An Inverness woman has spoken of her devastation after thieves stole a one-of-a-kind £20,000 ring from her home.
Karen Hendry believes the prized ring – which has huge sentimental value – was taken while was she was in the garden of Muirtown House.
A pair of £4,000 earrings that belonged to her late mother were also taken.
Police are investigating the theft, but Miss Hendry is appealing to members of the public to help get her treasures back.
Historic origins of the ring
The ring is the only one of its kind in the world and features five diamonds, two rubies and two sapphires.
The centrepiece diamond was the first ever cut and polished off the Lazare Kaplan International (LKI) production line in Botswana in February 1992 and the ring itself was designed by Miss Hendry in honour of her “extraordinary” mother.
June Hendry was vice-president of LKI New York, who have worked hard to eradicate blood diamonds from the western market. During her time in Botswana, she also played a huge part in tackling Aids, with her company establishing a state-of-the-art medical research facility.
Speaking on what would have been her mother’s birthday, Miss Hendry described the thieves as “evil” and admitted she feels she has let her mother down.
She also revealed she believes the culprit may be someone she known locally.
“The person who has taken these items has stolen somebody’s work,” she said.
“They haven’t just taken money, but they have taken her work because it was the first stone off the production line.
“That stone has huge sentimental value to me and it represents a lifetime embodiment of her work, and I feel like someone has broken that bond with my mother.
“Today is her birthday and I feel like I’ve let her down.
“What they have done is very evil.”
June Hendry was an outstanding humanitarian
The 54-year-old described her mother as a “force of nature as a humanitarian.”
Whilst battling breast cancer, Ms Hendry helped stop woman being raped in war-torn countries and prevented children being used as soldiers.
She also made the 2nd president of Botswana see the true scale of the Aids pandemic at a time when 75% of the workforce was HIV positive, and managed to secure $600,0000 (£431,500) of support to tackle the issue from the Gates Foundation.
Discovering the jewellery was missing
Miss Hendry explained that she only realised the ring and earrings were gone when she went to put them on earlier this month.
She said: “The last time I wore them was on April 16 when I went to go and have my Covid jab. When I returned, I took them off and I left them on my dining room table.
“When people came round to my house, I would put them automatically next to my dining room table, in one of the two top drawers of my unit.
“On May 12, I was going out again and the outfit I wanted to wear that day would have been complimented by the jewellery so I went to go and look and they were gone.”
The semi-retired consultant also believes the items may have been taken by someone she knows locally.
She added: “I think the items were taken when I was in the front garden, and I think they were taken by somebody I know and that’s more frightening than anything else.
“It’s not a nice feeling. It makes you question everyone around you. It’s frightening.”
Appealing to the public’s humanity
Police have now issued an appeal for information to help recover the items.
The robbery is believed to have happened between April 20 and May 12.
Miss Hendry said: “I wanted to keep that ring for my first granddaughter so of course I am really, really hurt about it.
“The earrings were a gift that I bought for my mother; Mabe pearl drop earrings in 18-carat gold and I bought them for her 50th.”
She is now hoping someone local can help recover the heirlooms.
She said: “I appeal to the humanity of my community to please come forward to the Press and Journal, police or me with any information you might have.
“It would mean the world to me (to get it back) because it represents the work my mother and I did together.”