From Ancient times through to the Middle Ages Opals were sacred. Opals became the quintessential Art Nouveau gemstone, providing the foundation for the first mass production of jewellery at the dawn of the twentieth century.
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Accessories: Small requisites carried in people's pockets and handbags, such as combs, fans, money clips, cigar and cigarette cases, cigar prickers and cutters, cigarette holders, lighters, pocket knives, walking-stick knobs, pill boxes, boxes for saccharine tablets etc.
Acrostic Jewellery: An Akrostikon was an ancient Greek verse in which the initial letters of each line made a word. In the 18th and 19th centuries such acrostic poems became fashionable again, so much so that jewellery was made up with rows or circles of stones, the initials of which formed a word. Ingrid Queen mother of Denmark has two such bracelets which belonged to Josephine Beauharnais, later Napoleon's mistress, these contain Opals amongst other gems.
Aglet: Aka. Aiglet from Old French Aguillette is a small plastic or metal sheath typically found on each end of a shoelace, cord or drawstring. An aglet keeps the fibers of the lace or cord from unraveling, plus its firmness and narrow profile makes it both easier to hold and easier to feed through the eyelets, lugs, or other lacing guides. There is a subtle distinction between aglets, which are generally functional, and aiguillettes, which are generally decorative. The latter are usually seen at the end of decorative cords such as bolo ties and the identically named aiguillettes of military dress uniforms. During the Tudor and Stuart periods (1485-1714) the female nobility wore cords tied in bows ending in pairs of aglets or these silver, silver-gilt or gold tags linked seams & sashes together. Although none have survived they can be seen in portraits which document their use on hats, trimming sleeves & bodices, supplementing a set of buttons. Queen Anne wore large aglets shaped in squares, pyramids or elongated triangles enamelled with crescents or leaves, generously studded with rubies, Opals & pearls.
Aigrette: A gold or silver hat ornament to support a feather, or made in the form of a jewelled feather or sometimes a brooch supporting a jewelled feather. Shaped like the tufted crest, or head-plumes of the egret (from the French for egret, or lesser white heron), it was often almost entirely set with small gemstones, and sometimes also enamelled; it might be further adorned with light, vibrating, vertical metal stalks. A slide or vertical pin was occasionally provided, enabling the ornament to be worn in the hair or attached to a woman’s headdress. Aigrettes were in use from the 17th century until the late 18th, and again became popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Aigrettes, studded with diamonds, rubies and opals also decorated the turbans of Ottoman sultans or the ceremonial chamfron of their horses. Several of these aigrettes are on display in the Treasury of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey. An aigrette is also worn by certain ranks of officers in the French army.
Amphora: A Greek jar or vase having an egg-shaped body and a narrow cylindrical neck, usually with two handles joined to the body at the neck and shoulder of the vase. A recurrent theme of jewellery design.
Amulet: An object attributed with magical value worn on a person. An amulet (according to Pliny meaning "an object that protects a person from trouble"), is a close cousin of the talisman (from Arabic "tilasm", ultimately from Greek "telesma" or from the Greek word "talein" which means "to initiate into the mysteries.") consists of any object intended to bring good luck and/or protection to its owner. Potential amulets include: gems or simple stones, statues, coins, drawings, pendants, rings, plants, animals, etc.; even words said in certain occasions for example: "vade retro satana" (Latin for "go back, Satan"), to repel evil or bad luck.Since the Middle Ages in Western culture pentagrams have had a reputation as amulets to attract money, love, etc; and to protect against envy, misfortune, and other disgraces. Other symbols, such as magic squares, angelic signatures and qabalistic signs have been employed to a variety of ends, both benign and malicious. In antiquity and the Middle Ages, most Jews, Christians and Muslims in the Orient believed in the protective and healing power of amulets and talismans. Talismans used by these peoples can be broken down into three main categories. The first are the types carried or worn on the body. The second version of a talisman is one which is hung upon the bed of an infirm person. The last classification of talisman is one with medicinal qualities. This latter category of magical item can be further divided into external and internal. In the former, one could, for example, place a magical amulet in a bath. The power of the amulet would be understood to be transmitted to the water, and thus to the bather. In the latter, magical inscriptions would be written or inscribed onto food, which was then boiled. The resulting broth, when consumed, would transfer the healing and magical qualities engraved on the food into the consumer.
Anklet: Anklet (with Toe Rings). A feminine ornament from the orient, consisting of a chain that encircles the ankle.
Annealing: The process of heating metal and then cooling it to render the metal more pliable.
Archaeological Jewellery: Refers to a style of jewellery made in the 19th century, inspired by the Etruscan archaeological discoveries and especially such pieces made by Pio Fortunato Castellani and Carlo Giuliano, the latter while employed in London by Robert Philips. Such jewellery was also made by John Brogden.
Armband: Aka. Armlet , a band worn around the arm for decoration.
Art Deco Jewellery: The Art Deco period, 1920-1935, followed the Edwardian era and the Art Nouveau movement. Again, diamonds and platinum predominated. The objective of the early 1920s design was to maintain a practical, functionality that was often thin, flat and yet, convertible eg. a necklace could break down into two bracelets. Deco jewellery was still monochromatic in nature until the mid 1920s. A colour explosion occurred in the mid 1920s due in part to a combination of elements; first, a reaction to the stark monochromatic trend of the 20th century; second, the opening of trade with the Orient; and third, cultural influences, such as the ballet and discovery of King Tutankhamen's tomb. The Egyptian Revival period set off by Tut-mania as the strong geometry and clean lines of ancient Egyptian architecture meld beautifully with the sophisticated qualities of the Art Deco. Gemstones such as ruby, emerald, sapphire, Opal and turquoise, flourished as diamond accents. Art Deco saw the introduction of gemstones, such as rock crystal quartz, jadeite, synthetic stones and black onyx, rise to the forefront of jewellery design. The Wall Street crash of 1929 greatly impacted the outlook of the time, jewellery became more geometric. Bracelets, brooches, clips and bandeaus, which replaced tiaras, became the most popular jewellery forms in the 1930s.
Art Nouveau Jewellery: A period of design between the 1890’s and 1910; the jewellery is characterized by flowing lines, unusual interpretations of nature, the female form with long flowing hair and the utilization of unusual gemstones (eg. onyx, coral, jade, chrysoprase, horn, jasper, carnelian and opal. White opals were inlayed in intricate designs like the wings of insects. Navete shaped crystal and boulder opals were popular in rings. EnameIing was revived and new techniques flourished during the period.
Arts & Crafts Jewellery: The Arts & Craft movement, took place predominantly in Great Britain, France and the United States from 1890-1920. The general motivation behind the movement was a rebellion against mass production, each country had its own specific concern, they shared common interests in the simplification of line and form and the use of stylized organic motifs. Generally, the artisans worked with inexpensive materials and preferred silver to gold, set with enamel and semi-precious gemstones amongst which Opal was highly favoured. They revived both the idealism and technique from the medieval and Renaissance guilds. Individual craftsmanship was of the utmost importance. Favourite motifs include celtic themes fashioned into brooches, hatpins, and pendants. The intrinsic value of the materials was secondary to the design and workmanship. However, the true proponents of this movement didn't realize the limitations created by the very nature of their production style. The jewellery was labour intensive, and they could not produce sufficient quantities. This, in turn, limited their clientele to the wealthy class who could afford their designs.
Assay: In the past the assay was conducted by using the touchstone method but currently it is mostly done using X-ray Fluorescence (XRF). The most exact method of assay is known as fire assay or cupellation. This method is better suited for the assay of bullion and gold stocks rather than works or art or jewelry because it is a completely destructive method.
Asterism: An optical phenomenon of a star-like figure that is seen in some gemstones and crystals by reflected light or transmitted light. An example is the 6-ray (sometimes 4-ray, 8-ray or 12-ray) star-like figure that is observed by reflected light in some gemstones (especially the star ruby and the star sapphire) when cut en cabochon in such a manner that the greatest thickness of the stone lies parallel to the vertical axis of the crystal. The effect is caused by the reflection of light from a series of microscopic fibrous inclusions or small canals lying within the crystal parallel to the prism faces and arranged in three directions that intersect, usually at angles of 60°. Such stars are also seen in some other gemstones, e.g. beryl, almandine, star opal, rose quartz. A stone showing asterism is known as an Asteria or a 'star stone'.
Atelier: French word pertaining to an artist's studio or workroom. Whereby a principal master (jeweller) and a number of assistants and apprentices work together producing pieces that are purveyed in the master's name. This was the standard for European artists from the Middle Ages to the 18th or 19th century and common elsewhere (eg. Tiffany in the US and Faberge in Russia).
Bail: The part of the pendant that goes over the chain is the bail. If it has two loops, it is a "rabbit ear." Most bails are attached to a metal pendant, but some connect directly to a stone. Peg bails are glued in a hole in the top of a stone. They are used primarily for inexpensive, tumbled gems. Another type of bail is designed to be glued on the back of a cabochon. It keeps the cost down, (compared to a bezel setting) and does not distract from the gem. Sometimes it is the most practical finding to use, if drilling a hole in the stone is undesirable.
