Delightful Jewelry Terms

Terms starting with “D”


Daguerreotype – combining science, fashion and technology, the daguerreotype is second only to the diamond encrusted Apple Watch in  the coolest inventions in the world of jewelry history category.  Developed in 1839 by French photographer/innovator/dawg, Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, it’s a sort of photograph that would appear on a copper plate, after it was subject to host of potentially lethal chemicals.  Anything for fashion, dahling.

Damascene – is a method used to decorate a metal surface with gold or silver wire inlay in order to create a “scene,” or depiction of an event.  Initially popular in Asia, the Mid-East and eventually Europe, this style of artistry is credited with inspiring the first person to ever use the phrase “…You’re making a scene.”


Decade Ring – should obviously be given as a present to someone every 17 years.  Thought to have been developed during the 1400’s, the decade ring has ten protrusions jutting out along the band.  These were used to keep track of the ten prayers Christians were supposed to say (like rosary beads), but also doubled as excellent bowling pin counters as well.

Demantoid – Sadly, no: this is not a demented demon humanoid.  This is a gemstone that had quite the time finding its own identity.  Initially mistook for peridot and a host of other greenish sparklers upon its discovery, it was eventually deemed demantoid (which means “diamond-like” or “Shines bright, but only like a diamond.”)


Diaperwork – …now that doesn’t sound that fancy at all… This term is applied to a style of patterning where interlocking shapes are repeated over and over in an alternating manner (to oversimplify it).  This can achieve an intricately beautiful effect, and, it should be noted, will never not sound funny.

Diaphaneity – refers to the way that light passes through an object.  A degree of scientific complications only rivaled by the amount to syllables in this word, there are three basic forms of diaphaneity; opacity, translucency and transparency (this last one isn’t a reference to a parent that has elected to switch genders).

Dichroism – is a doubly daring and dazzling dance of light!  When light refracts out of a gemstone in two different shades (when viewed at varying angles), this is the phenomena of dichroism.  It’s like getting a ‘2 for1’ special at the disco ball store.


Difficulta – is exactly what it sounds like; hard.  It’s a fairly esoteric term applied to the action undertaken by artists who attempt to create new forms, but the execution of said forms is increasingly difficult to achieve.  A lot of Renaissance artists strove to master this, but its popularity died down as people became lazier with each generation.  A modern Renaissance of this kind is taking place in the fast-paced and illegal world of Graffiti Art.

Dog Collar (Collier de Chien) – answers the age old question in the jewelry world of “Who let the dogs out?”  This type of close fitting necklace became all the rage during the Edwardian period, as Queen Alexandra was always seen wearing a one that featured multiple strands of pearls (allegedly because she had a gnarly scar on her neck – possibly from a vampire attack?)


Doublet – is the name given to a tricky little, partially fabricated gemstone made up of two components.  Typically, the top (crown) will be an authentic stone (of a lower quality), which is then slapped on top of a brilliant, synthetic bottom (pavilion), thus producing a wondrous (yet falsely achieved) sparkle.  Doublets are the Wonder Bra of the jewel world.

Doublé d’or – this just denotes a piece of jewelry that is “gold plated,” but since it is in French it sounds fancy and not tawdry, like it truly is.  “Plating” is essentially the technique of painting an alloyed gold substance on to a plain ole, base metal, thereby deceiving the onlooker into thinking that you are indeed a fancy-pants.


Druse – when you view the inside of a large crystal or geode and see a jagged layer of smaller crystals jutting out all over the place, this is said to be druse.  Druse can make for an interesting accent to a jewelry piece, or as a really sharp and painful loofah replacement, in a pinch.


Dull Lustre – while this is clearly an oxymoron, it is a very specific term that describes the type of ‘partial shine’ given off by ivory.  It’s no coincidence that if one purchases newly acquired ivory jewelry, which is derived from endangered animals, they are themselves are a ‘dullard.’

-Joe Leone


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