I’m not a woman who values jewellery very highly. I can appreciate the beauty of the stone, the courage and strength of the miner, the skill of the workmanship, how it enhances an outfit. But why should a small piece of mineral be worth hundreds and thousands of pounds when it’s of no practical use whatsoever?

I do own some nice pieces of course – items given me by my husband to celebrate events, or just pieces he brought home from somewhere he’d been – and I enjoy wearing them. I have lovely necklaces of semi precious stones, sometimes finished off with a more expensive pendant bought by John on our holidays, designed specifically for me and a particular outfit by Joanna, and I remember her skill, her knowledge and her big hearted generosity every time I wear one. I also have a pendant of the Mary Rose, bought by Elisabeth in a gift shop on a school trip to the Isle of Wight, which hangs beside the malachite, the biwa pearls, the turquoise, the amethysts and all the other objects I own. But while a gift has emotional value – the love with which it was given – I tend not to invest the object itself with that value. So I will stop wearing necklaces if they make my neck itch; I’ve all but given up bracelets because my tendency to shake when tired makes them noisy, and for years I’ve worn no rings at all as I found them wearying on my fingers.

But last week I tried on my rings and found them to be OK, so I’ve been wearing them.

Years and years ago, I bought a ‘fake’ ‘sapphire’ and ‘diamond’ cluster ring in Asda of all places for the princely sum of £5. My companion was a lady of more traditional outlook than myself.

“Anyone who knows you,” she declared, “will know that you could not afford it.” Well blow you, I thought, promptly deciding to acquire it and replying, “Surely you realise that it is we who are the valuable objects, and not the baubles we wear.”

Besides, she was wrong. I went to a party, wearing the Asda ring, and encountered an acquaintance whose jewellery collection was much more valuable than mine. She could not keep her eyes off my ring. I thought, if she admires it, I’ll take it off and hold it out to her and invite her to guess how much it was and we can laugh over its lowly provenance, She however did not comment on my ring which never the less held her spell-bound, so I said nothing either. When I next met her, she was sporting a similar ring of gold, with a dome of small diamonds and a spattering of sapphires. I’m sure she went to a proper jewellers and that their version of the sapphire and diamond ring had cost them much more than ours did.

Anyway, decades have passed and the ring has languished in my ring box. Last weekend, on a whim, I put it on my right hand and we went off to meet Elisabeth and Rob at Wisely. We had a lovely day. In one of the ‘model’ gardens, my ‘sapphire’ ring slipped off my finger and fell silently into a patch of undergrowth. Diligent searching on their hands and knees by John, Rob and Elisabeth failed to find it,

But I thought, Easy come, easy go. I’ve had far more than £5 worth of fun out of it.