Glossary of antique and vintage jewellery terms 


AEI: Latin Letters symbolizing the sentiment of “Ever” or “Forever”.

À jour: An open back setting that permits light to pass through.

À la Mercure: gilding using mercury, only used today for restoration.

Acrostic: when the first letter of the name of each stone spells out a message (for example – ruby, emerald, garnet, amethyst, diamonds – spells ‘REGARDS’).

Adamantine: term used to describe the luster exhibited by diamonds and gems with a Refractive Index of 1.9 – 2.5. (from the Greek ‘untameable’).

Addorsed: from the French adosse, to lean, meaning a motif with animals or objects placed back to back. Seen in heraldic designs, signatures and trademarks.

Adularescence: An internal “floating” movement of light across a gemstone that varies as light strikes the exterior.

Adularia: moonstone.

Aesthetic Period: Victorian era 1885-1901

Agate: a variety of chalcedony, can be many different colors and levels of translucency.

Aggregate: composed of various minerals.

Agra Diamond: famous diamond surrounded in legend, found in the mid-1500s in Agra.

Aigrette: hair ornament designed to hold feathers.

Aiguillette: dress ornaments (mainly 15th century).

Akbar Shah Diamond: famous diamond from Mogul Empire.

Alabaster: gypsum and calcite but has also been used to indicate selenite.

Albert Chain: style of watch chain as worn by Prince Albert in which one end is attached to button hole of vest.

Alexandrite: chrysoberyl variety wtih distinct change of color.

Allochromatic: a gemstone whose colors are due to impurities.

Alloy: The mixture of two or more metals.

Alluvial: ‘brought by water’. In jewelry, refers to gems and stones and gold found in water.

Alma Chain: a type of chain with broad links and a ribbed surface.

Almandine: purple red garnets (when cut in cabochon they are called ‘carbuncles’).

Alpaca: alloy of 65% copper, 19% zinc, 14% nickel and 2% silver. Can be used in jewelry. (Also known as: white metal, neusilber, argentan, argentor, bendorfer silver, christoffel, packfung, peru silver, nickel silver, sterling metal, German silver).

Aluminum: white base low density metal not usually used in antique jewelry, sometimes used in contemporary jewelry.

Amatory Jewels: type of love token jewelry of the late 1700s. Navette shaped. Usually made in England though of French appearance.

Amazonite: a variety of the microcline series of the feldspar group. Never faceted. Blue-green.

Amber: fossilized sap, resin, or gum from ancient trees.

AMERICAN BRILLIANT CUT: method of cutting diamonds for greatest brilliancy and fire; most popular in contemporary era.

American Doublé: gilded tombak.

Amethyst: type of quartz. Ranges in color from deep purple with red flashes (known as Siberian amethyst) to a pale lilac with blue undertones (called Rose de France.)

Ametrine: variety of quartz consisting of both amethyst and citrine with zones of both purple and yellow.

Amorphous: without form. Examples of amorphous materials used in jewelry are: glass, amber, moldavite, obsidian, opal.

Amulet: worn for superstitious purposes (ward off evil, bring good fortune etc)

Anchor Chain: cable chain with additional cross bar.

Andalusite: Orthorhombic gemstone, Brownish to Yellowish Green, Green, Brown, rarely Pink.

Andradite: gemstone known as garnet / when Green: Demantoid, when Black: Melanite, whenYellow: Topazolite.

Angel-skin (coral): referring to coral when it is pale pink or pinkish-white in colour.

Annealing: heating metal to remove brittleness.

Anodized: preparing metal for coating.

Antimony: chemical element used for making pewter and for some solders.

Antique: at least 100 years old.

Apatite: gemstone, can be colorless, Yellow, Green, Violet, Blue, Pink or Brown.

Apple coral: soft red and golden yellow coral (from the coral species ‘melithaea sponge’).

Appliqué: decorative items of one material or metal affixed to another.

Aqua Regia: combination of acids that will dissolve gold and platinum.

Aquamarine:(Latin, “water from the sea”), a pale green bluish to dark blue beryl.

Arabesque: intricate design of interwoven flowing lines, composed in a geometric pattern.

Aragonite: pearls / mother of pearl

Archaeological Revival: Jewelry made in the 19th century that drew inspiration from archeological expeditions, mainly the Etruscan findings.

Archduke Joseph Diamond: famous diamond, 12th largest perfect diamond in world.

Arcots: pair of famous pear shaped diamonds.

Argentan: word stamped onto objects that look like silver but are not. For examples, nickel, German-silver or alpaca.

Armlet: bracelet worn on upper arm.

Art Deco Jewelry: A style of jewelry dating from the 1920s through the mid to late 1930s.

Art Moderne: in same time period as retro jewelry but still Art deco styling.

Art Nouveau Jewelry: A free-flowing, naturalistic style of jewelry popular from the 1890s until about 1910.

Articulated: Having flexibility through the implementation of hinges or jump rings.

Arts & Crafts jewelry: Jewelry from The Arts & Crafts Movement (1890-1914) Influenced by British designer William Morris.

Asprey: English luxury merchandise company founded in 1781.

Assay: metal testing process.

Asscher Cut: type of diamond cut that has a square, step cut.

Asterism: A star form achieved through the combination of internal gemstone characteristics (needle configuration) and a cabochon cut.

Aucoc: renowned nineteenth-century French jeweller and goldsmith. Louis Aucoc (1850-1932).

Ave: the ten small beads on a rosary.

Aventurescence: glittering sparkling shimmer reflections of small inclusions of hematite or goethite in feldspar or fuchsite or hematite in quartz.

Aventurine: gemstone, translucent to Opaque Green (most common), Blue, Gray, Yellow and Brown with Aventurescence.

Azurite: gemstone, Dark Brown, Light to Dark Green, Yellow & Black.

Azurmalachite: rock, patterned Blue and Green.


Baguette Cut: type of gem cut, a long, elongated table cut.

Bail: loop of metal at top of pendant for putting chain through.

Bailey, Banks & Biddle: Jeweler from Philadelphia, first opened in 1832.

Bakelite:  variety of plastic, invented in 1909.

Band: circular ring.

Bandeau: type of tiara.

Bangle: type of bracelet with no clasp.

Bar Brooch: type of brooch that has a bar shape.

Baroque: period spanning from 1600 -1700. Can also refer to the baroque style.

Baroque pearls: Pearls with irregular non-spherical shape. 

Barrette: hair ornament resembling a brooch.

Base Metal: any non-precious metal used in jewelry.

Basket Mount: mount for gemstones that appears basket like.

Basse-Taille: type of enamel work.

Bath Metal: similar to pinchbeck but whiter with more zinc.

Bavette: a necklace comprised of multiple strands of different lengths with one clasp.

Bayadére:  a twisted rope necklace of seed pearls.

Bead:  small decorative object that has a hole in it for stringing.

Bead Chain: chain with small balls of metal joined by small lengths of wire, not longer than each bead in between.

Bead Setting: method of securing a faceted gemstone.

Beaded Wire: wire with bead-like decorative element.

Bearded Girdle: The girdle is the widest edge of a diamond. Bearding occurs when fine white lines flow over the girdle’s edge onto neighboring facets because of over polishing.

Beauty Pin: also called ‘handy pins’. Small pins used for securing veils, hats, lace and sleeves.

Belais:  American brothers who held the patent for white gold in the USA from late 1800s through the 1920s.

Belcher Chain (also called Cable Chain): the most classic kind of chain, made with interlocking links.

Belcher Mounting or ring: a flush ring setting, similar to a gypsy ring.

Belcher Shank: “D” shaped cross section shank.

Belle Époque: the era called ‘Edwardian’ in Britain was called Belle Époquein France.

Belperron: French jewelry designer, born 1900

Benedetto Pistrucci: 1784-1854. Gem and metal carver during the Neo-Classical era.

Benitoite: gemstone, usually blue, sometimes pink

Benoiton Chain: A benoiton is worn in the hair and consists of several chains which dangle from the hair and are then attached to the bodice. This was a brief fashion after the success of the comedy “La Famille Benoiton” by Victorien Sardouin in 1866.

Berlin Iron: type of jewelry made from iron.

Beryl:  mineral family with wide range of colors.

Bezel Setting:  setting used to hold stone in place.

Bi: Chinese jadeite disc, popular in West in 1920s.

Bib Necklace: necklace with gemstones that hang in the shape of a bib.

Bijouterie: a piece valued for the delicacy of its design as opposed to the value of its materials.

Billet-Doux:  jewelry with coded floral love message.

Birefringence: the strength of double refraction.

Birthstones: stones for each month of the year.

Biscuit: unglazed porcelain.

Black, Starr & Frost: American fine jewelers, started 1810

Blackamoor: brooch created to resemble bust of African man or woman

Bloodstone: type of quartz, dark green with red or orange.

Bloom Finish: a way of dipping a karat gold item and creating a thin layer of high karat gold on the outer surface.

Blue Gold: a way of creating blue colored gold using arsenic or iron. Used in “gold á quatre couleurs.”

Bodice Brooch: brooch worn in center of bodice, sometimes sewn on.

Bodkin:  Renaissance hair pin.

Body Color: refers to pearls’ overall color.

Bog Oak: Oak wood that has been darkened and hardened as a result of being immersed for many years in the bogs of Ireland.

Bombé: dome or rounded shaped jewelry

Bone: used in jewelry, often carved.

Book Chain (also called Venetian): A book chain resembles a book binding having interlocking, folded links of flat metal. It was popular in the Victorian era.

Boucheron: jewelry company, began 1858.

Boule: rough form of synthetic spinel or corundum

Boule ring: ring with a domed head, often pave set. 1935 fashion began.

Bow-tie: A darkened area resembling a bow-tie that is often found in fancy-shape diamond cuts. The bow-tie indicates how well cut the diamond is, lesser noticeable indicates a gem well cut, more noticeable, a poorer cut.

