THE NECKLACE THAT COMES FROM THE PAST
Pamela didn’t believe her eyes. Rummaging in the old trunk in the attic looking for buttons she found that old necklace in her hands, which she believed had been lost for some time. It wasn’t a precious necklace. It was made of metal, perhaps an alloy of iron and zinc. But it was ancient, probably dating back to the early 1900s or even the 1800s. It was made of rectangular metal pieces with holes and had a medal of the Madonna hanging on it. It must have belonged to her great-grandmother, whom she hadn’t known. “ You know mum, I found by chance that necklace of the great-grandmother we thought we had lost,” Pamela said to her mother, who was busy cooking. “ It is a truly unique, special piece. A real antique, even if it is a poor antique”
“ It is even more old than you think…because your great-grandmother had inherited it from her grandmother. But as for value ….it has no value. It is the product of poor and shoddy craftsmanship. The material will then be wrought iron. “ Her mother said, nonchalantly. “ Oh, but I don’t care how much it’s worth in money. I’m thrilled to have found it again” Pamela said, showing her mother the necklace. “ Of course, it has a certain effect on me too. You know, your great-grandmother, who was my grandmother, never wore this necklace” Irma, her mother, said. “ Strange…and she didn’t tell you WHY?” Pamela asked. Her mother shook her head. “ Yet she kept it and passed it to my grandmother. Then we thought we had lost it. But now that I think about it, also my grandmother never wore it” Pamela said, thoughtfully.
“ Ah, you’ll admit it is not very decorative,” Irma said. “ I find it unique, special! Now that I have found it, I’ll wear it” Pamela exclaimed, putting the necklace around her neck. Her mother looked at her with a frown. “ Take off that necklace!” she cried. “ Mom, what is it? What is going on? I don’t understand. It’s a necklace, not a noose around my neck!” Her mother approached her and snatched the necklace from her neck. “ I said you to take it off!” she cried. “ Oh mom, you broke it” Pamela complained. From her mother, Pamela could not explain the categorical prohibition that she put that necklace around her neck so much so that she had snatched it from her neck. Pamela didn’t give up and asked her grandmother who, after hesitating, left slip: “ This necklace has linked to a tragedy, to a terrible blood event” Then she wasn’t silent and didn’t want to add anything else. Pamela had to insist for days for her grandmother finally revealed to her that the necklace had been worn by a young woman who had killed herself. When they found that girl dead___she had cut her throat__she was wearing this necklace, which was blooded. What her grandmother told her was a very dramatic story. That girl, a great-grandmother’s ancestor, who had lived in the early 800s, had killed herself because her love for a young man was opposed by the young man’s parents. That necklace was a gift from the young man. It had been kept as a relic and handed down from mother to daughter but no one had dared to wear it anymore after the tragedy. For Pamela that sad story increased the charm and the value of the necklace. She decided to have it repaired and then to wear it, despite the prohibition of her mother, who when saw it around her neck ordered her to take it off. Pamela obeyed for fear her mother would snatch and break it again but then she put it back on, secretly from her mother.
That necklace attired the curiosity of Pamela’s friends to whom she told where it came from.
“ An object with a truly unique workmanship,” they said. “ Necklaces like this are not made anymore” Two of her most enterprising friends, Guido and Marianna, thought of replicating that necklace, which came from the past. Pamela hesitated for a long time before giving her consent, since, in a certain sense, seemed to her to profane and debase that necklace so full of meaning and value for her precisely because she was unique. In the end, however, she agreed. She was curious to see if necklaces like that could have a market.
Guido and Marianna thought of repeating ( of replicating) that necklace in the most varied materials. They would have made it in gold and silver, but also in copper, iron, glass, and even in paper and fabric.
The replica of the necklace was a great commercial success. Stories and legends began to spread about that necklace. They told that it was a model that came from the past. How far away? It was said that it had been the necklace of an Indian princess, but also of Egyptian sources and a Roman Sybil. There was the tendency to attribute special powers to that necklace that everyone want to possess. It was said that it would protect from dangers, that it would make the love of lovers eternal, and that it would ensure prosperity. In that mass jubilation Irma, Pamela’s mother shook her head thoughtfully. For her, that necklace remained linked to the suicide of her ancestor.
The commercial success of the re-proposition of the necklace enjoyed also Pamela, who had told no anyone about the tragedy to which that necklace was linked. Pamela too found herself involved in telling legends about that necklace, in attributing to which much greater antiquity than she knew it to have. Everyone, except her mother, was very satisfied with how the launch of the necklace had gone and with the success it was having. “ The diffusion of this necklace will end to cause a catastrophe” Irma kept repeating. But she was not taken seriously and was branded as superstitious.