For the Rarest of Loves
Wraith6 & Bunchbox
In The Courtship of Princess Leia, Han created an intergalactic incident by kidnapping his girlfriend and taking her out of Coruscant in a smuggling container beneath the floor of his ship, the Millennium Falcon. He took this risky maneuver as a desperate last-ditch attempt to win Leia's hand in marriage. She'd been openly and publicly courted by Prince Isolder of the Hapes Cluster, and was encouraged by New Republic officials to marry the powerful prince, for the sake of the alliance between the two entities.
There were many adventures, but by the end of the book, many of the in-between stuff in the GFFA had been resolved or set into action: Han had won Leia's promise to marry him; Isolder had fallen for Teneniel Djo, the Dathomir witch who'd captured and enslaved him when he arrived on-planet; the Hapans had been introduced in detail, including the duplicitous nature of Ta'a Chume; the prospect of the presence of Jedi archives had been confirmed; etc.
This is the story of the fate of one of the jewels won by Han.
* * * * *
At the victory celebration after the death of Zsinj, Han presented Augwynne Djo, the elderly leader of the Singing Mountain clan, the legal deed for the planet Dathomir. This gave the real estate to the residents, effectively setting the planet free. In gratitude, she paid Han in gold and jewels, which had been previously hoarded and collected in hopes of being able to buy the planet from her oppressors. Han protested, but Leia kicked him to be quiet, noting that the gemstones would help pay for the cost of the wedding, which was to be very public and very expensive. He was left to wonder how big a wedding Leia was envisioning that the New Republic would need help to pay for it!
But before the valuables were appraised and auctioned off, Han spotted one stone that seemed to glow at him from the pile. It was cut simply and polished highly into what on earth is referred to as an "emerald-cut diamond," which is rectangular and boxy. It does not have the gaudy fire of a round brilliant-cut, but a more subtle sparkle and gleam. The rarity and the need for purity of the crystal gives it a higher value than a more popular cuts. The stone itself was valued at over 31,000 credits, in its unset state!
But more important to Han would be the setting; though he had received the stone as honest payment, he really had nothing to do with its choice, procurement, or appearance. And so, as lovely and as unique as this big stone was, he resolved that the setting would come from him, and his choice would reflect everything he loved about Leia. He searched the holonet for jewelry designs, and even looked up old smuggling and fencing contacts for advice. It gave him a headache to look at all the possibilities, and the more he learned and saw, the more the ring settings looked the same. How disappointing to see an expensive stone on a common looking setting!
"You're an idiot, Han," the holocall's staticky transmission crackled at him, the intense stare of respected smuggler, Talon Karrde, glowering at him. "Get one made! A good designer and craftsman will take your words and feelings and make them into something that is more yours than his. That's their job, and they'll often do it for less than you expect. How else are you going to afford something worthy of Leia?"
Discouraged at being unable to find a truly special setting — one that represented his feelings for his long-courted and hard-won bride — he sat in a diner in the eternal twilight of Coruscant's lower levels, sipping on a mug of caf, thinking about Karrde's advice. Yes, the man was acerbic, but very wise. Karrde's wisdom was such that even New Republic Intelligence sought his analyses and thoughts. But what would the design for such an important ring look like? He started to think about the requirements for his perfect ring for Leia.
He took a walk with Karrde's words rattling around in his head, till he looked up and saw a little local jewelry shop across the street. It was the kind of place that looked truly like a family owned place, perhaps dating back to the Old Republic days, before the rise of Emperor Palpatine. Somehow, Han liked that idea of continuity and persistence through the strife of years past. That it appeared when he looked up seemed like a good omen!
The door was locked, as many such small shops are, and admitted him via a hidden buzzer. Unlike its appearance from the street, the interior was light and spacious, and there were tastefully displayed samples of the jeweler's art, as well as a pair of comfortable chairs lined up in front of the display counter. When asked how the little jeweler could be of help, Han pulled out the Dathomirian diamond, explaining his requirements: a unique setting that would showcase the large, unique diamond, yet produce a ring that was "wearable" every day, and he asked if there could be elements of Alderaan and Corellia in the ring, too? And if some reference could be made to the old culture of the Jedi ... Han didn't really expect all of these conditions to be fulfilled, but what could it hurt to ask?
The little proprietor bowed his covered head in thought, then walked behind the back room barrier. Han heard the sounds of drawers being open and shut, and at last, the man came out, with a ring in his hand.
"This," he said, simply, putting the ring reverently onto a soft cloth which he's spread on the table between them. "Of course, I will re-cast the basket to hold your stone, which is much larger ... even so, I believe this ring is the one that has waited for the right stone ... and the right person!"
It seemed like too simple a setting. It was unlike anything Han had seen before. His first reaction was that it was too plain, but something about the ring made his look at it again ... and again ... and then he realized he was mesmerized by it.