Bracelet: jewelry worn on wrist

Bracteate: pendant based on ancient coins

Brass: alloy of copper and zinc

Braze: soldering or welding using brass.

Brazilian Chain: an articulated chain, designed to move like a snake (also called snaked chain). It was first introduced in 1850.

Briolette or Box Chain: A briolette or box is similar to a belcher chain except the links are tighter together and are square in shape.

Brick Link: used in bracelets or necklaces, rows of rectangular metal links are off-set every other row to look like brick masonry. Originally Victorian, revived in Retro jewelry.

Bright Cut: shiny, angled cuts in metal around set stones.

Bright Finish: mirror like finish on metal

Bright Sterling: Sterling Silver with a mirror like finish.

Brilliance: term used to quantify the brilliance of a gemstone.

Brilliant Cut: type of diamond cut

Briolette Cut: type of diamond cut

Brisé fans: fan with no leaf.

Britannia Metal:  a lead-free pewter alloy. It was first created in England in the 18th century.

Britannia Silver: a silver alloy made of 95.84% silver and 4.16% copper. Developed in England.

Bronze: an alloy of copper and tin.

Brooch: a piece of jewelry that can be attached to clothing or a hat by means of a pin.

Brown Émail: brown enamel.

Brunnian Link: a link made from several parts that hold together in such a way that when one link is removed, all other links detach as well.

Brush Finish: a matte finish on metal created by scratching with a wire brush.

Bruting: a process of diamond cutting using a lathe that allows for rounding.

Buccellati: Italian jewelry firm renowned for textural gold jewellery and silver objects. 1919 – present.

Buckle: a clasp that attaches at one end of a strap allowing the other end to pass back through. Used for securing clothing, shoes and other objects.

Buckle Bracelet: a bracelet that incorporates a buckle motif.

Bulgari: jewelry firm from Rome, 1884-present

Bulla: a lentil shaped ornament often worn as a pendant. Its origins date back to the Etruscansand it was popular during the 19th century archaeological revival.

Burmese Ruby: A rare variety of ruby, found only in Burma. Often also called‘pigeon’s blood’ ruby.

Burnished: a metal polishing process using a hardened steel tool called a burnisher, to produce a high shine and hardening. Can also be used with agate.

Butler Finish: the brightest of the brushed finishes, imitating a hand rubbed finish created over many years of polishing by the butler.

Button: small, often decorative, items used to secure two sides of an article of clothing.

Byzantine Chain: An intricate and complex chain that needs to be seen rather than described.


Cable Chain: Chain with round interlocking loops.

Cabochon: A gemstone with a smoothly domed top.

Cairngorm: Type of citrine quartz from Cairngorm.

Calcareous Concretion: pearl like growths originated in mollusks that lack nacre.

Calcite: Type of gemstone, can be transparent or colored.

California Gold Rush Jewelry: The California Gold Rush is usually considered to be the years from 1848 to 1851, California Gold Rush jewelry is also a style in it’s own right.

Calibre cut: A style of gemstone cut, usually utilized for small sizes and standardized measurements. Developed during the Art Deco era.

Cameo: A gemstone carving technique, in which an image is created by cutting through various layers of a gem.

Cameo, Gonzaga: Famous cameo from Hellenistic Egypt owned by France. 

Cameo, shell: Bulls Mouth, Horned Helmet and Black Helmet. 

Camphor Glass: Clear, frosted glass often used to imitate rock crystal or cast with a star pattern to give it radiance.

Cannetille (French): A metal-working technique, utilizing thin wires to create three dimensional filigree.

Carat: A unit used to measure gemstone weight.

Carbuncle: A large almandine garnet cut en cabochon.

Carcanet: jeweled collar or necklace (Elizabethan era).

Carnelian: translucent red chalcedony.

Carrera y Carrera: Spanish (Madrigal) jewelry house, 1885 -present

Cartier: Paris jewelry house, 1847- Present

Cartouche: decorative frame around a central depiction.

Carvin French: New York jewelry manufacturers, 1954-Present.

Casco S.R.L: famous producer of cameo, founded in 1928. 

Cast / Casting: process of pouring molten metal into mold and letting it harden.

Castellani, Fortunato Pio: A 19th-century Italian jeweler noted for his revival of Etruscan and Greek styles in jewelry. “Archaeological Revival”.

Cat’s-Eye: optical phenomenon in gemstones also known as chatoyancy or the cat’s eye variety of Chrysoberyl.

Cave Pearls: type of calcite resembling pearls found in limestone caves. Very fragile but sometimes found in jewelry.

C.D. Peacock: Chicago jeweler, 1837 – Present

Celluloid: type of early plastic used in costume jewelry.

Celtic Cross: A Latin cross with a circle around the outer edge.

Celtic Revival Jewelry: Jewelry manufactured in Ireland in the mid 1800s inspired by Celtic archeological discoveries.

Chain: interlocking metal links.

Chalcedony: type of quartz.

Champleve (French): Literally translates to mean a raised field. It is an enameling technique wherein the design is made by lines cut into the metal and then filled with the enamel.

Chandelier: also known as girandole, this is a style usually found in earrings or pendants where there is a bow or stone or decorative cluster at the top with three suspended gemstone drops.

Change of Color: A phenomenon of some colored gemstones in which it appears a different color in different light.

Channel Setting: A style of setting wherein gemstones are secured in place by rails or channels of metal.

Charlton & Co: New York Jewelry House, 1909-Present

Charm: A small decorative trinket generally worn suspended from a bracelet or necklace.

Charm Bracelet: A bracelet from which numerous charms hang.

Chaser: tool used for chasing.

Chasing: A technique involving hammering an indented design into the surface of a metal.

Chatelaine: A decorative belt with useful items usually worn attached to a belt or girdle.

Chatham: Manufacturing technique for synthetic gemstones.

Chatoyancy: The effect of an eye formed by a gemstone’s natural internal structure when combined with a cabochon cut. Examples include tiger’s-eye quartz and cat’s-eye chrysoberyl.

Chaton: Can refer to a bezel or the jewel itself on a ring, or both the jewel and the bezel which projects out on a ring. 

Chaumet: French jewelry house, 1780-Present.

Chiaroscuro: the interplay and contrast of light and shadow.

Child & Child: English jewelry maker, known for Art Nouveau jewelry, 1880-1916

Chip: A small area of damage on a gemstone’s surface.

Chip Carving: Metalworking technique that creates relief design. Used to create cut steel jewelry.

Chi Rho: Two letters of Greek alphabet, can be found in Castellani’s jewelry (means ‘Christ’).

Chlorastrolite: type of green gemstone.

Chrysoberyl: Type of gemstone, transparent to yellow to green.

Chrysocolla: Blue-green variety of chalcedony.

Chrysoprase: Bright green quartz.

Choker: A necklace worn close to the throat.

Chute: pearl necklace of equally sized pearls, with smaller pearls towards the clasp.

Cinnabar: mineral, red in color, ore of mercury. Can be toxic. Traditionally used in Chinese lacquer ware, can also be used in jewelry.

Circa (c. or ca.): Represents the approximate period of time in than an item was made.

Circled pearl: Pearl with one or more grooved rings. 

Citrine: Yellow to golden variety of quartz.

Clarity Grading: The accepted system for determining a diamond’s purity. (The highest level is Flawless, the lowest Imperfect or Declasse.)

Clasp: A fastener utilized for closing bracelets, necklaces, etc.

Claddagh Ring: Type of Irish fede ring with a heart and coronet.

Claflin: Jewelry designer for Tiffany (1935-1979).

Clawed Collet: A bezel or collet with prongs on the side for securing a gemstone.

Claw Setting: Gemstone setting created with prongs on the edge of the bezel or collet.

Cleavage: The ability for a material to split along a certain plane.

Clip: A brooch-like item featuring a hinged two-prong pin that pierces the fabric.

Cloisonne (French): An enameling technique utilizing wires which create compartments that are then filled with enamel.

Closed Back Setting: When there is metal behind the stone so that no part of the girdle or empty space shows through.

Cluster Ring: A style of ring in which numerous gemstones are set in close proximity.

Clutch: The small finding of a earring which slides onto the post in order to secure the earring to the ear (also called ‘earring back’)

Cocktail Ring: A ringin which a grouping of gemstones often form a dome-like pattern. Popularized in the early 20th century, usually thought of as an evening ring.

Coin gold: Alloy, 9 parts gold, 1 part copper

Coin silver: 90 percent fine silver, used in USA Silver coins until 1966.

Collar: A broad neck plate style necklace or a necklace with a length slightly longer than choker.

Collet Setting: Also known as ‘bezel setting’. This is when there is a rim of metal surrounding the girdle of the stone to hold it in place.

Collière d’ esclavage: Translates as ‘slave necklace’. This is a type of necklace with rows of plaques or cameos secured by chains.

Colored Diamonds: Diamonds are found in a variety of colors, including brown, green, pink, blue, red, and yellow. The more intense the color the more valuable they usually are.

Color grade: The color quality of a diamond, expressed according to a scale of letters representing different grades of color.

Colorless: A diamond in which no trace of color can be detected. Truly colorless diamonds are usually the most valuable.

Comb: Ornamental item worn in the hair.

Commesso: Commesso is a bas-relief composition of precisely cut gem materials (pietra dura) combined with enameled gold elements to form an assembled cameo.

Compact: an accessory for carrying face powder and a mirror.

Composite Stone: Gem simulants composed of several materials (eg. doublets and triplets).

Conch Pearl: A type of salt water pearl grown in a conch rather than an oyster.

Concha Belt: Style of belt is attributed to Native American Indians of the South Western United States. It is a leather belt that has added silver ornaments and possibly gemstones.

Copal: fossilized resin (similar to amber but not as old or desirable).

