Thursday 14 January 2021

jewellery terms starting with B

B - The second part of our jewellery term glossary.

Terms used when describing jewellery from baguette stones to byzantine chain. All terminology beginning with the letter B. Some are common terms some are used less often. We hope that you find our B jewelry glossary informative and useful.

Baguette stone. Small narrow stones either diamante, diamonds, gemstones or crystal glass cut into a rectangular shape to accentuate. Black baguette stones used in this Art Deco style ring below.

Bail. The part at the top of a pendant that allows a chain or cord to go through to turn into a necklace. Also spelling term used alternatively = bale.
Bail seen at the top of this pendant by Exquisite.

Bakelite. This is an early form of plastic. Thermoset resin first invented by Dr Baekeland and patented in 1907 in the US. He was looking to replace Shellac. It was used for many things including jewellery, buttons and many house hold products. 
Bali silver. Bali silver of course comes from Bali. It contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. 
Band. Of a ring. The part that goes around your finger. It can be a plain ring band or decorated.  
Bandeau. A stripe of cloth usually wrapped around your head as a band.
Banded agate. Description of a common agate or Chalcedony. This semi precious stone usually has stripes or layers in different tones or colours. Known as a protective gem that if placed under your pillow will give fabulous vivid dreams. 
Bandelettes. Decorative ribbon that was worn in the mid 1800s in the hair.
Bangle. A type of bracelet worn on the wrist that is not flexible.
A 1920s Bakelite bangle with glass rhinestone and silver brads.

Bar and ring clasps. A fastener for both bracelets and necklaces. It consists of a circular ring with the other part a bar. The bar goes through the ring at an angle and is large enough when straight to hold the jewellery together.  
Bar brooch or pin. A long "bar" shape to a brooch or pin. This was very popular in the Victorian and Edwardian jewellery era. 
Baroque or Barrok. Usually Baroque pearls that have an irregular shape. Can also be used to describe gemstones.
Barrel beads. Beads shaped like a barrel or drum. Useful in necklaces and bracelets as well as other jewellery. 
Barrel clasp. Barrel shaped clasps that have a screw in mechanism to hold a necklace or bracelet in place.
Barrette. Term used more by the Americans to describe a hair clip or hair accessory.  
Bas relief. This is when a sculpture is formed by cutting into the material's background and leaving the unsculptured section looking as though it is raised above its background.
Base metal. This is when a metal used corrodes easily. Metals considered as a base metal are copper, iron, nickel, lead and zinc. In jewellery this can be plated. So refers to the metal under the plating. 
Bass-taille. This is a method of enamelling where the surface of the metal is hollowed out to receive the enamel. Very similar to Champlev√© enamelling.
Baton stones. Where they are cut  in a longer narrow rectangular shape than a baguette stone.
Bauble. Term used to describe some bright and decorative jewellery.
Beach glass. Glass that has been washed repeatedly over time in freshwater. It has a smooth and irregular shape. It has a less frosted look than sea glass which has been washed by the sea or salt water. Beach glass can be artificially produced by tumbling recycled coloured glass bits. 
Bead. Made from many materials ie, wood, plastic, glass or gemstones and shaped into round or other shapes. It has pierced holes so that it can be threaded to make jewellery.  
Blue beads made from glass.

Bead cap. Plain or decorative shaped cap with a central hole that goes around one end of a bead. Can also be called bead cones.
Bead crochet. First explained in the early 1800s when beads were used in crochet. Its a decorative needlework form to make jewellery as well as bags and other decorative objects.
Bead embroidery. This is where beads are stitched decoratively onto a surface of material. This can be cotton, suede, leather and other materials.
Bead knitting. This is a form of knitting using beads. Either using beads already strung onto wool or cotton. Or adding the beads as you knit to the pattern.
Bead thread. This is the art of stringing beads together with a needle and thread. It is either from a loom or off-loom. 
Bead wire. This is the strongest thread used for holding beads in a necklace or bracelet.  
Beaded. To be covered with beads. 
Beadwork. Created by stringing beads together with a sewing bead needle. The resulting piece is often a work of art.
Belcher chain. Broad oval or round links with slight convex edging. Appears English in origin. Not as flexible as some chains.
Bell cap. Another name for a bead cap.
Belle Epoque. The period of time from 1871 to 1914, known as the Belle Epoque in France and Belgium. It was a time of peace and invention.  
Berlin Iron jewellery. From about 1804 to 1850 though was still manufactured to the end of the 1800s, with a peak around 1813 - 1815. Cast iron jewellery produced in Germany. Gold and silver were given to fund the Napoleonic war. Fine and laced in appearance and often lacquered black to prevent rusting. Today it is collectors items and more likely found in a museum.
Beryl. This is a colourless mineral often tinted by impurities to give a transparent stone. Aquamarine, Emeralds, golden and red Beryl and Morganite are examples.
Beveled. When a square or rectangular stone or other items has its edges sloping giving a bevelled look. 

