A RUBY said to be the multi-million pound prize asset of a company revamping St George’s Square could be worth just £100!
The 4lb Gem of Tanzania was reportedly worth £11m when it was listed as an asset of Wrekin Construction – the firm given the £4m Square contract.
But when the company went bust in March with debts of more than £20m, doubts were cast on the gem.
Now it will be auctioned in a bid to recover the huge sums owed to creditors – but could be worth as little as £100.
The Gem of Tanzania will be advertised for auction on a website alongside industrial machinery.
The Shropshire-based firm folded in March with debts of £20.7m and, two months later, a report by appointed administrators Ernst & Young said initial valuation documents for the gemstone were forged.
Now Ernst & Young has instructed agents GVA Grimley to auction the ruby.
Following consultation with the Gem Testing Laboratory of Great Britain, the Ernst & Young report said the “natural ruby”, weighing 4.71lb, was “not thought to be of sufficient gem quality” for faceting – where angled ridges are cut into a precious stone.
Wrekin Construction’s creditors include RBS as the sole secured creditor – meaning the British taxpayer has an indirect interest in Wrekin’s debts.
GVA Grimley’s website, which features the lot alongside vegetable preparation and printing machinery, has an ad for the sale of the Gem of Tanzania, describing it as “a loose hexagonal crystal rough with co-existent green/black crystal matrix on its sides, opaque reddish purple in colour”.
The stone will also be advertised in Rock ’n’ Gem, a quarterly magazine claiming to give an “insight into the fascinating world of rocks, gems, minerals, fossils, gemstone and bead jewellery-making”.
Ian Best, of Ernst & Young, said: “The joint administrators are seeking to maximise realisations from the Gem of Tanzania for the benefit of the creditors.”
Offers for the ruby have been invited with evidence of funding by December 16.