The jeweler has a shop on the corner of the boulevard
In the night, in small spectacles, he polishes old coins
He uses spit and cloth and ashes
He makes them shine with ashes
He knows the use of ashes
He worships God with ashes

The coins are often very old by the time they reach the jeweler
With his hands and ashes he will try the best he can
He knows that he can only shine them
Cannot repair the scratches
He knows that even new coins have scars so he just smiles
He knows the use of ashes
He worships God with ashes

In the darkest of the night both his hands will blister badly
They will often open painfully and the blood flows from his hands
He works to take from black coin faces the thumbprints from so many ages
He wishes he could cure the scars
When he forgets he sometimes cries
He knows the use of ashes
He worships God with ashes

Lyrics submitted by delial

The Jeweler song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentThe religious allusions are beautiful: "blood flows from his hands" (stigmata?), the use of ashes to make coins shine (suggesting Ash Wednesday, perhaps? No spit involved, but the ashes are mixed with olive oil so they stay on one's forehead).
    jejones3141on October 21, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWonderful song. This version and the cover by This Mortal Coil are different, both great.
    jrm36on October 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgreat
    xeyszon October 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAbsolute brilliance. I have just heard this version after listening to TMC for years and years - a version which I love - but I think you have to listen to both to get a clear catch on the song. Magic, great lyrics!
    Noamchomskyon March 03, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIra Gershwin was known as The Jeweler. He set lyrics to his younger brother George's music. The corner of the boulevard is Tin Pan Alley, The Brill Building, where they worked. He worshipped his brother. Rare coins are George's brilliant music. The Use of Ashes refers to how precious metal is polished, sort of like alchemy. He also wore spectacles. George's music was often very difficult to set lyrics to with its new rhythms. Ira worked hard but always took second place to his brother George. His hands blistered badly.
    thejeweleron October 17, 2012   Link

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