Friday, 2 October 2009


Administrators of Wrekin Construction, a Shropshire building firm that went bust in March, are trying to sell a stone that had been listed as the company's most valuable asset - a 2 kilo ruby known as the 'Gem of Tanzania'.

This stone was previously sold for £130,000, then valued at £300,000, but had then been re-assessed and traded for £11m worth of shares. It was this dubious valuation that had at times allowed Wrekin to keep afloat. The most a ruby has ever sold for at auction is £2.6 millon - something of a steal compared to the Gem of Tanzania. Prior to sale by the administrators, however, a closer look has been taken at the ruby and it was discovered that its valuation documents, from an Italian gemological institute, had been forged. The full story behind the stone is a long and interesting one involving goat's serum AIDS remedies, Rolls Royces, and Richard E. Grant. Albeit loosely.

Anyway - the ruby has been shown to be a low grade of ruby, in zoisite. I've sold this stuff, known as anyolite or ruby zoisite, for a long time and it's a good seller. Nice contrasting colours - the deep red of the ruby and vivid green of the zoisite streaked through with black tschermakite. I think the most expensive piece I've sold was £50. The Gem of Tanzania's revised value is now £100 and has been refused by the larger auction houses approached. It's now going to be advertised for sale in a couple of mineral and gem magazines. Quite a come-down, but definitely a rock with a good tale to tell.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Worth buying for the story alone. The shop should have a rogue's gallery.