Leaning against the car, I was still quite taken with surprise on finding such a treasure. The golden bracelet I held reflected the sunlight, glimmering with a rainbow of colors, as I kept turning it. There was a name interestingly imbedded across one area around the bracelet with what seemed to be jet black enamel. The lettering was an Old English style design quite common centuries ago. This mystery piece of jewelry was something I had never seen before because of its intricacy but I could tell it was an heirloom due to the aged patina quality of the gold. The question was, from what century was this unexpected piece made that I randomly found and who lost it?
Earlier this morning, I opted to get a good walk in before the day took over and decided to meander on a similar yet different trail. Arriving to my destination spot, it was as if the fall season had someone custom design the scene. It was overly displayed, in a good way, with a beautiful array of colors blazing across my view. The sun added warmth and a bright aura to the moment. Taking a deep breath, I stepped out and headed into the wild totally in awe of Mother Nature as she never disappoints. The moments grow short and sweet, I remind myself, as each day passes, because too soon the next season is upon us. The last leaf will fall and the trees will become bare as winter presents itself in another visual way. I opted to take a different and unknown path as this would bring me up to a higher elevation and a point where I've always wanted to go. It was similar in a way, as in the area was my usual stomping ground, but this was a side step, a deer trail to be exact. I love that I can follow them, as they most definitely know the way. It's amazing what we can learn from wildlife. To replicate their footsteps is an adventure in itself. I am never lost.
It was an unforeseen moment where my foot hit an object and I missed a step. I tripped falling forward but adjusted the mishap and quickly righted myself. Phew! I bent down along the leaf strewn pathway to find the stone that nearly cost me a face plant. Bending down, I scattered the leaves strewn along the trail and then moved a huge oak leaf that had blown on top my foot. There was the stone. "Goodbye you devil!" I bent to pick it up to toss out of my way when I realized there was something else along side it. I set the stone down and picked it up then looked around to see if anyone else was on the trail. They may not have realized their loss as the item was an unusual piece of jewelry. I thought about it for a moment and decided to put it in a zippered pocket of my coat to take care of it later and continued on my trek.
I made it to the high point with a glorious view of the open wide landscape as far as I could see. Contemplating the beauty of the moment, I reached into my pocket to look at the lovely bracelet hoping to espy someone but to no avail. One last look around and it was time to turn back.
I made it back without another nasty or perhaps a worse fall. Knock on wood. It was an inspirational walk as I drove back now with my mind clear and with a new chapter to write for my latest mystery novel. The more I thought about the bracelet, the more I wondered about its history. I decided to find someone who knew jewelry. Janine.
My friend Janine was the one who knew more than the average person about jewelry; past, present and latest trendy bling. Her story began when she was gifted family treasures handed down for years. No one else in the family wanted any of it so she kept it in a jewelry box that she had made in high school. Years went by and she felt her passion had become everything that reflected delicate visual items; earrings, necklaces, bracelets, charms and more. She went to Europe to study the art of jewelry design to get to know the wide variety of mastery in styles throughout many cultures. She has become a well sought after designer. I had to book an appointment with her!
Finally, my time with her was here. I waited in the lobby of their upscale suite in the business city district. She came out and with a surprised look called to me. We met and gave each other a big hug. "They didn't tell me it was you!" Janine was surprised. I smiled and said that I didn't want to step over others so I gave a fake name. She good naturedly punched me in the arm. I laughed and we sat down.
"Okay. I'm all ears or whatever," Janine said. I handed her the cloth bag that held the bracelet.
She took it out, just gasped and said, "WOW!"
"What?!" I wanted to know what she thought. Her first reaction said more than I imagined.
"Okay!" She immediately had something to say. "This is an unbelievable piece of work. I'm going to take a moment to ask a few of my co-workers what they think. Can we get together later?"
"Sure! I have the rest of my work day to finish then we can meet at the Cafe. Okay?" I couldn't wait to hear what they found out as it seemed like it was going to be an interesting story.
Janine agreed and I left her to unfold the mystery.
The day dragged on for me as I tried to finish up online projects. Finally, I had a moment to take a deep breath knowing the end was near. One last call back to a client was on a positive note after a stream of negative Nancy's and then I got ready to head out to meet Janine.
