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Priceless – medieval brooch was acquired by V&A

Imagine that you were a metal detectorist going around farmland with your equipment. When the detector releases a sound you dig for 10 centimetres until you find something covered in mud thinking it’s an old coca-cola bottle cap or something else. But after some washing and inspection of specialists, your finding is now placed among such precious items as Queen Victoria's coronet and popstar Beyonce's Papillon ring.

Justin Owens discovered the brooch during an organised dig in 2017. Though an announcement about its existence came out only now. Mr Owens had this hobby for four years and did not have much hope to find something so valuable when he kneeled in the farm near Brigstock to see what was under the ground. To his surprise, he found a 600-year-old medieval brooch. This kind of jewellery is unique in the United Kingdom. It is a rare finding as there are only six items similar to this one that exist worldwide.

Since diamond and gold brooch was found on former hunting land, experts believe it was lost during the hunt. Initially, it might have had more diamonds that fell off and pearls that we don’t see on the brooch due to biodegradation. As time did much damage to the brooch, cleaning it was another challenge. Experts used pheasant and ostrich feathers while cleaning it to remove the dirt.

V&A jewellery gallery is long known for its exquisite collection. V&A acquired this flower-shaped brooch through the National Treasure Act. The Act requires finders to report their finding if it is over 300 years old. Under such circumstances, V&A did not disclose the price of a brooch and called it “priceless”.

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