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When I finally published “Fatal Forgery” – which those of you who endured the process with me will know that it took four years, not the slick one-year-per-book I aim for now – I was so delighted that I decided to treat myself.  In my research I had come to realise that Regency-era English jewellery (approximately 1810-1830) is quite distinctive in style, and indeed that it matches my taste.  I am no expert at all, but earlier Georgian jewellery is very golden and often modelled on snakes and Egyptian and classical motifs – not my thing at all – while later Victorian stuff is frankly bizarre (lots of elaborate mourning pieces containing or made of the hair of dead people), but the simpler Regency pieces suit my preferences.  So I went along to an antique jewellery dealer in London who had a good selection, and bought myself a Regency diamond ring.  This sounds extravagant, but of course diamond cutting was in its infancy, and they are mostly rather rough little chips and so not valuable at all – but I love it.  When I got home with my purchase, my husband was outraged as he had wanted to buy it, so since then he has marked each publication with a Regency ring – including one bought on eBay…

Yesterday the Antiques Roadshow came to a stately home about twenty miles outside Cambridge (where I live).  For those of you not familiar with the format, this is a beloved UK television programme, where antiques experts gather in the grounds of some lovely place and the public goes along, queues for hours (part of being British) and then shows their treasures to these experts for their comments.  We decided to cycle there, which rather limited what we could take – our mystery oil painting which hangs over the mantelpiece was not an option – so we took two Regency rings.  All I wanted to know was, are they genuine Regency – particularly that eBay one.  And you – and Sam – will be relieved to know that they are: jewellery expert Joanna Hardy peered at them through her loupe and declared them entirely typical and correct.  As I cycled home with them safely in my back pocket, I did marvel that I was carrying something created two hundred years ago in Sam’s home city – marvellous how these things are treasured and survive.

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