Copper: Metallic element.

Coque de Perle: faux pearl carved from nautilus shell, particularly found in Georgian era jewelry.

Coral: Organic gemstone, made from secretions of polyps.

Cord: Rope made from twisting thinner threads.

Coronet: Crown without convex arches.

Coronet Setting: Gemstone setting with high prongs that resemble crowns (also known as ‘crown setting’)

Corsage: Brooch designed as a flower or spray of flowers.

Corundum: Gem family that includes sapphire and ruby.

Costume Jewelry: A broad term forjewelry of low value, usually (but not always) silver jewelry, jewelry made from base metals, imitation stones, plastic and glass. Some jewelry made from these materials can still be valuable however.

C Pin Catch: Type of catch, usually on a brooch, shaped like a ‘C’

Croix a la Jeanette: pendant with a heart and a Latin cross (fashion began circa 1840).

Crown: Type of head wear, normally worn by royalty.

Crown of a gemstone: Upper part of stone above the girdle.

Crown gold: English term for 18 karat gold alloy.

Crown setting: Gemstone setting with high prongs that resemble crowns (also known as ‘coronet setting).

Crescent Brooch: A moon-shaped brooch, popularized in the Victorian era, usually set with diamonds.

Cross: A cross ornament generally worn as a pendant or necklace.

Crucifix Pendant: A pendant depicting the crucifixion of Christ.

Cruciform Pendant: A pendant shaped like a cross.

Cryptocrystalline: Having crystals so small that individual crystals cannot be seen under an ordinary microscope.

Crystalline: a substance with a repeating 3 dimensional atomic structure.

Cubic Zirconia: Manmade materials that imitates diamond and other gemstones.

Cuff Bracelet: A type of wide band bracelet without a closure.

Cufflink: A form of fastener used to close shirt sleeves or cuffs.

Cuir roulé: (Literally: ‘rolled leather’). This is a term used to describe the volute (scroll) shapes used in jewelry from 1835 onwards.

Culet: The smallest facet located at a gemstone’s base.

Cultured pearl: Pearl formed with human assistance.

Cupellation: A precise way of testing precious metals or of refining them.

Curb Chain: Type of chain with interlocking links that are twisted until they flatten out. (Also known as Gourmette Chain).

Curb Link Bracelet: Bracelet made with curb chain.

Cut-Steel Jewelry: Jewelry set with tiny polished and faceted steel studs. (Resembles marcasite jewelery).

Cymric: trade name used by Liberty & Co for jewelry made by British designers (1899).

Czochralski: Process for growing crystals, used for creating many synthetic gemstones.


Daguerreotype: early type of photograph

Damascene: surface decoration process that involves the inlaying of gold wire or silver into an undercut groove in the surface of bronze, iron or steel.

Day and Night: Earrings with detachable bottom ornament (also called ‘Top and Drop’).

Diadem: A form of head ornament.

Diamond: type of gemstone.

Dissolved Hair: Human hair that has been chopped up and made into a paint or paste to be used for drawing pictures on ivory or porcelain plaques.

Deport: Mark meaning from France.

Demantoid: Variety of andradite garnet / color is generally green or yellow-green.

Dog Collar: A wide, jeweled necklace that was popularized by Alexandra, King Edward VII’s wife. (Late 1890s and until 1915.)

Double-Clip: A brooch that is made with removable components that can be worn joined together, or as separate brooches.

Doublet (or composite): A stone composed of two different stones sealed together.

Dress Clips: type of brooch that attaches with clip.

Dress Set: A jewelry suite designed for a gentleman’s evening attire. Usually includes one pair of cufflinks, together with shirt studs.

Decade Ring: ring with ten bumps around the shank for use as a prayer counter. Popular during 17th and 18th century.

Depose: Patent or registration in France.

Diaperwork: repeating ornamental pattern of one or more designs where one outline figures into the shape of the adjoining outline (eg. Diamond shapes or brickwork.)

Diaphaneity: transmittance of light through an object.

Dichroism: property of doubly refractive colored gemstoneswith two different colors in two different vibration planes due to differences of selection absorption in those planes.

Die Rolled: Die Rolled metal is put through a rolling machine with rollers (i.e. the die) that have been engraved with a design that is pressed into the metal as it passes through.

Die Stamped: Since 1769. A stamping die is used to cut shapes from a sheet of metal andsharp edged die is placed on the metal and hammered until it cuts through the underlying metal.

Die Struck: Jewelry formed by striking metal sheet in a die or between two dies. This compresses the metal into every crevice of the die.

Diffusion: Treatment to alter the color of gemstones (usually sapphires).

Dime Store Deco: Term used to describe the inexpensive fashion jewellery which became prevalent in the 1930s. 

Diopside: Gemstone.

Dispersion: separation of white light into different colors.

Double Refraction: The property of splitting a single beam of light into two polarized beams which pass through a crystal at different speeds.

Doublé d’or: French term for rolled gold plate.

Doves of Pliny: mosaic described by Pliny 1st century AD.

Drawplate: Sheet of metal with graduated holes through which wire is pulled to reduce its circumference and strengthened it.

Drayson: Jewelry firm founded in 1936, Bond Street.

Drittel Gold: 8 karat gold alloy.

Druse: A surface covered with small projecting crystals.

Ductility: Property of metal which allows it to be worked without breaking.

Duette Pin: Dress clips that convert into a single brooch (attributed to Coro). 

Dull Lustre: describes the luster of ivory.

Durability: quality of gemstones to withstand wear and tear.

Dyeing (or staining): applying pigments to gemstones.


Earring: A form of ornament worn suspended from the ear.

Edna May: necklace made from small links with a single, culet set stone pendant from which a more elaborate cluster set stone is suspended. Named after the American actress Edna May (1878-1948).

Edwardian Jewelry: Jewelry created 1901-1915

Eglomaize: Reverse painting on glass

Edward Moore: jewelry design director and head of the silver workshops at Tiffany & Co. from 1851 to 1891.

Egyptian Revival Jewelry: Jewelry copying the overall appearance and style of classical Egyptian jewelry.

Electric Jewelry: late 19th century jewelery and hair ornaments, with “en tremblant” motion created by a small concealed battery.

Electroforming: A jewelry manufacturing technique in which a wax model of an item has metal adhered to it via electrical current.

Electroplate: A technique invented in 1840, whereby gold or silver is adhered to a base metal.

Electrum: a naturally occurring alloy consisting mainly of gold and silver but may contain trace elements of other metals like platinum or copper.

Émail Brun: literally ‘brown enamel’ it is actually a lacquering technique.

Email en Ronde Bosse: enamel technique where the enamel is applied to rounded or irregular shapes in high relief.

Embossing: A metal decorating technique similar to repousse except that embossing is done by machine rather than by hand. A design is pressed into the metal from the reverse.

Emerald: a green gemstone

Emerald Cut: a rectangular step cut design with horizontal facets which differ in angles of inclination.

Enamel: Powdered colored glass fused onto the surface of the piece of jewelry.

En Cabochon: gemstone with a smooth, rounded top.

Encrusted: inlaid precious metals, pearls or stones on the surface of an item.

En Esclavage (Slave): bracelets and necklaces in a style with plaques connected with multiple swagged chains arranged in rows.

Enhancer: A form of pendant with an enlarged bail.

Engagement Rings: Rings worn to symbolize engagement.

Engine Turning: a swirled design produced on metal through the use of a special lathe. Usually translucent enamel is applied over the design to highlight the pattern.

Enhancement: when discussing gems, this means a man-induced treatment which improves the appearance or durability of a gemstone.

En Pampille (French): a decorating technique wherein gemstones cascade in descending order of size and terminate in a finial.

Enseigne: a sixteenth century badge displayed on a hat.

Entourage: a ring with a large center stone surrounded by a row of smaller stones, usually diamonds.

En Tremblant (French): Literally means ‘tremble’. A jewelry ornament with projections that tremble when the piece moves.

E.P.B.M: abbreviation for “electroplate on Britannia metal.”

E.P.C: abbreviation for “electroplate on copper.”

E.P.N.S: abbreviation for “electroplate on nickel silver.”

Epidote: a gemstone.

Equipage: French for ‘indispensible’ items for daily life. Equipage would be kept hanging from a chatalaine and often kept inside an étui.

Escalier: French for “stairway”. A style from the retro period where large, hollow, triangular links are used to form bracelets or the bezel of a ring.

Essence d'orient: Mixture of clear varnish and fish scales used to coat glass beads and make imitation pearls. ie. Majorica pearls. 

Estate Jewelry: Means any previously owned jewelry. Although it can include antique and vintage jewelry, it usually implies more contemporary items.

Etching: A metal decorating technique that uses acids to burn a design into the metal surface.

Eternity Ring: A ring set with a continuous row of gems, usually diamonds. The eternity band is popular as a wedding or anniversary band.

Etui: A case hanging from a chatelaine that contains useful implements.

Etruscan Revival: Jewelry made of heavygold work crafted in the Etruscan style.

European Cut: Method of gemstone cutting.


Faberge, Peter Carl (1846-1920): Jeweler to the Russian czar.

Fabricated: Jewelry that is made from component parts.

Facet: One individual surface section of a gemstone.

Fausse Montre: a false, decorative watch without a movement popular in the Georgian ear.

Faux: French for ‘false’

Falize: French Jewelry House.

Fan: Hand held accessory for cooling the face.

Fancy Diamond: A colored diamond whose color is intense enough to be a plus rather than a minus.

Fede Ring: Ring with a hands motif.

Feldspar: a gem group.

Fer de Berlin: a type of cast iron jewelry (also called ‘Berlin Iron’).

Ferroniere (French): A type of jeweled headband worn across a woman’s forehead.

Festoon: A jewelry motif involving an arrangement of flowers, fruit of foliage. (From the Latin for ‘feast’).

