No History To Speak Of
fell to the floor, ignored in favour of its contents. George Durante let his
eyes blur, feeling his heart thud against his ribs, but when he focussed his
vision again, the numbers on the letter in front of him hadn’t changed. Must be
a mistake. Too many digits. He opened the locked file behind the till, flicking
through the files to ‘D’ and drew out the valuation certificate he’d arranged
weeks ago. Fingers that had been trained to remain steady while setting the
tiniest of jewels, trembled just a little as he laid the certificate next to
the letter on the counter. His cousin’s signature embellished the certificate
with inked promise, clearly stating that the gemstone was worth $28,400. Jimmy
had never been wrong or unreliable with his valuations. George trusted him. That
figure seemed right for a ruby of that size and clarity, and the client had
been very tempted to part with it for that price, although she had denied it,
and left his shop muttering that she would never sell her husband’s wedding
gift. He was not one to push, and after eleven years of working in Nalong, he knew
he didn’t need to. Mrs Doolan would be back once the bank sent another
foreclosure notice for her farm.
She’d need a lot more than $28,400 to
solve their financial problems though, which was why George had asked his
cousin to send out a few extra enquiries. He’d hoped that some of his family
contacts might have yielded a better offer for her. If he could find a buyer
willing to pay a bit extra for the gem, she might just be able to tip the
balance with the bank. Just enough to hold them off for another season. Just
long enough for the rains to return.
The ruby was stunning. It had been a joy
to work with when Geoff Doolan had brought it to him eight years earlier.
George had polished the stone, bringing out its deep crimson shine the way
blood returns to chilled fingers when you rub warmth back into them. And the
setting Geoff had requested suited it perfectly. A heart-shaped 8.17 carat ruby,
just under 12mm diameter, cradled by golden angel’s wings – the ideal wedding
gift for a girl named Ruby. The piece was pretty enough to sell for well above
its value if he found the right buyer, and according to the letter he’d just
received, it had apparently attracted someone’s attention.
George picked up the typed, unsigned
letter again and almost lowered his magnifying glasses from his forehead to
examine it, as if he could pick out the flaw by staring at the ink more
closely. His extended family in Melbourne had some…dubious contacts. Could he
trust this? Celarsi Holdings. Never heard the name before, but he also knew
better than to pry into it. If they wanted to offer that much for the necklace,
then he should do his job and arrange the transaction. Just how much of a cut
should he take? The valuation certificate was genuine, as far as he could tell.
Jimmy wouldn’t risk his reputation by faking it, but it had taken longer than
expected to receive it. Had the gem been sent for a second opinion? If so, he
hadn’t been advised of the result – no, he couldn’t think too hard about those
implications. Ruby Doolan wouldn’t know how much he was selling it on for. He
genuinely wanted to help her, but this was business, and there was nothing
legally wrong with buying her jewellery at whatever price she was willing to
agree to. If some rich lady had fallen in love with the necklace after seeing
the photos he’d sent, and wanted to play games with her husband’s money, that
was not for him to judge.
His hand hovered over the receiver for a
few seconds before he picked it up and dialled.
‘Hello, Ruby Doolan? This is George from
Durante Diamonds. I’ve been thinking about your situation and I’d like to help.
I’ve been studying the current market and I believe I’m in a position to be
able to offer you a slightly better price than the certified valuation. Is
there a convenient time we can meet to discuss it?’