Thursday, February 25, 2010

I just want to crow!

I've received many questions (Formspring and otherwise) about the gold coin necklace that I wear nearly every day.  Its a pretty neat little tale, and since I'm lacking in blogging inspiration today otherwise, I thought I'd share it with you!


I am half-Irish from my father's side - a fact of which I've always been very proud!  I'm a little shaky on the exact genealogy, but part of our bloodline is "Black Irish."  In an effort to sound really official and smartypantsish, "Black Irish" is the term used to describe the dark hair phenotype appearing Caucasian people of Irish descent (thanks, Wiki!).  This phenomenon is the product of French and Spanish blood mixing with Irish blood.  The French name "Granville" has been in our family for eons, so we have an inkling that our little branch of the family tree is the product of a torrid love affair between a sassy Irish lass and suave French sailor (that's what I like to think at any rate!).  

Anyhoo, when I was 19, my parents and I traveled to Ireland for two weeks.  While we were in line to kiss the famous Blarney Stone, my dad spotted something shiny on the ground, picked it up on a whim, and put it in his pocket. When we returned to our hotel, he took a closer look and realized it was a gold coin.  After a little research, he discovered that the coin is in fact a solid gold piece, known as the French 20 Franc Rooster in coin-collecting circles.  


The front of the coin bears the head of the Third Republic. Wiki tells me the Third Republic was established after Napoleon III's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and remained in effect until after World War II  (Wiki also says that France is currently in its Fifth Republic for anyone who is curious). 


The flip side depicts my rooster friend, along with the words "Libertate Egalite Fraterninte" (Liberty Equality Fraternity).  The mint date is also stamped on the bottom - My coin, like the one in the photo, has a mint date of 1914. 

So several very serendipitous things about my dad's find:  the coin was (1) discovered in Ireland, but (2) is of French origin and (3) happens to have a mint date from the year of my grandfather's (who passed away before I was born) birth.   Its like our own little Black Irish emblem!  For our wedding, my sweet dad had the coin set as a necklace so that I could take my Irish roots with me into my new family!  I carried it wrapped around my bouquet during our ceremony and now I wear it almost everyday (its set rooster-side out which I think is fabulous)! 

And heirloom-type pieces in your jewelry box?

25 comments:

  1. What an amazing story! That is so cute your Dad set it as a necklace.

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  2. LOVE the story (and the blog). No heirloom pieces CURRENTLY in my jewelry-box, but I'm getting my Grandmother's diamond pendant which she has worn every day for several decades. Timeless and elegant. Happy Thursday!

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  3. Did he use someone in Austin to make it? Would love to know who!

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  4. What a beautiful story! I recently received an heirloom piece of jewelry and I don't know what to do with it. It's my dad's college ring (he passed away two years ago) and it's large and bulky. I can't wear it as a ring, but I want to do something special with it and I'm at a loss. I'd love any ideas you have - I don't want to "shadow box" it, but I might have to resort to that.

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  5. Love this story! I too am part Irish and when people comment on my freckles int he summer I am quick to say "yeah, I'm part Irish" like I am admitting to being kin to a rockstar.

    Love the ties to your wedding to. That was so sweet of your dad.

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  6. I would love to have something sentimental like that. And, what a great story.

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  7. That happened to my Grandfather too- my Grandmother Faye wore the necklace everyday- he found the gold coin in an elevator at a hospital when he was a young doctor. Everyone else thought it was a penny and did not pick it up, but my grandfather was very, um, parsimonious, so my grandmother got a necklace much like yours, (which I love by the way- it's so pretty, and so sweet of your daddy).

    And law, do not get me started on my other grandmother's jewelry- I steal it as often as possible under the reasoning that my mama does not wear it enough, so I should.

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  8. Love, love love the story. So sweet. I would also like any info you have about how your dad went about setting the piece... I have several rings from my great grandmother and would like to do something special with them!

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  9. A great story and a gorgeous piece of jewelry.

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  10. What a great story! That makes for a fabulous conversation piece!

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  11. I have always wanted to ask you this.
    Now we know!

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  12. That is such a cool story!! And the coin is so neat-what a great idea by your dad to make it into a necklace.

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  13. What a special find by your dad and a great reminder of your trip. I love unique pieces of jewelry with a senimental meaning. Good stuff!!

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  14. Tre cool
    Glad you find it's special
    Spleeecccchhhhh!!

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  15. thats a very very cool story. When my step dad proposed to my mom he had a smaller replica made of her ring and also proposed to me. Since I was in fifth grade obviously the ring no longer fits- I had it set in a beveled (sp?)necklace and wear it all the time.

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  16. Love the story- so serendipitous.

    I hope, one day, to have something that special in my jewelry box!

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  17. Wow, that's great that your dad did that for you! I wish I had something like that in my family.

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  18. Love that story!

    I do not have any heirloom jewelry because, save for my Cartier watch, I don't wear any! However when my wonderful maternal (Black Irish) Grandmother passed away she left me her vintage sterling silver compact and atomizer. The compact is engraved with her initials and her wedding date in 1933 and it still has a teeny tiny scrap of the powder that was originally in it. As for the atomizer... she wore White Shoulders every day of her life and if I puff it, ever so gently, it smells like she is still here! I will never ever fill it with anything else.

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  19. Oh that's such a great story! I love jewelry that has a story behind it - my mom has a few pieces like that.

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  20. So pretty! And what a fantastic backstory about it. That's so fun. No heirloom type items in my jewelry box, sadly. I come from very old school very poor midwest farmers to whom jewelry was just not anything one needed. But, I love my family to bits--horrible backcounty Iowa accents and all (for real, Iowa accents do exist--at least in my family)

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  21. Wow!! Such a cool story!

    My family doesn't really have alot of heirloom pieces, but my MIL is an antiques/ebay junkie and she researches and finds all this cool old stuff. She gave us a 300 year old clock, owns a sword from Nazis (so weird!), ancient Chinese art... the stories behind every single piece are just so incredible.

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  22. I love the story behind this piece. I hope it is something that you treasure forever.

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  23. What a cool story! I always wondered why you got a necklace from your dad for a wedding present, how special.
    My diamond in my engagement ring was my husband's Great-Great Grandmothers. I always wanted a family heirloom but had no idea I would get such a special one.

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happy little comments!