Early C20th unheated certified Burmese and Ceylon sapphire earrings and an unheated certified Burmese sapphire ring.

Sapphire ring and earrings sell for £17,800 in Lichfield jewellery auction

SAPPHIRES discovered hidden in a Derbyshire house have sold for £17,800 at The Lichfield Auction Centre with Richard Winterton Auctioneers.

The unheated certified 4.16ct Burmese sapphire and diamond ring went under the hammer for £11,000 on Monday, March 27.

The preceding lot – a pair of early 20th century sapphire and diamond earrings featuring unheated certified sapphires totalling 5.60ct, one Burmese (now Myanmar) and the other from Ceylon (Sri Lanka) – sold at £6,800.

They were an example of the sparkling treasures found squirreled away at the late Margaret Hood’s home in Littleover – a surprise cache of jewellery so splendid it has been dubbed ‘The Littleover Hoard’.

Incredibly, the sapphire ring was tightly wrapped up in a supermarket carrier bag, swathed in socks and left hanging by the porch door.

Lot 6 is an unheated certified 4.16ct Burmese sapphire and diamond ring.
This unheated certified 4.16ct Burmese sapphire ring was wrapped up in a supermarket carrier bag inside a number of socks! It sold at auction for £11,000.

When Peggy – as she preferred to be known – died in October 2022, just a month after her 90th birthday, the grandmother of four and great grandmother of two was affected by the onset of dementia.

Coupled with her tendency to collect things and her somewhat secretive nature, it created a real-life treasure hunt for her children, daughter Sue Bird, 66, from Mickleover, and Jonathan Hood, 56, who lives near Ashbourne.

As well as the sapphires, other discoveries included a pearl necklace with an emerald and diamond clasp, also sold on March 27 for £14,500.

Lot 5 is a pair of early 20th century unheated certified Burmese and Ceylon sapphire and diamond earrings, the sapphires totalling 5.60ct.
The sapphire and diamond earrings featured unheated certified sapphires totalling 5.60ct, one Burmese (now Myanmar) and the other from Ceylon (Sri Lanka). They sold for £6,800.

Hundreds watched online as bidders on the internet and over the telephone battled it out for the treasures, with online bids eventually winning the sapphires and the pearls.

Sue and Jonathan said: “We are just delighted. We are so happy how the sale went – it was very exciting.

“Richard was an amazing auctioneer and we couldn’t have asked for better service.”

The start of the sale was broadcast on Facebook Live and you can also watch the sapphires going under the hammer in this post on Twitter.

Auctioneer Richard Winterton. Sold! The moment the sapphire ring was knocked down for £11,000, March 27 2023.
Sold! The moment the sapphire ring was knocked down for £11,000.

Auctioneer Richard Winterton said: “What beauties these sapphires are, ticking those crucial boxes of origin and no heat treatment.

“Unsurprisingly, there was a tremendous amount of interest from all over the UK leading up to the auction, with phone bids on the day and hundreds watching online trying to get in on the bidding.

“It’s a wonderful result for our clients Sue and Jonathan, made all the more special due to the story behind the stones.

“To think that this £11,000 sapphire and diamond ring was discovered wrapped up in a supermarket carrier bag inside some socks and left hanging in the porch! Hidden treasure indeed.”

Sue Bird and brother Jonathan Hood with their mum and dad Peggy and John Hood.
Sue Bird and brother Jonathan Hood with their mum and dad Peggy and John Hood.

Before the auction, Sue and Jonathan revealed how they had no idea their mother had such a stunning collection.

“She never told us and it was only by chance we found it all,” they said.

“We could easily have thrown some of them away and never been any the wiser.”

Other finds sold previously included an Alabaster and Wilson sapphire and diamond brooch – sold at auction with Richard Winterton for £1,200 – and a gold and enamel sweetheart ring reading ‘Hope’ which made £900.

Pearl necklace with emerald and diamond clasp sold £14,500
This pearl necklace with emerald and diamond clasp was also part of ‘The Littleover Hoard’ and sold in the same auction as the sapphires for £14,500.

Richard Winterton Auctioneers offers jewellery appraisals, insurance valuations and probate advice by appointment at The Lichfield Auction Centre, Fradley Park, and The Tamworth Auction Rooms, Church Street.

Pop-up, drop-in jewellery valuation events also take place weekly at Burton Market Hall, The Hub at St Mary’s in Lichfield and Burntwood Library.

For auction information, to book valuations or to discuss full or partial house clearances, telephone 01543 251081 or email office@richardwinterton.co.uk or telephone 01543 251081. For Tamworth, email tamworth@richardwinterton.co.uk or telephone 01827 217746.

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