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A few details on a newly acquired family heirloom.
My granny decided to send me part of my
inheritance early this
Christmas, and one of my presents was a Jerusalem cross she'd bought in her
salad days when touring the Holy Lands.
The scan doesn't really do it justice; I did my best in Photoshop to try and reflect the color of the red stones, but the light from the scanner washes out the gems. They are really a much richer red. I remember Granny wearing this Jerusalem cross many times, and always liked it.
Of the item itself she wrote to me:
We were there the year before the 6 day war (1966 or 1967)1 when many Palestinians still were accepted as artisans and had their own place in society. In fact, we stayed at a Palestinian hotel which looked down on the walls of Jerusalem. There was a street in the city where silversmiths plied their trade. You could identify the work of certain smiths by the chains they forged for their jewellery.
The Jerusalem Cross is on one of such chains. No one besides that particular smith could use that particular pattern. It was 40 years ago that I found it. I do not know how old the cross was then, but the design was sketched out, I believe, by the crusaders and was also called the scarlet lychnis2 because of the red stones. I have been saving it for you since you were born.
1 Google says that the Six-Day War occurred in 1967, so if my granny was there the year before, it must have been 1966, exactly 40 years ago this year.
2 According to the Wikipedia article, the scarlet lychnis (a type of flower) is connected with the Maltese Cross, not the Jerusalem Cross— but since both were used by Crusaders, perhaps it's applied interchangeably.