Tag Archives: ring

Inspirational Jewelry Keepsakes

(Jewelry Terms: I, J & K)

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Idiochromatic – much like an idiosyncratic gemstone enthusiast, stones of this ilk are essentially pure at heart.  That is to say that the hue exhibited by this type of gem is a result of its integral chemical components, not from impurities in the stone.  The other kind of gems are called allochromatic (like the sultry sapphire) and appear a certain shade because they are laden with beautifully colorful dirt.

Ingot – oddly enough, this is not a French term and so it is pronounced exactly how it looks.  This describes a precious metal that has been rolled, drawn and stamped to create specific pattern or design.  In non-jewelry form, an ingot can take the shape of a bar, brick or seriously valuable paperweight.

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Inro – are nifty little carrying cases that handily attach to one’s kimono.  If you didn’t catch on, they are made in Japan.  Usually crafted out of wood or metal (or for the murderous sect, tortoise or ivory), these cool cases have various metals, lacquers and shells inlaid to construct artful scenes and marvelous creatures (ie, Godzilla wreaking havoc on the populace).

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Inseperables – no, not you and your friend Stacy in 6th grade.  This is a brooch that came into fashion during the 1830’s, replete with two stick pins that are held together with a tiny little chain.  No one knows why this style disappeared or why it’s name looks like a distinct misspelling.

Invisible Setting – this is a type of ring setting that you can claim you have given your lover when you actually have given them nothing.  Actually, its a setting type that makes a row of featured gems appear as if there is nothing holding them in place.  This is achieved by cutting tiny divots into the gem girdles and then securing them with a minuscule matrix of wires.  Gemstones mounted in this kind of setting can look like a row of teeth (presumably held straight with Invisalign braces).

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J

Jabot Pin – yup; you jab this pin right into yourself.  On either end of the pin are fancifully arranged jewels.  Each side sticks into clothing so the only thing one sees are the sparkling jewels, not the dangerous pin mechanism underneath.  Jabot refers to that frilly ever-so-manly swath of fabric that men of the mid-1600’s adorned with cocky glee; the jabot pin holds said lacy puff piece in place.  During the Art Deco explosion of the 1920’s, women took a shine to Jabot pins, making them an indispensable facet of flapper fashion.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-sexy-model-Jabot-pin

Japonaiserie (aka Japanesque) – any jewelry item that exhibits influence from Japan, typically those embossed with lacquer.  These got hot in the western world at the end of the 1800’s.  Elements commonly found on such works include bamboo motifs and etchings of provincial peoples fanning themselves.  The best way to care for this type of jewelry is to wax on, wax off.

Jarretière – this is a trendy bracelet that looks kind of like a chic little belt for your wrist.  Often made from metal patterned with geometric shapes (like the honeycomb), this comely clasp came into style during the 1800’s and hasn’t really waned yet, as you can still find them in Saks Fifth Avenue and Claire’s Accessories alike.

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Jasperware – Fashion (and, naturally, pottery) maven Josiah Wedgwood developed this porcelain-esque product which mimics onyx, but also allows for you to have a white design on the surface.  This material was used to make cameos and other fun pieces during the 1700’s, but eventually died out in terms of popularity.  Perhaps an integral lesson in survival learned by Wedgwood’s grandson: Charles Darwin.  #FashionOfTheFittest

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Jou-Jou Or – the adorable French term for “toy gold,” which is a gold alloy that has a fairly low karat rating of 6.  It is also the proper way to address the first two potential people to be chosen for something, in a row of three, pending the picker has an audible accent (ie: “Jou, jou or…jou.”)

Justaucorps – the end of the 1600’s saw France gripped in Justaucorps fever.  It’s a relatively trim and fitted coat that suddenly, unapologetically flares out at the waist (basically, a groovy disco jacket of 17th century Europe).  Included on this jewelry aggregation because the buttons were usually constructed of diamonds, gold, gems, silver and perhaps even small, mirrored balls that reflected light in a totally far out way.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-Justaucorps-Frenchman

K

Keeper Ring – sometimes jewelry can be more about function than fashion.  The Keeper Ring is just that; a band that keeps another, more costly ring from slipping off one’s slender digits.  These became necessary during the 1700’s, when more people starting wearing diamond rings (and possibly eating greasy fast food).  Eventually they would be deemed ‘guard rings,’ and they went from just utilitarian bands to fairly fancy things.  They now not only keep the expensive ring in place but also add some extra blingage to it.  The third incarnation of a keeper ring is the obviously binder clasp that secures loose leaf in your Trapper Keeper.

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Kitemarks – are little insignias that the 19th century British began stamping on their jewelry to indicate the date that the specific jewelry design of a piece was officially registered (similar to a hallmark).  The date would be found in a diamond or kite shape.  It’s kind of like the original copyright date found at the front of a book (not the publication date).  Those who opposed this and suggested that they should just stamp the date that the piece was forged on the metal were told to “Go fly a kitemark.”

-Joe Leone

Beautiful Jewelry Terms

(starting with “B”)

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Bail – yes, this is indeed what you had to lay out for your incorrigible grandpa that time he got caught shoplifting at K-Mart, but it’s also a glorious jewelry-related homonym.  The bail is that little loop that gets fastened to the top of a gemstone or pendant or Olympic Gold Medal that enables it to hang (or “chill”) from a chain.

