Topaz Eyes is the name of my latest mystery novel. You would think it should, then, be about topaz though that’s not the case. You need to read the book to understand the connections, but what actually feature a LOT are emeralds.
In Topaz Eyes, there’s a special and mysterious collection of antique jewels as the focus of an inheritance quest. The whereabouts of the collection are unknown at the beginning of the novel – apart from one piece which has recently come onto the market and has caused a furore. My first instinct was to make it a diamond collection, and I trawled internet jewellery shops to find really nice pieces to spark my imagination. I quickly ditched the concept of diamonds when I saw some beautiful jewellery featuring emeralds. One particular necklace did the trick – my collection was going to be of original Indian design.
Green is my favourite colour; the contents of my wardrobe pretty good proof of that. Real emeralds would look fabulous with some of my clothes so it was no hardship to base my novel on the concept of bringing together a large collection of antique emeralds. I can’t show the internet jewellery stores items on this blog, but they were fantastic for giving me descriptive ideas. The photographs of emeralds that I can share are all taken from Wikimedia Commons, or from my favourite image site - www.123rf.com .
This example from Wikimedia Commons is a wonderful example of the richness of emeralds. The hue is fantastic, earthy, and yet simultaneously ethereally dazzling.
Wikimedia Commons - This photo was taken by Robert Reisman- Emerald Unguentarium
I think gold really enhances the deep colour of emeralds, though silver can be equally effective. The ring in this picture has a surround of diamonds and has the most fantastic gold setting.
Wikimedia Commons - This photo was taken by Mark Somma - Description 18kt yellow gold ring set with one pear shape emerald and 12 diamonds.
For an example of a silver, or white gold setting, this is another fabulous one. A lighter, more blue-green emerald is the centre piece. This one is named the “Chalk Emerald” - 37.8 carats, and is from Colombia. The emerald is set within a cluster of 60 pear-shaped diamonds weighing a total of approximately 15 carats. I imagine it must be pretty heavy on the finger!
The royal rulers of Baroda, a state in India, once owned the emerald set in a necklace. In the 20th century, the emerald was reset in a ring designed by Harry Winston. It was donated to the National Gem and Mineral Collection by Mr. and Mrs. O. Roy Chalk, and I believe it is now in the National Museum of Natural History — Gem Gallery (U.S.).
Perhaps these examples will give an idea of why my invented collection, originally belonging to an invented Mughal emperor I’ve called Tiru Salana, is the focus of the family quest in Topaz Eyes.
Now... how are my main characters, Keira Drummond and Teun Zeger, going to find the twenty pieces of this fabulous collection?
How will they manage to survive desperate attempts to prevent this from happening?
How is it eventually mounted as a fantastic exhibition?
And what is the mystery item they do not expect to find but which turns out to have the largest value of all?
Get yourself a copy of Topaz Eyes to find out!
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