Bandeau: Head ornament in the form of a narrow flexible band worn low, encircling the forehead. Typically gem-set, with a tie closure at the back of the head. The Bandeau was as iconic head ornament of the 1920’s, which in France, completely replaced tiaras.
Bangle: A non-flexible arm ornament (circular or oval) that slips over the hand or is hinged and closed by a clasp, worn on the wrist or the lower or upper arm (sometimes several together). Bangles have been made in many regions, periods, styles and sizes, with or without decoration, and of gold, silver, coral and amber. Made from the Middle La Tène Period (300 BC-100BC) of the Iron Age onward until today, especially in Africa and Asia. The Romans made bangles of glass, clear or variously coloured.
Bar Setting: Bar settings are usually made of platinum or white gold. The shiny, angled surfaces enhance the gem as well as making it appear larger. They are used mostly in men's rings.
Barette: A device to hold the hair in place, worn at the sides or the back of the head, and held to the hair by a clip or other manner.
Baroque: Baroque shapes or baroque jewellery.
Bas-taille: Meaning 'low-cut' in French. An enameling technique in which translucent enamels are introduced over a metal ground plate which has been chased, engraved or otherwise worked to create a modelled surface. The enamel colour varies in intensity with the depth of the cutting.
Bas-relief: When the relief or projection from a surface is low or shallow. Bas-relief, French for "low relief", from basso rilievo in Italian, denoting a sculpture which is not free-standing or in the round, but has a background from which the main elements of the composition project. Bas-relief is very suitable for scenes with many figures and other elements such as a landscape or architectural background. A bas-relief may use any medium or technique of sculpture, but stone carving and metal casting are the traditional ones. If more than 50% of most rounded or cylindrical elements such as heads and legs project from the background, a sculpture is usually considered to be "alto relievo" or "high relief", although the degree of relief within both types may vary across a composition, with prominent features such as faces in higher relief.
Beads: Beads are made from gemstones, metal, glass, wood, and shell. Pearls are the most popular ingredients for strung necklaces. Opals make excellent feature beads and can be interspersed with metal and other gemstone beads, they may be made of Boulder Opal Matrix, Black Opal, White Opal and Treated Matrix . Beads are described by the material they are made from, their shape, and size. For example, you might order 12 mm, Crystal Opal lentils, round, oval or faceted rondelles.
Bell Push: A button that is pushed to ring a bell, usually to summon servants. Often highly decorative eg. Faberge's Opal elephant bell push.
Belle Époque: Also referred to as the the Victorian period, a period in European social history that began during the late 19th century and lasted until World War I. The quiet hints and subtle effects of semi-precious stones like aquamarine, cats-eye, alexandrite, moonstone and Australian or Mexican Opals were appropriate to the light, open designs of this time.
Belly Ring: Opal can highlight such navel ornaments which are often set with small bright gems.
Belt Buckle: Western style belts come with buckles, tips, and keepers. These can be all metal, use cabochons, or be inlaid with stone chips.
Bench Drawings: The technical drawing term for Design Drawings. These detailed drawings are used to communicate all aspects of the design.
Bezel Setting: The oldest and most basic gemstone setting is the "Bezel", derived from the French word "Biseau" meaning chamfered. Used primarily to set cabochons, a vertical strip of metal is formed to encircle the stone, then soldered to a metal base. The stone is secured by pushing and bending the bezel towards the stone using a burnishing tool.Though stronger than prong settings, standard bezels do not allow as much light into the gem. Most bezels are hand made and are generally used for cabochons. Bezels can be plain or fancy and an Open-Bezel may be used to allow more light to penetrate the stone.
Bijouterie: The French term for jewellery in general.
Bijoux: French term for Costume Jewellery.
Body Jewellery: Belly ring, Nipple Ring, Nipple Stud, Clitoris Ring, Clitoris Stud.
Bolo Tie: Bolos feature a fancy metal centerpiece, a loose stone, or a bezel set stone. They require a cord, usually braided leather, a back, and tips. Western wear also includes collar tips, boot tip and heal decorations.
Bookmarks: Bejewelled have been
Boxes: Cigar boxes, jewellery boxes and vanity cases.
Bracelet: penannular bracelet, line bracelet, link bracelet, snake or serpent bracelet, charm bracelet.
Breast Ornament: Breastplate.
Brilliance: A general feature of gems, determined in Opal by the intensity of light emerging, the presence of potch, colour and its type and proportion, and the amount of ‘milkiness’ in the Opal.
Briolette: A drop cut gem whose entire surface is cut into triangular facets.
Brooch: penannular brooch, heart brooch, name brooch, bar brooch.
Buckle: Often set with gems ornamental buckles may be for belts or shoes.
Button: A small object usually used to fasten together two sides of a garment. Buttons were used in ancient Greece and Rome, but were employed more generally in southern Europe in the 13th century becoming popular by the 14 thcentury. By the 16th and 17th century they had come to be used almost exclusively by men and were made in highly decorative styles. Sometimes buttons may be carved from stone, and made of gold and silver set with gemstones, cameos or enamelling. Button Covers, Gemstone Button.
Calibré: French for calibrated. Gemstones cut to fit a specific setting, often in rows or groups.
Cameo: Originally a gemstone having layers of different colours (e.g. sardonyx, cornelian and boulder opal) carved to show in low relief the design and background in contrasting colours. The earliest carved coloured stones, date to several thousand BC Sumeria, and were merely beads in cabochon form and sometimes stones carved in intaglio for use as seals. As far back as the 6th century BC stone cameos of great artistry were made in ancient Greece. This carving technique features a raised (positive) relief image and as opposed to the 'intaglio' method which has a negative relief image. Cameos were populary worn as jewelry by the Romans and a few rare Opal cameos are attributable to the period. The art continued to a reduced extent throughout the Middle Ages and became very popular during the Renaissance when master gem-engravers worked for prominent collectors such as Lorenzo de' Medici. Thereafter, with intervening periods of more or less fashionability, cameos have been made and mounted in articles of jewelry, e.g. brooches, pendants, and especially finger rings. The leading artist of the 19th century was Tommaso Saulini. In later periods cameos were also carved in other hard materials, e.g. rock crystal, coral, jet, shell, etc. Wilhelm Schmidt, carved his cameos from the newly discovered Boulder Opal variety found in Queensland Australia in the early 1870’s. He had invented a process of cutting Opal cameos in such a way as to utilize the matrix of the rough Opal for the ground colour. Schmidt’s Opal cameos were exhibited in the 1878 Paris Exhibition by John Brogden and received a gold medal.
Cannetille: French meaning flat twisted braid (of gold or silver). Decorative technique: twisted wire filigree forming cone-shaped scrolls or spirals, usually as part of a setting or framework for gemstones.
Carat: A Troy measurement for weighing gemstones, derived from the Greek word Keration. There are 155 carats in a Troy Ounce. One carat equals 0.2 grams (5carats=1gram). This weight measure is used for most cut gemstones, including all varieties of Opal. Rough Opal, particularly of the White Opal variety is assessed and sold by the Troy Ounce.
Casting: Jewellery is composed of many parts. Sometimes they are cast as a single piece, other times they are assembled from separate components. Sand Casting.
Chain Tag : A small piece of metal with the jeweller’s name engraved.
Chains: Chains are described by three factors. The metal they are made from, the style, and width. For example, you can order a seven millimeter; curb chain in 14 karat gold. Chains come both in bulk and as finished necklaces. Cable, Box, Curb, Rope, Double Rope, Key chains, watch fobs and Herringbone to name a few.
Chalice: A goblet or standing cup used to hold sacramental wine during the Eucharist, often made of precious metal, richly enamelled and jewelled. In ancient Roman a calix was a drinking vessel consisting of a bowl fixed atop a stand, and was in common use at banquets. A Chalice at the Schatzkammer in Vienna is carved out of Matrix Opal from Dubnik, Paulding Farnham of Tiffany & Co. made several in various styles out of silver which are decoratively set with Opals. This chalice donated to Saint Andrews Anglican Church in Longreach Queensland in 1919 is set with 5 oval shaped Boulder Opals from Jundah in its base.
Champlevé: French term for ‘raised field’, Technique of enameling in which enamel is placed in stamped or cut recesses of a metal ground plate. Also referred to as flattened enamel work.
Chandelier Earrings: Earrings with dangles that hang from a base, sometimes on multiple levels. They can range from elegant to funky in style.
Channel Setting: Primarily used to set faceted gemstones that are straight-sided, or quadrilateral in shape. (baguette or princess cut). The stones are aligned in a channel, sitting girdle-to-girdle. step-cut stones can rest on a track giving a "keystone" effect. Matching stones that are cut to a uniform size for use in channel settings are "calibré-cut," as in "Eternity Rings.” While beautiful, they are prone to loosing gems, a small bend in a ring may cause the stones to pop out.
