Clarity

The final quality specified in the Jobs of the Future program was Clarity, without which the others – pattern recognition, common sense, creativity, imagination, people skills, and technical awareness – were useless. If you couldn’t focus on the job in hand, you wouldn’t get anywhere. It was as clear as that.

One of Shama’s many jobs in the city had been working in a jewelry shop. He mostly sold low-end stuff to poor people, but the shop’s owner also had private clients whose goods were of a higher order.

One day the boss had entered the sales floor as Shama was describing gems as “just bits of glass that look quite similar”. He told him to stop right there – not with anger, but with curtness – and to follow him into the back room. Shama wondered if he was about to get fired. He was in fact about to get educated.

Diamonds were removed from velvet bags and scattered on the table before him.

He was told about their 4 C’s.

The owner said, “Carat is a unit of mass used for gemstones, equal to 0.2 grams. The word comes from the Greek keration, meaning carob seed, which was a unit of weight used to measure gold.

Colour of a diamond is affected by chemical impurities or structural defects in the crystal lattice. A perfect diamond has no hue, but in reality no gem-sized natural diamonds are colorless. This can be a good or bad thing. If they are a little yellow this detracts from their value, but pink or blue enhances their worth. Red diamonds are the rarest and most valuable.

Cut does not refer to the shape of the diamond, which may be oval, round, or pear, but to its symmetry, proportion and polish. The cut impacts the brilliance, so a poorly cut diamond will be less luminous, and a well cut diamond will blaze with fire.

Clarity is the most important quality. It relates to the visual appearance of internal elements called inclusions, and surface defects called blemishes. Inclusions can be classified as clouds, feathers, knots, cavities, cleavage, bearding or graining. Blemishes can be polish lines, grain boundaries, naturals, scratches, nicks, pits, chips or breaks. Most flaws are tiny, but clarity grade is assigned based upon appearance under ten-times magnification.”

The owner gave him a lens to view the diamonds.

Shama witnessed hidden worlds of light that filled his mind and heart. It was no wonder that kings, pirates and princesses lusted after them. Each diamond’s interior seemed like outer space, or maybe he should call it inner space. It was a place of endless wonder. There were black holes and supernovae, shooting stars and solar flares. Universes being created, destroyed, and recreated.

He never forgot the lesson in the back room, which gave him new vision. Now there was a new problem. He couldn’t focus on shop front activity without being distracted by flecks of light.

Shama buzzed Sue and asked her to join him in his office. Her thoughts were always helpful, and he was starting to like her. He was shocked to see a new ring on her finger with a high quality 3 carat, Mazarin-cut diamond. Was it her old engagement ring, from her ex-husband? Or was it from a husband-to-be?

Shama couldn’t focus on the job in hand. His cognitive processes engaged in selective focus. His mental resources were allocated to the diamond ring. It took possession of his mind in clear and vivid form. Other simultaneously possible objects were excluded. There was a focalization, a concentration, a withdrawal from alternative thoughts.

There was also a withdrawal of Sue’s hand from view. He had made her self-conscious, and her focus right now was on someone else.

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