If I could get away with it, I would probably wear pajamas all the time, but my grandmother never left the house unless she was wearing the perfect outfit, had her hair and makeup in place, and had just the right jewelry to match. She loved jewelry. From the time I was a little girl, I remember her traveling to Hong Kong and other exotic-sounding locales and coming home with gorgeous necklaces, bracelets, and rings (most of which were costume jewelry, but I didn’t know that). I would put them all on, usually all at once, stick my tiny feet in her high heels, and totter around, imagining myself in a beautiful ball gown dancing with the prince.
After my grandmother passed away, the task of sorting through her jewelry fell to me and my sister. We went through what we thought was the costume jewelry and divided up the items we each wanted, then set aside the rest to give away. My sister chose a fake but large diamond on a plain gold chain to give to a friend’s daughter for dress up. It just so happens that at the time, her then boyfriend, who is a police officer, was working overtime as a night guard at a jewelry store. He convinced her to let him take a few of the items, including the necklace, to the jeweler to have them appraised. As you may have guessed, the diamond from that necklace turned out to be a real. It was a two carat, princess cut diamond, and it became the center piece of her engagement ring. I’ll admit that I was a bit jealous, but I was already married and have an engagement ring I love, even though the largest diamond is nowhere near that big.
Dividing up the real jewelry was much more difficult, not because it was overly valuable, but because there were several pieces that held sentimental value for both of us. My grandmother had a gold ring inset with tiny diamonds that she wore all the time. A few months before she passed away, she lost that ring while we were eating dinner at a restaurant. We looked everywhere, but couldn’t find it. A few weeks later, we ate there again, and as we were settling into the same both we had shared before, there it was, her ring sparkling from between the cushions on the bench. I decided to take that ring because every time I see it, I think of her.
The other items I cherish are a gorgeous, red garnet necklace and butterfly pin that my great-great grandmother brought with her when she immigrated to the United States from Czechoslovakia. Unfortunately, for a long time I left the necklace and pin hidden in my jewelry box, thinking they were too special to risk breaking or losing them. About a year ago, I finally came to the realization that there was no point in having them if I never wore them, so I pulled them out of my jewelry box and wore them to a charity auction. I still believe that they’re too special to wear all the time, but I’m no longer afraid to wear them on special occasions.
I write historical romance set in Regency England, and naturally, the heroines I write tend to like jewelry. At that time it was not only a symbol of status, but was also a form of portable wealth, which was important in a place where there weren’t any credit cards or ATM machines.
In my new release, HOW TO BEGUILE A DUKE, the heroine’s family is wealthy. In fact, her father is rumored to have been a pirate. She has plenty of jewelry of her own, but what she wants most is to locate a missing family heirloom, a tiara set with pink diamonds that her great-grandmother owned and supposedly hid in their ancestral home. She spends quite a lot of time searching her great-grandmother’s journal for clues about where she hid the tiara, but I’m afraid you’ll have to read the book to find out if she’s successful. If she does find it, I sure hope she wears it.