Moving within elite circles.

It had been 4 months since the article in Vogue Magazine had been published and just a little over 5 months since that incredible evening at the Gala Ball which had changed their lives.

James had been promoted to the job of Marketing and Promotions Executive. He had made so many influential contacts on that evening that the company was now the go to for the A list of society.

Melanie had sent an email to the Ching Dynasty Collection about the article published in Vogue and they had been delighted that the pendant piece James had bought had resulted in such good fortune for them.

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James was moving up the business ladder with breathtaking speed and their social calendar was full.

Unknown to Melanie, James had also contacted the Ching Dynasty Collection to thank them, but his motives in making that contact ran a little deeper. There was another special event coming up on their calendar; it was Melanie’s birthday.

His promotion came with a hefty pay rise, more than enough to allow him to commit to making the first of 3 instalments to secure another priceless piece from the Ching Dynasty Collection.

When James had bought the jewel belonging to Queen Charlotte; that had resulted in the outcome they were now living, he had been mesmerised by pieces from the French Court Collection.

Unlike those hand carved in Canton China in 1780 commissioned by King George III for the Queen, the French court pieces were made by Palais Royal - France in the same year. These exquisite pieces also were of very fine mother of pearl and were inlaid both sides with gold.

He had been able to speak via Skype to find out more about the pieces and had found out that Queen Charlotte and the French Queen, Marie Antoinette had a close relationship sharing many mutual interests.

Even though, it could not be definitively stated by the Ching Dynasty Collection that the pieces were made specifically for Marie Antoinette, as unlike the Queen Charlotte pieces where there were documents and much historical information in the Royal family archives, the turbulent events of the French Revolution and the final fate of the King and Queen of France, left no documented proof of specific ownership.

The Ching Dynasty Collection did however have evidence that the ornate detail and indeed complex process of inlaying them with gold; something that even today would be hard to achieve by the finest master jewellers, was most likely to have been done for the Queen.

James had decided to buy one of the oblong pieces and had told his jeweller in New York to submit some design ideas for the setting to hold the piece. He had arranged to make three payments making up the $3,000 purchase over the ensuing period, to ensure the surprise for Melanie would arrive before her birthday.

James had read how the pearl pendant owned by Marie Antoinette had been sold at auction by Sotheby’s in Geneva in November 2018 for the colossal sum of US$32 million.

How much was this priceless piece he had now bought really worth? They had received several offers to buy Melanie’s Queen Charlotte necklace, but that was never going to be for sale either.


Melanie sat on the balcony of the apartment sipping coffee. It was a beautiful spring morning. James had left for work early as he always did, to avoid the rush hour traffic. She was looking forward to the lunch with her new friends. She was feeling content. Eight years into their marriage and they had never been happier.

Smiling to herself she mused about what James was planning for her birthday in a few days. He was very cagey in the last couple of weeks and knowing him like she did, she knew he had something he wasn’t telling her.

Could he be planning a surprise party?

None of her friends were saying anything either. A little giggle slipped out.

Looking down onto the car park as the Fedex van pulled in and the driver got out hardly even registered with her. Her thoughts were elsewhere.

Several minutes later there was a knock on the door. Walking to the door she wondered who could be calling so early in the morning, it was only 9am.

She could see on the security cam that there was a delivery driver standing at her door.

Opening the door, he said “I have a delivery for James Osborne”

“I’m James’s wife I can sign for it, he is at work”

Signing for the envelope she thanked the driver, accepting the package and putting it onto the coffee table for James when he came home.

She walked back to the balcony to get her coffee cup and refreshed it.

As she passed the coffee table glancing down at the envelope, she couldn’t help noticing it had been sent from Australia. Her mind raced, what could it be?

Sender {Ching Dynasty Collection}

Picking up her cell phone she hastily called James.

“Hi Melanie, how are you?” said Crystal, the company receptionist.

“Hi Crystal, I am very well. Could I have a word with James?”

“I’m sorry Melanie he is in a meeting with clients at the moment can I have him call you back shortly?”

“Ok thanks Crystal, he can reach me on my cell phone, have a good day.”

“You too Melanie” She put the phone down next to the package.

The next hour went by anxiously waiting for James to call. Picking up the package 20 times, it wouldn’t answer any of her questions. What was inside??

Finally, her phone rang.

“Hi darling, how are you?” asked James.

“I’m wonderful James but a package has arrived for you from Australia, it’s from the Ching Dynasty Collection!!!”

“Oh yes” said James. “I have been expecting it…. Now I don’t want you to open it until I get home, we’ll open it together”

“But James – the suspense is killing me.” Melanie pleaded.

“All good things come to ‘she’ who waits; promise me you’ll wait for me to get home.”


“See you tonight darling.”


Melanie’s lunch with the girls was a pleasant distraction to get her mind off the package and she promised to call them all the next day to let them know what was inside.

James arriving home was to Melanie standing at the door with the package in her hand.

She had watched his car pull into the undercover carpark from the balcony. She couldn’t wait a minute longer.

Taking James’s hand, she almost dragged him to the sofa to open the package.

Cutting open the envelope he gently unwrapped its contents, leaving the last part for Melanie, he handed it to her. “Happy Birthday darling” he said, as she took it from him.

Her heart was racing as its contents were finally revealed. The piece from the French Court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette 1780.

Holding the piece in her hand she felt she had stepped back in time. The history of the French Revolution so long ago swept over her. The rise to power of Napoleon Bonaparte; and the final fate of Marie Antoinette the last Queen of France. The Queen who once may have held this very piece in her hand and as Melanie was now doing; looked down on it, hundreds of years ago.

She knew that this was to be another of her richest future memories. She looked at James and the tears of joy filled her eyes.

Transported into history

1 - It was a night to remember forever!


If her love lifts you higher and her name is echoed in every love song that was ever written, show her your love with a unique gift from the Ching Dynasty Collection below.

Ching Dynasty Collection

We are the custodians of some of the most exquisite examples of hand carved artistry from 200 years ago, here as just a few for you to look at: