Diamond Tales: Illicit Familial Diamonds by Nancy Jardine

Today’s Tale is a bit of a treasure hunt in a dusty old loft…

Illicit Familial Diamonds!


Nancy Jardine

Topaz Eyes is a mystery treasure hunt for a fabulous jewel collection that was once Mughal owned. Though essentially named an emerald collection, diamonds of all sizes feature very highly throughout the novel… here’s a taster…

Investigating the loft took hours. Piled boxes joined others
as they painstakingly opened and closed the next one. Keira worked her way
through a large crate which must have belonged to John. It was filled with
family board games, jigsaws, painting equipment and old tin boxes. Inside the
tins, John had stored worn and dented, miniature metal cars, and trains from a
long-gone train set.
       “Did you have a
car collection, too?” Her sudden question shattered the silence as she held one
of them up for him to see.
       Teun came over
to the corner she worked in, his laughter a delighted sound she was glad to
hear again. “Yeah! I traded with him when we were little squirts. What else
have you got there?”
       They took turns
to excavate the huge carton, Teun chuckling away as he unearthed something
memorable. Keira pulled out yet another old cookie tin. She prized open the
tight lid and shrieked.
       Inside the tin
were two long velvet cases.
       “You open them!”
       His smile was
puzzled since she’d been quite happy to do all the investigating before,
without any reference to him.
       “What is it?”
His words faded as he opened the first – a dark crimson
velvet box, the plush so stained with dampness it almost looked white. Most of
the loft contents were still in good condition, but this looked to be one of
the oldest items they’d uncovered so far.
       Keira’s legs
trembled. A cool shiver coursed down her spine, the anticipation making the
unveiling seem almost creepy.
       His voice was a
broken hush. “Is this what I think it is?”
       “Good God! Look
at that!”
       Four strands,
made from tiny green stones, joined the most exquisite centrepiece clasp of
diamonds, the whole necklace gleaming on the faded cream silk interior. At each
end of the box lay two different earrings. All the earrings were pear-shaped;
one set made from small sparkling bezel-set diamonds, and the other vibrantly
coloured. In place of diamonds, the second pair of earrings was enamelled in
red, green and blue on a white background. Teun almost dropped the box as he
passed it over for her to have a better look, his arm trembling.
       “Oh… shit! I
can’t believe it!”
       Keira was in
shock. It was the most intriguing jewellery she’d ever seen, but she was
mystified by the extra coloured set of earrings. Although totally gorgeous in
themselves, they didn’t match the floral cluster of sparkling diamonds.
Tentatively lifting the necklace, she realised the significance of two sets of
earrings. The whole necklace was double-sided. It could be worn showing a deep
centre clasp which was a sunburst of small diamonds, with two additional rows
of tiny diamonds set below – and in the ultimate central position was a
teardrop pendant of three layers of tiny diamonds. If the necklace was worn in
reverse, there lay a masterpiece of red, green, blue and white enamelling.
       “This is so
amazing! And it looks Indian.” Her throat was raspy, her words the tiniest
       They dragged
themselves back to the chest and fumbled their way back down onto it, the
velvet case in front of them, neither capable of speaking.
       She caught
Teun’s glance. His swallow had been so awkward, a metaphorical boulder lodged
in his gullet. Awe. Amazement. Shock. Trepidation. They were all there in his
eyes as words eventually seeped out.
       “I didn’t expect
this, Keira. How could my grandmother have hidden these away like this?”
       She wasn’t sure
an answer was needed, but she gave one anyway. “Marijke must have had her
reasons for keeping them secret, Teun.”
       “Secrets? Damn
right she had secrets!”
       He slowly placed
the box down on the floor, and then whipped back up again. His lips on hers
were a surprise, his grasp of her shoulders not so light. The kiss lingered and
deepened before she realised it wasn’t a kiss of exultation, or even happiness.
Breaking away from him, she forced eye contact.
       “What are you
not saying here, Teun?”
       “You have no
idea how this family sometimes struggled for money. Grandfather died before
John and his brothers were born, and Uncle Adam was sometimes out of work. My
father sent money to Aunt Marta to keep them afloat, since she also looked
after my grandmother.”
       Teun got up and
paced between the cartons and furniture scattered nearby, his hand rifling
through his short hair.
       “Don’t mistake
me. Uncle Adam was never work-shy. He worked in the construction industry, so
employment was erratic. Mostly he had contracts, but there were often lulls
between those contracts when he had no pay. That’s when Dad would help them.”
       “Do you think
maybe, by then, your grandmother had forgotten about the diamonds?” It sounded
a bit of a stretch, but his agitation was so great she wanted to soothe him.
       “Never. Grandma
was sharp as a tack! She forgot nothing.”
       “Then there must
have been another reason.”

       He grasped her
hand and dragged her back to the carton holding John’s things. “You open it
this time!”

       The second box
was a similar shape. As she prised open the lid, a loose white bead leapt out
and skittered across the wooden floor. She let the stiff lid close again before
placing it carefully on the floor. Down on her knees, she opened the box a
second time. Very slowly.
       Inside was a
pile of white, round balls. Not plastic beads as she had first thought when the
first had popped out, but pearls. Three strands of thin, hairy thread were
strung with a few of the pearls, the rest lying loose. As in the previous
necklace, it looked as if the clasp was intended to be worn at the throat, and
not at the nape, for it was a work of art in itself. In the centre of the
pear-shaped design was a sizable emerald and around it sat rows of tiny
diamonds, all set in what looked to be heavy gold. The scrollwork of the clasp
alone was enthralling.
       “Bloody hell!
Would you look at that?” Keira’s voice was barely a whisper through the tears
freely flowing from her astonished eyes.

       Sliding to the
loft floor, her knees were unable to support her as she scrabbled for the pearl
that had rolled away. Teun dropped down alongside her, trailing his fingertips
through the ripple of pearls. “Not only a diamond studded necklace, but this as

About the author:

Nancy Jardine writes contemporary mysteries; historical
adventure fiction and time travel historical adventure. She’s a member of the
Romantic Novelists Association, the Scottish Association of Writers and the
Federation of Writers Scotland. She’s published by Crooked Cat Books and has
delved into self publishing.

You can find Nancy at these places:

For the books:

As a Bonus!  

Hop on over to Nancy’s Blog (https://nancyjardine.blogspot.com), 
leave a comment
in the comments box and enter the draw

 to win a signed paperback copy of
Topaz Eyes 

(worldwide entry since she’s generous 
and it’s almost

Follow the Tales…and Discover some Diamonds

3rd December     Richard Tearle Diamonds

19th December      Elizabeth St John The Stolen Diamonds

20th December      Barbara Gaskell Denvil Discovering the Diamond

21st December       Anna Belfrage   Diamonds in the Mud

22nd December       Cryssa Bazos    The Diamonds of Sint-Nicholaas

23rd December        Diamonds … In Sound & Song 

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