So, what’s the truth behind the Wrekin ruby?
In case you havent heard, it's the £11m gemstone owner David Unwin junior used to shore up the balance sheet of the Shropshire based civil engineering specialist before it went under last week.
Wrekin’s last company accounts claim it was valued at £11m by the Istituto Gemmologico Italiano in Valenza on 31 August 2007.
Its existence still has to be verified by administrator Ernst & Young, which is presumably keen to get its hands on the sparkler.
The following transcript of a conversation with Loredana Prosperi, a bemused doctor at the aforementioned Italian establishment, shouldn’t fill the accountant with massive hope.
The gist: Ruby, what ruby?
LP: As I explained, our institute is an education institute and we have a laboratory and we give certifications not valuations. Also as I explained already on 31 August 2007 we were closed for one month’s holiday.
Building: Did you ever see the ruby?
LP: I don’t remember a ruby as important as that and I would remember.
Building: So you didn’t receive it?
LP: No. We never received a ruby from that company. It’s a very strange thing. I had no contact with that company. I heard their name for the first time yesterday.
Building: So the news was a surprise to you?
LP: Yes, a very big surprise, although it is good publicity for us.
Building: Have you ever had contact with David Unwin or any of his companies?
Building: What was the last English company you worked for?
LP: We have never worked for an English company. Our customers are from Italy, Switzerland and Greece. In London you have very good places to value gemstones, so why use us? This is very strange for me. If they have a certificate they can give us the number and we can check with our records but there is nothing in the database.
Building: Does the Valenza office issue certificates?
LP: No. It only has teaching facilities no laboratory.
Not looking good, is it?