The story of the paua shell brooch (Part One)

by | Jul 28, 2013 | Uncategorized | 9 comments

Come, gather around the fire and I’ll tell you the story I told at our family winter dinner. 
When I was 16 my mother, who always gave special birthday gifts, asked me if I would like to choose my own this year, now that I was growing up. She took me to a jeweller’s shop, where I found what I wanted more than anything in the world: a paua shell brooch. It was circular, with a sterling silver surround, and I loved it very much.
For over fifty years I treasured that brooch. I loved the iridescent blues and greens, and the way they reminded me of the sea. 
In November last year, I pinned the brooch on to my jacket lapel and set off for choir practice. I walked up First Street, crossed the busy main road, and walked down Second Street to the rendez-vous for our carpool. After enjoying a good sing, I looked down at my jacket and discovered that the brooch was gone. Everyone looked under their chairs and around the room, but no luck.
Despite searching the pavements the next day, reporting the loss to the local police, and getting a notice put in the community newspaper, I realised that it was probably gone for good.
I tried one more thing: I printed out a big notice saying ‘Lost Paua Shell Brooch, a precious gift from my mother, who died some years ago’, and I stuck it to trees, lamp-posts and letterboxes all along the route that I’d taken that night.
Nothing happened. 
I was lost in sadness, feeling the loss not only of the brooch, but of my dear mother too.
But when you lose something, a door may open for something to be found that you didn’t expect.
That’s what happened to me. Stay warm in front of the fire, and in Part Two I’ll tell you about it.


  1. Max

    i still often think of my mothers signet ring that i lost over 20 years ago. i don’t feel quite as lost without it since i have a wedding band on that finger. i do hope your turns up as well as it’s loss having a silver lining!

  2. juliet

    8 Max, that’s a sad loss but it sounds as if you have something pretty special taking its place. Thank you.

  3. Vicki Lane

    Such a beautiful brooch! And now I know what those earrings my son gave me years ago are made of!

    Can’t wait for the rest of the story…

  4. juliet

    Vicki, fancy you having some paua jeweller also. Thank you for joining in the story.

  5. Joan

    Hello Juliet. I’m home! I have had to buy a new computer and it has just been set up today, but you know how a new computer is! I’m finding
    my way around what feels like a stranger. Loving the paua story. Ive been staying with family in St Alban’s England. I came to love the medieval Abbey church there. The two angels behind the high altar have wings of paua that flash those beautiful blues.

  6. juliet

    Joan, how exciting to see you back home. Yes, I know all about new computers. Maybe that means you haven’t received my emails? How wonderful to be reminded of those angels of St Albans! Welcome back, it’s so good to see you.

  7. Hotly Spiced

    I’m hanging on by a thread. I can’t wait to hear the rest of this story. I’ve lost jewellery before and I know how devastating it is, especially when it’s extremely sentimental. I do hope this story has a happy ending xx

  8. juliet

    * Charlie, it seems that many people have lost precious jewellery. I’m just about to post Part 2 of the story; can’t leave you hanging on a thread too long!


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