The UK is full of history, some of it buried just below a shallow layer of dirt. Amateur metal detectorists can stumble on antiquities, including hoards of ancient treasure. Some finds are more singular: an amateur roving the Dorset countryside with his metal detector discovered a 14th-century medieval gold and diamond wedding ring. The stunning band bears a unique inscription, and has recently sold at auction for an impressive $46,000.
David Board picked up metal detecting in the 1970s, but his early endeavors yielded nothing exciting. In 2019, he picked the hobby back up, exploring the countryside near Thorncombe, in the South West of England. His machine pinged on only the second day searching. He initially thought the object he unearthed was a metal candy wrapper but then decided it was scrap metal. Luckily, he saved it. “It was once I got home and washed it off that we realized it was a lot better than we thought,” he explained to CNN. Once the ring was examined by experts in medieval history, the true import of the discovery became clear.
In incredible condition, the ring features two entwined bands symbolizing marital union. An inverted diamond is set in the gold. The interior of the band carries an inscription in medieval French. It reads “ieo vos * tien * foi * tenes * le moy” which translates to “As I hold your faith, hold mine.” The perfect example of medieval love and chivalry, the ring likely belonged to Joan Brook, wife of local landed gentry Sir Thomas Brook. They married in 1388. Lady Joan—a wealthy widow of a cloth merchant—brought a lot of wealth to her marriage.
While this incredible piece of history may be a once-in-a-lifetime find for Board, he is still avidly pursuing fields in search of other wonders. In the UK, national laws govern the finding of certain treasures and help to ensure both rewards for finders as well as the protection of national heritage. Yet Board is still thrilled with his find: “There will probably never be another one like it. Back then, each ring was individual and unique, not mass produced like today. It's stunning.”
The ring went to auction at Noonan's in London in November 2022, fetching an impressive $46,000. It may be impossible to put a price on love, but this medieval love ring certainly fetched a pretty penny.
An amateur metal detectorist in the UK discovered a buried medieval gold and diamond wedding ring.
The wedding ring dates to the 15th century and has a medieval French inscription which reads “I hold your faith, hold mine.”