French Enamel: Fine miniature painting in enamel.

Flato: American Jeweler of the 1930s and 1940s.

Filigree: A metal working technique using fine wires.

Fibula: type of brooch used for securing robes, especially in ancient Rome.

Fichu Pin (or ‘Lace Pin’): Type of brooch meant for securing a fichu, which is a type of triangular scarf, often made of lace.

Figaro Chain: Type of curb chain made from alternating lengths.

Figural: Jewelry with figural designs, such as animals or people.

Filling: Gemstone enhancement method.

Fin-de-Siècle: (French for ‘end of century’). Term used to describe the last quarter of the 19th century.

Findings: Small metal components utilized in jewelry manufacturing.

Fineness: A word relating to the proportion of pure gold or silver.

Fire: term used to describe flashes of spectral color in a gemstone as the result of dispersion.

Fire Agate: Type of gemstone.

Flame Fusion: Process to create synthetic gemstones, discovered in 1902.

Flame Structure: Optical phenomenon found in some non-nacreous pearls.

Flash Plating: a very thin deposit of metal not exceeding 10/1,000,000 of an inch.

Flaw: A blemish or imperfection, either on the surface of a diamond or in the interior.

Flawless: The highest clarity grade for a diamond.

Fleur de Lis: Motif of a stylized lily, popularized by French monarchy.

French Cut: Type of gemstone cut.

French Gold: Copper alloy made of 80% copper, 15% zinc and 5% tin used to imitate gold.

French Ivory: yellowish-white plastic which imitates ivory. (Celluloid). 

Freshwater pearls (also known as river pearls): pearls that develop inside freshwater mussels (can be cultured or natural). 

Friction Back: Type of earring finding, patented in 1920, still in use today. 

Florentine Finish: An engraving technique wherein parallel lines are cut into metal in two different directions.

Fluorescence: emission of visible light when a material is illuminated by ultra-violet light or X-radiation.

Flush Setting or Mount: A method of gemstone setting where the stone is set down into the metal so that it’s table rests at the same level as the metal.

Fluting: surface texture, particularly of metals, in which parallel channels or grooves run across the object.

Flux: a flux is a liquid in which some solid substances melt at a lower temperature then their usual melting point. Literally means ‘flow’.

Fob: A small decorative item suspended by a watch chain (also called ‘fob chain’)

Fob Seal: A small seal used for wax stamping that rests at the base of a decorative mounting.

Foliate: a method of decorating a jewelry item with leaf (foliage) designs either as an engraving or a relief ornament.

Foiling: A process of enhancing the appearance of a gemstone’s color using foil.

Fools Gold: Pyrite.

Fouquet: French Jewelry known for its Renaissance revival and Art Nouveau work.

Forged: Metal that is shaped by heating then hammering into shape.

Fracture: A break or chip, caused by stress, that is in any direction other than parallel to the planes of atoms in a crystalline mineral.

French Jet: Black glass that is often used to imitate jet.

Fringe Necklace: necklace from which tassels, short chains, or small ornaments hang, creating the appearance of fringe.

Fruit Salad: jewelry set with bright colored gemstones or pastes.

Full-drilled: Pearl with a hole drilled all the way through to allow for stringing.

Fusion Welding: a bonding technique for metals.


Gaillard: French Art Nouveau era jewelry known for Japanese motifs.

Gallery: the undercarriage of a ring mounting.

Gardinetto or giardinetto/giardinetti (Italian for ‘little garden’): Jewelry item, often a brooch, in the form of a vase of flowers or a flower basket.

Garnet: Type of gemstone.

Garrard: British jewelers since 1843.

Gaud: a charm or trinket typically found at the end of a rosary.

Geiss: Johann C. Geiss (1771-1846) was an innovator in the field of iron jewelry.

Gem: a precious or semi-precious stone.

Gemologist / gemology: One who is an expert on gemstones / study of gemstones.

Geometric Style: A style of jewelry design that reached its zenith in the 1920s-1930s; another name for Art Deco or used to describe an aspect of Art Deco.

Georgian Jewelry: era of antique jewelry from the years 1714-1837.

Gemstone Surface Enhancements: gemstone treatments such as foiling.

Gem Phenomena: gem phenomena, or optical phenomena, are the observable characteristics of gemstones.

German Silver (also called ‘nickle silver’ or ‘alpaca’): A misnomer for silver, this is actually an alloy that looks like silver.

GGG Gadolinium Gallium Garnet: A synthetic gemstone used as an early diamond substitute.

GIA: abbreviation for the Gemological Institute of America.

Giacomo Raffaelli (1753 – 1836): an Italian artist who specialized in mosaic jewelry.

Gilding: A process of applying a thin gold film to another surface.

Girandole: A type of chandelier-like design often seen in brooches and earrings of the 17th and 18th centuries. Generally, three pear-shaped gems, usually diamonds are suspended from the main component.

Girasol: Any gem variety that has a floating, milky sheen that moves about as the stone is turned or as the light source is moved.

Girdle: The thin band that runs around the widest part of a diamond.

Gimmel Ring: (from the Latin gemellus meaning twin) is a ring that is made up of two or more separate hoops, sharing a split shank.

Giuliano, Carlo (1831-1895): Italian jeweler.

Glove Ring: A ring that is worn over a glove.

Glyptography: the art of gemstone carving used in cameo and intaglio.

Golay Fils & Stahl: Geneva jeweler, founded in 1837

Gold: A type of metal

Gold Alloy: A mixture of metals of which gold is one.

Gold Electroform: A technique in which a negative mold is put into a special gold bath. Through the use of electricity the metal builds up on the mold forming the object.

Gold Electroplating: Electroplating involves coating one metal with another through the use of a chemical bath and an electric current.

Gold-filled: A layer of gold applied to another, usually base metal, surface.

Gold plated: coated with gold by the processes that produces gold-filled or rolled gold plate.

Gold-in-quartz: A variety of quartz that is colorless or white with inclusions or granules of gold running through it.

Gold Leaf: An extremely thin layer of gold amounting to approximately 0.005 mm in thickness.

Gold Nugget: A lump of native gold that is generally found in river or stream beds.

Gold Smudge: a colored smudge, left by jewelry or other metallic object, on the skin of the wearer.

Gold Wash: a gilded layer with a thickness less than 0.2 micron.

Gold Wire: basic component of many jewelry items throughout history; extremely thin and long strand of gold.

Goldsmith: one who works with gold

Gourmette Chain (also called ‘curb chain’): a chain which is created from round or oval interlocking links which are twisted until they are flattened out.

Gorget: a flat metal collar either open at the back, penannular, or a complete circle with a hinged opening.

Gothic Revival Jewelry: Jewelry inspired by the gothic styles of the 12th and 13th century.

Gun Metal: (Also known as red brass). Alloy of copper, tin and zinc. 

Graduated: of increasing or decreasing size.

Graduated Strand: A necklace with the largest gem in the center and progressively smaller gems towards the clasp.

Graff (1962-present): Diamond dealer and retailer.

Grain: the smallest unit of measure in the Troy system.

Grand Period 1860-1885: Victorian era. Also called ‘mid-Victorian’.

Graver: a cutting tool used to engrave metal.

Greasy Lustre: the term used for the surface reflection on certain materials (ie Serpentine.)

Greek Key: geometric meanders which were used in ancient Greece as a border decoration, used as motifs during the Greek Revival of the 1800 and 1900s.

Granulation: A textured design formed by minute grains of gold, soldered onto an object.

Green Gold: A gold alloy that utilizes a higher percentage of silver to create a greenish tinted gold.

Grey Gold: an alloy of gold and iron or gold, silver and iron that is a pale grey color.

Grissaille: A monochrome enameling technique displaying shades of gray, black and white.

Guard Ring: A type of interior “U”-shaped ring placed within a ring for comfort.

Guilloche (French): An enameling technique (translucent polychrome enamel placed on top of a geometric engraved pattern).

Gutta-Percha: A plastic or rubber-like substance produced from the natural fluids of certain Malaysian trees.

Grisaille (French ‘in the grey’): an enameling process that begins with a layer of black enamel, then white enamel is used to apply the design and then details are scratched through to the black.

Grossular: Gemstone.

Gueda: Colorless Sri Lanka sapphire that can be made blue with heat treatments.

Guild: Organization of workers.

Guirlande: a decorative hanging ornament, usually in the form of a flower wreath.

Gunmetal: an alloy of 90 percent copper and 10 percent tin. Also blue-black finish caused by electroplating a coat of iron on an item and coloring it in a chemical solution.Gypsy Setting: Flush setting, used in rings (Gypsy Rings).

Gübelin: Swiss jeweler and sons (late Victorian).


Habille: a cameo in which the carved figure wears real jewelry. “Habille” comes from the French word “habiller”, meaning “to dress”.

Hair Jewelry: Jewelry made from Human hair (could also be made from horse and other animal hair).

Hair Ornament: Any form of jewelry worn in the hair.

Half-drilled: A pearl with a hole drilled halfway through for mounting.

Hallmark: this is the term used for an official mark made on metal.

Hammered Finish: the process whereby a small hammer is used to make a series of indentations in a piece of metal.

Hand Finishing: manufacture of jewelry in which the finish is completed by hand.

Heirloom: a highly valued possession that is passed down among family members from one generation to the next.

Hematite: an opaque gem which is dark gray to almost place in color. Non magnetic. (see lodestone)

Half-Hunter: a watch with a completely closed cover.

Half Pearls: Pearls, cut in half.

Hank: A strand of unfinished pearls, unknotted and without a clasp.

Handkerchief Ring: round ring for a handkerchief.

Handy Pin: decorative pin used for securing clothing.

Hardness: The ability of a gemstone, mineral, glass or other hard object to resist being scratched or abraded. Hardness is measured according to the Moh’s Scale.

