To catch a lobster you need a boat, a buoy, rope, trap, and bait. The rope is essential, otherwise, it’s just an old man throwing traps overboard. Rope has been used for retrieving lobster traps for hundreds of years. We’ve artfully wrapped a lobster rope around the blue topaz in these earrings.
Richmond Island, Maine 1959
Photo by Lin Cross
People live in a house 10-15 years, then most move on. Everyone in my family has had several homes. They come, they go. One house in our family has been kept for four generations – my grandfather bought it during World War II, my dad had it for most of his life. The cottage is on a white sand beach at the ocean. It was built on a sand dune. It started its beach life as a boathouse, a place to store the sailboat for the winter. Later, it was converted to a summer cottage.
When you keep a cottage for as long as our family has, when you don’t move – things accumulate over time. Everything is packed with meaning and memory. Recently we had some under-cottage repair work to do. First, we had to clean out 75 years’ worth of stuff. The first to go was enough lumber to build another cottage. Then, 11 non-matching wooden oars, then cleats, oar locks, rubber boots, old hoses, lots of rusted tools, floats, Styrofoam, surfboards, inflatables, eight aluminum chairs, old beach umbrellas, a 3-foot 4-inch cement statue of Venus, and dozens of coils of lobster rope carefully wound on 2-foot long 8-inch wide, v-notched boards. We kept all the lobster pot rope.
Brother Craig, 1966, untangling rope on Richmond Island.
Photo by Lin Cross
Most of the rope came from Richmond Island, a place we visited many times every summer. The rope washed ashore in massive tangles of old lobster traps, buoys, and hundreds of feet of rope. My younger brother Craig would roll a big log down the beach and drag a massive clump of pots, buoys, and rope up from the shore – sit on the beach and spend an afternoon carefully untangling and coiling up hundreds of feet of fine lobster rope. He had the patience of an old man while all the other kids would go off to play and explore. Lobster pot rope was good. It was useful to tie a load down on a pickup truck, to tie a boat to a dock, to attach an anchor to a long or short rope. This treasure trove of rope, hundreds of feet of rope from the 1950s and 1960s, was part of what came out from under the cottage. Most everything was thrown away, including 7 oars. We kept two chairs, the rubber boots, cleats and oar locks, the statue of Venus, and of course all our Richmond Island coils of rope.
Richmond Island is 225 acres, has 7 beaches, is off the southern tip of Cape Elizabeth, and is one of the only places where true treasure has been found. A farmer in the mid-1800s plowed up a pot of Spanish and English gold and silver coins. The Maine Historical Society bought it and every once in a while, brings it out to display.
Name: Lobsterman’s Rope Blue Topaz Earrings
Precious Metal: 14K White Gold
Gem: Blue Topaz = 4mm Round
Measurement: 7mm (5/16″) diameter
Earring Style: Pierced Post
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