What does it take to make it into Ser Jacopo's rarefied Gem Series grade? Well, superbly artful shaping certainly doesn't hurt, as seen in this Calabash's long, smoothly sinuous form, flowing, curving, and re-curving with poise and grace from bit to mushroom-cap style rim. Then, of course, there's a particular briar's quality of grain, here represented by gorgeous strokes of flame running the full length of either flank, and tons of birdseye along the underside and up top alike. Finish it all in a fine, rich, yet tasteful, subtly warm, auburn-tinged contrast stain, a smooth polish, and a simple sterling silver accent, and by this point you should pretty much have your answer.
- Eric N. Squires