Friday, August 21, 2009

The 3 Forms of Jewelry / Jewellery Plus More Terms

Photo #1: Earrings with glass and rhinestones, c.1980 by Givenchy. "Fruit salad" motif
Photo #2: Sautoir necklace with dyed green chalcedony, diamonds, 18k yellow gold, and platinum c. 1970 by Van Cleef & Arpels. Makers mark "AV" for Vassort, Paris.
Photo #3: Hinged bangle Bakelite bracelet, c. 1935-45. "Philadelphia" style with serrated design; butterscotch-colored Bakelite base with geometric design laminated fins.
Photo #4: Brooch/pendant with carved opal, demantoid garnet, diamonds, 18k yellow gold, and platinum, c. 1890. A carved opal depicting a sea nymph with ocean waves by Marcus & Co.
Fine Jewelry -
is made with precious metals, karat gold and platinum. When a piece is set with gemstones only the precious gemstones ruby, sapphire, emerald or diamond will qualify to be designated as Fine.

Bridge Jewelry -
The name is quite descriptive. This type of jewelry is made of precious metals also - usually sterling silver. The gemstones used are semi-precious such as aquamarine, garnet, citrine, amethyst , turquoise, etc. Basically any gemstone that is not one of the ones listed under fine is considered to be semi-precious.
Bridge jewelry is so named because it is the bridge between fine jewelry and costume jewelry.

Costume Jewelry -
This type of jewelry is made with base metals that are gold, rhodium or silver plated and is normally set with faceted glass stones such as rhinestones or crystals.
The term “costume jewelry” didn’t really come into being until the 20th century. There are a couple of apocryphal tales. Some people say that Coco Chanel was the first to call it costume jewelry. Other people say Florenz Ziegfeld of Ziegfeld Follies coined the term. Another source says that the first time it was used was in the New York Times. It was sometime around 1920, after World War I, when the words “costume jewelry” were first used.
Some of the many costume jewelry terms are:

A stone that has a rounded, domed surface with no facets, or a paste with a flat back.

Faceted, highly reflective crystal or glass stones cut to resemble gemstones.

En trembling
A piece of jewelry with a motif that is mounted on a tiny spring so that it trembles when the wearer moves.

Jelly Belly
An animal pin that has a clear Lucite or glass stone in the center for the "belly."

A pin or brooch that can be worn as two separate pins or clipped together as one.
Gilding Process by which a base metal is plated with a very thin layer of gold.

Crystal or ordinary glass with a high lead content, which has been cut and faceted to look like a gemstone. Also known as rhinestone or diamante.

Sterling silver plated with gold. Also called silver gilt or gold wash. During the 1940s, most American costume jewelry was made of vermeil sterling silver.

Russian Gold plating
A coppery gold matte finish first used on costume jewelry in movies in the 1940s because it reduced the glare produced by studio lights.


  1. Nicely done blog and great content! Good luck and Best Wishes :)

  2. very informative, thanks for posting

  3. Thanks for all this informative informaion.
    I learned alot from this post!

    I will follow and thanks!

    Smiles, Cyndi