February 18, 2010


Tanzanian ruby valued at £11m sells for just £8,000 after being proved to be a lump of rock

A giant ruby once valued at £11million has sold for just a fraction of the price after documents proved it was a forgery, it emerged today.

The 10,700 carat Gem of Tanzania, once believed to be the largest ruby in the world, was sold for just £8,010 by administrators Ernst & Young.

The rock once underpinned the balance sheet of Shropshire firm Wrekin Construction and was listed as an £11million asset by the company's owner David Unwin.

But after the company collapsed last spring the estimated value of the 4.4lb purple rock dropped to as little as £100.

Some value could be recouped if the gem is broken up to release smaller rubies inside, but in its current form it is simply a lump of anyolite, a practically worthless grade of ruby.

The gem was sold off by administrators last week in an attempt to recoup some of Wrekin's £40million debts to their 1,000 creditors.

It was bought by Network Group Holdings whose Network Construction Services in Telford are owed several hundred thousand pounds by Wrekin.

Wrekin Construction was 'saved' by the stone in 2007 after Derbyshire entrepreneur David Unwin offered the gem in return for preference shares.

He produced a certificate of valuation assumed to be genuine and the gem was listed as an asset - transforming the fortunes of the company.

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