Hardstone: opaque gemstones that are most often utilized for mosaics, pietra dura and cameo carving eg. agate, carnelian, onyx and sardonyx.

Hatpin: A long metal pin used to hold a hat in place.

HC: An abbreviation representing a hunting case or hunter watch, which is a watch with a cover on both sides.

Heat treatment: Something done to gemstones to effect color and clarity.

Heavy gold electroplate: plating of gold on metal accomplished by an electrolytic process of not less than 100 millionths of an inch of fine gold.

Heishe / Heishi (American Indian): A shell or stone bead that is hand craved by Indian tribes of the southwestern United States.

Hellenism: Ancient Greek Revival Style.

Hematite: Dark silvery grey to black gemstone.

Hera Gold: German name for a 10 karat gold alloy.

Hiddenite: Green gemstone.

Hobé: New York jewelry design house. 1930s - Present. 

Holbeinesque: A style of jewelry popularized during the Late Victorian era. The style paid homage to famed Renaissance painter Hans Holbein.

Hololith Ring: A ring cut from a single, solid material.

Horsehair Jewelry: Jewelry made from horsehair.

Honeycomb: A motif popular in the 1930s resembling honeycomb.

Hoop earrings: earrings comprised of a decorative circle.

Horn: Material derived from animals popular in jewelry.

Hornbill Ivory: Made from the beak of the Helmeted Hornbill bird of Indonesia.

Horror Vacui: The opposite of minimalism, the tendency to decorate a surface entirely in ornamentation.

Horticultural: Using flowers and fruits as a motif.

Hotel Silver: white metals that do not contain any silver, often used in cutlery.

HPHT: Stands for ‘High pressure High temperature’. Treatment used for diamond enhancement.

Hue: Used to refer to the impression of the colour on a pearl

Hydrogrossular: Mineral in the garnet group, usually green to bluish green.


Idiochromatic: gem materials that derive their color from elements that are an essential part of their chemical composition.

Idocrase: a mineral species known as Vesuvianite.

Incise/Incising: cutting into metal to create a sunken line through the use of a graver.

Illusion Setting: a prong setting designed to make a diamond look bigger than it actually is.

Imperfection: A flaw or blemish, caused by nature or man, used when discussing gemstones.

Imitation: an object or gemstone which is used to mimic a more valuable object or gemstone.

Inclusion: substance visible within a gemstone, including fragments of a gemstone itself or tiny crystals.

Indian Pitch: A plaque made by pouring green glass onto gold foil that has been cut out in a mold of hunting scene motifs. Popular after 1876.

Ingot: cast metal bars.

Inseperables: A double needle stick pin brooch connected with a small and delicate chain. It came in use around 1835.

Inlay: a process in which one material is partially embedded into another material.

Intaglio: engraved stone with the design carved into the surface of the stone so that the rim is the highest portion. The opposite of a cameo.

Invisible Setting: also know as serti invisible. Stones that have been calibrated to very close tolerances and are cut with grooved girdles that are locked into a thin wire framework.

Iolite: a type of gemstone, usually blue.

Iridescence: rainbow effect inside or on the surface of a material produced by light interference or diffraction from thin films of gas, liquids or solids.

Iridium: a hard white metal used in jewelry to harden platinum.

Iron: a metallic element, sometimes used in the past to make jewelry. (Berlin Iron).


Jabot Pin: a tie pin often adorned with jewels. Popular in the early part of the 20th century.

Jade: this can either refer to nephrite or jadeite. Jadeite is more valuable. Known as a green gemstone, but comes in many colours.

Japanned: a finish in which the metal is coated in a shiny black coating, normally finished with a lacquer. (Also known as  ‘Japanesque’).

Japonism / Japonisme (french): the study of Japanese art. 

Jelly Bean Pin: a style of figural brooch, often by Trifari or Coro. A clear lucite cabochon forms the ‘belly’ of the piece.

Jet:  fossilized had coal. Also known as gagate. Hard and light weight and is always a black color. Used in mourning jewelry during the Victorian period. There are many imitation jet pieces, usually made from black glass or plastics. True jet is warm to the touch.(‘French jet’ is actually black glass and can sometimes mistakenly be called ‘jet’.) ‘Whitby Jet’ is jet mined in Whitby, England. It is often highly polished and carved and is the most well known type of jet.

Juliana Jewellery: A style of jewelry, not a maker. Juliana pieces were designed by the DeLizza and Elster factory (D & E) and are highly sought after. Specific design characteristics only help to identify as they are never marked on the piece itself but may have paper hang tags.

Jump Ring:  round or oval ring of metal wire used to attach pendants, charms or other components to a chain.

Jaipur Enamel: Jaipur is a region of India that is the centre of the Indian jewelry industry. It is characterized by brightly colored enamels on both the front and back.

James Tassie: A London jewelers who developed a secret paste around 1766 with which he produced paste or glass replica intaglio gemstones from wax models. Commonly called “Tassies” on today’s market.

Julius Cohen: New York Jeweller and Jewellery company.

Jou-Jou Or: 6 karat gold alloy

John Brogden: Victorian jewellery designer noted for his revival style, filigree and granulation work.

J.E. Caldwell & Co: American jewellery company, 1839 until present.

Jensen: Danish Arts and Crafts silversmith and jewellery designer.

Jadeite: Gemstone in the Jade family. Can be Green, White,  Yellow, Orange, Brown, Gray, Black, Lavender.

JAR: Contemporary French Jewellery company.

Jarretière:  strap bracelet made from links with a buckle fastening and mordant. There will sometimes also be a slide. This design first appeared in the mid 1800s and has had various revivals.

Jasper: Gemstone, member of chalcedony family. Can be any colour except black. Often spotted. Opaque or semi-translucent.

Jasperware: pottery developed by Josiah Wedgewood, usually blue with white relief although not always.


Karat: weight measurement equal to one twenty-fourth part of gold in an alloy.

Karat Clad: registered trade name of heavy gold electroplate of at least 100 microns thick as specified by the Federal Trade Commission.

Karat Gold: Gold which is over 10 karats.

Kashmir Sapphire: the most sought after type of sapphire, from Kashmir.

Kazanjian Red: One of only three red diamonds known to exist in the world. 

Keeper Ring: ring worn to stop another, more valuable ring, from slipping off.

Keshi: Secondary pearl created after a pearl has already been produced. Normally very small and non-symmetrical. 

Kitemarks: A diamond-shaped (or lozenge-shaped) Design Registration Mark (1842-1883), known as a “kitemark” used on jewelry and other decorative items. Indicate the date a particular design was registered, similar to a patent mark.

KJL: manufacturer of jade Art Deco style costume jewellery. 

Koh-i-Noor Diamond: diamond of 106 carats currently part of British Crown Jewels. Reported to be 5000 years old and has passed from hand to hand throughout history.

Kunzite: Type of gem. Rose-violet colour.

Kyanite: Type of gem. Can be light to dark Blue, colorless, gray or brown (banded with blue).


Labarum: Monogram using first two letters of Greek alphabet, found in Castellani mosaic jewellery of the 1800’s.

Laboratory grown: Gemstones produced by man.

Labradorescence: Play of light that occurs in gem quality labradorite.

Labradorite: a mineral species / gemstone.

Lace Brooch: Small brooch generally set with diamonds, later 19th Century.

Lace Ring: ring with open worked motifs, resembling lace work.

Lacloche Frères: Spanish jewellery house known for its Art Deco jewellery and objects. Founded in 1875.

Lacquer: a spirit based varnish used to coat and protect finishes. Mixed with iron oxides or coloring agents to create different effects.

Lalaounis:  Athenian jewelry company.  Known for antiquity-inspired designs.

Lalique: 1881 – present. Jewellery company founded by René Lalique.

Lampl, Walter (1895 - 1945): American jeweller, known for use of jade. 

Language of Flowers (Floriography): Floral motifs used to convey secret, coded meaning. Popular in Victorian era.

Lapidary: The craft of who cutting gemstones.

Lapis lazuli: a rock aggregate predominantly composed of the minerals lazurite, sodalite, nosalite and hauyne. Cobalt blue color, often with patches of pyrite (golden) and/ or calcite (white).

Larimar:  (aka 'Stefilia's Stone). Gemstone found only in Dominican Republic, usually light or deep blue but can only be blue-green or white. 

Laser: acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Lasers are often used in gemstone work.

Latten: a copper alloy used in the Middle ages until the end of the 18th century.

Lavaliere: A chain from which an ornament hangs in the center

Lava Jewelry: Jewellery made from volcanic lava. Emerged during the Grand Tour era.

Lazo: Spanish word for ‘bow’ which, when used in jewellery, refers to a type of earring with a bow motif or a long, ribbon shaped brooch or bodice ornament popular in Spain in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Le Note Blanche: Term for 1930s all white jewellery. (Or possibly 1940s) 

Liberty & Co: 1876 – present. English jewellery company, famous for popularizing the Arts and Crafts style.

Limoges enamel: an enamelling technique developed in Limoges in the 15th century.  First dark enamel is painted on a metal surface and then translucent enamel is applied in parts.

Line bracelet: A bracelet of individual, flexible links set with gems. A tennis bracelet is a type of line bracelet.

Link: A ring which forms a chain when interlocked with other rings.

Liquid Silver: Term for polished, silver tubular beads that appear to flow like liquid silver.

Le Grand Condé: 9 carat, pink diamond owned by France.

Leontine: From the Spanish leontina. A chain used to suspend a watch, often with tassels and slides in colored gold.

Lobster Claw:  a catch used for bracelets and necklaces. Often oval or pear shaped (but can be any) it has a spring mechanism to close.

Locket: A hinged, opening piece of jewellery.

Longchain: a linked chain generally more than a meter long. Popular in the 18th century.