Chasing: The technique of decorating by handwork the front surface of metalware, by indenting it and so raising the design, without cutting into it (as in engraving), using a chasing tool and a chasing hammer. It is done either to enhance repousse work by sharpening the relief decoration or as independent decoration by beating down the metal to form a relief pattern. When used to make a design on a flat surface, rather than to develop relief work, it is called 'flat chasing'. It is also used to remove surface roughness resulting from use of the cire perdue process.The piece of metal being worked is laid on a bed of pitch or, for hard metal, of wood or steel. It has been done since antiquity. During the 18th century the French are said to have excelled in such work, but there are also good English examples.Whilst repoussé is used to work on the reverse of the metal to form a raised design on the front, chasing is used to refine the design on the front of the work by sinking the metal. The term chasing is derived from the noun "chase", which refers to a groove, furrow, channel or indentation. The adjectival form is "chased work". The techniques of repoussé and chasing utilise the plasticity quality of metal, forming shapes by degrees. There is no loss of metal in the process, as it is stretched locally and the surface remains continuous. The process is relatively slow, but a maximum of form is achieved, with one continuous surface of sheet metal of essentially the same thickness. Direct contact of the tools used is usually visible in the result, a condition not always apparent in other techniques, where all evidence of the working method is eliminated.
Chatelaine: A girdle (belt) or decorative hook worn at the waist, from which various implements for daily use are suspended on hooks or chains.
Cigarette Case: Often exquistely designed and handcrafted, cases were both a valuable luxury and practical necessity in which a gentleman could properly store and display his cigarettes. Differing in shape size and materials each has its own history and personality, revealed in the hallmarks of the makers, the crests, monograms and initials of the owners. was prolific in the creation of objects of fantasy and especially cigarette cases, meticulously constructed of gold and silver and often adorned with precious gems including Opals, as is attested to by the collection of John Traina of San Francisco.
Choker: A choker is a short narrow necklace that is worn close to a woman's throat, sometimes having a pendant attached. A necklace approximately 15 inches long.
Clasp: Unless tied together, necklaces are joined by clasps. There are nearly as many styles of clasps as there are necklaces. The size and quality should compliment the necklace. Fine jewelry will have fancy clasps. Many incorporate filigree and some even have precious gems. The strongest type clasp is a lobster claw. They have massive amounts of gold for maximum strength. Another mechanical clasp is the spring ring. These are lightweight and inexpensive. Unfortunately, they are not as strong as other clasps, so you will usually find them on less valuable pieces.The simplest clasp is a just a hook and eye made from wire. These are usually hand made. While simple, they are very strong and are a nice compliment to some designs.
Claw Setting: Whereby a series of metal prongs (called claws) holds a stone securely in a setting (the claws grips the stone just above the girdle of the stone), with no metal directly under the stone (it is an open setting). A claw setting lets light in under the stone, so this type of setting is usually used for transparent, faceted stones. The modern-day claw setting became popular in the 1800's.
Cliquet: French term for 'catch'. A type of pin having two ornamental terminals, one at each end of a pin stem, the pointed end having a snap closure or other mechanism for attachment. When worn, the pin stem is invisible. A.k.a. jabot pin, sûreté.
Closed Setting: Whereby the back of the stone is not exposed (the metal is not cut away behind the stone).
Cloisonné: Meaning 'partitioned off' in French. Enamelling technique in which enamels are contained in cells of metal. Designs are formed with metal wires or strips mounted on a metal ground plate and filled with opaque enamel.
Cluster Setting: Cluster setting come a variety of shapes, with anywhere from three to a dozen stones. They are used in almost every type of jewelry. They found on rings, make earring heads, dangles, etc.
Cocktail Ring: Cocktail rings are huge-literally. In its heyday, the cocktail ring was worn by stylish women who drank equally stylish cocktails at lavish cocktail parties. This all-time favourite has seen a return to favour in the late 00's - Bring on the bling in colourful Opal Cocktail rings.
Collet: Round band of metal encircling a gemstone to hold it in place.
Collier: From French collier de chien aka. Dog Collar ; a wide necklace encircling the neck from throat to chin. Cordelière Bandolier .
Composite Stone: Eg. Doublets and Triplets. Sometimes called an 'assembled stone', these are man-made out of two or three layers of gemstone or glass that are cemented or fused together (as with turquoise) so as to appear as a whole natural stone. The purpose is to provide a more attractive colour from a thin slice or a protective top surface (as with opal doublets and triplets). These can be easily identified when loose by a revealing ring around the girdle, however when in a setting may require microscopic examination to locate adhesive bubbles.
Concoidal Fracture: A glass-like fracture.
Contemporary Jewellery: Independant and innovative jewellery making by studio goldsmiths. Each piece makes its own design statement, not just in materials used, but in style and workmanship. Production is limited and distribution often depends on craft shows and galleries. Unlike mass produced jewellery there is often a relationship between creator and customer. Works are less affected by fashion trends than the aesthetic passions of the designers. Boulder Opals are favoured gemstones amongst contemporary jewellers who also favour textures and surface treatments in their metalwork.
Cords: Silk is the traditional thread for beaded necklaces, but modern polyesters are now more popular because they have a longer lifespan. Tiger tail is a plastic coated wire, which is used with heavy beads. Occasionally other materials are used, including neoprene (synthetic rubber), leather, velvet, and hemp. Stingray, Kangaroo and Crocodile leather.
Cornucopia: The cornucopia (Latin) is a symbol of food and abundance dating back to the 5th century BC, also referred to as horn of plenty, Horn of Amalthea, and harvest cone. In Greek mythology, Amalthea raised Zeus on the milk of a goat. In return the god gave Amalthea the goat's horn. It had the power to give to the person in possession of it whatever he or she wished for. This gave rise to the legend of the cornucopia. The original depictions were of the goat's horn filled with fruits and flowers: deities, especially Fortuna, would be depicted with the horn of plenty. The cornucopia was also a symbol for a woman's fertility.
Corona Clausa: The crown is a corona clausa (closed model) of gold consisting of a circlet.
Costume Jewellery: Articles of inexpensive jewellery, originally pieces suitable for a particular type of costume but now applied to two classes of jewellery: 1.Gem-set imitations, which resemble precious jewelry but are made of silver or pinchbeck and set with substitutes for gemstones, e.g. marcasite, paste or synthetic gemstones; although usually the stones are cemented, some are hand-set. 2. Articles made of base metal and imitation gemstones, being intended as a novelty and to meet an ephemeral fashion trend. Such latter articles are today usually purchasable at various types of shops other than jewellers; although much is mass-produced, some well-designed and rather costly examples have been created by leading couturiers, such as Chanel and Christian Dior.The introduction of costume jewellery occurred in the 18th century, but its development and extended use were during the 19th century, especially in England when mass-produced jewellery was made by the Birmingham factory of Matthew Boulton. When such pieces are made of materials of reasonable value and designed and made with skill and artistry, they may be considered to be within the meaning of the term 'jewellery'. Not the same as Junk Jewellery.
Crown: Any of various types of headgear worn by a monarch as a symbol of sovereignty, often made of precious metal and ornamented with valuable gems. Similar ornamental headgear worn by a person designated king or queen in a pageant or contest. An ornamental wreath or circlet for the head, conferred by the ancients as a mark of victory, athletic or military distinction, etc.
Crucifix: An image of Christ crucified on a cross, is for Catholic Christians the main symbol of their religion, but most Protestant Christians prefer to use a cross without the body of Christ.
Cuff: A type of wide band bracelet that has no closure. It is solid and of low flexibility.
Cufflinks: A device that is employed to join temporarily the two ends of a cuff around the wearer's wrist without overlapping the cuff ends, being inserted through two buttonholes. Such articles are made of gold, silver or other materials, in many ornamental styles, shapes and sizes; luxury examples are ornamented with gemstones, enamelling, engraving, or relief decoration. Cuff links are made in several forms:with a short chain or loose link connecting the head with the rear head or back-plate, being attached to each by a 'jump ring' with a back-plate of lentoid form that is joined by a fixed bar to the ornamented head with a bar fixed vertically to the head and attached to a swivel bar that slides through the buttonholes and is then twisted into a securing horizontal positionwith a chain that is coiled inside the head and that uncoils as the back-plate is passed through the buttonholes, to afford a variable space with two separate pieces, one having a small boss and the other a corresponding depression, so that they can be pressed together as a 'press-stud'. Some cuff links have a decorative piece at each end that is too large to pass through a button hole; these 'double cuff links' are joined by a detachable link with a spring-like fastener. Cuff links are generally made in identical pairs, but some are of two different but harmonious designs.
Cutlery: Utensils such as knives, forks, spoons, used at the table for serving and eating food. These may be individual sets or unique items, like cake servers etc. These are usually made of silver or gold plate and may have areas to engrave and set with stones.
Damascening: The technical art of encrusting gold, silver, or copper wire on the surface of iron, steel, bronze, or brass. A narrow undercut is made in the surface of the metal with a chisel and the wire forced into the undercut by means of a hammer. Named after the city of Damascus which was celebrated for its damascened wares as early as the 12th century. The armourers of northern Italy used damascening to decorate their products during the 16th century. In the 19th century the art underwent a revival in Europe, particularly in France and Spain.
Dangles: Dangles are pieces that hang and swing. They are used with earrings, necklaces, brooches, and occasionally bracelets and finger rings. Dangles are made several ways. Any gemstone head can be used as a dangle. A jump ring, or a circle of metal, attaches them to the main piece. Strips of smaller gems can be used to connect the gem to the earring. Another method is to put beads on a head pin. The end is bent to attach to the main piece.
