When Robert Renconta arrived in England from Burma in 1957 with his beloved wife, Emily, and their three children, he was easily the most handsome man in the Customs Hall. He wore a formal, grey three-piece suit with a pristine white shirt; he looked like a diplomat. The only flamboyant feature in his appearance was the deep red twinkle of his ruby tiepin. It was a gift from his mother just before they left Rangoon.
“Burmese rubies, Robert, the finest gems in all the world,” said his mother through her tears. Robert’s hands trembled as he put the tiepin on, then gently pulled her towards him for one last embrace. Her body seemed so small and frail that he felt his heart would break. They slowly moved apart without saying goodbye or making promises to see each other soon. They knew that they would never meet again.
Twenty-five years later, Jenny Renconta sat quietly in her beautiful ivory gown as she waited for the wedding cars to arrive. She’d sent the bridesmaids off to another room because their hysterical chatter was driving her mad. A look of anxiety crossed Jenny’s face and tears threatened to spoil the expertly applied make-up.
“Sweetheart?” whispered her mother as she entered the room. “What is it?”
Jenny looked up at her and smiled.
“Don’t worry, Mum, I haven’t changed my mind!”
“Thank goodness for that! Daniel is such a wonderful man. Is it your father, are you thinking about him?”
“Yes….I wish he could have lived to be here with us today,” she replied, as one tear slipped down her lovely face.
“Oh, my darling! I know. He would have been so proud to walk you down the aisle… but, listen, listen…. I have something for you. I wanted to give it to you earlier, but the jeweller only managed to finish reworking it this morning and rushed it over to me in a taxi. I wasn’t sure if you would want to wear it today, but you might…?”
Jenny opened the dark blue box that her mother handed to her. She gently lifted out a beautiful bracelet made of delicate intertwining threads of gold with tiny sparkling droplets of something red.
“Are they… rubies?”
“From your Daddy’s tiepin. He had always wanted you to have it”.
Jenny put the bracelet on and hugged her mother hard.
“Burmese rubies…” her mother murmured.
“… The finest gems in all the world”, whispered Jenny.”
Burmese Rubies, written by Lucia Wilson, with an illustration by *Anne Bowes,
is an extract from A Journey into Jewels.
If you would like to read another story about love and jewellery, The Karloff Tiara is available on Amazon.
Anne Bowes is also a jewellery designer.