Starting with “O”
Objets de Vertu – Here we step outside of the traditional definition of what constitutes jewelry (an object that is physically attached to you in some manner), to include Objets de Vertu. These are any of the fancy, often gem encrusted and precious metal based items that people typically use to transport functional things. Pearl inlaid cigarette cases, solid gold lighters, platinum cell phones cases with intaglios of Bernie Sanders, etc.
Objets Trouvés – While their origins date back to neolithic times, Objets Trouvés are a favorite of environmentally conscious jewelry designers working today. The term translates from French (which obviously Early Man spoke fluently) to “found objects.” Ergo, before modern jewelry, which utilizes all manner of technology, had been invented, people made things out of whatever they could find; shells, bones, teeth, pebbles and AOL installation CDs.
Oiling – this is a process (which is true to its name) that was designed to improve the overall color and quality of gemstones (mostly emeralds) that have internal fractures that creep to the their surfaces. By literally oiling them up with a specific lubricant, the cracks are filled and the stones look a little brighter. Be weary of any oily jewelers trying to pass such slippery stones off on to you.
Omega Back – while this sounds like the name of a hip, new British thriller on Netflix, it’s actually the back portion found on mostly vintage earrings. It’s a little loop that holds the earrings in place. In the shape of the Omega letter of the Greek alphabet (familiar to any of you collegiate toga donning folk), it works with pierced and non-pierced ear earrings; the hoop holds up the pointy part, or just acts as a clasp.
Opaline Glass – a grand imitator of precious gemstones, Opaline Glass appears in a bluish, cloudy hue. A metallic, foil backing to the faux fancy stone really makes its color “pop.” A trendy item during the Georgian period (no, not when the state of Georgia was popular…nor the country…but when 4 consecutive King Georges reigned in England; 1714 through 1830). It saw a brief rival during the second Georgian period (the two Bush presidencies).
Opera Length Necklace – the name may be self evident, but the actual length is somewhat specific. To qualify for this distinction, the necklace must be between 26 and 36 inches in length, and it has to be worn with a fancy dress out to actual operas, hip-hoperas or, in the very least, while watching you favorite soap opera.
Opus Interrasile – a golden hit during the Byzantine era, this is a process of puncturing metal with a sharp device in order to pepper it with a multitude of stylish holes. This translates from Latin to “work openings,” which is exactly what Roman goldsmiths were always scouring Craigius’s List for.
Oreide – or ‘oroide’ or “French Gold” – this is an alloy which winningly masquerades as gold, utilizing mostly copper, with a little molten zinc and tin thrown in there for seasoning.
Ouch – yes…this one is gonna hurt. Ironically, this describes a piece of jewelry, usually a pendant or brooch, that doesn’t require a sharp pin to hold it in place; rather it is hand sewn onto one’s clothing. Typically they would feature a central gem surrounded by a fine metal filigree. Chaps frolicking around during Medieval times would use them as the fastening parts of their flowing cloaks (with a chain that connected them). The gemstone component would make them valuable, naturally, so if one were to fall off, people would remark “…ouch.”
Ouroboros – one of the coolest ancient symbols found in jewelry. It’s a snake or dragon that is biting its own tail, thus completing a perfect and eternal loop (great for necklaces, obviously). It symbolizes the cyclical aspect of nature and self-reflexivity in beings with consciousness and also exemplifies really hungry snakes. Folks in the 1840’s went mad for these things, sticking winking precious gemstones in the eye sockets and scaring children.
Overtone – a property that only certain pearls will exhibit, this describes a secondary, and sometimes even tertiary, hue that is visible over the pearl’s primary color. These can manifest in light green, blue and pink…overtones.
Oxide Finish – here we have metal that gets entirely dipped in a black finish, like taking an permanent bath in tar. Usually strategic parts are buffed to allow for the underlying metal to shine through. This is a great way to showcase the intricacies of a silver engagement ring with fine filigree or the dented fender of a Ford Pinto.