The heart-shaped gold pendant Dolly Pither wore around her neck was a symbol of how her parents' love survived despite the hardships of war decades ago.

So when the Ottawa woman lost the family heirloom earlier this week, possibly in Centretown, she turned to social media to tell her tale — in the hopes it would somehow come back to her.

heart-shaped pendant POW missing ottawa

Dolly Pither is searching for her missing gold heart-shaped pendant. (provided)

The love story begins in the 1930s. British police officer Reginald Eynstone was stationed in Shanghai when he met Liu Ming Ching. Their romance survived his three harrowing years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. 

"My father had gone through so much after being a POW, and after he got better he finally had enough money to give her something," Pither said.

The pendant was engraved with Chinese characters.

Through the hungry years following the war, her mother sold most of her possessions but held on to the gold heart. Pither inherited the pendant when her mother died.

"It might sound strange, but every time I put it on I think of my mom," she said. 

Pither's daughter posted photos of the pendant on Facebook after her mother lost it. Thousands have shared the post, but the pendant has not yet turned up.

Anyone with information about the pendant can contact CBC Ottawa's Steve Fischer at steve.fischer@cbc.ca