Leading article: A real gem?

Friday 02 October 2009 00:00 BST

You have to give them credit for imagination. The name "The Gem of Tanzania" made it sound like the Koh-e-noor. It's the kind of title that might have been lifted from the pages of King Solomon's Mines. But an even greater stroke of genius by the auditors of Wrekin Construction was in valuing the ruby at £11m. No one would dream of making a fraudulent valuation of that size would they? Well, actually, they would. And it turns out that the Gem of Tanzania is a pretty ordinary piece of crystal, probably worth in the region of £100.

What better emblem could we have for these turbulent times than an asset that can go from almost priceless to worthless overnight?

We should bury the Gem of Tanzania, along with Wrekin Construction's financial reports, so that future archaeologists might dig them up and learn something of the way we lived. Alternatively, we could donate it to a worshipper of New Age crystals. At least then someone might, finally, get some value out of the thing.

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