Arthur Brand, a Dutchman nicknamed the “Indiana Jones of the Art World” for successfully recovering high-profile stolen artworks, used his connections in the underworld to track down Wilde’s ring, AFP reported.
The ring, which Wilde gave to a fellow student in 1876, was stolen during a burglary in 2002 at Oxford’s Magdalen College. At the time, the ring was worth about $45,000.
The burglary remained unsolved for years, with fears that the ring – made from 18-carat gold – may have been melted down.
“We had given up hope of seeing it again,” Mark Blandford-Baker, Magdalen College’s home bursar, told AFP.
He said the university was “very pleased to have back a stolen item that forms part of a collection relating to one of our more famous alumni.”
“[W]e are extremely grateful to Arthur Brand for finding it and returning it to us,” Blandford-Baker said.
The ring is set to make its return to Magdalen College in a formal ceremony on Dec. 4.