Lorgnette: Eyeglasses, often ornate, that are used by holding them to the eyes by a handle. used from the late eighteenth century through the Art Deco period.

Lost Wax Method: A method of casting metal using a rubber mold, filled with wax to form a pattern to create a plaster mold. The plaster is then heated and the wax melts away (is “lost”)

Louis Comfort Tiffany: jewellery designer and director at Tiffany and Company 1902 – 1918. He was the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, the founder.

Lover’s Eye: A “lover’s eye” miniature is a painted miniature of the giver’s eye, presented to a loved one. Set in rings, brooches, pendants and lockets. A fashion during the years 1790 – 1820.

Lover’s Knot: A knot jewellery motif used since Roman times. Often given as an engagement, betrothal or friendship ring.

Lozenge: A lozenge shaped diamond is one that is rhomboid (or ‘diamond’ shaped) in outline.

Luckenbooth brooches: Scottisch heart shaped – or double hearts – brooches. They  originate from late medieval times and were popular again during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Ludo: A 1930s honeycomb motif bracelet designed by Van Clef & Arpels.

Luigi Podio: mosaicist for Castellani, 1851-1888.

Luster: Appearance of a pearls's surface when using reflected light.


Mabe: A pearl like gem created using a nacre dome, filler, and a mother-of-pearl backing.

Mabe Pearl: Cultured blister pearl

Macaroni: a longer version of a chatelaine.

Macle: triangular shaped twinned crystals of diamond rough.

Malachite: green stone with irregular bands of lighter and darker green.

Malleability: Ease with which metal can be shaped.

Majorica or Mallorca Pearls: brand name of pearl simulants based on glass produced on the Spanish island of Majorica at the Majorica S.A. company. Other faux-pearls are sometimes incorrectly referred to as ‘Mallorca Pearls’ or ‘Majorica’.

Machettes: Originally designed in Pairs, machettes are a style of bangle designed to look like feminine shirt cuffs.

Marcasite:  Iron ore or pyrite,  facetted into rose cuts and usually set into silver or pewter jewelry.

Marchak, Joseph: Important jeweler of the Russian Empire who later founded the Marchak jewellery company in Paris in 1920. Marchak closed its doors in 1988 but in 2005 was reopened by Marchak’s grandson.

Marcus & Co: American jewelry firm best known for their Art Nouveau jewelry and silver. 1892 – present.

Married jewel or Marriage: jewel of a specific period which was later altered with an add-on from the same or different period.

Marsh ( G.T. Marsh & Co.): San Francisco jewellery firm founded in 1876 by Gorge Turner Marsh. Known for Asian inspired Art Deco pieces.

Marquise Cut: A  boat-shaped stone

Matinee necklace: Necklace with a length of 60 cm (22-24 inches).

Matte finish:  an even texture on metal resulting in a non-reflective surface.

Mauboussin: a French jewellery firm known for Art Deco and Retro jewellery and objects. Though it began in 1827, the firm became internationally successful in the 1920’s.

Mazarins: a group of 18 diamonds owned by France.

Meershaum: a smooth porous clay-like material used to create faux-ivory.

Medallion: a type of pendant, usually tablet-like.

Mélange: Mixed diamond sizes weighing more than carat.

Mellerio:  Parisian family, jewelers and goldsmiths since 1613.

Mélée: diamonds weighing less than a carat (often used in pavé).

Mellon Bead: Hollow, ribbed bead. Popular in Etruscan era and during the 1930’s.

Memento Mori: Remember I will die. A reminder of death, used as a motif in jewellery particularly in the 1700’s.

Memorial jewel: Jewellery in memory of a loved one, frequently containing hair from that person.

Menuki: small decorative elements composed of mixed metals used to decorate traditional Samurai sword handles, often adapted to create jewelry.

Mexican Fire Opal: a variety of transparent red, orange or orangy-red opal. Usually lacks play-of-color.

Mexican Silver Standard: Higher silver alloy than sterling. (95% silver / 5% copper).

Micro Mosaic: Very small colored glass pieces (tessarae) inlaid into a design in glass or hardstone

Mikimoto: Inventor of Japanese Cultured Akoya pearls

Milanese Chain: Chain of interwoven rows of links which form a mesh

Milk and Honey Effect: When a honey-colored cats-eye is held toward a light with the chatoyant band at right angles to the light, the half of the stone close to the light will be a honey color and the other half will be milky.

Millefiori Glass: canes of colored glass that sliced to form patterns or mosaic effects

Millegrain: fine bead like embellishment around the edge of a metal collet

Mills, Ernestine: English Art Nouveau jewellery designer (female). 

Minaudière: A woman’s small hard vanity case or decorative bag, usually metal but sometimes wood

Mirror of Portugal: Celebrated diamond, stolen during the French Revolution and not seen since.

Mississippi River Pearls: Irregularly shaped pearls, usually elongated.

Mizpah: During the Victorian era, jewellery was often engraved with the word MIZPAH, meaning, “I will watch over thee”.

Moh’s Scale: relative hardness rating for minerals from 1 to 10.

Moire Ribbon: The type of ribbon (nearly always black) that was fashionable to wear around the neck, either alone or with a pendant, during the years 1910-1920. 

Mokume Gane: lamination of metal resulting in a woodgrain effect on the surface. Originally a Japanese technique for sword making.

Mollusk: invertebrate animal that is the source of all pearls.

Monel metal: alloy of nickel and copper with a very high melting point. Grey in colour.

Monogram: interweaving of two or more letters or other symbols into a decorative design.

Moonstone: a gemstone with a  blue-white sheen, reminiscent of the moon. A variety of Orthoclase Feldspar.

Mordant: a metal piece, sometimes jeweled, attached to a belt or on buckle motif jewellery on the opposite end from the buckle.

Moresque (or “moreske”): Moorish scroll work motif. Popular during Renaissance.

Moretto: (from Italian: moors head pl. = moretti) blackamoor jewelry motif.

Moss agate: translucent chalcedony stone with green moss-like inclusions (usually hornblende).

Mother of Pearl: Smooth iridescent interior lining of the shells of certain mollusks, used in jewellery and other object.

Mounting on moor: tinting of diamonds on the pavilion.

Mourning jewellery: traditionally worn for mourning, especially during Victorian era.

Muff chain: long chain worn around the neck with fasteners at the ends attached to ladies muffs.

Mughal Cut: Type of diamond cut.


Nacre: iridescent substance forming the outer layer of a pearl (or lining of a shell.) 

Naif: outer surface of a rough diamond. 

Nardi: Venetian jeweller famous for his blackamoor ('Moretti') motif brooches.

Nassak: celebrated Indian diamond, currently owned by Robert Mouawad.

Natural: a part of the naif (outer skin) of a diamond that remains after cutting.

Natural Pearl: Pearl formed without human intervention. 

Navette Cut: A gemstone shaped like into an oval with pointed ends.

Negligee: Long necklace that ends in irregular lengths with tassels or drops.

Neo-Renaissance: a 19th century style movement inspired by the Renaissance.  

Neo-Classical:  jewellery inspired by the Classical era, particularly prevalent from 1760 to 1830.

Niello: Metal inlay technique which uses a composition of metal sulfides to blacken areas.

Nephrite: variety of jade.

Nickel:  silver-white chemical sometime used in gold alloys. 

Nickel silver: Alloy of copper, nickel and zinc. Also called German silver.  Looks similar to silver but does not contain any silver. Sometimes contains trace amounts of tin, lead or other metal.  

Nicolo: Cameo or intaglio carved in onyx in such a way as to create a translucent bluish, grey image contrasting with the surround. 

Niello: (from Latin: Nigellus = "blackened"). A black metallic sulfur alloy used as a metal surface decoration technique similar to enamel.  

Niobium: soft grey metal used to create alloys. Known for low toxicity.

Noble metals: pure, non-oxidising, non-corrosive metals, including gold, silver and platinum.  


Objects de virtu: (or objects of vertu) small luxury items not classified as jewellery as they are not worn on the person. 

Objets trouvés:   found objects such as pebbles,feathers etc.

Obsidian: naturally occurring volcanic glass. 

Oiling:  gemstone treatment to disguise cracks. 

Old European Cuts: a diamond cut from  the later 19th and early 20th century.

Old Mine Cut: diamond cut popular during second half of the 18th and most of the 19th century.

Omega back:  a clip earring backing with creates a secure way to wear pierced earrings.

Onyx: name for black and white banded variety of chalcedony (often used in Cameo). 

Opal: Semi-precious stone with a rainbow-like iridescence.  There are three types: opalescent precious opals, yellow-red fire opals and the common opal.

Opaline glass:  milky white to blue gem imitation, often cut en cabochon. Popular in the Georgian era. Sometimes foilbacked, often to create a pink cast.  

Open back setting: setting which allows light to be transmitted through a gemstone. Not used much until the Victorian era. 

Openwork: metal piercing technique producing decorative motifs which allow the passage of light.

Opera length: necklace with a length of about 70 cm (26-36 inches).

Oreide: (French gold). An alloy made of 80% copper, 15% zinc and 5% tin used to imitate gold. 

Orient: Characteristic sheen of fine natural and cultured pearls.

Orlov (Orloff): Legendary diamond owned by the Kremlin. 

 Oscar and Nathan Heyman: American jeweler and manufacturer that first gained attention in the 1920’s.

Osmior: (or plator, or platinor). White faux- platinum metal (around 1918). Also a watch brand.

Ouroboros:  a snake biting its own tail. Popular as a jewellery motif in the 1840s particularly. 

Overtone: when one or two colors overlie a pearl's basic colour.

Oxidation: when metal (often silver) combines with oxygen over time to produce an oxide or antique finish. (Sometimes purposefully created with an 'oxide finish').


Paillonné: a 19th century enamelling technique utilising layers of translucent colored enamel on fine sheets of silver or gold. 

