I think I've mentioned that my dad was the soul of honesty. He was. He wouldn't even put a postage stamp from work on a personal letter...
...but he smuggled jewels across international borders!
He was in India and Burma with the R.A.F. during WWII. Coming home, I guess he didn't get the memo that servicemen were allowed to take home goods to a certain value...or maybe the jewels were over that value...I don't know. I do know he brought my mother a beautiful rose gold bracelet set with sapphires, and a matching ring. In his boot.
The ring had a large blue sapphire, emerald cut, with three small white sapphires on either side. The bracelet was made in hinged segments, each holding three sapphires, alternating brilliant blue and white most of the way around. The links around the clasp were flat ovals of rose gold, and the clasp was hinged. All the blue sapphires were "mine cut," but the white ones had more facets and looked much more sophisticated.
I loved these pieces. During that last trip, when my mother and dad came down to visit SSS and me, she gave them to me. I rarely wore them...our lifestyle didn't lend itself to the wearing of sapphires...mostly macrame jewelry with hand thrown pottery beads. But, I took them out and looked at them often. Even in my worst times of poverty, I never considered pawning or selling them.
Sometime after SSS and I separated, and I had my own house over there on Georgetown Street, I looked in my Granny's jewelry box, and they were not there.
I visited every pawn shop I could get to, but never saw them again. As I really didn't know exactly when they had been stolen, I never reported the theft to the police, either.
The back door of that house opened with a skeleton key, and all my friends knew that. Maybe there was a friend who wasn't such a good friend after all. The sapphires were the only jewels I had that were worth anything, and they were the only things stolen. Somebody knew.
It's not just that they were beautiful, and not only that they belonged to my mother. It's that they were the measure of my dad's love for her--that he would actually smuggle jewels from India (or Burma) into England for my mother.
I miss them to this day, and it has been twenty-five years since they vanished.