I have one criteria which I use as my guide when introducing an item to an issue of Tidbits ... and it is this: If there is even the most microscopic bit of precious metal or precious or semi-precious gem--even down to the sub-atomic level--in that which I am going to show you ... well by Jove ... it then qualifies as a jewelry and gem related item ... no matter how distant. I validate this reasoning by summoning forth the nearly invisible yet powerful forces of our genetic makeup. A minute twist of DNA ... and we're chimps. A minute twist of the imagination ... and it's jewelry. You do see the parallels do you not?
Using this convoluted bit of reasoning ... I am able to contort and extrapolate and bring into view an item which--to the untrained eye--might appear to have no relation to our noble profession. Alas ... the untrained eye would be wrong ... and proving this is the very purpose of my existence ... my very 'raison d'être' as it were.
Back in circa 712 or so ... during the Tang dynasty in ancient China ... royal banquets were quite often the order of the day. And back then ... as today ... in order to keep the guests entertained ... they played parlor games. Today we play Charades. Back then they played Pull The Silver Plaque Out Of The Tube On Top Of The Turtle And Finish Confucius' Saying. Well ... maybe they had a simpler name ... but my version is accurate in its descriptiveness.
A quick aside here folks. This game lends itself to modern times ... and it's so old that it's new ... that you will be the hit of your party when you introduce it to your guests. Of course ... I expect full credit when your friends say ... hey ... how did you ever think that up. When this happens--as it will--just say: Benjamin taught me.
Here's how it worked. A bronze turtle with a covered bronze cylinder was placed in the center of the banquet table. This was a drinking game. So first everyone took a shot of whatever was the potable-du-jour ... and then ... when suitably merry ... the guests would fish into the cylinder one by one and hook a silver plaque ... much like one would hook a fish. After retrieving said plaque upon which was inscribed the fist part of a saying by Confucius ... the fisher-guest would have to read the first part and then finish the saying orally and by memory ... thereby showing one and all the length and breadth of his or her incredible wisdom and savvy and--as a side effect--gaining the admiration and respect of the attendees.
So there it is. Jewelry or not ... but a banquet game par-excellence. Look. And don't forget to give credit where credit is due when the time comes.