awesome - Woman Who Takes Ring To ‘Antiques Roadshow’ Is Speechless To Lean Its Origin

Hidden beneath a layer of grime was a box. Not a cardboard box, but the kind you’d expect to find in a shipwreck: small, delicate, and lined with years of dust. It’s the kind of chest that can only contain something spectacular.
If only she could open it. The woman looked through drawers, boxes, and cabinets — no key. For a moment, she feared she’d never learn what was really inside the box…until a relative called her with exciting news.
The key had been found! The woman dug the key into the lock, her thoughts racing with possibilities. There could be some old, folded-up documents in the box, or maybe just some old trinkets from years past. Still, she never expected the truth.
She opened the old lid of the box and saw…a ring! The unexpected discovery immediately blew her away. She turned the ring over in her hands, inspecting its every detail…and some details completely took her breath away.
BBC
The first clue that she had found something special was how the ring felt. It was made out of a thick, flat metal. It was ornately carved with feather shapes circling the outside. Still, the most astounding detail was harder to see.
As she felt along the perimeter of the ring, she felt something unexpected: a hinge. The raised ridge proved that this was no ordinary ring. There were more secrets hidden within, and when she finally pried it open, she knew she needed an expert.
BBC
The discovery of the hinge — and more importantly, what was inside — made it clear to the woman that she was out of her element. The ring needed to be examined by an expert, so she brought it to the one place she knew she could trust.
PBS
Antiques Roadshow has proven its dedication to identifying priceless items, and the woman couldn’t shake the feeling that she had uncovered something special in her family’s attic. What she couldn’t have known, however, was just how special the ring’s origins were.
NC Museum of History
To her, the designs on the outside of the ring didn’t mean much…and neither did the name and date engraved on the band. The date read March 31st, 1855, so she knew it was of some historical significance. But the name was a different story.
Twitter/Founders Church
It was hard to make out the inscription of the name, given the age and size of the ring, but two letters stood out: C. B. “I’ve got goosebumps now thinking about it,” the woman told the Antiques Roadshow jewelry expert, Geoffrey Munn.
Antiques Roadshow/BBC
Why goosebumps? After a couple minutes of dedicated cleaning, the letters on the ring finally came into view…and the name they revealed not only made what was inside the ring even more astounding, but left Munn and the ring’s owner in awe. 
Twitter/Antiques Roadshow
The letters revealed the name of one of the UK’s literary heroines, Charlotte Brontë. With this discovery, Munn and the ring’s stunned owner attempted to piece together the ring’s story. Its history, it turns out, was not a happy one.
George Richmond/Wikimedia Commons
Charlotte Brontë has gone down in history as the writer behind the brilliant Jane Eyre, one of the most renowned novels of the 19th century. As it turns out, her own family history is just as bleak as her protagonist’s.
Ozarks Alive
Brontë’s mother and all five of her siblings died before the author’s 35th birthday. Writing was Charlotte’s only comfort, but being a female writer was almost unheard of back in the 19th century. This left Charlotte with just one alternative.
Little Women/Sony Pictures Releasing
She was forced to publish Jane Eyre under a male pseudonym, Currer Bell. The book became an instant classic, but she wasn’t able to enjoy her newfound fame for long. At the young age of 38, the newly pregnant Charlotte died.
Although her death is recorded as being from tuberculosis, historians are almost certain that she actually died of hyperemesis gravidarum, or extreme morning sickness. The day of her death? March 31st, 1855. The ring’s inscription was no coincidence…
And neither was the name. Munn determined that the ring was actually made after Charlotte’s death to memorialize her life. Still, there was one detail about the ring that had to be figured out: that mysterious hinge.
Geoffrey Munn
The ring’s owner excitedly showed Munn just what this hinge was hiding. As it turns out, it wasn’t just an ornamental decoration. The ring could actually be opened, and what it contained left Munn and the ring’s owner reeling. 
They opened it up and saw…hair. “[The ring] opens like a little biscuit tin lid, and amazingly we see this hair work within, very finely worked and plaited hair,” Munn described. And to the ring owner’s delight, Munn confirmed the hair’s origin.
Charlotte Brontë! It’s weird to put human hair inside jewelry nowadays, but not in 1855. “It was a convention to make jewelry out of hair in the 19th century,” Munn said, and the reason why sheds light on Charlotte’s own bizarre fear. 
“There was a terror of not being able to remember the face and character of the person who had died,” Munn explained. Apparently, it was a common practice back in the 1800s…especially among the Brontë family.
“It echoes a bracelet Charlotte wore of her two sisters’ hair,” Munn concluded. The ring is just one of numerous hair-infused jewelry once owned by the Brontës, but that doesn’t mean the ring’s value is anything to sneeze at.
BBC
Without the hair, Munn estimated that the ring would be valued at just $30. But with Charlotte’s hair and the inscription, the value skyrockets to $25,000. Treasures can truly exist anywhere, and one of Roadshow’s most special items started out as a mystery.

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