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Father-of-two, 44, finds £100,000 medieval brooch buried on farmland while metal detecting

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A father-of-two has found a medieval 24-carat gold brooch thought to be worth up to £100,000.  

David Edwards, 44, discovered the 800-year-old piece buried around four inches under the surface on farmland near his home in Cardigan, west Wales while out metal detecting after work.

The emerald encrusted brooch, which is less than an inch wide and weighs just four grams, has been described by experts as ‘one of a kind’.

It is thought the artefact, known as an annular turreted brooch, dates from the 13th century and belonged to a high-status nobleman like a duke or an earl.  

Such is its rarity that it is worth at least £10,000, with one expert stating it could sell for 10 times that amount at auction.

Metal detectorist David Edwards, 44, unearthed an 800-year-old gold brooch thought to be worth up to £100,000

Metal detectorist David Edwards, 44, unearthed an 800-year-old gold brooch thought to be worth up to £100,000

The emerald encrusted brooch, which is less than an inch wide and weighs just four grams, has been described by experts as 'one of a kind'

The emerald encrusted brooch, which is less than an inch wide and weighs just four grams, has been described by experts as ‘one of a kind’

Father-of-two Mr Edwards said he was ‘amazed’ when he uncovered the stunning piece.

He said: ‘It was an evening with dark overcast weather and I went out after work. I only had around an hour of daylight to play with so I wasn’t expecting miracles.

‘It was within half an hour that it popped up. The ground was freshly seeded and it was only four inches from the top. It was turned upside down so at first I couldn’t see its beautiful intricate patterns.

‘I called my metal detecting friend on FaceTime to do the big reveal with him, then I turned it around. By then I was excited and started shaking. It was amazing.’   

Mr Edwards said he went to farmland near his home after work and had just an hour to search before the light faded.

The architectural technician didn’t expect to find anything but after 30 minutes his machine activated.

When he dug down around four inches he was stunned to find the emerald encrusted brooch with an intricate sword-shaped pin that was covered in mud.   

Mr Edwards said he went to farmland near his home after work and had just an hour to search before the light faded. When he dug down around four inches he was stunned to find the emerald encrusted brooch with an intricate sword-shaped pin that was covered in mud

Mr Edwards said he went to farmland near his home after work and had just an hour to search before the light faded. When he dug down around four inches he was stunned to find the emerald encrusted brooch with an intricate sword-shaped pin that was covered in mud

He said: ‘I had seen similar ones in books, so I knew it was around 700-years-old. I couldn’t believe that the little pin was still working.

‘I was too afraid to clean it there because I could see how delicate it was.. I took the brooch home and gave it a gentle wash and the turquoise emerald revealed itself.

‘I’ve stumbled across silver brooches in a similar style before, which is rare in itself, but I’ve never seen anything like this. To find one made of gold and with such a beautiful stone is really special.

‘There are four turrets which all would have contained stones.

‘It would have belonged to a very high status individual – not your average farmer. A noble person would have worn this. I found it on the outskirts of Cardigan so they may have been travelling there when they lost it.

‘I wouldn’t like to say how much its worth – the sky’s the limit.’

It is thought the artefact, known as an annular turreted brooch, dates from the 13th century and belonged to a high-status nobleman like a duke or an earl

It is thought the artefact, known as an annular turreted brooch, dates from the 13th century and belonged to a high-status nobleman like a duke or an earl

Such is its rarity that it is worth at least £10,000, with one expert stating it could sell for 10 times that amount at auction

Such is its rarity that it is worth at least £10,000, with one expert stating it could sell for 10 times that amount at auction

Julian Evan-Hart, an expert in rare treasure and editor of Treasure Hunting magazine, said there was ‘nothing else’ to compare the exceptionally unique artefact to.

He said: ‘This is an absolutely stunning piece of jewellery which I have no doubt was worn by a duke or an earl – perhaps somebody with a military connection because of the sword-shaped pin.

‘It would have been illegal for the lower classes to carry such fine gold.

‘Because it is so unique, we cannot be certain about a final value – there is nothing which has gone to market which we can compare it to.

‘It would sell for a minimum of £10,000 but could go for up to £100,000.’

The artefact is currently going through the treasure process in accordance with the Treasure Act 1996.

A coroner will decide whether the finder must offer the items for sale to a museum for a price determined by its value at auction or if Mr Edwards can keep it.

Any proceeds that he makes will have to be shared with the owner of the field.

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