Many, many years ago. In fact nearly half a lifetime ago, I went for a swim one crisp blue sky day. Impatient to be in the sea I stripped off and left my clothes on a handy piece of twisted, silvered cast up tree. About to run into the water, my hand went to my throat. I was wearing a little blue cross – metal with an enamel painting of lovebirds and curlicues on it, that I was very fond of. It belonged to my mum, but she let me wear it.
Blue is my colour.
Not wanting to lose it, I unclasped it, and carefully draped it over one of the branches of the driftwood tree.
You can guess what happened next.
When I got out of the water, freezing cold, exultant, shivering and snot-nosed, I threw on my towel, scooped up my clothes, and hurried home to a scalding hot shower.
And although I returned to the beach when I realised my loss and although I scoured the shore for hours I never found the cross again.
I’ve been looking for a cross like it for about twelve years now.
As has my dad. He brought the cross for my mum in a shop in the Edinburgh Grassmarkets when they were first married. He’s referred to it ever since as ‘the Cross you threw away’ or ‘the Cross you threw into the sea’, and he’s looked in every antique shop, second hand shop and jewellers he’s passed. When he went back to Scotland one time he looked in the shop he’d brought it in, but it had turned into a Goth shop and was not helpful.
Awhile back I gave up thinking I’d find another cross like the one I’d lost in a shop. I just hadn’t seen anything remotely like it. I decided to search on line. I did a google search under images – starting with ‘blue enamel cross’ ‘blue enamel jewellery’ and finally, after three or four hours of scrolling through weird and wonderful blue stuffs, I found a perfect match.
It’s a style of Persian art called Mina Kari – a special way of using enamel and many of the examples of vases and bowls made my eyes go wide with covetousness – o those blues – those blues!
But best of all…. the Cross. Just like the one… well… I didn’t throw away. But I left on the beach.
We ordered two and they arrived yesterday – now mum has one and I have one.
And this one, I won’t take off.