A very personal piece of jewelry

It is small, very small, rounded oval, no bigger than perhaps a 5 cent piece. But it holds a lot. Encased in the gold frame is a very somber scene. You need to look really hard to see it but you can make out a tomb stone with some branches behind it. On the tombstone are the initials L B, intertwined. I turn it over and there is a small pin attached to the back.

I look at my grandmother who has given me this jewel.  She had put it in a small round pill box, the kind you used to get from the apothecary or chemist. She must have had a few of them, after all grandfather was an apothecary or pharmacist and back when pharmacists still routinely produced the medicines they dispensed this was a normal part of his inventory. Very handy too as a small jewel box.

She explains that the scene encased in the gold frame is made from the hair of her grandmother and my great-great grandmother Lijsbeth Beintema. This was a memorial broche that was made at her passing. 

Now she has given it to me, as her name sake. So, I look closely, again. She must have had dark hair, probably as dark as mine.

Years later I visit my grandmother who by now is nearing the end of her own time. I am in my early forties. She has lost most of her eyesight, but she can still see light and dark. 

“My goodness”, she remarks, “you have the same white grey streak in the middle, just like my grandmother.”


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