Decorations: Medals and Badges.
Demantoid: The rarest and most valuable of the garnets. Its name means diamond -like lustre, and it occurs in green to emerald green.
Demi Parure: A small matching set of jewellery consisting usually of two matched pieces eg. a brooch and earrings, or a necklace and bracelet, etc.
Demi-Toilette: A French term from the late 1800s, with respect to womens clothing & dress. Dress that is somewhat elaborate but less so than full dress, worn with sleeves set high on the shoulders. Would be worn with a demi parure.
Devotional Jewellery: Various articles of jewellery associated by use and decoration with the Christian religion, although some also have decoration of a secular nature or were used for reasons of superstitions or supposed magical powers. Devotion to one's beliefs, dedication to one's family, queen or country and the earnest attachment of a mother to her children are themes which are continually revisited in jewellery design.The earliest types were the signet rings decorated with various Christian symbols or inscriptions, usually made of iron or bronze but sometimes of gold. Another early example was the reliquary in the form of a pendant or a finger ring; these were worn especially in the 13th to 15th centuries. Other types of devotional jewellery of the period were the Cross, devotional ring, rossaries, Agnus Dei pendants and the pendants decorated with relief figures of saints.
Diadem: An ornamented band worn around the brow of a man or woman, sometimes a a badge of sovereignty. Such pieces were made from ancient times of metal, often gold, in the form of a wreath or sometimes decorated with gemstones, pearls, and other ornaments. They were usually held in place by a long hair pin. Many worn by women had attached long heavy pendent ornaments extending down over the ears and to the shoulders, and sometimes also rings or tassels suspended over the forehead and temples. Diadems, from simple forms to those lavishly decorated, were worn by the Egyptian pharaohs and their wives. Greek examples varied from simple gold or silver bands to those decorated with repoussé or stamped rosettes or other motifs (including the Heracles Knot), and later with filigree work and granulated gold. Roman diadems developed from wreaths of leaves to head-dresses anticipating the form of a crown. In western Europe during the Middle Ages the form was that of a chaplet and later of a band of hinged plaques with enamelled and jewelled decoration. In later centuries in France and England the form approached the semi-secular and was profusely ornamented with gemstones. More recently examples were made in Art Nouveau style.The wearing of a diadem has not been confined to royalty or the nobility; ladies of wealth or fashion have worn them on important social occasions. A diadem is also a jeweled ornament in the shape of a half crown, worn by women and placed over the forehead (in this sense, also called tiara). In some societies, it may be a wreath worn around the head. The ancient Persians wore a high and erect royal tiara encircled with a diadem.
Dog Collar: A wide collar of fabric, gemstones and or pearls worn high and tight on the neck.
Ear Cuffs: Aka. Ear Bands are a form of ear jewellery, from pieces of metal that wrap around the ear.
Ear Ornament: Ear Stud, ear & hair ornament, ear-drop, ear-loop, ear-pick, ear-plug, ear-screw
Ear-Spool: Worn in the earlobe of men or women since Pre Columbian times. Ear spools were a funnel-shaped disc typically made of pottery, stone, jadeite, greenstone, obsidian or shells. The narrow end of the flared spool would penetrate the earlobe, and was held in place by a backing plate. The ear-spool would sometimes weigh enough to stretch the earlobe downward, a desired characteristic.
Earrings: There are many types of earrings for pierced ears. Kidney wires are simple pieces made from bent wire. French wires and shepherd hooks are the same thing. They are also made from wire, but are not closed like a kidney wire. All of them use loops to add decorations. Top and Drop Earring, W-Shaped Earring.
Ecclesiastical Ring: While the sapphire eventually became the stone especially assigned for use in episcopal rings, the older specimens which have survived show that rubies emeralds, turquoises, chalcedonies, garnets and opals were used. Bishops generally wore the ring on the index finger of the right hand, however during mass the bishop transferred it from the index to the annular finger. In the present day it is always worn on the latter. Priest's ring, Pontifical ring.
Échelle: Literally means ladder in French. A series of graduated gem-set brooches or dress ornaments (often a bow motif) worn vertically (large to small) down the front of a bodice, popular in the 17th - 18th centuries.
Egyptian Revival: In November 1922 Howard Carter discovered the tomb of the boy King Tutankhamun. This landmark occasion was celebrated throughout the world with a reawakened interest in all things ancient Egyptian. Unbelievable artifacts intensified a desire for jewelry featuring the falcon, the sphinx, and the scarab. In fact, Louis Comfort Tiffany had a personal collection of scarabs and the House of Cartier incorporated the motif into many of their designs during the corresponding Deco period which helped define the brand. Van Cleef and Arpels was famous for its strap bracelets depicting Egyptian revival motifs in pave diamonds and coloured stones. Opal cabochons and colourful enamels are suitable embellishments for the strong geometry and clean lines of ancient Egyptian architecture which melded beautifully with the sophisticated qualities of the Art Deco style.
Electroforming: The process of coating a base metal with a thin film of gold by means of electrolysis. The base metal is set in a chemical solution (liquid conductor), which, as an electric current flows through it, coats it with precious metal. Opals, Queensland Boulder Opal in particular are very adaptable to this medium.
Enamel: Enameling is the fusion of a special powdered glass to metals. The glass can be applied using different techniques, all methods use heat to melt the powder. Essentially vitreous enamel is a material made by fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing, usually between 750 and 850 °C. The powder melts, flows, and then hardens to a smooth, durable vitreous coating on metal.
Enhancer: A clip which can act as a bejewelled pendant (perhaps set with an opal) on a strand of pearls. Also may refer to a clip-enhancer to be affixed through a hole in the face of a stone, usually Boulder Opal, which then acts as a pendant.
En Résille: Literally means 'in a hair-net' in French. A flexible trellis or network, usually of diamonds and platinum, often forming a dog collar or other close-fitting necklace, originated by Cartier, early 20th century.
En Esclavage: French for 'enslaved'. A necklace or bracelet of identical or graduated plaques joined by swagged chains, usually three or more.
En Tremblant: Literally means trembling in French. A jewellery ornament, usually a flower brooch with projections that tremble when the piece is subjected to any movement. Sometimes the projections are attached to finely coiled springs or tubular stems.
Epaulette: A piece of ornamental material on the shoulder of a garment, especially a military uniform, sometimes bejewelled.
Estate Jewellery: Aka. Vintage Jewellery. A term used for pre-owned jewellery and for pieces made in earlier (style-)periods and not necessarily pre-worn. Many estate jewels typically feature fine workmanship and high quality stones, as well as one-of-a-kind pieces. Opals set in estate jewellery are often stable gemstones of rare quality originally found in deposits which may now be extinct. To be called 'antique', a piece must be more than 100 years old. Estate jewellery includes many decades or eras and each era has many different designs. These eras include Georgian, (Early, Mid and Late)Victorian, Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, Edwardian, Art Deco and Retro.
Facial Jewellery: Tongue Studs and Eyebrow Studs, Nose Rings Facial ornamentation was very popular in the Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, and for the most part, jewellery was unisex being worn by both men and women. The one exception to this was the use of lip and nose plugs, which were worn exclusively by men of rank. The ear-spool was a popular item of ornamentation in most Pre-Columbian civilizations, worn in the earlobe of men or women.
Faux: French for false or fake. Term applied to non-precious jewellery set with imitation gemstones.
Ferronière: French for 'blacksmith's wife'. Also refers to a narrow band, usually with a central jewel, worn around the forehead, originally in the 15th century.
Festoons: Some necklaces have a fancy metal centerpiece. This is called a festoon. They can be merely decorative, or be set with gems.
Fibula: The archelogical term for a brooch. Extremely common ornament of the classical age, the function of which was both to decorate and fasten items of clothing.
Filigree: Wire twisted into patterns, usually gold or silver, may be soldered to a sheet of metal or twisted to form an openwork pattern.
Finding: Jewellery is composed of many parts. Sometimes they are cast as a single piece, other times they are assembled from separate components. Either way, each of these parts has a name. The individual parts are called findings.
Flatware: Usually known as silverware or cutlery. Refers to any hand implment in preparing, serving, and especially eating food; including knives, forks, spoons, cake servers etc.
Flower Heads: Some settings are designed to resemble roses or buttercups. These settings do wonders for highlighting small gems. They are usually found in earring and pendants.
Gallery: A strip of metal that is pierced with a continuing pattern, often framing vertical lozenge-shaped openings with an upper and lower band. A complete gallery is referred to as closed and a a half section is called open.
Gem Setting: There are three methods of securing a gem with metal. They are bezel, prong, and channel settings. Opals may move inside prongs, which damages their surface, so they are often set with an adhesive. Occasionally other gems including pearls are glued as well.
Geometric Style: A decorative style for jewelry developed in the 1920-30's in which the form is in abstract geometric shapes, produced with great precision, and the articles generally are smooth and highly polished. Such jewelry was a development of the Art Deco style, and the designers who worked in this style included Georges Fouquet, Wiven Nilsson and Raymond Templier.
Gilding: A process of covering substances such as silver, base metal, wood with a thin layer of gold or an alloy.