Bakelite – there won’t be a ton of plastic-based things on this list, but the once highly sought after Bakelite is definitely one of them.  While it sounds like it gets its name from being baked in an oven (with less calories than usual!), its nomenclature stems from its creator, Leo Bakeland (and yes, his name clearly sounds like a dough-based amusement park).  Bakelite was conceived by this fellow in 1909 and peaked in desirability during the not-so-roaring ’30’s (mostly for its affordability and highly durable nature), as it was used in a wide gamut of jewelry items.

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Bandeau – is a headband, but in French; hence it is fancy.  They first rose to popularity during the Middle Ages in Europe, where they were simply constructed of jewels strung together with ribbons, which were tightly yanked and secured on to these Middled Aged ladies’ foreheads.  Later they were crafted out of various metals and took on a more tiara-esque look.  They saw a significant surge during the 1920’s Art Deco era (the flappers sure loved them some bandeaus), and fairly recently as well, as poet laureate Paris Hilton has been frequently sighted donning one.

Basket Mount – why, this is one fancy gemstone setting that creates the illusion that the stone is set in a woven, wait for it…basket.  Guess an explanation of that wasn’t really necessary.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-butterfly-jewelry

Basse-Taille – those who are in favor of the process of “translucent enameling” are typically said to be ‘All about that Basse-Taille.’  This term, in French, means “shallow cut,” and this is a reference to how the metal here is treated.  The metal is etched into very deeply, so that when a nice shellack of enamel is applied, it dries in various hues.  These different colors draw attention to the minute contours of the overall design.  This technique can often been seen in jewelry items that feature intricate shapes, such as leaves, butterfly wings, flower petals and replicas of Donald Trump’s hair.

Bavette – Is this from Bavaria?  No, no Bavette.  Here’s another phrase from the land of fine wine and stinky cheese.  Bavette in French means “bib,” and is used to describe necklaces that are constructed of numerous strands of beads (usually pearls), of various lengths.  They form a beautiful bib-shape, and can be used to showcase your opulence out on the town – or simply as a way to keep bar-b-que sauce off your camisole.

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Bayadére – this is just twisted.  It’s a necklace formed from a multitude of strands of “seed” (aka: tiny) pearls.  The strands are twisted around and around, like a pair of earphones in bottom of the jostled purse of someone desperately running to catch a bus.

Belcher Ring – is not necessarily named after those with audible indigestion symptoms.  Legend has it that this style of ring was christened after infamous English bare-knuckle boxer, Jem Belcher, at the turn of the 19th century; whether he was gassy or not remains a mystery.  The ring features a stone that is set in place with prongs that are fashioned out of the original, core metal of the band.  Also of note, is the fact that the guy’s name was Jem.

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Belle Époque – the “beautiful era” in France (1901-1915).  This was known as the Edwardian period in nearby, contentious England; for the contemporary king, Edward (aka “Fast Eddie”).  The designs of this stylish epoch are quite flowery and flowing, consisting of many floral patterns, intertwined lace and billowing bows (just like Belle’s outfits in “Beauty and the Beast”).

Benoiton – surprisingly, this is not the precursor to the Benetton line of clothing.  It’s a weird thing that women put in their hair during the 1860’s.  It’s made up of a bunch of chains that come out of the hair (reminiscent of a lovely octopus or spider) and then clamp down into one’s dress.  These non-functional hair clips first came into the public eye onstage, in a play written by satirist Victorien Sardou: the farce “La Famille Benoiton.”  They fell out of favor when scores of people began injuring themselves while brushing their hair.

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Billet-Doux – this one is a touch scandalous.  A French expression connoting a “love letter,” the jewelry manifestation of this took its form in flower based pieces – that were given to clandestine lovers.  The type of flower used would indicate a specific message, for instance:  roses symbolized true love, daisies conveyed purity, gardenias meant secret love.  Taking things to a Da Vinci Code level of crypticness, certain gemstones would be used in pieces, and the first letter of each stone (ie – “C” in crystal) would be used to spell out a covert message.  For example, Labradorite, Opal and Lazulite (“LOL”).

Biscuit – a) the most delicious item on the menu at KFC, b) what you call your sweetie, c) the name given to the sumptuous ceramic, porcelain, when it has not yet been glazed.

Bloom Finish – this is a complicated process that utilizes a vast array of deadly chemicals (the charming hydrochloric acid, to name one) to remove the shiny surface from gold and essentially leave it looking softer and “pitted,” like a morose teenager’s face.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-gold-braceletBluite – now here’s some good marketing in action.  Manhattan based jewelry company Goldfarb & Friedberg conceived this term around 1922 to describe an 18k white gold compound they sold which, they purported, was the closest approximation to platinum ever created.  They found that “Bluite” sold far better than their previous product “Greenish Gold.”

Bombé – looking exactly how they sound, these jewelry pieces are the bomb.  They exhibit a curved, bulbous shape, like that of a little explosive device.  Most common in ring and earring design, these were a ‘hit’ during the greater part of the 20th century.

via Queensbee.ru
via Queensbee.ru

Brown Émail – before your imagination begins to run wild, know that “émail” is the French word for “enamel.”  So this simply refers to enamel that has that particular, earth toned hue.  Interesting to think that the French have been using email for hundreds of years (…don’t be jaloux, England.)

-Joe Leone