Bezel setting.  Originally the part of a ring which holds the stone. Now generally used to signify the characteristic part of the ring. E.g. the setting including the stone or as in a signet ring - the portion bearing the device.
Bi Colour Amethyst - Purple and clear quartz hues in this Amethyst gemstone. Caused by environmental changes during formation.
Bi Colour Citrine - Yellow and clear coloured hues make up this pretty gemstone.
Bib necklace. As with a baby's bib. The bib front is jewelled with beads or stones and usually has a thin ribbon clasp.
Bicone beads - Shaped beads that look like 2 pyramids with the top cut off glued together at the base.
Bijouterie. The art of working in gold and enamel, as distinct from Joaillerie, the art of mounting precious stones
Birthstones. Each month of the year has a birthstone gem attributed to it. People like to buy this birthstone for a birthday present or for themselves. 
Biwa pearls. Japanese small unusual shaped pearls from fresh water mussels. A bit more irregular in shape than baroque and can be long or even bumpy coin shaped.
Black Diamond - A version of diamond that is a natural black precious gemstone. Rare and rarely come on the market. Those that do are colour enhanced.
Black Moonstone. A dark bluish coloured Labradorite stone. Reflects light to give the characteristic Moonstone properties.
Black Onyx. Ancient stone used by the Egyptians. Shiny black coloured Chalcedony.
Black Opal. A dark coloured Opal but not necessary black in colour. The most sought after, the rarest and precious of the Opal family. Thought to have possessed the power of foresight.
Black Lipped Oyster. The name of the type of mussel that produces pearls. This type produces Black South Sea pearls or Tahitian pearl. The Black Lipped Pearl is the rarest and so most precious known as the Queen of the pearls.
Black Spinel -  Another black coloured gemstone.
Black Star Sapphire - Black version of Sapphire with a white or gold star shining property. That appears to glide across the surface. Rare
Black Tourmaline - Known as Schorl. A rare version, that was once popular in Victorian mourning jewellery. 
Blemish. A mark or bump on pearls or diamonds or semi precious gems. May be very slight but will lower its value.
Bling. First used in the 1990s for the flash over the top, Hip Hop jewellery and accessories. Also referred to as Bling Bling. 
Blister pearls. A pearly deposit cut away from an oyster shell; irregularly- shaped and sometimes hollow
Bloodstone. A green Chalcedony quartz with markings of red, which gives it the name of Bloodstone. Known also as Heliotrope or the "Blood of Christ".
An antique bloodstone fob set in gold.

Blueberry Quartz - From Brazil, a purple sparkling gemstone. Available since 2007.
Blue Diamond. The rarest and most precious of the diamond family. 
Blue Fire Opal - Transparent or semi-transparent icy violet to steel blue colours. With the milky blue opalescence of opal. Discovered in 2007.
Blue Green Tourmaline - From Brazil, shows 2 mosaic blue and green  colours within.
Blue Moon Quartz - Whitish blue moonstone effect gemstone.
Blue Sapphire - Sapphire comes in all colours of the rainbow. This one is of course blue and the birthstone for September.
Blue Spinel - deep blue single refractive gemstone. More affordable.
Bodkin. In jewellery this is a long hair pin with an ornamental head. Some Georgian examples can be found today.
Body jewellery. Refers to the studs and chains that are used to decorate your body with piercing. For example on your belly button region and nipples. Not mentioning other parts that are rarely on show to the general public.  
Bog Oak. Also known as Bog wood. Wood that has almost been fossilised in a bog for thousands of years. Its dark brown to black colour and is hard. Once polished can make beautiful jewellery. Also renowned in pipes for smoking material.
Bohemian Diamond. Not a real diamond but a form of rock crystal and fairly inexpensive. 
Bohemian Ruby. Again not a real ruby but an inexpensive form of red garnet. You may also see this term used for glass made in Bohemia.
Bolo tie. Also referred to as a Bolo necklace, Bootlace tie, bolo tie or a shoestring necktie. A thin string made of leather or cord with metal tips. It is held in place by usually and ornate slide. Seen most in the West USA and in Navajo, Hopi, Zuni and Mexican jewellery mostly for men. It is the official tie of Texas from 2007. In the UK it was used by the 1950's Teddy Boys as neck wear. 
Bolt ring. Circular clasp with a press release that opens the ring partially. A bolt ring can be found on necklaces and bracelets.
A bolt ring on this vintage marcasite necklace.

