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Wednesday, 12 December, 2001, 13:19 GMT
Gold firm to make Tolkien ring
Liv Tyler and Elijah Wood
The film premiered in London this week
South African gold miner Harmony is to make copies of the gold ring at the centre of the tale of the Lord of the Rings.

Harmony has secured the exclusive marketing rights for the ring for the South African market and hopes to secure similar rights for the rest of the world.

Hope is that the ring - similar to the other lucrative contracts and marketing initiatives linked to Lord of the Rings and similarly Harry Potter - will boost demand for gold and profitability in the sector.

The ring will be sold at a price of between $125 and $500, the company said.

Gold producers have seen their profits squeezed, in part because of falling demand for luxury goods in times of economic slowdown.

The falling price of gold - now below $280 an ounce compared with a high of $850 an ounce in 1980 - has also been a factor.

One ring to rule all?

Demand for jewellery, which accounts for between 75% and 80% of world gold demand, usually falls in times of slowdown.

"We have always been looking for opportunities to position gold, our product, the company in a positive light. We thought this would be the ideal opportunity for the company to get involved," Harmony's marketing director Ferdi Dippenaar told the BBC's World Business Report.

"It has inscribed on the inside and on the outside, lets call it the famous Elven inscription from the Lord of the Rings," he said.

This reads: "One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One ring to bring them all and in the darkness that binds them."

The launch of the ring will precede a separate gold marketing initiative, which is expected to kick off a $200m advertising campaign next year.

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The BBC's James Whittington
"A South African company plans to make thousands of them"
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