Kaley Francisco was about 11 years old on a Disneyland Trip when her affinity for pearls began.

There they had oysters for sale with pearls inside.

Ever since then, she wanted the “Queen of Gems,” jewels that date back to at least 420 B.C., and have been a staple in fashion ever since.

When she met her husband, Ryan, she told him about her love of pearls and how it all began.

So when her birthday rolled around, Ryan presented her a Tiffany’s box with a note expressing his love and appreciation for her, and inside were two pearl earrings.

“I was shocked,” said Francisco.

Even though she had told her husband, she was surprised he actually remembered and took the initiative to get her such a special gift.

She wore them daily, so when she and her husband took their honeymoon to the Dominican Republic in March, they were right there with her.

While on their trip, she and Ryan decided to get a couple’s massage, and afterwards, she noticed one of the pearl earrings was missing.

They went straight back to the spa to see if staff had found an earring. There was a language barrier, and today she still isn’t sure if they understood her.

Regardless, she had no luck finding the pearl earring. They checked everywhere in the Dreams Punta Cana Resort and Spa.

No one there had seen her missing pearl earring.

“It ruined the rest of my trip,” said Francisco, but she felt in her heart one day she would find it, often calling the resort to see if they had found it.

It wasn’t until June when she realized why she felt it would one day have its match.

Earlier in May, she lost her grandmother, Volree Richardson Johnston.

After being in the hospital due to kidney failure, the doctors decided Johnston was well enough to return home. Francisco said her grandmother had said she was feeling better, but after making it home, she then died after suffering what is believed to be a heart attack.

“It was like she was just waiting to get home,” said Francisco.

Her grandmother, who she called “Bobby,” was someone who spoiled her grandchildren and always put her family before herself.

“We were really, really close. She was more like a mom to me,” said Francisco who often enjoyed shopping trips and trips to the mountains in North Carolina with her late grandmother.

Even when her grandmother was lying in the hospital bed hooked up to a VPAP Machine, she leaned over to her granddaughter and asked, “Do the kids need anything for the summertime?”

“She was the most giving person I have ever known,” Francisco added.

What she didn’t know was that even though her grandmother had passed, she had one more gift for her — a matching pearl earring to her missing one.

After Francisco lost her prized piece of jewelry, she had also called Tiffany’s and mailed in her pearl earring to try to find it a match.

It was much more expensive than Francisco had ever imagined, so she decided she couldn’t pay for another match at that time.

Tiffany’s mailed her sole pearl back, and even though her husband offered to replace her missing earring, she refused saying it was her responsibility since she lost it.

Francisco’s single pearl lay in a drawer while she attended her grandmother’s funeral and when she visited her grandpa in June.

While there, he offered her a willow tree angel, a pen her grandmother wore with a picture of her in it, and he told her to go through her grandmother’s jewelry box.

And there it lay — a single pearl earring that also was missing its match.

“I cried. It was almost like a dream, and it still is,” said Francisco, who was overwhelmed by the sweet gift she believes her grandmother was able to leave her even after her passing.

Her grandfather remembers giving his wife the pearl earring, but even he didn’t know she had lost the match.

Francisco’s husband was skeptical that the earring would be a match, but she knew in her heart it was fate.

The two pearl earrings look as if they were made for each other almost identical in color and size, with the only difference being the screw backs. Francisco’s was silver, and her grandmother’s was gold.

But together, they are perfect in her eyes.

“Even after your loved ones are gone, they’re still looking after you,” said Francisco.

Ashley Hodge reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com

Ashley Hodge is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com