Girandole: A type of earring composed of a bow-shaped motif, or a large circular gem at or near the top of the setting, and having suspended at the bottom three pear-shaped (stones or pearls) pendant drops. There are many variations of this style of the 17 thand 18th centuries. The precursor of girandoles were the Chandelier Earrings of Roman times.
Glyptography: The art or process of carving or engraving on precious stones.
Gold à quatre couleurs: Gold alloy Green Gold, grey gold.
Gold Purity: Karat is a unit of measure for the purity of gold. Pure gold is 24 karat; 12 karat gold is 50 percent pure. Not to be confused with carat weight.
Gōngshí - Aka. Chinese Scholar's Rock, also means 'Spirit Stone' or 'Viewing Stone'. Precursor of the Japanese artform of Suiseki. Usually small (<1kg) naturally occurring, aesthetically pleasing stones. Their colour and size can be quite varied. So that the term also identifies rocks which are placed in traditional Chinese gardens and may weigh hundreds of kilos.
Gothic Jewellery: Aka.Gothic Revival Jewellery.
Granulation: Filigree or granulated gold.
Griffes: These are 3 to 6 metal prongs that keep a stone from wobbling inside a setting.
Gueridon : A small usually ornately carved and embellished stand or table.
Guilloché: French meaning 'engine-turned'. A style of engraved decoration that, in jewellery and object of vertu , is made on metal by means of a engine-turning lathe having an eccentric motion than can cut a variety of patterns. When such machine engraving is covered with a translucent enamel that reveals the pattern beneath.
Gum Pot: A desktop objet d'vertu used to seal letters. At the turn of the 20th century Fabergé produced numerous gumpots mostly enamelled and gemset vesels. Some were carved entirely from hardstones like opals, interior hollowed to hold the gum, and containing a bejewelled handle onto the brush. These works display Fabergé's genius as a lapidary.
Gypsy Setting: This is an ancient technique or style of setting for securing a gemstone in a finger ring with a fairly wide gold band. Whereby the stone is secured within a circular or oval recess, without a collet and held in place by a narrow turned over flange so that the table of the stone is level with the metal surface.
Hair Ornaments: Besides pins, barrettes, combs, and hair bands, come in precious metals decorated with gems including Opals. Hair & ear ornament, hair clip, hair jewellery, hair locket, hair ornament, hair pendant, hair pin, hair ring, hair spiral, hair comb, ponytail ornament & braid ornament.
Habillé: Literally means 'dressed up' in French Refers to cameos, depicting women wearing some form of gem-set jewellery.
Hair Pin: Pins are used in people's hair, in hats, cloaks and lapels.
Hallmark: See Assay. Marks stamped on gold, silver or platinum by assay offices after the metal has been tested and determined to contain the proper amount of precious metals required by law.
Handle: As per Cane Handle, Parasol Handle and Hand Seal. A variety of carved stone and bejewelled handles were popular for a variety of purposes in the late 18th and early 19th century. Faberge's workshops were prolific in the production of these highly individualised accessories.
Hat Pin: Hat ornament.
Hardness: Each mineral has a characteristic hardness, that is its resistance to being scratched. Not to be confused with Toughness (resistance to cleavage and fracture).
Hollowware: Hollow metal utensils and artifacts; usually refers to metal tableware, such as bowls, pitchers, teapots, trays and serving dishes having some depth.The simplest metalwork technique for making hollowware is to join pieces of sheet metal together, using rivets, solder, or other means. Raising, a technique dating from at least the 3rd millennium BC, is commonly used for hollowware in silver, copper, and other malleable metals: a disk of sheet metal is gradually shaped into a hollow form over a stake or anvil by a series of hammer blows spiraling from the centre of the convex side; the hammer marks are later removed with a smooth, planishing hammer.Tiffany & Co. produced a series of bowls in both a Navajo, Aztec and Viking style, set with predominantly with Opals and various semi-precious stones from 1900 to 1905.
Illusion Setting: An illusion setting allows a small gem fit a larger setting. Aka illusion mounting.
Inlay: A decorative technique of inserting pieces of contrasting, often coloured materials into depressions in a base object to form patterns or pictures that normally are flush with the host material. Inlays of precious metals in a base metal matrix or coloured stones may be inlaid in marble, wood and precious metals. Gemstone inlays are most commonly made from materials like shells, mother-of-pearl, horn, ivory, turquoise, malachite and Opals. Also see Mosaics and Intarsia.
Intaglio: This carving technique features a negative relief image as opposed to the 'cameo' method which has a raised (positive) relief image. In 6th century BC Greece this technology was used to adorn wax seals and the world’s first coinage.
Intarsia: A work of art in which gemstones are fit together to produce an intricate geometric design. Intarsia may take the form of a doublet stone, a design inlayed in jewellery or used to decorate the entire surface of objet d'art such as an elegant small box or humidor. Opal provides an excellent highlight to such creations and is highly favoured for use in their production.
Invisible Setting: Van Cleef & Arpels introduced pavé secret or "invisible setting", or serti mystérieux "mystery setting" in 1933 and are famous for using the technique throughout its jewellery creations. Technically, a channel setting using calibrated stones without any metal showing from the top. This innovative technique took the market by storm, creating the illusion of floating gems, each stone being fastened by wires from the underside of the piece.
Iridescence: This phenomena is produced by the reflection from air-filled cracks in a stone, iris quartz is a perfect example, although seen in many gems, in Opal it should not to be confused with play-of-colour.
Jabot: French for pin. Also may imply a ruffle or frill. See cliquet.
Jarretière: Means garter in French. Usually refers to a bracelet, a gold or gold-filled mesh strap with fringed terminals and sliding ornamental closure .
Jiqa: A typically Eastern form of jewellery used to adorn turbans and other head-dresses. They served as clasps to secure ornamental plumes, as jeweled imitations of such plumes or both. The legendary Shahs of Persia wore characteristic (red or black, sometimes four-pointed) felt hats adorned with jiqas (aigrettes or plumes, usually be-jewelled) and gems. The Shahs also lavishly adorned themselves with armbands, belt, sword and dagger all jewel-encrusted and numerous ropes of pearls around their necks.
Joaillerie: La Joaillerie, French term for the type of jewellery that is composed mainly of gemstones.
Key Ring: Key Holder Ornament.
Knives: Knives and blades such as swords have long be decorated and collected as symbols of military power or for their practical and ornamental value.
Lapel Watch: Aka. Pocket watch.
Lacquerware: Aka. Japanese Lacquerware is a broad category of fine and decorative arts; lacquer has been used in paintings, prints, and on a wide variety of objects from Buddha statues to bento boxes for food. The sap of the lacquer tree, has been used in Japan in the creation of lacquerware by skilled dedicated artisans since as early as 7000 BC. Initially stylistically influenced by China, the Edo period (1603–1868) saw an increase in the cultivation of lacquer trees and the development of the styles and techniques used. In the 18th century coloured lacquers came into wider use. An object is formed from wood, sometimes leather, paper, or basketry. Lacquer is applied to seal and protect the object, and then decoration is added. Generally, three coats (undercoat, middle-coat, and final coat) are used, the final coat sometimes being clear rather than black lacquer, in order to allow decorations to show through. Alongside red and black lacquers, it is common to see the use of inlay, often seashells or similar materials, as well as mica or other materials. The application of silver foil or gold leaf, flakes, or dust is known as maki-e, is a very common decorative element.
Lavallière: Aka. Lavalier or Lavaliere. A jeweled pendant necklace. The namesake of Louise Françoise le Blanc de la Vallière, the main female mistress of Louis XIV of France.
Lariat: A vessel that is typically an ornamental vase on a pedestal and that is used for various purposes, including preserving the ashes of the dead after cremation.
Leather: Leather of all knds have been used in jewellery making since neolithic times. In modern times it has been fashionably incorporated into jewellery design. Apart from bovine leather artists are making increasing use of exotic leathers such as stingray skin leather, crocodile leather, kangaroo leather and shark skin leather.
Letter Opener: Bejewelled letter openers are often fashioned with handles made of gem materials including Boulder Opal, shell, antler and ivory.
Lithotherapy: The use of gemstones and minerals for their healing power. Eg. Opal was prescribed for eye ailments in medieval times.
Limoges: An enamelling technique in which painted enamel is applied one colour at a time, fired after every application, producing a picture-like image, named after a town in France where the technique originated. Painted enamel in shades of gray is called grisaille.
Lobster Claw Clasp: A clasp for a necklace or bracelet that has an elongated hook, which resembles a lobster claw. The hook has a spring mechanism and opens to clasp a small ring on the other end of the chain or strand.
Locket: A locket is a pendant that opens to reveal a space used for storing a photograph or other small item such as a curl of hair. Lockets are usually given to loved ones on holidays such as Valentine's Day and occasions such as Christenings, weddings and, most noticeably during the Victorian Age. An excellent early example is the Opal laden pendant Mary Queen of Scots gave James Gordon ancestor to the Earl of Aberdeen in the 16th century.
Lorgnette: A pair of eye-glasses equipped with a handle and usually suspended from a neckchain.
