A Dutch art detective called the “Indiana Jones of the Art World” wouldn’t give up on finding a ring associated with Irish writer Oscar Wilde that was stolen in 2002 and thought to have been melted down for its gold content. The 18-carat gold “friendship ring” valued at $45,000 was given by Wilde and another friend in 1876 to William Ward while the writer was a student at Magdalen College, University of Oxford, in England. It had a Greek inscription that read “Gift of love, to one who wishes love.” The ring was part of Magdalen’s large collection of memorabilia related to Wilde.
The ring was stolen by a drunken former college cleaner, who also took two unrelated medals. He was caught but claimed to have sold the ring to a scrap dealer. But art detective Arthur Brand heard rumors around 2015 that a Victorian ring with “some Russian writing on it” was circulating following an art heist of a jewelry vault in London. Knowing about the Greek writing on the Wilde ring, Brand started investigating and soon found it with the help of a man familiar with London’s criminal underground.
“We had given up hope of seeing it again,” said Mark Blandford-Baker of Magdalen.
Photos: Artdaily.com | RTÉ.ie