Castleton jeweller creates Blue John ring for first female bishop

The Consecration of Reverend Libby Lane the first female Bishop held at York Minster. Picture James Hardisty, (JH1007/03c)
The Consecration of Reverend Libby Lane the first female Bishop held at York Minster. Picture James Hardisty, (JH1007/03c)
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A Castleton jeweller has earned himself a place in the history books after crafting the Episcopal ring for the country’s first female bishop.

Anthony Darwent was asked to design a ring for the now Bishop of Stockport, Libby Lane, three weeks before her historical consecration ceremony last Monday.

After the ring was finished – and had received a “terrific” response from Libby – Anthony and his wife Judy were even asked to attend the proceedings at York Minster.

Anthony, owner of ASD Jewellers, in Castleton, since 1977, said: “Upon recommendation, we were contacted by Libby’s husband, Revd George Lane, to design and make The Bishop’s Ring.

“At the time, I didn’t really think too much of it. But when I started the ring it dawned on me that I really was making a piece of history. It was such an exciting feeling.”

Anthony said Libby wanted her ring to be more feminine than the usual heavy gold associated with Sacred Rings. Her primary idea was to incorporate Blue John Stone in the top of a white metal ring.

“Libby grew up in Glossop and spent much of her early life enjoying the Peak District,” said Anthony.

“She has always admired Blue John and so wanted a piece of Derbyshire set in the ring, which she wanted to be made by a local Derbyshire jeweller too.

“When Libby visited the shop, I had already cut a number of pieces of Blue John for her to view,” said Anthony.

“The stone varies so much in colour a selection was essential and after much deliberation a piece of deep banded purple was chosen.”

The ring was collected on the Friday before the ceremony by Libby’s proud parents, Mr and Mrs Holden.