One of the strangest tales in the history of company accounting looks increasingly likely to end with a fabled gem being downgraded to an unusual paper weight.

The Gem of Tanzania, a large ruby whose £11m valuation once underpinned the finances of a failed company with yearly turnover of £103m, may be worth as little as £100.

Rebuffed by large auction houses, administrators to Wrekin Construction, a Shropshire building company, are now planning to advertise the big purple rock in a small magazine whose subjects includes New Age crystals.

The police said on Wednesday that they were considering whether to mount a fraud investigation, while forensic accountants are already on the case.

Financial Times