A BRONZE Age gold ring found in Garway legally qualifies as treasure, a coroner has ruled.

The damaged gold ring was found by hobby metal detectorist Stuart Thomas from Gwent whilst treasure hunting in the Herefordshire field in April last year.

The inquest heard that the ring, described as being similar to those found in Binstead, West Sussex, in 1998, had been found at a depth of around 4 inches in an area of pastureland which had previously been ploughed.

Neil Wilkin, Bronze Age Collection curator at the British Museum, told the inquest that the 13 millimetre by 23millimetre ring with a hook-and-eye type fastening was probably made during the Bronze Age.

Weighing 4.84 grams, tests revealed the ring's composition to be 88 to 90 per cent gold, 9 to 10 per cent silver, with the remainder being copper.

Herefordshire coroner Mark Bricknell concluded that the age and the gold content of the ring qualified it as treasure.

"I thought it was just a bottle top at first," said finder Mr Thomas, speaking after the inquest.

"But then I rubbed off some of the mud and realised that it was something a bit special. The land owner was amazed that it had been found in his field!"

The British Museum has confirmed that it would like to acquire the object, should no local museum be interested in acquiring it.