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We are constantly looking for fine quality pieces to add to our collection.  You can always rely on us to settle instantly and provide the maximum discretion when doing.
If you wish to send us photos of your items please email them to bjantiquejewellery1@gmail.com
Bj antique Jewellery are antique and vintage jewellery dealers, specialising in rings, based in London.

 

Antique and Vintage Jewellery: A Glossary Of Terms

If you’re new to the wonderful world of antique and vintage jewellery then some of the terms used may be a little confusing. As experts in the field of antique jewellery we’ve put together a glossary of some of the most common terms you may come across to help you in finding the right jewellery for your collection:
Bakelite – This is a dense synthetic resin that can be moulded and carved to make a variety of things, including jewellery
 

  • Baroque - Refers to pearls of irregular form
  • Blister - Pearls which form in semi-circular shape attached to the mantle of the oyster.
  • Bog Oak - Black oak, preserved in peat used in Victorian mourning jewellery.
  • Bookchains – Engraved rectangular links that look like tiny books are what make up these Victorian era chains. Large lockets were often added to them to create elaborate necklaces.
  • Cabachon - Dome shaped cut used for opaque and star stones and for precious stones of lesser quality
  • Cairngorm - Name given to the clear brown or smoky quartz crystals found in the Cairngorms in Scotland and used in Scottish jewellery.
  • Cameos – These are designed carved out of shell or stone such as sardonyx in a relief style, i.e. raised up. They were very popular in Victorian times and most often featured portraits of women.
  • Celluloid Jewellery – Celluloid was an early plastic, first manufactured in the late 1800s using natural plant fibres. It was most commonly used to make hair accessories which were set with rhinestones. Celluloid deteriorates if not stored properly so if you have any of this plastic jewellery that dates back to the 1800s then you know it has been well looked after.
  • Collet - Band of metal in which a gemstone is set.
  • Corsage -Jewellery attached to the bodice of a dress usually large pieces.
  • Doublets – These are made up of two pieces of inexpensive stones  or such as some coloured glass and a garnet used to create the illusion of an impressive gemstone like a ruby or emerald. Doublets were particularly popular in the Art Deco period between 1920 and 1935.
  • Essex Crystal - Rock crystal cut en cabachon with a design cut and painted on the reverse
  • Filigree Jewellery – This consists of gold or silver wire hand twisted into intricate patterns and then fused into place. This type of jewellery design was particularly popular in the Early Victorian Romantic Jewellery period between 1837 and 1850.
  • Fede - Ring formed from two clasped hands: probably a betrothal ring since Roman times when this symbol represented a contract.
  • Goldstone - Gold - spangled glass imitating aventurine quartz
  • Gypsy set - stones set deeply into the metal mount
  • Halley's Comet - Comet which appears every 76 years named after Halley in 1758 and jewellery in the form of a comet was made particularly in 1834 in commemoration.
  • Heat Treatment - Some stones when heated change colour or deepen their existing colour which makes them more attractive and saleable
  • Holbeinesque - 19th century jewellery in the Renaissance style, after Holbein
  • Inclusions - faults in the natural crystal which may take the form of gas bubbles, liquid filled cavities which help to identify the type and source of the stone.
  • Intaglio - Cutting into stone, reverse of cameo cutting.
  • Iridescence - Shimmering effect of rainbow-like colours which change with the light, opals, labradorite, butterflies wings and oil all show iridescence
  • Jadeite - Greenish opaque stone varying from a brilliant translucent green to white, usually known as jade and confused with nephrite, which is generally less valuable and varies in colour
  • Jet Jewellery – Jet,  is a form of fossilised coal that was mined near Whitby, England. Jet is hard yet lightweight, and black in colour, which made it perfect for use in the mourning jewellery of the Mid-Victorian era.
  • Lace Pins – During the Victorian and Edwardian eras ladies would use lace pins to hold their scarves in place. Pearls and elaborate gemstones tend to feature heavily in the design of lace pins.
  • Memento Mori – The term means remember that you must die; with jewellery featuring skulls, crossbones, skeletons and coffins. It seems quite macabre these days but the jewellery was used in the 17th Century as a reminder to cherish each day.
  • Micromosaics – These are made from tiny colourful tiles of glass, stone and other materials. A micromosaic is a small picture commonly used to decorate lace or hat pins.
  • Mourning Jewellery – At the start of the Mid Victorian period, in 1861, Queen Victoria’s husband Albert died which signalled a period of mourning for the queen. Many widows then followed suit and began wearing sombre jewellery to mark the passing of a loved one. Mourning jewellery is quite
  • subdued and features black glass or jet in simple designs. Enamelled memorium rings and brooches were popular, white for a single person and black for a married person
  • Mizpah Jewellery -  A popular trait between parting lovers was the giving of Mizpah jewellery. This name is taken from a quotation in Genesis which reads "The lord watcheth between me and thee when we are parted from one another.
  • Old Cut - Diamond cut with a higher crown, a smaller table and a bigger culet than the modern brilliant cut.
  • Pinchbeck - Alloy of zink and copper developed by Christopher Pinchbeck and used instead of gold in less expensive jewellery of the late 18th and early 19th centuries
  • Pique work - The inlay of tortoishell with silver and gold in fine and intricate designs.
  • Paste - Jewellery set with glass instead of real stones
  • Scarabs - Beetles worn as amulets by the Egyptians, their form imitated in various materials such as faience and cornelian. Also found in Roman jewellery.
  • Silk - Whitish reflection or inclusion seen particularly in sapphires or burma rubies
  • Saint Esprit, Symbol of the holy ghost in the form of a dove holding an olive branch or a sprig of forget-me-nots
  • Vauxhall Glass - Black glass imitating jet or coloured glass with a mirrored back.