When she found that antique ring hidden in her basement, she probably felt like she had just hit the lottery. It looked like it might be worth thousands of dollars!
But she would, in time, discover the story of the ring. A team of forensics would come to examine it, they would find out about the truth, and she would be creeped out by it.
It took place in a small town in Wales. A woman who has preferred to remain anonymous, but to whom we shall refer as Alice in this story, was cleaning up her basement.
She was about to move house, and she was still choosing what she wanted to take to her new home, what she wanted to sell, and what she wanted to give or throw away.
There was a lot of stuff in the basement that hadn’t been used for years. Old books and magazines, inherited pieces of furniture, unused tools…
It would be a lot of work to get through all that. So Alice set up a date to start getting things done. And when the day came, she went to the basement with the decision to get to work with it.
So she went to town. And after a while of piling up dusty books, throwing already forgotten objects in the trash can, storing and packaging some things that might be useful… she ran across an old dresser.
Little did she know that this dresser hid a surprise that would make her luck take a turn. But at that moment, she couldn’t even fathom how that dresser would change her life.
She didn’t even remember where that even came from in the first place. It looked quite antique. Maybe she had inherited it from someone?
But its origin wasn’t the most intriguing thing about the dresser. As Alice would soon find out, there was a specific item inside it that would call everyone’s attention.
But it wasn’t visible at first glance. Alice looked inside every compartment in the dresser, but they were mostly empty. However, it was a beautiful, antique piece of furniture.
So she decided to keep it, at least for the time being. She still had to decide whether to sell it or take it to her new home, but she would figure that out later on. So she grabbed it to move it downstairs when something happened.
She suddenly heard something rattling inside the dresser. But what could that be? She had inspected all the compartments, and they seemed to be empty.
But maybe she needed to take a closer look. So that’s what she did. But she still didn’t find anything. So what could that noise be? The answer was closer than she thought.
After looking at all the sides of the dresser, she detected something. There seemed to be a secret compartment at the bottom! She thought it might be locked, but it wasn’t.
And when she looked inside, she found an antique gold ring. She didn’t expect that at all. She tried it on, but it was too big for her. She took a closer look and noticed something.
The ring had a secret compartment too! But what could there be inside? What kind of thing could fit inside a ring anyway? And she couldn’t figure out how to open it.
She took it to an antiques store. Maybe more expert hands would find their way around the ring and discover what it kept inside. And sure enough, that’s what happened.
They found out that there were some locks of hair inside the ring! But who could they originally belong to? Both Alice and the antiques store owner were creeped out by the discovery. So they decided to send the hairs to a forensic team so they could analyze the DNA on them.
Little did they know that the answer was closer than anyone thought. As a matter of fact, it was right in front of them, and it would be discovered by the owner of the antiques store.
There was something about the ring that Alice hadn’t noticed: some writings on its inside. They said “Charlotte Brontë – 31 March 1855”. So had that ring really belonged to the author of Jane Eyre?
When the results of the DNA tests on the lock of hair came back from the forensic lab, it would answer everyone’s questions.
The results came back, and they were compared with some other DNA samples from Charlotte Brontë extracted from some of her clothing. And sure enough, they were exactly the same.
So Alice had been unknowingly keeping in his basement a ring that belonged to one of the most famous authors of English literature! But how did it get there in the first place?
Well, perhaps we’ll never know the answer to that question. According to Alice, after asking some of her relatives, she found out that the drawer where she found the ring used to belong to her father-in-law.
But the story of how Alice’s father-in-law got the ring will probably remain unknown. But still, there is another question: why were some locks of hair hidden inside the ring?
“It was a convention to make jewelry out of hair in the 19th century. There was a terror of not being able to remember the face and character of the person who had died,” the owner of the antiques store said.
“It wasn’t an uncommon thing to happen. It echoes a bracelet Charlotte wore of her two sisters’ hair … So it’s absolutely the focus of the mid-to-late 19th century and also the focus of Charlotte Brontë.”
Alice believed that the ring would be worth $2,000 at most, but now it’s valued as high as $30,000. She still hasn’t decided what she is going to do with it.
What would you do? Would you sell it at an auction for a private collector? Would you take it to a pawn shop? Would you donate it to a museum? Or would you just keep that treasure home?