A GOLD ring dating back to the 17th century which was unearthed on the banks of Loch Lomond is set to fetch £10,000 at auction.

The fascinating armorial ring was found by a woman from Blackpool while she was combing the loch’s shoreline with a metal detector near Balloch.

It is thought the ring is from between 1640 and 1680 and belonged to a Catholic courtier of James VII from Suffolk.

After Michelle Vall discovered the ring in November, she declared it as treasure to the National Museum of Scotland.

The museum rejected the find, at which point Vall contacted Dix Noonan Webb auctioneers who revealed its history.

Vall said: “Uncovering the ring was an unforeseen event as myself and husband were detecting on a field with no particular history of finds in the area.

“We were enjoying the peace and relaxation of our wonderful hobby, finding the usual ring pulls, tractor pieces and miscellaneous metal objects.

“So when I unearthed the ring, which was close to the surface, I knew straight away that it was something special.

“It shone with a distinct bright yellow colour as I carefully lifted it out of the dark muddy hole, where it had waited for at least 350 years.

“My calm mind changed to one of excitement as I shouted Tony over, he was surprised to see the ring lying in the palm of my hand.”

The National:

The ring belonged to the Colman family of Brent Eleigh, Suffolk, who used the arms on the bezel of the ring from 1598.

Edward Colman was a Catholic preacher and in 1661 established himself at court, being sworn in as a “Gentleman Pensioner”, acting as a bodyguard to King James VII.

Nigel Mills, antiquities specialist at DNW, said: “The Colman seal ring is an excellent example of a high status ring of the period, of which there are only a very limited number surviving in this condition.

“Metal detectorists like Michelle have contributed vastly to our knowledge by finding treasures that would have otherwise been unknown to exist.”

The ring will be auctioned at Dix Noonan Webb in London on September 10 where it is expected to be sold for £10,000.