Paillons: Small pieces of metallic foil placed beneath enamel work to provide a glow, popular in Arts and Crafts jewellery.

Palladium: White precious metal belonging to the platinum group. It weighs a little more than half as much as platinum.

Pampilles: Cascade of pendant stones that appear like rain drops. Popular in Georgian jewelry.

Paraiba: a variety of tourmaline (neon blue and green).

Parure: Suite of matching jewelry usually four or more pieces, (necklace, bracelets, earrings, belt or brooch).

Passamenterie: Jewelry inspired by furniture trimmings

Paste: Leaded glass faceted to imitate diamonds or backed with colored foils to imitate other gemstones. Also known as strass after Frederic Strass who invented this method in the 18th Century

Patina: Discoloration that forms on metals such as silver and bronze, sometimes an intentional part of the design created with chemical

Pavé: A stone setting technique whereby the entire surface of a piece is closely set with small stones.

Pavilion: Lower part of a cut gemstone below the girdle.

Peacock: Tahitian cultured pearls with dark green-gray to blue-gray colour and a pinkish or  purple overtone.

Peau d'ange: (from French: angels skin) is a particular deep pink colour of certain corals.  

Pebble jewelry: refers to Scottish polished gemstone jewelry.

Pendaloque: Pear or tear drop shaped gem faceted as a brilliant cut, suspended from a smaller stone, usually separated by a bow or other motif.

Penannular: (means "almost closed"). Penannular brooches (often Celtic cloak pins) are ring shaped and not fully closed, sometimes with a pin. 

Pendant: a dangling ornament.

Pendeloque earrings: ( c. 1770's) earrings with a round or marquise shaped top, a bow motif and a drop.

Pennyweight: a unit of Troy weight for weighing precious metals.

Penthièvre: famous diamond on display in Chantilly France at the Musée Condé.

Peridot:  golden green gemstone, gem variety of the mineral forsterite.

Pewter: alloy of tin, lead, antimony and copper. 

Pigot Diamond: famous missing diamond.

Pin: a small decorative jewelry item designed to be affixed to a garment with a pinstem. 

Pinstem: finding on reverse of brooch that pierces garment. 

Pietra Dura: Mosaic of colourful semi-precious stones set into black marble or onyx. Also referred to as ‘hard stone mosaic’.

Pinchbeck: A gold simulant. Invented circa 1720 by Christopher Pinchbeck. Made of a mixture of copper and zinc.

Piqué: Tortoiseshell or horn inlaid with mother-of-pearl, silver or gold.

Pistachio: Tahitian cultured pearls with a yellowish greenish color.

Pistol gold:  gold alloyed with 895/1000 parts of gold.

Pitt-Regent: famous diamond, displayed in the Louvre.

Planishing: Metal hammering process to create a smoother finish.

Plaque: (from French: plate) a central, decorated plate of metal or other material.

Plaque de cou: central decorative element on a dog collar necklace (collier de chien). 

Platinum: Non-corrosive silver white metal, heavy with a high tensile strength.

Play-of-color:  the changing colours within an opal.

Pleochroism: Property of most doubly refractive colored minerals showing two or three different colors when viewed in different directions.

Plique à jour: Enamelling technique using transparent enamel and metal outlines, creating a stained glass window effect. Popular in the Art Nouveau era.

Poinçon: French for hallmark.  

Point cut: diamond cut. 

Pointillé: Decoration technique where motifs are created by dots or small points. 

Poissarde: (from French: "fishwife")  type of earring ( c. 1790-1810) with an elongated geometrical shape, sometimes gem set, often with  ornaments below each other.

Polychrome enamels: enamels with many colours.

Pomander: A pendant containing scent.

Porcelain: a fine ceramic material that can be used in jewellery. 

Post:  short length of straight wire attached to the back of an earring which passes through the earlobe.

Posy Ring: Ring engraved with a verse on the interior.

Prase: green colored quartz aggregate with inclusions.  

Precious: applies to gold, silver and platinum and certain rare minerals used in jewellery (diamond, ruby, emerald etc). The term 'semi-precious' is discouraged in modern usage. 

Princess cut: popular contemporary diamond cut. 

Princess length: Necklace of approximately 50 cm (17-19 inches) .

Promise ring: Ring to indicate commitment between two people

Prong: Collection of wires to secure gem in a setting. 

Provenance: documentation of an historical item's origins and travel through time.

Pseudo Hallmark: 18th, 19th and early 20th century marks which resemble legitimate marks or are completely made-up. 

Puzzle ring: ring made from rings linked together in such a way that they form a puzzle.

Pyrope: Bohemian garnet. 


Quahog: Pearl like gem created by clam (purple).

Quartz: Mineral often used as a gemstone and comes in a large variety of forms and colours. 

Quatrefoil: 4-lobed shape usually with 4 partial and intersecting circles. A common motif in jewellery. 

Queen Helmet's Shell: type of couch shell used in cameo. 

Queen of Holland: Celebrated diamond, currently owned by Robert Mouawad.


Radiant Cut: diamond cut. 

Ransch gold: Yellow copper alloy (brass) often used to create stage gold. 

Rebus: puzzle composed of images  which revealed the name of the owner when solved. Also used as a term for complex monograms. Often used on signet rings.

Refractive Index: Used to describe a property of gemstones, measured by a refractometer. (The ratio of the speed of light in air to it’s speed its speed in a substance.)

Regard: Acrostic jewellery with colored stones the first letters of which spell the word “regard”, (ruby, emerald, garnet, amethyst, ruby, diamond.) Victorian era.

Regent Diamond: celebrated diamond, displayed at the Louvre. 

Relief: design which sinks above or below the surface of the piece (i.e. cameo).

Repoussé: High relief design made by hammering, embossing or punching the reverse side of the metal.

Resilla:  head ornament with a fishnet-like design. (c. 16th and 17th century). 

Retro:  a jewelry style created between approximately 1935 and 1945 (up to 1950).

Reverse crystal intaglio: rock crystal cabochon with an intaglio carved on the back instead of the top.  

Rhodochrosite: transparent to translucent mineral with rose-pink color and undulating bands of gray, brown or white.

Rhodonite: translucent to opaque pink to red gemstone with patches or veins of black throughout.

Rhinestone: Faceted rock crystal beads, originally from the Rhine River.

Rice pearls: Chinese freshwater cultured pearls shaped and textured like rice grains.

Riker Brothers: Art Nouveau American jewellery firm notable for plique-a-jour pieces. 

Rivière: Choker necklace made of a line of graduated or equal size gemstones.

Rock Crystal: transparent colorless form of quartz.

Rosary ring: (aka decade ring) ring with ten bumps around the outside of the shank for use as a prayer counter.

Rose cut: A diamond cut. 

Rose gold: gold alloy with copper (results in reddish colour gold). 

Rose quartz: pink coloured quartz. 

Rosettes: floral designs built up out of several diamonds.

Rolled Gold: Type of gold-plating.

Roman gold: technique of matting or frosting followed by electroplating with pure gold. 

Rondelle: Pierced metal or gemstone strung between beads. (also known as a 'spacer'). 

Rope length: a necklace length between 100 and 120 cm (37-60 inches).

Rubel: American jeweler (John Rubel and Co and he also worked for Van Clef & Arpels). He is famous for his 1940’s angel and dancer brooches.

Ruby: precious gemstone, red in colour. 

Running dog: repetitive pattern of 'Greek Keys' motif. 

Ruolz: can refer to certain silver plated metals or a silver alloy invented by a chemist name Ruolz. 

Ruser (1947-1969): American jeweler known for 1950’s and 60’s figurative pieces featuring freshwater pearls.

Russian Gold Finish / Plating: A type of finish developed in the early 20th century that was actually a type of brass plating over a brass form. (Miriam Haskell used this finish a lot). 


Saint Esprit: (Holy Ghost). Dove shaped religious motif. 

Sancy: Famous diamond on display at the Louvre. 

Sapphire: Precious gemstone, blue in colour. 

Sard: A brown-orange, translucent to semi-translucent variety of chalcedony. 

Sardonyx: a brown and white banded variety of onyx often used for cameo and intaglio. 

Satin Finish:  a technique that results in pearl-like luster on metal instead of high polish.

Sautoir: Long necklace, falling below the waistline and ending with a tassel or pendant. Popular in the early 20th century.

Scarab: Egyptian beetle motif. 

Schlumberger (1907 - 1987): Tiffany jewellery designer. 

Schreiner, Henry:  costume jewellery designer for Trigere, Norell and Dior in the 1940s; began his own firm in 1951 (known for kite shaped crystals). 

Scintillation: the flashes of light reflected off the facts of a gem.  

Scottish Jewellery (aka Pebble Jewellery): Scottish themed jewellery popular in Victorian era. 

Scroll: Popular motif. 

Seal:  Engraved (intaglio) stone or metal used to create an impression on wax or clay.

Seaman Schepps: American jeweller known for  Retro and 1950’s style jewellery.

Seed pearl: very small pearls, usually less than a one-quarter grain in weight and smaller than 2mm in size. Generally not perfectly round.  

Setting: The place where a gemstone is attached to a piece of jewellery. 

Sévigné: A bow shaped bodice ornament set with gemstones.

Shagreen: Skin of a Chinese ray or shark, often stained green but can be other colors.

Shah Diamond: Famous diamond, held at the Kremlin. 

Shank: Hoop part of a ring.

Sheet Gold: very thin sheets of gold. 

Shield Cut: a diamond cut. 

Shreve & Company: San Francisco jeweller, known for Arts and Crafts designs. 

Shreve, Crump and Low: possibly the oldest jeweller in America (since 1796).

Signet ring: a ring with a monogram, coat of arms or other symbol.

Silesian Wirework or Ironworks: Silesia was a location in Prussia that was one of the producers of fine, black, iron wirework jewellery. It was very similar to Berlin Iron, but was generally more intricately meshed and flexible. 

