Li Du had been interested in the truth of the jewelry box the moment he saw it because of the three colors of gems and black enamel paint decorating it.
He had read a book which introduced him to jewelry culture. Although the story originated from China, the legend of emerald bird and emerald jewelry were all over Asia, especially Eastern Asia.
Looking at the beautiful red, blue, and green gems on the jewelry box, Li Du figured that if the box had been cheaply made with fake emerald, there would be no point in decorating it with real gems.
After all, they were in America. Emerald products were not equated to the legend of the emerald bird in America. If the box had been randomly decorated with gems, the probability of the craftsman choosing red, blue, and green gems would also be very low.
If the emerald jewelry box was from Eastern Asia, what was the point in making a detailed fake jewelry box to sell to America?
Moreover, there were nine gems on the jewelry box, which reflected the description about the legendary emerald bird. There were too many coincidences.
After giving it some thought, he had noticed something suspicious about the box. He found out the truth after investigating.
The applause was very loud. Li Du was excited; he explained, "I recited a piece of Tang poetry from China just now. Are you interested to know its meaning?"
"Yes!" everyone shouted. "Translate it!."
Li Du said, "There is a bird called the Halcyon, which is the emerald bird. It builds its nest near the southern sea. The male and female birds live in the forest. As they fly across the sky, they leave beautiful, colorful feathers behind which can be made into jewelry."
Sophie stared at him in admiration, she clapped her hands like the rest of the crowd, she asked, "What youve said just now, are they real?"
Li Du nodded confidently, "Yes, they are real."
Marate was stunned; seeing Li Du confident and easy-going on stage made him extraordinarily jealous. He found it unbelievable.
This was his turf, so why was the crowd applauding for his rival?
After he calmed himself down, he shouted, "We have no idea whether your statement is true or not. What youve said might be impressive, but it cant turn a faked product into a real one!"
After Marate finished his sentence, most of the crowd nodded. They had the same doubts.
Li Du opened the box, he moved the edge of the fabric on the inside and revealed two rows of letters on the bottom of the box. He showed them to the crowd.
"There are two types of languages here. One of them is Burmese, which you might not understand. But this is EnglishI bet you recognize this name."
"Dawn Khmer?" Russel Lynch who sat in the front row asked.
Li Du smiled and nodded, "Yes, you can search for this person online. He is a master in making emerald and jade products in Myanmar."
Marate was about to speak but Li Du didnt give him the chance to do so. He continued, "Of course, you might say someone forged Mr. Dawn Khmers name on the box.
"Its logical to assume that. But, dont forget that Mr. Dawn Khmer is not popular in America. Who would engrave his name on a fake product in both Burmese and English?
"Moreover, I can promise that this box is made of emerald. The gems on top are real too. It is made by a masterthis is truly a rare piece of treasure!"
While everyone was nodding in agreement, Marate shouted, "Your word counts for nothing."
Lynch stood up and said, "I can vouch for Li Du. He is an honest man. He is the most outstanding young man Ive met in years. We can count on his words!"
Li Du smiled, "Thank you, Russel. If you dont trust me, go ahead and do an authenticity test. Check the authenticity of the material and the signature. I bet the results will prove me right. "
Mr. Martin stood up too. "Hes my daughters good frienda very good friend. I can vouch for him too."
Terry and the rest stood up as well. He said, "We didnt know Li Du well, but he took the risk of offending the Comanche to help us. He did a great job, we can vouch for him too."
Lewis added, "Li Du is an outstanding treasure hunter from China. He is a rising star in the storage auction businesspeople know his name from Flagstaff to Los Angeles. His name is well known in the industry!"
Everyone was convinced by now. Marate wanted to say something but he realized that he was speechless.
The priest walked toward the crowd and said, "Be quiet, everyone. Lets continue with the auction. Mr. Li, do you want to sell this jewelry box?"
Li Du said, "No, but Miss Sophie Martin would like to sell it. Miss Martin didnt introduce the box wellIm here to help her with that."
He winked at Sophie as he explained. "Lets continue with the auction. But I would like to adjust the starting price to 10,000 dollars."
Sophie had tears in her eyes; she said, "Whatever you say, Li Du."
Li Du held the box high above his head. "This is a fine emerald jewelry box. There are three rubies, three sapphires, and three turquoise pieces on it. It was made by a jewelry master in Myanmar. I think the starting price of 10,000 dollars is absolutely acceptable, who would like to bid for it?"
There were many rich people in the house. Marate was right about one thing: the purpose of a charity auction was not solely for donating. Everyone wanted to gain something from the auction as well.
It was a bargain to buy an emerald jewelry box with gems on top for 10,000 dollars. Lynch and the others knew how fine the jewelry box was. They knew the significance behind such good craftsmanship.
A middle-aged white man sitting with a pretty woman said, "Ill buy it for 10,000 dollars."
Li Du pointed him, "Alright, this gentleman would like to buy it for 10,000 dollars. Does anyone want to pay more? How about 11,000 dollars?"
Lynch raised his hand immediately, saying, "11,000 dollars."
Li Du laughed, "Mr. Lynch would like to buy it for 11,000 dollars. I suppose he wants the box to keep his stamp collection in. Although it is rather extravagant, I know he has a more precious stamp collection. So, it makes sense"
Another person made an offer: "12,000 dollars."
"How about 13,000 dollars?" Li Du asked.
"I would pay that much!"
"Fifteen thousand dollars. My daughter Barbara loves jewelry from Eastern Asia. I need to buy her a graduation gift."
"Sixteen thousand dollars"
The price slowly increased by the thousands. Li Du became the auctioneer. His experiences helped him act like a professional; he handled the situation well.
Finally, a white man in his fifties or sixties offered the price of 20,000 dollars. Lynch and the rest shook their head and gave up bidding for the box.
Li Du pointed at him, "This rich and kind man is about to donate 20,000 dollars to the church. So 20,000 dollars, first call. Second call, 20,000 dollars... "
He looked at the audience with bright eyes, shouting, "20,000 dollars, final call! I hereby announce that this emerald jewelry box belongs to this kind man!"
As he finished his sentence, the crowd stood up and applauded.