Failed housebuilder's 10,700-carat Gem of Tanzania auctioned off at one-thousandth of earlier valuation

The Wrekin Ruby was sold yesterday for just £8,010, more than a thousand times less than the value Wrekin Construction placed on the gem, to a Midland-based recruitment firm.

The ruby was previously exchanged for £11m worth of shares in doomed firm Wrekin Construction but has now been sold to Tim Watts, executive director of recruitment specialist Network Group Holdings, by Wrekin's administrators for £8,000.

Network Group said it bought the gemstone to compensate it for the losses Network Construction Services, part of the Network Group incurred when Wrekin went into administration.

Gem of Tanzania
The Gem of Tanzania

Jon Smith, group operations director for Network Group, said: “It quickly became apparent to us following Wrekin's collapse that we would be unlikely to recover what was owed to us through normal channels.

“We have therefore opted to make this strategic investment and the ruby has been placed in the Birmingham Deposit Centre for safekeeping where we hope it will continue to rise in value.”

The ruby, also known as the “Gem of Tanzania”, was sold by administrators for Wrekin Construction to Pertemps Investments following a private auction.

The 10,700 carat ruby had been put up for sale by Ernst & Young to try to claw back some of the millions still owed to creditors when the group went into administration last March.

Ernst & Young said more than 60 offers had been received for the ruby.

It said: “Further to approval from the creditors committee of Wrekin Construction Company Ltd, a bid of £8,010 was accepted.”