A CURSE OF ASH AND IRON and The Cape May Diamond

Published July 15, 2015 by christinenorris

During the course of CURSE, Ellie (the main character, if you haven’t read the book yet. And WHY NOT??) has to find a Cape May Diamond.

This is a real thing.

I’ve been a Jerseydelphian (someone who lives in Jersey, but whose ‘big city’ is Philadelphia) for my whole life. So when i went to write a steampunk Victorian fairy tale, it only made sense to put it in Philadelphia. I mean, the Centennial Exposition, which I already blogged about, was just one reason. I love where I live, it has SO much cool stuff. Like Cape May Diamonds.

What is a Cape May Diamond? It’s not a real diamond, of course. It’s a piece of quartz, broken off from the Delaware Water Gap. It falls into the Delaware River and is pushed downriver, being polished by the water, until it washes up on the shores of Cape May. The most famous place to find the Cape May Diamonds is Sunset Beach (where the Atlantic and the Delaware Bay meet, and you can see a sunset on the beach from the East Coast). Cape May is the first real beach resort in the US, and full of ADORABLE Victorian houses. It’s like stepping back in time!

It also has some cool WWII Coastal Defense relics that you can see, too. Anyway, the whole beach at Sunset is made of pebbles.

Any given day there are dozens of people there, digging through them and looking for diamonds. When they are tumbled and polished, they can be clear as water:

Or just shiny and opaque with pretty swirls:

And they can actually be cut like a diamond.

And made into pretty jewelry (available at the Sunset Beach Gift Shop):

These bits of stone are mysterious and a little bit magical, at least to me. And they’re uniquely New Jersey, so I had to include them in the story!  If you ever have the chance visit Cape May, NJ, make sure to stop by Sunset Beach and see if you can find a magical stone of your own!

Until next time, Lovelies!


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