Gull Pin With The Silver Lining
Actually Platinum and Diamonds
House Island, just outside of the inner harbor of Portland, has a big stone fort with limestone stalagmites dripping, forming cones. The fort is hidden beneath grass and is home to a million gulls. I remember fishing just off shore with my son and a half million gulls taking flight and the calls, the gulls screaming in the air. A true gull island is one of the living wild places on planet Earth. True wild is chaos even if it’s safe, it feels like it could be dangerous. The gulls certainly communicate that possibility.
I work in Portland, have for 50 years at Cross. Before me, my grandfather, Lin Cross, and before him my great-grandfather, William Cross did their time too. Our city by the sea “Portland” has become its own wild place. Portland is a peninsula, practically an island, surrounded by saltwater on three sides. As I step out for lunch, I don’t recognize my city these days. The streets are mostly empty, few cars parked on the street. Few people on the sidewalks and while we’ve always had gulls, it feels like they are taking over the city. I can see gulls along roof lines. I see them soaring down the canyons of one way streets. I can hear them calling from the rooftops. It feels like they are taking back the peninsula. If the ocean rises as they are predicting, we will be the island of Portland someday.
To me, gulls are a musical layer added into the coastal soundtrack of waves, bell buoys and foghorns. We have an ocean symphony that is playing all the time all along our 3,500 mile coastline. Gull calls tie it all together.
This piece is from Cross’ Archival Collection. Its creation goes back further then I’d like to admit. It’s magnificent, majestic, and rare. The company we originally partnered with who made it used diamonds that were too fine and employed craftsmen who were too good. The result: they became irrelevant. The gull continued to be shown then we put it away into our jewelry archives. The diamonds are pavé set in platinum. Diamonds like feathers set close together shared prongs feathers as seen from the underside.
The twin sister threat: if you want two, it can’t be done. The master molds are gone. The craftsmen have passed away. This is a piece of art in 18K yellow gold and platinum.
Maine adopted the Chickadee as the Maine State Bird in 1927. It was a mistake. With a 3,500 mile coastline and endless ocean exposure, the state bird should have been the gull. The gull is majestic. The gull is grand. The gull is an angel with wings. What other large white bird graces the sky? The chickadee is so small you need a magnifying glass to see it. I propose today, the new Cross State Bird as the Seagull. Cross as the possessor of the greatest treasure of cut and polished Maine tourmaline (the Maine State Gem), we, I feel, are in a unique position to declare a new state bird, “The Seagull”.
Thirty years ago I was on Monhegan Island staying at the Island Inn. Sitting one late afternoon in the white Adirondack chairs in front of the Inn watching the sun set, when I saw gliding gulls in the harbor passing between me and the sun, catching glowing silver light on the leading edges of their wings. I see this silhouette with the pavé diamonds on the underside of this gull.
Yes, this is a pin. Yes, this will look smart on the lapel of a blue blazer. Yes, you will feel deeply of all that you have known of your time in Maine every time you wear this pin.