Loupe: A small magnifying lens, usually 10x magnification. By loupe one can adequately assess most non treated Opals in terms of inclusions and to detect composites.
Maculation: A dirty or spotty finish acheived by exposure to air.
Magical Stone: Magical Jewellery.
Maison: French for 'The House of' a family name associated with Fashion or Jewellery.
Manchette: French for 'cuff'. A bangle bracelet tapering out in the shape of a sleeve cuff.
Marquise: Aka. Navette, a popular shape during the Art Nouveau into the Art Deco period. Opals cut en cabochon this way were one of the most popular styles in rings during those periods.
Matte: A finish, also known as a brushed or satin finish, is a texturing technique used on jewelry metals where a series of tiny parallel lines are scratched on the surface with a wire brush.
Mêlée: Classification used in the sorting of diamonds and small coloured gems weighing less than carat, very suitable for pave setting.
Memento Mori: For 'Remember you must die'. Jewellery intended as a reminder and warning of death, and reflecting this late 16th and 17th century preoccupation: featuring skulls and crossbones, skeletons and coffins.
Microscopic Setting: Aka. micro-setting.
Millefiori: Glass ornamentation made from canes of colored glass that are layered, and sliced to form patterns, flowers or mosaic effects.
Minaudiere: A fancy purse-like compartmentalized lady's vanity case, invented by Van Cleef Arpels in the 1930’s and named by Alfred Van Cleef. A sleek golden case with a hidden fastening, that, once opened, revealed special compartments for powder lipstick, a tiny comb and small objects indispensable to a lady’s glamour. Designers and craftsmen adorned the lids with exotic illustrations.
Miniature: A very small painting, usually a portrait, made on ivory, metal, porcelain, etc. These were often incorporated into necklaces, brooches and bracelets as sentimental tokens. Miniatures were very popular until the invention of photography.
Moh's Scale: Devised in 1812 by Austrian mineralogist, Friedrich Moh, to measure a mineral's hardness and it's resistance to scratching. The scale goes from talc as number 1, being the softest, to diamonds as number 10, being the hardest substance known. Moh's is only a relative scale. Different varieties of opals may be in the range between 5.5 & 6.5
Mokume Gane: A mixed-metal laminate with distinctive layered patterns. First used in 17th-century Japan for sword fittings and directly translates as wood-grain metal. Traditionally the components were relatively soft metallic elements and alloys (gold, copper, silver) which form liquid phase diffusion bonds with one another without completely melting. After the original metal sheets were stacked and carefully heated, the solid billet of simple stripes could be forged and carved to increase the pattern's complexity. To achieve a successful lamination using the traditional process required a highly skilled smith with a great deal of experience.
Money Clip: Money clips are a masculine form of jewelled accessories.
Monstrance: Aka. Ostensorium, is the vessel used in Roman Catholic and Anglican churches to display the blessed sacrement during Holy Communion. Created in the medieval period for the public display of relics, the monstrance today is usually restricted for vessels used for sacremental bread.
Mosaic: Tiny pieces of Opal chips are fit together to form the face of a doublet or triplet. Mosaics may also be used to create a picture under glass; often the glass is painted acting to transfer the picture outline.
Necessaire: A gold or silver bag containing the principal female beauty accessories, often decorated with stones and enamels. Along with cigarette boxes, necessaire were popularised by the maisons in the 1950’s.
Necklace: Some necklaces are made of chain, others are composed of pearls or beads strung on a cord. Still others are made from a variety of pieces linked together. Some neck pieces are made from a single, solid piece of gold or silver. These are called neck rings.
Neckware: Neck Chain, Neck Ornament, Neck Ring, Neckband, Necklet, Neckpiece, Strap Necklace.
Négligée: Literally negligent or careless in French. A type of pendant or necklace with two drops suspended unevenly.
Nose Ornament: In India the women of some castes wear a gem set in the wing of the nose, also referred to as a Nose Stud.
Obi-Dome: Are rounded barettes of some size used in some Japanese coiffures. They are worn at the back of the head, at the back of the mage or bun. They are usually made of lacquered wood. Obe-Dome is an ornament attached to Obi-Jime. Obi-Jime is a rainbow-coloured heavyweight ribbon which is an essential part of traditional Japanese costume and Kimono, acting as a belt-like sash. Obi-Jime with Obi-Dome is also called Obi-Dome.
Objet d'art: An object of artistic worth or curiosity, especially a small object that has been designed specifically for its aesthetic appeal, just like a piece of jewellery. Examples of objects d'art vary, from Faberge Eggs to picture frames.
Objet trouvé: Literally found object.or readymade—describes art created from the undisguised, but often modified, use of objects that are not normally considered art, often because they already have a non-art function. Marcel Duchamp was the originator of this in the early 20th century. Objects sometimes worn as articles of personal adornment in the form in which they are found in nature eg. (opalised) shells, teeth and bones, without setting or ornamentation except perhaps a hole drilled for suspension. It is possible to create jewellery by connecting unconventional materials. Some such objects have been set in mounts and strung together as a necklace or a bracelet, and to such an extent may be embraced within the term jewellery. In the context of jewellery an ‘objet trouvé’ is an object or thing that is taken out of its context and worn as a jewel, regains another meaning. Found art derives its identity as art from the designation placed upon it by the artist.The idea of dignifying commonplace objects in this way was originally a shocking challenge and although it may now be accepted in the art world as a viable practice, it continues to arouse questioning. Found art, however, has to have the artist's input, the artist's designation of the object as art. There is mostly also some degree of modification of the object, although not to the extent that it cannot be recognised. The modification may lead to it being designated a "modified", "interpreted" or "adapted" found object.
Object of Vertu: Aka. Objets de Virtu , a French term pertaining to a taste, knowledge or love for curios or works of fine art; connoisseurship; the quality of being rare, beautiful, or otherwise appealing to a connoisseur. Objects of art, especially fine antique objets d'art, considered as a group.
Opal-Faced Watch: These are made by applying a mosaic to the watch dial, and more rarely using a single slice of Opal as does Piaget of Switzerland. Sometimes gemstones are used to provide the entire watch-case as per the exclusive collections of Swiss watch maker Haas & Cie.
Open Bezel: Aka. Partial Bezel , whereby a seat is made for the stone and metal strips are rubbed over in two or more places leaving most of the stones side and back open to light and easily identifiable. Whereas in the case of a composite Opal a full bezel setting may be obfuscatory.
Open Setting: There are two basic types of gemstone settings: open settings and closed settings. Open settings are any type of setting that allows light to enter through the bottom of a faceted or transparent cabochon gemstone. In a "closed setting" light can only enter the stone from the top. This type of setting is appropriate for opaque cabochon-cut stones and highly refractive faceted stones where light can enter through the crown and table of the stone and be reflected back to the observer from within.
Palladium: A rare metallic element of the Platinum group. It is similar to platinum, being silver-white, malleable, ductile and in ordinary circumstances non-tarnishable, but it is much lighter in weight. Palladium is used to produce jewelry without drag on dresses of silk and lightweight materials.
Pampille: Articulated row of graduated gemstones or pastes terminating in a tapered pointed drop; grouping of pampilles also called Aiguillettes.
Papal Ring: Aka. Pontifical Ring. The Catholic Archdiocese of Olomouc possesses 5 pontifical rings with gem crystal opals.
Parure: Means adornment in French, from the verb parer, to adorn. Beyond various items of matching jewellery, a parure is an entire wardrobe, or suite, of matching jewellery; which rose to popularity in 17th century Europe. Reserved for royalty and the wealthier classes, no woman was considered socially acceptable without a complete wardrobe of jewellery that defined her status, strength and political power. A matching suite of coordinated pieces could include a necklace, a comb, a tiara, a diadem, a bandeau, a pair of bracelets, pins, rings, drop earrings or cluster stud earrings, brooch and a belt clasp that might be worn over a fine gown.
Passamenterie: Jewellery inspired by furniture trimmings such as cording.
Paste: Aka. Faience or Fake. Glass of one variety are the oldest sort of imitation precious stones dating back to the Egyptians and Romans. The term "paste" as applied to glass imitations is said to come from the Italian pasta meaning dough, and it suggests the softness of the material. Most pastes are mainly lead glass. Modern glasses are also silicates of various metals, but unlike gem minerals the glasses are not crystalline but rather amorphous, that is, without definite geometric form or definite internal arrangement. Paste may be detected by its lack of double refraction. However Opals, diamond, spinels, and garnets are also single refracting. Imitation Opals made simply by imbedding iridescent foil in opalescent (milky) glass are easily detected by sight or upon closer inspection with a loupe. In ancient times, Pliny the Elder describes Opal as a multi-coloured gem, he refers to paste imitations of Opal in his Historia Naturalis.
Pâte de Verre: A labour-intensive form of glass casting that dates to the second century BC.The French developed the process which they used for inlays in jewelry and sculpture.Another form of kiln casting and literally translated means glass paste. In this process, finely crushed glass is mixed with a binding material, such as a mixture of gum arabic and water, and often with colourants and enamels. The resultant paste is applied to the inner surface of a negative mould forming a coating. After the coated mould is fired at the appropriate temperature the glass is fused creating a hollow object that can have thick or thin walls depending on the thickness of the pate de verre layers.
