Mr Justice Holman, a senior High Court judge, recently offered a divorced husband an incentive of £10,000 in order to assist his former wife in recovering various missing items of jewellery.
The parties were unable to resolve financial matters and the case proceeded to a final hearing. The husband and wife were both academics and the main asset was the former matrimonial home, worth approximately £350,000. Having heard the evidence, Holman J ordered that the wife should receive 80% of the proceeds from the sale of the home.
However, at the end of the hearing, there remained a dispute in relation to some of the wife’s jewellery, which had gone missing during the proceedings. The items in dispute included a bracelet and three rings, said to be worth £15,000. The wife claimed that the husband had concealed these items. He claimed he had lost them. In the end, the Judge told the husband that unless the jewellery is returned to his former wife by 16 December 2013, by whatever means, she will receive an extra £10,000 from the proceeds of the former matrimonial home.
As reported by BBC News, speaking to the husband at the final hearing, the Judge said: “I am not necessarily asking you to hand the jewellery back to her. But, if she comes home and finds them sitting on the dressing table that’s OK. Somehow, it may just magically happen”. The Judge went on to say of the husband: “He oozes great charm but is also garrulous, relentless and unyielding. I can well understand how the wife has found the husband a difficult man to deal with”.
Post divorce, gold bands and expensive diamonds are often locked away as, for some, they provide a painful reminder of a failed marriage. But now, research suggests that some women are finding increasingly innovative ways to use their jewellery without being reminded of its history. Many are now melting down their wedding and engagement rings and recreating new pieces with individual designs. Those working in the UK jewellery industry believe it’s an increasingly popular trend, with requests for ‘divorce rings’ doubling in the past year.