Bone. One of the oldest organic materials used for jewellery making. Usually animal bone is used but human bone jewellery can be found - though these are novelty items and look like human bones. It is a more fragile material and should not be immersed in water or exposed to heat. 
A tribal style bone necklace.

Bouton pearls. Button shaped real pearls also called Blister Pearl. Due to the fact that the pearl grows attached to the shell and so when cut off. It is not therefore round and has to be cut into half to be usable.   
Bow. Popular shape of brooch, pendants, etc. The colour of the awareness ribbon can also have some meaning if the jewellery has been produced for a charity awareness day. Such as pink for cancer, red for HIV/AIDS and black is melanoma.
Box chain. This means that the links are smooth and have been made up of square shaped links. The box chain is one of the most used for pendant necklaces.
Box clasp. As the name implies, it is a box shaped clasp for necklaces and bracelets. usually referred to as the push in type. Very popular in early and mid twentieth century jewellery.
Bracelet. A piece of jewellery that fits around your wrist.
Art Deco bracelet.

Brass. Raw brass can turn your skin green. So most rings and earrings are plated over it. However brass stampings are used extensively in brooches and necklaces. Keyring will often have brass shapes as they do not come into contact with your skin directly. hard wearing and will often turn a lovely patina from the original bright golden yellow colour. Brass can also be "antiqued" by dipping in a solution and also sealed with lacquer to stop patination occurring. 
Brick stitch. Most popular beading technique. The beads are threaded side by side then the next row is formed in a brick pattern. 
Bridal set. This is where you get a matching engagement ring and wedding ring together. 
Brilliance. The effect that is obtained from a brilliant or other multi faceted stone.
Brilliant cut. A form of cutting introduced by Vincenzio Peruzzi at Venice in the late seventeenth century. Nearly all diamonds are now brilliant cut and the word "brilliant" commonly means a diamond cut in this way. In a perfect brilliant there are 58 facets above and 25 below the girdle
Briolette. Oval or drop shaped stones which are faceted all over and often pierced at the top 
Bronze. An ancient metal that has been used for thousands of years in jewellery making. Today bronze is an alloy of copper (90%) and tin (10%) An affordable material that has a lovely rich darkened golden colour. Used often today to represent a vintage style piece. 
Bronzite. A gemstone that has brown colouring. The birthstone for Leo and is said to protect.
Brooch. A piece of jewellery that can be any shape and attached by some form of pin to your clothing. Can also be spelt broach.
Vintage red plastic horse brooch.

Brooch back. The pin part of a brooch that attached to garments.
Brooch back showing fastening and also the maker's mark.

Brushed finish. This is when the metal is finished into a less bright colour. A way to dull metal but leave a desirable look to it.
Bubbles. Seen in glass often a good way to distinguish between glass and gemstones.
Buff top cabochon. Where a cabochon has been polished smooth, so the top is flat or looks like a slice. Can have faceted or smooth sides.
Bugle bead. Glass or plastic beads originally used in dress trimmings. Now days bugle beads are used for trimmings clothes, bags, shoes and also in costume jewellery.
Bulla. Protective locket worn by Roman boy children until they reach manhood at 16. The bullae were given to male babies at 9 days old. It was thought to protect against evil spirits. Made from most materials depending on the families wealth. 
Burnishing. This is when a surface of metal is made even shinier by a sliding technique. This gives a slight scuffed/ridged effect to the surface, that when polished reflects light and thus increases the shine .
Button style earrings. As the name implies, a half sphere shape that has been used on a earring finding. 
Button earrings - clip on style.

Butterfly wing jewellery - Jewellery from the Victorian and early part of the 20 century that used real butterfly wings in the image on jewellery. Pioneered by the Birmingham company Thomas Le Mott.
Butterflies/butterfly stoppers. Also known as scroll earring backs. Shaped backs that have a folded back feature around the post hole. 
Byzantine chain. This chain is a very flexible and popular shape. It has a rope like look that is made by the links all linking through four other links. This gives the Byzantine chain a nice drape effect.

Jewellery glossary A.

Updated January 2021. Copyright to Jewels Vintage Geek UK.

About Me

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Solihull, West Midlands, United Kingdom
I preserve the past. Researching family and local history. Finding about mine and other people's ancestors, is just one of my passions. I also love vintage costume jewellery made here in the UK. I write about my finds and like to research.