Pavé Setting: Pavé means to paved in French, as in laying cobblestones close together. This is one of the most difficult gem setting techniques and only the best goldsmiths can do it well. First, holes are drilled that are just slightly smaller than the diameter of the stones girdles. The stones are laid in place then, with a V shaped chisel, a small bead or prong of gold is raised and pressed over the girdle of the gem. The stones are held in place using three to six raised beads per stone. When done properly, light will reflect off all the tables in a row simultaneously. Pave Secret – Invisible Setting.
Pendant: Pendants are items that hang from a chain or beaded necklace. They may hold gems, or be decorative objects in themselves. Some pendants are called pearl enhancers. They have a clip that goes between pearls or beads. They can be added or removed as the owner chooses.Others pendants are called "slides." These are accents that go on chains. As the name implies, they are free to slide from side to side as the chain moves. Some pendants are centerpieces in themselves. They come in the shape of religious symbols, or simply decorative designs. Small pendants are called charms. They are most often used on bracelets and occasionally used on necklaces.
Pendeloque: A drop or pendant. Pear-shaped drop earring, suspended from a circular or bow-shaped surmount.
Pendulant Earrings: Aka. Chandelier Earrings, usually involve the suspension of pendants from rosettes or hooks which sit on the ear.
Perfume Flacon: Aka. Scent Flask From the French term Flacon de parfum. Perfume bottles made from glass, crystal, silver, gold and gem-set pieces became highly fashionable around the 1920's. Artists like Lalique collaborated with the Perfume Houses to create artful vessels which continue to command a huge collector following.
Perfume Jewellery: Aka. Accoutrements de Senteurs inFrench; articles of jewellery made with a small receptacle for some substance, e.g. musk, ambergris or perfume that emitted a pleasant scent. Some earrings, necklaces, and bracelets were made of beads for containing perfume, and the pomander was made especially for such purpose. Popular in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Mary, Queen of Scots owned 2 sets.
Period Jewellery: Refers to formal jewellery fashions produced during the eras of the English monarchs; Georgian (1700-1840), Victorian (1840-1890) and Edwardian (1890-1910). The formal French jewels of the latter period are known as Fin de siècle or La Belle Epoque.
Picture Frame: Bejewelled picture frames made of silver and gold set and inlaid with precious gemstones have been popular since medieval times. Most early examples have religious connotations, and towards the twentieth century such items were made to have multifunctional purposes. Such as the presentation desk time piece and double sided photo frame set pictured. The frame is inlaid with Opal and set with a solid Opal surrounded by diamonds, topped with a clock and is sitting on a solid Opal plaque base; photo courtesy of Christies London.
Piqué: French for 'pricked'. The inlaying of gold or silver in patterns, usually into tortoiseshell or ivory. Piqué posé floral or ornate patterns of inlay; piqué point geometric shapes or dots.
Plaque de Cou: Means 'plate of the neck' in French. Refers to the central ornamental plaque of a dog collar necklace.
Plique-à-jour: French meaning 'open to the day'. Describes the technique of producing translucent enamels held in an open framework made by soldering individual wires or delicate metal strips to each other, rather than to a supporting surface as in cloisonné. The unattached support, usually a sheet of metal or mica, can be easily removed after the enamels have been annealed and cooled, producing an effect not unlike a stained-glass window in miniature. Developed in France and Italy in the 14th century, this technique has been used largely for making vessels, jewelry, and, in Russia, demitasse spoons.
Post Modernist Jewellery:
Prayer Beads: Rossaries, Worry Beads and Prayer Beads are used by various cultures and religious persuasions. Often made of gem materials and set in silver and gold, the beads are arranged in various divine arrangements, consisting of 33, 66 or 99 pieces.
Pre-Columbian Jewellery: Virtually all of the pre-Columbian cultures, from the "Early Preclassic" cultures (2000-1000 BC) of the Olmec, the "Middle to Late Preclassic" cultures (BC 1000-200 AD) of the Mayan civilization, and the Postclassic to Post Conquest cultures (100-1500 AD) of the Moche, Aztec, and Inca civilizations, vanished, or were assimilated during the Spanish conquests under Pizarro in 1532, and the subsequent colonization of the Americas during the 16th and 17th centuries. All were polytheistic, practicing some form of paganism. A recurring theme in pre-Columbian crafts was the use of anthropomorphic, zoomorphic, and plant-like imagery in their art and glyph-carvings. Crocodiles, deer, jaguars, and serpents, as well as aviary forms were particularly prevalent. Pottery, figurines, and jewellery apart from aesthetic value had a specific ceremonial, spiritual or secular function. Eroticism is not prevalent, however a fascination with "grotesque" iconography is a recurring theme. Metals used include copper, gold, silver, and an alloy of copper and gold tumbago. Bead work and glyptic carvings were mostly confined to shells, terra-cotta, jade (jadeite, nephrite), or so-called "greenstone" (chlorastrolite, chrysoprase, greenschist, omphacite, or serpentine), as well as chert, flint, obsidian, hematite, turquoise, and small amounts of lapis lazuli from Chile. Precious gems such as emerald were confined to the Magdalena Valley in Colombia and such as Opals in Quaretero State Mexico. Common jewellery items included bracelets or cuffs (wristlets), ritual belts, ear spools or plugs, lip plugs, nose plugs, nose guards, conventional earrings, multi-strand beaded collars, headbands, necklaces and pendants. An ear-plug was a two-piece earring which was secured to the ear with a thick stone plug, typically made of jade, serpentine or shell. Leading figures wore highly elaborate helmets or headdresses and masks made from gold, inlayed, or encrusted with tiny pieces of jade etc arranged in a mosaic pattern.
Prince Harlequin: A unique Black Opal gemstone weighing 181.20 carats 'Prince Harlequin' can be seen at the Natural History Museum in New York.
Prong Settings: The pieces that hold the stones are called "heads." They come in the same shapes as the gems they hold; round, oval, rectangular, marquis, etc. Heads can hold single stones or many.Some heads are solid pieces and others are wire baskets. Note the amount of metal used as it varies considerably. The more metal, the stronger the setting. Prong settings are preferred for faceted gems. Sometimes they are as simple as a few pieces of wire soldered onto the main piece.This technique is very versatile. It can be used for simple or elaborate designs. This cocktail ring features a cushion shaped sapphire, surrounded by diamond baguettes.While some prongs are just wires, others are much stronger. These are designed for daily wear.
Prospector’s Brooch: A type of brooch introduced in Australia at the time of the discovery of Opals before the turn of the nineteenth century. The brooch being in the form of a map of Australia with the states shown in Opals of different colours within a gold frame.
Punch: A small metal stamp which beaten onto precious metal guarantees its quality and source.
Reliquary: Also referred to as a shrine is a container for relics. These may be the physical remains of saints, such as bones, pieces of clothing, or some object associated with religious figures. These often take the form of gem set Holloware housing vessels.
Repoussé: Meaning 'pushed back or out' in French. Raised design in metal. Repoussage is the technique of raising metal, working from the back side, by hammering and punching on a metal plate using rounded bits. Dot-Repoussé.
Ring: The basic component of a ring is the shank, which is the part that wraps around the finger. They come in many styles, sizes, and shapes. Some will have stones added; others will be worn unadorned.
Thumb Ring; bishops in the middle ages were depicted as wearing numerous rings including such. Finger Rings, Toe Ring, Stirrup Ring, Serjeant Ring, Eternity Ring, Friendship Ring, Engagement Ring, Swivel Ring, Serpent Ring, Signet Ring, Wedding Ring, Wedding Band .
Ring Guards: For people with arthritic knuckles, there are ring guards. These are spring like mechanisms that open to go around the knuckle and then tighten to fit around the soft part of the finger.There are also mechanical ring settings that open up, then close like a key ring. These are loosing popularity as they are expensive and difficult to use.
Rivière: French for river or stream. A short necklace (Choker) that is a continuous line of gemstones usually of graduated or equal size stones in linked collet settings.
Rococo Jewellery: The Rococo style of decoration followed the Baroque or Rocaille style in France c.1730. The main features of which are the departure from the symmetrical arrangement of gem-stones. The repertoire is characterised by the introduction, in patterns, of rockwork, shells, flowers, foliage, feathers, ribbon and scrollwork. Developed in France under Louis XV, Rococo spread to Italy, Germany, and Austria and to a lesser extent to England.
Rondelle: A flat bead used as a spacer between contrasting beads.
Rub-over Setting: A style of setting a gemstone in a bezel but then bending (rubbing) the upper edge o the metal over the girdle of the stone to secure it.
Sautoir: A long necklace, sometimes falls below the navel. Either a string of beads or a long chain made of large links. Often ending in a tassel, pendant or locket, it may be embellished with Opals and other precious stones. A sautoir can be worn as a necklace or draped across one shoulder.
Scarf Clip: Scarf Ring Scarf Slide
Schmuck: The German word for jewels, jewellery, adornement and ornaments.
Semi-precious Stones: A term generally used to refer to all gemstones other than the precious ones of diamond, ruby, emerald, sapphire, pearl and Opal. Opal is unusual in that it may occur in precious (eg. Black Opal) and semi-precious form (eg. potch & colour).
