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Rachel-K
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Jewels

What can we make of Isaac's profession being jewels? At first, I read this as something having to do with wealth--and even with the most superficial aspects of wealth, since jewels are the ostentatious decorations used to demonstrate it--but something later in the book made me entirely re-evaluate that idea, and the idea of jewels became something elemental and beautiful, especially as Isaac sees them. Did anyone else have this experience? I'd love to hear what you think.
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IBIS
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Re: Jewels

Isaac was attracted to the beauty, perfection and timelessness of jewels. Jewels outlast humans, political regimes and kingdoms.

On p. 102, in his cel, Isaac reminisces about the Shah's departure from Iran. He contrasts the bony, shriveled, ill-with-cancer shah with the splendor of his extravagant Coronation decades ago.

He remembers the Darya-a-Noor "Sea of Light" diamond that the shah wore. Isaac thought the shah seemed ostentious, even ridiculous---but that "immaculate, rectangular stone that weighed 186 carats" did not. Isaac could not take his eyes off it. It was "perfect in its luster, ...and idyllic, something of the earth from which it came, a durability and purity that no human--or dynasty--could achieve."

Isaac contrasts the perfection and durability of this diamond with the imperfection and temporary nature of human kingdoms, of shahs, and political regimes.

On p. 285, he confronts Morteza who wants the Antwerp diamond. Isaac refuses to give it to him. "He does not want to give up that diamond, not simply because of its value...but because all his adult life he had searched for the flawless stone, one that could assure him of the possibility of perfection....The diamond he had found was a pure, colorless, 8-carat stone, classified as expectional white."

With this perfect white diamond, at first, he wanted to create a pendant for the empress, or the shah's sister, or perhap even for a foreign dignitary. Then later he wondered if this diamond should be for his wife... "smelling of the summers they would yet spend together."

"But many summers later, when he still had not morphed the stone, it ocurred to him that perhaps he did not deem anyone worthy of its perfection."

Underneath this hard-headed businessman, there is a romantic, idealist who loves jewels for their perfection and timelessness.
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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Fozzie
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Re: Jewels



rkubie wrote:
What can we make of Isaac's profession being jewels? At first, I read this as something having to do with wealth--and even with the most superficial aspects of wealth, since jewels are the ostentatious decorations used to demonstrate it--but something later in the book made me entirely re-evaluate that idea, and the idea of jewels became something elemental and beautiful, especially as Isaac sees them. Did anyone else have this experience? I'd love to hear what you think.



I, too, thought the jewels were just about wealth and perfection for Isaac. However, after reading pages 284-8, I realized that the jewels became a metaphor for life. Isaac was seeking perfection in his life. However, when he found the perfect jewel, he realized that no one in life was perfect enough to receive it. Better to stop seeking perfection and live life.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Rachel-K
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Re: Jewels


Fozzie wrote:




I, too, thought the jewels were just about wealth and perfection for Isaac. However, after reading pages 284-8, I realized that the jewels became a metaphor for life. Isaac was seeking perfection in his life. However, when he found the perfect jewel, he realized that no one in life was perfect enough to receive it. Better to stop seeking perfection and live life.





Yes, I thought that was so interesting! I hadn't suspected Isaac of that kind of perfectionism, and I still don't entirely understand it, but this is what made me begin to re-think the idea of the jewel. As a poetic imagage, something that is shaped by so many ages of underground pressure, whose highest quality is a kind of pure clarity--it certainly does have a kind of poetry to it.
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