I stole this title from a book of literary analysis by William Empson, published in 1930. Empson defines ambiguity as “any verbal nuance, however slight which gives room for alternative reactions to the same piece of language.”

I extrapolate Empson’s reflections on verbal structures in poetry with nuances in forms and processes of jewelry and symbols of personal character which I often find ambiguous, such as, innocence, vulnerability, power, and integrity.

My interest was not to illustrate Empson’s analysis, but rather a response to the suggestion of the title-a human desire to understand or control, leading us to try numbering and defining ambiguity…