 2kg perfect ruby would be worth a vast amount. A 2kg lump of anyolite, however, is unlikely to bring more than 100.

Ernst and Young have advertised the "gem" in Britain's Rock 'n' Gem magazine and America's Colored Stone Magazine. But itwill beunlikely to make the month's top sale, unless for the story associated with it.

The story is a dire warning to gem collectors and investors:always be sure to check the credentials of any gems or jewellerythat you areconsidering buying.

Also, make sure that the seller is reliable. For instance, documents related to the most recent sale ofWrekin's "Gem of Tanzania"were found to be forged.

And don't be dazzled by value. In this case, the 11m price tag could have distracted potential buyers from making the necessary authenticity checks.

Wrekin aren't the first organisation to have beenduped recently. Back in August, a Dutch Museum was brought back down to Earth when it a emerged that a prized pieced of moonrockwas fake.

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