A keen metal detectorist from Staple Hill has stumbled upon a box of antique jewellery, unearthed during a farmland search.
David Upton, 72, uncovered the small box, filled to the brim with gold and silver jewellery and a range of precious and semi-precious stones, whilst sweeping a field last week.
David, who has been metal detecting for more than 50 years, has learnt to keep the location of his finds a closely-guarded secret, but did reveal that the unassuming box was found on farmland somewhere near Frenchay.
The box was locked firmly shut, and so David had to wait until he arrived home to prise open the lid. Once inside, he was amazed by what he had found – dozens of individual pieces of jewellery, including gold and silver pieces such as rings, earrings, brooches, and pendants, and a large number of loose stones.
David said: “Once I finally got it open I was very surprised – I have found a lot of different objects in my time but nothing quite like this.
“It was a bit like stumbling upon treasure, tucked away in this very plain box.
“I can’t imagine who would have left it there buried in the field, and I don’t suppose I’ll ever find out why.
“It’s very interesting to think about who it would have once belonged to, and how it came to all end up together in once box like that.
“You never know what you are going to find.”
As a long-time enthusiast David is well-versed in valuing his finds, and took the haul to be evaluated at a shop he has frequently visited for valuations in St Nicholas Market.
It was there he learnt that the box contained a number of antique pieces, including several gold and silver St Christopher pendants and other gold jewelery embedded with precious and semi-precious stones.
It is thought that a number of the pieces found in the box hail from the Victorian era.
The gems he found at the bottom of the box were also found to be a range of rubies, sapphires, opals, amethysts, and emeralds, as well as several rare ‘Bristol diamonds’, a type of quartz commonly used in jewellery of the 16th century.
Some pieces were found to be 14 or 18 carat gold – making them much more valuable than the type of objects commonly stumbled upon by metal detectorists.
David said: “I thought a lot of it would be costume jewelery, so I was really surprised to hear that quite a lot is genuine.
“It’s a real mixture of different things, some more valuable than others, but it was interesting to hear that some of the pieces could be quite old.
“I missed the stones at first, they were hidden under all the other jewellery and were quite tucked away – some of them are no bigger than the eye of a needle.
“The person who evaluated the stones said that the box may well have belonged to somebody who was interest in making or refurbishing jewelery, and that’s why there are so many different pieces and little stones.”
David hit headlines last June when he managed to unearth a huge sword on farmland near Bristol, which was thought to have been more than 200 years old and potentially used during the Napoleonic Wars.
An expert from the British Museum said at the time that the artifact could have seen action in battle.