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Story as told by Cynthia Rutledge

Antique Beaded Crystal Purse

Two women had been best friends for many years, always exchanging Birthday and Christmas presents. One of the women and her husband were planning a trip to Europe and asked the other what she would like them to bring back for her for her Birthday present. She said that she had always wanted an antique beaded purse.

The couple looked in many stores during their travels, but were unable to find any beaded bags. Finally on their last day in London the wife was very distressed, she not only could not find a beaded bag, she had not found any kind of gift for her friend. She told her husband that she had seen a small antique shop on the corner and was going to go there and buy something, anything, so that she could go home with a present.

When she entered the store a sales clerk asked if she could help her find anything. "What I really want is a beaded purse" replied the woman. The clerk went on to explain that they usually did not get them, as they were very rare. But it just so happened that they had gotten a new shipment of items the previous day and had found a purse in one of the boxes. The purse was not very large and was beaded with clear, green, red and blue crystals. She looked at the purse, but the price was much more than she really wanted to spend. She called her husband at the hotel who told her to just buy it anyway, so that their search could be completed and the trip ended on a happy note.

Needless to say the friend was absolutely thrilled with her gift. Her husband was even intrigued with the purse, but as he held and examined the purse the thought kept running through his head that for some reason it just did not feel right. He told his wife that he would take it down to his friends' jewelry store and have him look at it.

When he got to the store the jeweler looked at the purse with his jewelers' loop. He looked at his friend and asked him if he had come to the store by himself. "Of course" replied the husband; "it is not far to walk". The jeweler then told the husband to stay where he was and he would get someone to escort him home.

The beads were not crystals; they were diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires valued at upwards of $250,000. For gemstones to be cut and drilled in that manner, it was obvious that the original owner of the purse was royalty or a wealthy titled member of the aristocracy. The current owners of the bag are said to be attempting to trace where the bag came from so that it can be returned to its original owners. Until then, it is on loan to The Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

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