She had already been seated in the Cafe when I walked in. She waved and I could see the wide-eyed look and crazy smile she sent me. Sitting down it was if we were going to share stories of a first date. She was giddy over the top. I had no idea what she found out.
"Let's order a beverage first before I share what we found." Janine took care of the meal plan in a gesture of friendship with her business. I could tell there was something else she needed to share.
As we sipped our drink, Janine began quietly, yet with an exuberance. "I have the most incredible information about your find." Her timing was perfect as I needed some happy vibes right about now. She took out a notebook and thumbed through to the page she was to share. "We keep records of unclaimed or found pieces of jewelry. You never know the who, what and where. So we are careful with entry information." Janine paused just a moment before she revealed the bracelet's story.
"You have found a piece of heirloom jewelry of Hawaiian origin. This is so important in value of not just money, but history." Janine began to relate a story of the Hawaiian monarchy era. The Hawaiian kingdom had a long and enjoyable relationship with England.
England's Queen Victoria lost her husband, Prince Albert in the mid-1800s. During this time of grief, only mourning clothes and black-accented jewelry were accepted apparel at the royal court. A fashion trend followed where jewelry accented with jet black enamel, carved designs of floral, vine and scroll became sought after. Rings, broaches, pendants and bracelets were sought after items.
The young princess of Hawaii at the time, in reaction to Prince Albert's death, ordered two gold bracelets that precisely was in the style and detail of the black mourning jewelry of England. Later on, the princess and the Queen of Hawaii were invited to the Queen of England's 50th Jubilee and presented with gold bracelets imprinted in Old English-style lettering with their names. The gifts were so precious that this sophisticated hand-carved technique became a unique design inspired by Hawaiian Royalty, culture and island nature. It lives on to this day.
"You have one of the originals." Janine sat back to watch my expression. "How it ended up on the trail on the day you were there is quite the mystery."
I didn't know what to say other than, "What now?"
Janine was so excited in sharing details of the results that I couldn't grasp the next step. How do you find the owner? How did it get to where it was found? You're talking quite a few miles from the island.
"It gets better! Remember me telling you that we have inventory of lost or missing items?" Janine smiled and said. "We have a person of interest."
It turned out that I recognized the name. D'nai Kapio. The man, the myth, and the legend of the Hawaiian islands especially Kauai and Oahu. Climbing was his passion. The local paper had an amazing story of him and his many climbing adventures. He was here in New Hampshire for a visit to the White Mountains. He needed to take a quick climb up Mount Washington with other like-minded rock lovers. Coincidentally, there was a "meet and greet" planned this afternoon at the same Cafe Janine and I had met at. How did I not know?
"I have to do this and go." I was nervous yet excited to meet this unique person of interest. Janine gave me the cloth bag that contained bracelet. I arrived to the place where many had gathered inside and outside to socialize. You could get a sense of the ones who were so in tune with all things rock related. I wandered inside as music filled the air, and people more than likely were sharing adventures with each other. I recognized D'nai Kapio and approached a little hesitant but happy to share my find. "Excuse me." D'nai turned, smiled and held out his hand. I took the strength and firmness with delight. He began speaking "Aloha. Howzit?"
I hesitated, said my name and replied, "I am pleased to meet you as well. I am follower of your many climbing adventures. It has been amazing to read your stories."
He smiled and thanked me again. I paused, bit my lip and said, "I have something for you."
He looked surprised when I mentioned that it was an item that I found on a nearby trail. Handing him the bag, I waited in anticipation. He opened it and the bracelet slid into his hand. The room suddenly grew quiet as others came up and stood around. His response was one of humbleness and gratitude. You could see how emotional the moment was for him.
"I have regretted my crazy youth in leaving with this treasure. My sisters were clearing family items from our home in Hawaii. My opinion in many ways did not matter. Maybe because I was who I was back then, a punk kid." He began looking back on years past. "I picked it up, didn't tell anyone, and left the island."
The next part was that he hawked it for a few bucks to another that later became a climbing buddy. This guy was here today and stood next to D'nai.
D'nai was overjoyed, thankful and humbled to have his family heirloom back. "You have no idea what this will mean to my daughter. Thank you a thousand times."
I could only smile, knowing the amazing story.