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The person in this story was the Aunt of a friend of mine. The family still has the beads in question. They are round deep purple Amethyst about 12-15mm.
Madam Butterfly's Beads
Margerite was dating the son of a famous actress who was then playing Madam Butterfly on the stage. She felt very privileged to be able to attend the performance and go back stage after the show to talk to his Mother. Margerite immediately noticed the very interesting beads that the actress was wearing and commented on them. As they continued talking the actress was playing with the beads she wore around her neck and Margerite was horrified when the strand broke and the beads went flying all over the dressing room. She immediately got down on the floor and started to pickup the beads. The actress told her to not bother that the maids could pick them up and have them. When Margerite tried to hand her back the ones she had already picked up she was told to keep them if she wanted.
Margerite loved the beads and had them strung into a necklace of her own. Some time later she was traveling in Europe (probably Germany or Russia) and the necklace broke. She took it to a Jeweler to have it re-strung and was very surprised when the Jeweler called the Authorities and threatened to have her arrested and confiscate the beads. After explaining where she had gotten them they did let her keep the beads. It was determined that beads were most likely a gift to the actress from Nicholas the Czar of Russia.
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