Alexis sits on the pillows of her bedroom bed with a fresh cup of coffee and the pearl necklace around her neck. She picks up the letter from the nightstand and breathes in the familiar scent of her late grandmother’s perfume.
For the past week, she’s had to restrain herself from opening the letter her mother gave her while she was home for spring break from college.
Open the envelope, open the letter and start reading.
My dearest Alexis,
I trust your 19th birthday will be quite pleasant.
Alexis smiles as she remembers her friends’ surprise breakfast that morning with their silly hats and an off-key birthday song.
I have another wonderful story I want to share with you about Charlotte, your ancestor and Blythe’s granddaughter. Born around the year 158 AD. During the Han dynasty, Charlotte had the same adventurous blood in her veins as all of her female ancestors.
Shortly after her 16th birthday, Charlotte left Scotland, where her family had resided since Blythe and Niven settled there decades ago. She wanted to know more about her family’s history and she longed to walk to where they had come.
His first stop: Rome and Greece. She was captivated by Roman and Greek architecture and infatuated with the silken robes people wore, so different from the plain clothing she grew up in. She heard that in China they combed the silk from the trees, so she decided that her next step would be to travel to China to see these wonderful trees for herself.
At that time, the only way to travel to the East was to join a caravan of merchants on the Silk Road. But there was a problem: the girls were not allowed to travel the route without an escort. Charlotte wasn’t one to give up so easily, so she decided it was time for a transformation.
She cut her hair, changed her dress for men’s clothing, and introduced herself as Charles, or Charlie for short.
She sold anything that might reveal she was a girl, except for the pearl necklace her grandmother gave her before she left Scotland. She put them inside a small bag hidden in the folds of her toga.
Charlie persuaded a merchant from Constantinople, who was taking wine east, that he needed someone to help him with the camels. During the day he guided the camels, and at night he fed them, brushed them and filed their nails. It was hard work, but he enjoyed every minute of the company of the loving animals.
He met many interesting people from across the continent, each with their own stories, traditions, and religious practices, and saw fascinating products, including jade, ivory, saffron, tea, incense, tortoise shells, peacock feathers, glassware, and , pearls of course.
When they passed Dayun in the Fergana Valley (present-day Tajikistan) a few months later, a horse trader joined their caravan with the most beautiful horses in tow. Dayun was famous for breeding massive, strong, and fast horses, making them ideal war horses that were highly sought after by the Han army. The horse trader was accompanied by a young man, Tyan, who took care of the same horses. way she took care of the camels.
As the only youngsters in the convoy, Charlie and Tyan soon became friends. He loved horses. Never before had he seen such majestic creatures: his eyes were bright and intelligent and his hair shone in the sun. Over time, he developed a bond with one of the mares and would sometimes help Tyan groom her once he was done with his own chores.
One afternoon, while they were busy finishing, the animals became restless. Tyan motioned for him to hide under a nearby wagon. Moments later he saw four dark figures charging towards them with their knives gleaming in the moonlight. Frightened, Charlie grabbed the heirloom pearls from her, as she always did when she was anxious or frightened, and prayed for strength and protection for Tyan.
What the highwaymen didn’t expect was that Tyan was a master knife fighter. The people in his village were descendants of soldiers who fought in the army of Alexander the Great; the children of the village were taught to hold a knife before they could walk. It didn’t take long for him to overpower the thugs and make them run.
Amid the commotion, Charlie’s favorite mare broke loose and fled in a panic. They searched for her all night and finally found her lying in a ditch, her leg badly injured. Fortunately, she was near a monastery, and the merchant she worked for had some business in the nearby town. They stayed in the monastery until the mare was back on her feet. Although her leg healed nicely, she was left with a slight limp.
A few months later they arrived in China. It was then that Charlie learned that the silk was actually spun by silkworms and did not come from trees. She was so fascinated with these amazing little creatures that she bought some worms right away with the money she earned caring for the camels.
Tyan’s boss tried to sell the mare to the Han army, but due to her lameness, she was not a suitable warhorse. Grateful to Tyan for saving the rest of the horses, he gave her the mare.
Charlie and Tyan fell in love with the culture, traditions, and landscape, so they decided to make China their home. By now, Tyan had realized that her best friend and soul mate was actually a girl, and it didn’t take long for her to propose. She gave Charlie the mare as a wedding present, which she named Lex after her great-great-grandmother, Alexys.
They settled on a farm outside a small town in the mountains, where Charlie started his silk business and Tyan raised horses. They lived a serene life and immersed themselves in the culture of their new home.
Both became famous for their exquisite silk and prized horses and soon employed half the people of the nearby town.
As you prepare for your future career, always remember to follow your heart. Like Charlie, he will find exactly what he is supposed to do and will be successful at whatever he puts his mind to.
Pearls by themselves will not bring us luck or prosperity, but hearing great stories about our ancestors and knowing that they wore the same heirloom pearls that we wear also inspires us to do great things.
If you don’t already have an heirloom pearl pendant necklace to gift your daughters, visit our store to start your own family tradition.