The proprietor spoke softly, "I designed this ring many years ago, before the Galactic Civil War, inspired by the stylings and beauty of a Senator who once lived in 500 Republica. I used to see her now and again ... she was so refined and understated, beautiful in all the wonderfully right ways; and when she fell pregnant, she was even more beautiful, if that were at all possible. I heard she died young, such a pity. So ... I was inspired to create this design to honor her life and beauty, and the feelings and her effect on me; it's very personal, and I had never felt the right owner for this beauty could be found ... till today.
"I have designed it to rise up toward a rare and beautiful center stone, as if they were supporting it. You know, it is a tendency for women to want smaller stones clustered around a large one, to enhance and enlarge it. But for the right stone, additional stones would be unnecessary and would even cheapen the main stone. Like a woman's breasts, or her buttocks ... don't you think? To decorate the hillocks, I have channel-riveted chips of alderaanite gems." At this point he bowed apologetically in response to the querying look from Han.
"These gems were created in the pressure shock from the destruction of Alderaan. I take a risk in telling you about this ... all materials mined from Alderaan are likely the product of thieves from the Graveyard," referring to the asteroid debris orbiting as a mass, where the planet once existed. "I cannot tell you how I came upon these chips, but it was partly to conceal them that I added them to this ring; it had always lacked something, and when I received these four rarest of gems, I knew they belonged on these hillocks."
The little man sighed.
"When you mentioned Alderaan ... I ... I knew ... and I had created this ring for someone special ... with a bond to all these disparate cultures and elements."
Han nodded; it seemed provident to have these tiny gems embedded into the neuranium, which even reminded him of the rivets on his beloved Falcon.
"What element in the design is from Corellia?" It was uncanny that this ring fulfilled nearly the all the items on his list of requirements.
The man smiled, "The hearts ... look carefully at them," handing a magnifying loupe to Han.
Peering closely, he saw the basket holding the gemstone showed delicately carved hearts, and realized the hearts had little tails below them, and mentioned this observation.
The man smiled again, "The hearts are made up of two 'C's — the 'legs' are the curling bottom of the C, and it is my family's symbol. We are refugees from Corellia, having escaped to Coruscant during the transitional reign of King Berethron e Solo centuries ago. But you would understand ... once a Corellian, forever a Corellian. And my family are Ensterites ... you know that tradition?"
Han did know about the religion, which traditionally excluded non-Ensterites from joining them, "So your family has married only Corellians, for so many generations?"
"No," the man shook his head. "That is not a practical course to take for us in exile. But though we are shunned by the traditions of our faith, we symbolized our old Ensterite membership, by showing the binding of two Corellians into a heart — with legs! It is a walking heart, a heart in motion, do you see it?"
Han smiled, "Indeed! Very clever!"
"In addition, the basket holding the gemstone is cast in Nabooan silfvyre, to give the gem more of an appearance of lightness, allowing the light entering the stone to refract and reflect as it was meant to do, to make the jewel scintillate like in no other setting, even if the cut of the stone was plainer than modern cuts designed to show a gem's fire!"
His presentation and explanation finished, he allowed Han to continue to hold the ring, looking at it from every angle. The jeweler almost whispered to Han, as if afraid to break a spell, "Sir, will you have this ring? It was made so long ago, and I wondered if I'd been a fool to cast it so much cash locked up in a ring that had been waiting, for so long! But I knew it is a very special ring, for a very special hand, and I never despaired of finding the perfect owner for it. May I congratulate you?" To Han, it sounded like a wedding vow, and he looked up the jeweler looked earnest and happy, and Han found himself trusting him.
He was indeed sold, he'd found the perfect ring setting! He was very eager to see his stone in the ring, and more eager to see it on Leia's finger!
They haggled a bit over the price, but the cost was much less than Han expected for such a perfect gift for his bride, and he went to the back room workshop to put the stone on the scale himself, so he'd know the real weight of his gem. He was given a receipt, and they haggled over how long it would be before Han got the ring back. It was part of the ceremony and ritual, that's all.
Two weeks later ...
The appraisal surprised Han — with the new setting which cost him 2,000 credits, the revised value of the ring was now 45,000 credits! Carefully stuffing the ring box into a secure pocket, he was giddy with anticipation for his meeting with Leia that evening.
He proudly presented the re-crafted ring to his betrothed, explaining the significance of every feature of the design, but Han added a twist. "These swelling mounds on either side of the diamond ... that's the sweling of my heart for you, and my promise that I will support you, the diamond itself!" He felt kind of cheesy saying this, but it felt right to be like this with Leia.
Leia does, after all, like nice men. And Han, the scoundrel, she thought, is one of the nicest ... with the best taste in jewelry!
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