Silver: white metallic element. 

Silver filled: silver plate not less than .925 and at least 1/20th of the entire piece. 

Silver-topped gold:  Silver backed by gold. Invented by James Cox, c. 1767.

Silver-plate:  base metal electroplated with fine silver. 

Single cut: variation on Table Cut (diamond cut). 

Skønvirke: ( "Beautiful Work.") Danish jewelry made in  Arts & Crafts style, 1900 to 1925  

Sleeper earring: usually a golden hoop earring of simple design, meant to keep the ear hole open. 

Slide: A decorative fastener which slides onto a chain or ribbon. (Slide bracelet). 

Smalti Filati: Opaque glass strips used to make tesserae for micro mosaics.  

Smoky Quartz: brown-black or grey quartz. Scottish term is: cairngorm.  

Snake chain: (Brazilian chain) articulated chain designed to move like a snake. (Since 1850). 

Snaps: 18th century earring fitting for women with none pierced earrings. They featured a hook that looped over the top of the ear. 

Soldering: Method of joining metal parts by melting another metal with a lower melting temperature at the joining point.

Solitaire: ("alone"). A ring with a single, solitary diamond.

Spacer: (rondelle) Smaller beads inserted between the main beads on a necklace. 

Spectroscope:  gemological instrument used for observing the spectra of gemstones.

Spinel: gemstone mineral group. 

Spratling: silversmith known as the 'Father of Mexican Silver'.

Spring ring: clasp with a spring mechanism which is not removable for soldering.

Stability: A gemstone's resistance and ability to withstand chemical attack and heat. 

Stamping Act: (USA amended in 1961) requires that gold or silver marked for quality must also be stamped with full name of maker. 

Stanhope: miniature convex lens, binocular or monocular, that can be used to view tiny photographic images. Victorian novelty jewellery made use of this technology. 

Star setting: gemstone placed into the center of an engraved star.

Station necklace: Necklace with beads at regular intervals.

Sterling: silver alloy of .925 parts of fine silver and .075 parts other metal (usually copper).   

Sterlé, Pierre: French jeweller famous for his 1940’s and 1950’s designs.

Stickpin: a long pin, worn vertically, with a decorative top. 

Stomacher: Large bodice ornament, usually triangular, worn between the neckline and the waistline. Also known as a ‘corsage ornament’.

Strap bracelet: a flat articulated "strap"design,  usually with decorative buckle.

Strap Necklace: Mesh chain with pendants suspended by a fringe of short, fine chain. Associated with Archaeological Revival.

Strap work: Decorative interlaced and overlapping bands resembling straps.

Strass: glass with high lead content. 

Stuart crystals: flat carved rock crystal, capping a gold wire cipher and/or crown, on a background of hair work. Produced in support of the monarchy after the execution of King Charles I in 1649.

Studs: earrings that have a post that passes through the earlobe and are secured behind. 

Styptor: an alloy of pewter and silver, used during the late 1930s and 1940s often for minaudieres. 

Suffragist (Suffragette) Jewellery:  worn to show support of the women's suffrage movement, often had the colours green, white and violet. 

Suite: Set of jewellery (see parure). 

Swag: Motif of foliage, fruit and flowers.

Swiss cut: diamond cut. 

Swivel catch: jewellery safety catch, oval and tapered on one end and can rotate around a lateral axis.

Sévigné: is a type of bow brooch which was popular in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Surete (sûreté): stick pin with a fixed ornament on one end and a detachable ornament on the other. c. 1920. (See also jabot pin). 


Table cut: a diamond cut.

Table: largest facet on the crown of a gemstone. 

Taille d'epargné: (black enamel tracery).  A  variation of champlevé enamel. 

Tanzanite: purplish blue gemstone variety of zoisite.

Tassie: a paste or glass copy of a cameo or intaglio, created by James Tassie (1735-1799).

Taxco: main center for silver jewelry production in Mexico.

Taylor-Burton Diamond: diamond previously owned by Elizabeth Taylor. 

Tendril: Popular Motif (often used with cannetille).   

Terminal:  Ornate ends of a necklace or bangle often decorated with heads of a lion, dragon, goat etc.

Tennis bracelet: bracelet with links set with gemstones (usually diamonds) in a straight line. 

Tesserae: (plural for tessera: Latin for having 4 corners) Small square or rectangle stones of glass, marble or gemstone used in micro-mosaics. 

Three-quarter-cut: Cultured pearl with portion removed.

Tiara: A crown-like head ornament.

Tiffany & Co: Renowned American jewellers, opened in 1837, New York. 

Tiffany Setting: a gemstone setting created by Tiffany & Co. 

Tiger's-eye:  a chatoyant quartz, brownish yellow to brown or reddish brown.

Tillander: (1860 - present). Finnish jewellers. 

Tin-cup: Necklace, particularly pearl, where the gems or beads are separated by lengths of chain. 

Titanium: low density, silver coloured chemical element (a metal). 

Tombak (in French: Tombac): a copper alloy  with maximum 9% zinc. (German word for Pinchbeck.)

Tooth Test: Method for detecting pearl imitations.

Topaz: A gemstone which can be a wide range of colours, including colourless.

Torre del Greco: area in Italy famous for cameo. 

Torsade: Twisted strands of pearls or beads creating a necklace and (less often) a bangle.

Tortoise shell: popular material in Victorian jewellery, can be mottled brown, yellow, black or white. 

Touchstone: hard, black, smooth stone used to test gold or silver purity.  

Tour à réduire: technique that allowed a large scale, detailed model or sculpture to be duplicated as a smaller object. 

Tourmaline: a large and varied. family of minerals.

Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin: American jewellers, began in 1920s, ended in 1971. 

Trapeze Cut: Gemstone cut – equilateral triangle with flat top.

Trapiche: emerald with central green area radiating six green arms. 

Trefoil: decorative element composed of three circular elements linked together.

Tremblant: Jewelry with a trembling effect created by stiff wires that move (en tremblant).

Tricolor gold: when three colours of gold are used together. 

Trifari: Costume jewellery company, founded in 1910 (Trifari and Trifari) in Ellis Island by Italian Gustavo Trifari. 

Trinity ring: invented by Cartier in 1924, consists of 3 interwoven rings.

Triplet: a composite stone created  out of three parts.

Troy ounce: unit of measure for precious metal.

Tube setting: a setting create from a tube which is the same inside diameters as the diameter of the stone.  

Tubogas: A flexible tubular chain (also known as a ‘gas pipe’).

Turnau (Turnov): town in the Czech Republic, traditional home of bohemian garnets.

Turquoise: blue, blue-green or grey-green opaque gemstone.

Tutti Frutti: Jewelry set with multi colored gems often with carved leaves, flowers and berries in a basket motif.

Twin or triplet pearls: Two or three cultured pearls that grow together.


Ultrim: brand name for an alloy substituting karat gold by the Herff Jones Co. in Indianapolis.

Uniform Strand: A necklace featuring gems that are very nearly the same size.



Van Cleef & Arpels: (1898 - present) Parisian jeweller, known for Art Deco designs. 

Vanitas: ('remember you must die') aka Memento Mori. During the 16th and 17th century, symbols of death were worn as a reminder of immortality. 

Vanity case: (also known by the French minaudière) A small decorative container to carry cosmetics.

Vauxhall glass: a gem substitute made since 1700 and  revived in the mid nineteenth century, in Vauxhall, London. Popular colours were black, wine red or green. 

Venetian Chain: (or Victorian chain). Chain of interlocking links of flat folded metal.

Verdigris: blue-green patina. 

Verdura: Chanel jeweller. 

Verneuil, Auguste Victor Louis (1856-1913): father of gemstone synthesis. 

Vermeil:  Gold-plated or gilded silver.

Vesica piscis: (from Latin: fish bladder). Almond shape created by two overlapping circles. Popular motif in the late Gothic period. 

Vever: (1821 - 1982).   French jewellery house famous for Art Nouveau designs.

Vinaigrette:  a container holding a sponge saturated with sweet smelling perfumes and oils, held under the nose to mask unpleasant smells. 

Vitreous: glass-like luster.

Vulcanite: rubber which has been heat processed with sulphur to create a more durable material. Black in colour, it was popular in Victorian mourning jewellery. 


Waxy luster:   luster observed on Jadeite and Nephrite.  

Webb, David: American jeweller best known for 1960's sculptural work. 

Weiss, Albert: Costume jewellery designer / manufacturer (previously designed for Coro before starting his own company in 1942). 

Whiplash Curve or Motif:  Flowing lines that bend and curve in a distinctive way, very important in Art Nouveau designs.

White gold: an alloy of gold with copper, zinc and nickel so it looks like silver or platinum.  In contemporary pieces, the nickel might be replaced by a platinum family metal due to allergic reactions.

White metal: alloy of tin, antimony and copper, used as base for electroplated jewelry.

Wiener Werkstätt: (1903 - 1932).  German Jugendstil / Arts and Crafts movement jewellers.  

Winston, Harry: (1896-1976). American diamond dealer and jeweler nicknamed “The King of Diamonds",

Wire work:  fine wires on a jewelry piece.  (Etruscan jewellery often has wire work). Can also refer to fine piercing. 

Wittelsbach: rare blue diamond, probably owned by Emir of Qatar. 

Wolfers, Philippe: (1858 - 1929.) Belgium Art Nouveau jeweller. (Femme Fatale)


Yard, Raymond: (1922 to Present Day). New York jeweller. 

Yellow gold: gold alloy, usually a mixture of gold, silver, copper and sometimes zinc.  


Zinc: bluish-white brittle metal used mainly to alloy other metals. 

Zolotas: jewellery house founded in Athens in 1895, known for designs inspired by Greek antiquity.

Copyright © 2017 by Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder & Bloom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this website's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder & Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.