Setting: The term "setting" refers to an unfinished ring, brooch, etc., with places to hold gems.
Setting Edge: Known as the girdle on faceted gemstones. This is the widest part of the stone, it should generally be around 1mm thick and the stone is then tapered towards the back (or pavilion) by several degrees or more. The setting edge on a cabochon stone such as Opal provides the outline for a bezel setting.
Setting Techniques: Some settings are actually techniques, rather than components.
Sévigné: A type of brooch in the form of a bow-knot, made of gold or silver in an openwork pattern and set with many small diamonds, sometimes having a suspended stone. It was worn as a bodice ornament bow brooch set with diamonds, worn on the bodice (three or more worn en échelle), popular from the mid 17th until the late 18th century, named after the Marquise de Sévigné (1626-96), of the court of Louis XIV.
Shank: The round body of the ring that encircles the finger, not including the setting.
Shape or Cut: Lozenge CutPendeloque Cut Heart Shape
Shoulder: The part of the ring that extends from the shank to the center of the setting.
Silver Purity: 925 and Rhodium plating
Slides: Opal slides are usually drilled like a bead, except the hole is not centred but rather runs horizontally at the top of the stone (or its vertical axis).
Snuff Box: Aka. Snuff Bottle & Spoon
Small Stones Settings: These settings make the gems look larger than they actually are. Since smaller gems both weigh less and cost less per carat, this is an affordable way to get additional sparkle for your budget.
Splitting: Or cleaving, a difficult rather secret knack of hitting or shearing the stone with a fine chisel and small hammer so that it falls apart according to the crystal growth structure. Freezing is often employed, sometimes followed by hot water immersion and screw drivers used to coerce the stone which has been incised with a blade along the fully exposed opal vein.
Steampunk: Arising out of the ashes of the goth, punk and industrial movements, ‘Steampunk’ takes cues from the Victorian era, and speculates on how the world would be different if steam power had become the driving force behind our culture. Authors Jules Verne and H.G.Wells are important influences on its fashions which have an obsession with time; clock parts, keys and gears are often used in the construction of steampunk jewels. Steampunk jewellery is usually hand-made and never mass-produced; it often has a salvaged dark appearance. Favoured metals are brass, bronze, copper and dark silvers such as gunmetal, brushed aluminium and titanium.
Sterling Silver: The designation for a relatively pure silver alloy consisting of 925 parts silver and 75 parts of another metal.
Stick Pin: Pins are used in people's hair, in hats, and lapels. They run from plain to highly decorated. Clutches are used on the end, for safety and comfort.There are pendants, lockets and picture frames, ready to add a pin to wear as a brooch, or hang from a chain. Lapel Button, Dress Pin, Cloak Pin.
Stomacher: A triangular ornament worn by women on a bodice and extending below the waist, typically gem set, popular during the 18th and 19th century.
Styles & Eras: Rococo Jewellery, Art Deco Jewellery, Tutti Frutti Jewellery, Modern Jewellery, Post Modern Jewellery.
Suiseki: Japanese for 'Water Stone', an art form similar to Bonsai. Originally influenced by Chinese Scholar's Rocks which were brought to Japan, during the reign of Empress Suiko, as small gifts from the Chinese Imperial court. These expressive stones exhibit a special shape, color and texture. There are two styles; those which reflect landscapes such as mountains, lakes or rivers; and those which have object shapes that resemble animals or sculptures. The stones are of natural origin and are found in rivers, oceans and karst areas. They are not allowed to be reshaped. An exception is the cutting of stones from the lower part to be placed in harmony on Daiza (wooden), Suiban (ceramic) and Doban (bronze) bases, so they can be represented in a proper way.
Sûreté: French for 'pin'. Refers to a safety or security catch. See cliquet.
Talisman: see Amulet.
Taille d'épargne: Literally means a saving (economical) cut. An enamel technique whereby an engraved design is partially filled with opaque enamel, usually black. Sometimes referred to as 'black enamel tracery'.
Tension setting: A "tension setting" uses the metal's natural tendency to "spring" back to its original position to hold the stone in place. The metal is spread apart, and the girdle of the stone is seated into small grooves in the inside surface of the metal. This type of setting requires special alloys of metal that are strong enough to create and withstand the necessary pressure to hold the stone firmly. Tension settings are only appropriate for very hard stones (Hardness of 9 to 10: diamond, ruby, sapphire, cz or moissanite) as the setting can exert up to 12,000 lbs. of pressure per square inch on the stone's girdle.The tension-setting was developed in the 1960s by Professor Friedrich Becker of Niessing in Vreden, Germany.
Textured Metal Finishes: Textured Gold, Hammering, Acid Etching, Faceted Gold.
Tiara: Tiaras were a royal Persian headdress, also worn by the Greeks and Romans.Adecorative jeweled or flowered headband or semicircle typically gem set at the front and worn on formal occasions by women. Also a 3-tiered crown worn by the Pope.The 'Oriental Circlet' was originally set with Opals by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria. It was later altered by Queen Alexandra and reset with rubies.
Tie Pin: Tie tacks have posts, clutches, and chains. Cravat pins and Tie clips are engraved, have gems or designs on the front.
Tiffany Settings: Early in the last century, the famous jeweler Tiffany came up with a new setting. This holds the gemstone higher, allowing more light in the gem and showing it off to greater advantage. It has become very popular and carries his name.
Titanium: A metallic element discovered in 1789, and used principally in aerospace technology. Now favoured by some jewellers for the subtle and attractive range of colours it acquires when heated. It is also lightweight and durable.
Topstone: Aka Kingstone, the main stone in a crown or best stone in a patch or parcel of collectible quality gems. Eg. the Orphanus Opal in the Imperial Crown.
Torsade: Twisted strands of pearls or beads ending in a clasp.
Touchstone: Aka Touchpiece , A coin formerly given by a British sovereign to a sick person whom he touched to heal them of scrofula or the King's Evil and sometimes suspended personally by the sovereign around the recipients neck. It was regarded as an amulet, the magic power of which was supposed to be derived from the power of the King's touch to cure the ailment. Often gemstone afficionado's and Opal miners will have a special keepsake which they carry on them to admire and be admired, sometimes like Jerry Doktor's Rose it may have healing powers if not soothing tones.
Toughness: Each mineral has a characteristic toughness or its resistance to cleavage and fracture.
Translucent: Translucent materials allow light to pass through them, but the light is diffused (scattered). Some translucent stones include moonstones, carnelian and most types of Opals.
Transparent: Transparent materials allow light to pass through them without diffusing (scattering) the light. Some translucent stones include diamond, zircon, emerald, rock crystal, ruby and Contra Luz or Jelly Opals.
Tutti Frutti: Meaning "all fruits" in Italian, refers to a style of (vintage) jewellery set with numerous multi-coloured gemstones, mostly cabochons or carved stones in the shape of flowers, berries and leaves, often in a basket design. The term applies to the stone itself. Designers who employed this style were Verdura, Cartier and Seaman Schepps among others. Early examples date back to the 1930's however the style had its heyday in the 1970's. Opal continues to play a significant role in the Tutti Frutti repertoire.
Vanity Case: Such accesories are often set as jewels and may take themore specific form of lipstick casses or powder compacts.
Vermeil: A silver of varying degrees of fineness covered with a thin layer of gold. Gilded by different methods including electrolysis.
Vinaigrette: A small pierced receptacle or decorative box containing a sachet with scented vinegar. Formerly carried by fashionable ladies to ward off faintness. The usual type was globular or cuff-shaped, made of gold , silver, porcelain, with a metal grille under the stopper or hinged lid to hold a sponge saturated with the scented substance. Often they had an attached chain so as to be suspended from a bracelet, neck chain, chatelaine or finger ring. Made in France, Switzerland and England.
Virtuous Stone: Aka Apostles' Stones Any gemstone that was formerly regarded as having protective or curative powers, either medically or psychologically, by reason of its alleged magical powers as a stone, without regard to the stone being a precious or even rare stone or to the setting. Various stones were considered to be efficacious against certain specific ailments or types of accident. Such beliefs were prevalent during the Middle Ages.
Vitreous: Having the lustre of a piece of broken glass, this is commonly seen in quartz, Opal and other non-metallic minerals.
Watch Case: The casing for the mechanism of a watch.
Watch Face: Part of an analog clock (or watch) that displays the time through the use of a fixed numbered dial or dials and moving hands. Watch faces may be made of a solid Opal veneer (Piaget) or an Opal mosaic.
Wire Jewellery: Wirework mesh jewellery.
Wrap Tite: Related to the bezel setting is a thing called a wrap-tite. These go around a stone's girdle and have a loop for an attachment. They are used in necklaces and bracelets.
Sources & Image Credits:
AN ILLUSTRATED DICTIONARY OF JEWELRY, Harold Newman, 1990.
Donald Clark CSM
CROWN JEWELS OF IRAN, V.B.Meen & A.D. Tushingham, 1968.
JEWELLERY SOURCE BOOK, Diana Scarisbrick, 1998.
Photo © The Khalili Collection, London
JEWELS & JEWELRY, Clare Phillips, 2000.