Sit close up to the table. Have all your equipment ready. Don't fumble about.
outfit in question was one of the simplest imaginable. It consisted of
a green-baize-lined tray upon which was laid a sheet of white paper; to
the right of this a tiny shovel, two pairs of cross-grained corn-tongs
and the brass colander; to the left the carat scales, a note-book and
two sharpened pencils.
permanently engaged in a specialised activity are not long in
discovering the easiest and most efficient way of manipulation. To have
one's tools handy and properly set out saves a great deal of time, for
it eliminates unnecessary movement. Those who have the misfortune, or
privilege, of sharing my home, have not infrequently found my tidiness
a matter for complaint. Perhaps they ought to blame my early training
at the sorting-table instead of me!
sapphires I had been set to grade were of Indian origin. I did not know
then that sapphires came from other lands too. The Cashmere sapphire,
however, is still to-day, as it has been for ages past, the most highly
esteemed, and this is due to its superlative colour and brilliancy.
No other stone can rival its brilliant corn-flower blue.
Upper Burma, as also in Siam, there are excellent stones to be found,
too. Another part of the Empire, New South Wales and Victoria, produces
a sapphire that is for the most part too dark, for Australian sapphires
often border on an opaque black, a fault that is also common among the
American stones from Montana.