A STUNNING 18-carat gold ring gifted to an Oxford university student by Oscar Wilde has been tracked down nearly 20 years after it was stolen.
The Irish playwright gifted the ring to a close friend back in 1876.
Believed to be worth around €40,000, the friendship ring was stolen during a burglary at Magdalen College in Oxford in 2002.
It was widely assumed that the ring had been melted down and almost certainly would never be recovered.
However, Detective Arthur Brand, who is known as the ‘Indiana Jones of The Art World’, after succeeding in tracking down a string of stolen art pieces.
He teamed up with London antiques dealer William Veres to track down the piece.
It was Veres who put Brand in contact with George Crump who used his London connections to track the ring back to a sale that occurred in 2015.
A golden ring once given as a present by the famed Irish playwright #OscarWilde has been recovered by a Dutch "art detective" nearly 20 years after it was stolen from Britain's Oxford University https://t.co/jMVgfwRXIh pic.twitter.com/BSeJkpMBrK
— AFP news agency (@AFP) November 16, 2019
Known for its striking design, with the ring shaped like a belt and buckle, it emerged that the ring had been linked to the 2015 Hatton Garden burglary.
In fact, when it was stolen, no one knew it was linked to the Irish writer.
“I was given the ring right in front of the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit,” Crump told The Metro, adding “which I thought was a bit of English humour.”
The ring is set to be returned to Oxford University as part of a special ceremony this December
Commenting on the discovery, Mark Blandford-Baker, home bursar of Magdalen College, said: “Very pleased to have back a stolen item that forms part of a collection relating to one of our more famous alumni.”