Jewelry Designs & Motifs

Diamond and Enamel Skull with Crown Memento Mori Ring, Attilio Codognato. Photo Courtesy of Bonhams.

Memento Mori

Sixteenth Century French Memento Mori Pendant.© Trustees of the British Museum.Memento mori jewelry is the name given to sixteenth through ...
Read More
Micromosaic Bracelet Depicting Roman Architectural Sites.

Micromosaic

TechniqueMicromosaics are a type of mosaic created from tiny fragments of glass, called tesserae. The tesserae are mosaic pieces made from an opaque ...
Read More
Victorian Micromosaic Earrings.

Millefiori

Millefiori (from Italian: "1000 flowers") are multicolored glass tesserae or smalti used in micro-mosaics.Micromosaic with Colorful Floral Motif Composed of Tiny Tesserae ...
Read More
Retro Trabert & Hoeffer Mauboussin "Reflections" Brooch.

Monogram

Hand Engraved Monogram on an 18k Yellow Gold Minute Repeator.A monogram is the interweaving of two or more letters or ...
Read More
Moresque Ornament.

Moresque

Moresque Ornament by Peter Flötner (ca. 1490-1546). A moresque (or "moreske") is a stylish Moorish decoration, usually of scroll work ...
Read More
Antique Micromosaic Brooch.

Mosaic

A mosaic is created from small glass pieces or gemstones fitted together to form an image or pattern. The technique ...
Read More
Mosaics in Jewelry

Mosaics in Jewelry

...There were couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl and other costly stones.1 ...
Read More
Victorian Onyx and Seed Pearl Mourning Brooch.

Mourning Jewelry

Mourning jewelry was traditionally worn by a person mourning a loved one. During the 16th through 18th-century memento mori jewelry ...
Read More
Ouroboros Serpent Magnifying Glass.

Ouroboros

An ouroboros is an ancient symbol of a snake biting its own tail. Golden necklaces and bracelets, with scale-like or Brazilian ...
Read More
Egyptian Revival Scarab and Papyrus Design Plique-a-Jour Brooch.

Papyrus

Papyrus is a plant that was used in ancient Egypt in the production of a paper-like substance. In addition to ...
Read More
Mid-Century Diamond and Gold Tassel Necklace.

Passementerie

Passementerie is an art in which trimmings or edges are made from fine cords, such as gold or silver. A tassel is an example of this ...
Read More
Mid-Century Opal and Rose-Cut Diamond Necklace Composed of Scalloped Plaques Connected by Oval Links.

Plaque

A plaque (from French: plate) is a large central and decorated plate of metal, cameo, intaglio or other material. These are ...
Read More
Edwardian Diamond and Mulit-Strand Pearl Collier de Chien.

Plaque de Cou

Edwardian Collier de Chien (Dog Collar) with a Plaque de Cou. Plaque de cou (from French: plaque = badge/plaque, cou = ...
Read More
Russer Gold and Pearl Winged Putto Riding a Wave of Pearls Atop a Golden Poisson.

Putto

A putto (pl. = putti, from Latin: boy) is a chubby naked child boy, often with wings, that was used extensively as ...
Read More
Quatrefoil Design Victorian Bohemian Garnet Necklace.

Quatrefoil

A quatrefoil is a 4-lobed ornament that usually consists of 4 partial and intersecting circles. It was one of the ...
Read More

Rebus

A rebus (puzzle composed of pictures) was often engraved in precious metals or gemstones set in the bezel of signet rings. The ...
Read More
Antique Reverse Crystal Cat Intaglio.

Reverse Crystal Intaglio

Victorian Reverse Crystal Intaglio Animal Motif Bracelet. Glyptography is the art of gemstone carving and the term applies to both intaglios ...
Read More
Georgian Amethyst Riviere with Silver Collets and Gold Backings.

Rivière

A rivière is a necklace that is comprised of gemstones of the same species that are all the same size and shape ...
Read More
Rocaille

Rocaille

A rocaille is a rococo design ornament in the form of irregular wavy and rocky surfaces resembling seafoams and shell embedded rocks ...
Read More
Victorian Scottish Agate Bar Brooch.

Scottish Jewelry

Portrait of King George IV in His Highland Garb, by Sr. David Wilke, 1829.Popular throughout the Victorian Era, the jewelry ...
Read More
Mid-Century Turquoise, Pearl, Citrine, and Diamond Brooch with Scrollwork Border.

Scroll

A scroll is a spiraling decorative element that is reminiscent of the edge of a rolled up parchment or papyrus ...
Read More
Seal

Seal

A seal is an intaglio that holds the signature, monogram or another symbol that represents the owner and serves as ...
Read More
Etruscan Revival Cameo Silhouette Hardstone Earrings.

Silhouette

Etruscan Revival Cameo Silhouette Hardstone Earrings.A silhouette (named after French finance minister Etienne de Silhouette) was originally a portrait "en ...
Read More
Art Deco Sapphire and Diamond Sûreté or Jabot Pin.

Sûreté

A sûreté is a stick pin with a fixed ornament on one end and a detachable ornament on the other ...
Read More
Antique Amethyst and Diamond Heart Pendant.

Symbolism in Jewelry

 Romantic and Ravishing Spinel and Diamond Symbol of Love from the Edwardian Period, c.1900.Throughout history, communication, and therefore symbolism, has ...
Read More
5 Egyptian Blue Glaze Amuletic Figures, c.664-525 BC. Photo Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Talisman

The Eye of Horus.Louvre.A talisman is a charm, amulet or other ornament that has a magical meaning to the wearer ...
Read More
Art Deco Onyx and Pearl Tassel Necklace c.1920s.

Tassel

Traditionally, a tassel is defined as a hanging ornament usually in the form of threads suspending from cord. Jewelers have ...
Read More
Amethyst Grape Cluster Earrings with Tendrils and Leaves.

Tendril

Amethyst Grape Cluster Earrings with Tendrils and Leaves.A tendril is a specialized branch or stem with a threadlike shape that ...
Read More
Pearl and Diamond Torsade Necklace.

Torsade

A torsade is a necklace or bracelet made from multiple strands which are twisted together. Illustrated here is a torsade bracelet of pearls but keep in ...
Read More
Victorian Etruscan Revival Emerald Necklace with Emerald Set Trefoil Elements and Freshwater Pearl Pendants.

Trefoil

A trefoil is a decorative element composed of three circular elements linked together much like a three-leaf clover. Very popular ...
Read More
Cartier Trinity Rolling Ring.

Trinity Ring

The trinity ring is a ring invented by Cartier in 1924 and consists of 3 rings that are interwoven. This iconic ...
Read More
Mid-Century Gas Pipe Bangle Bracelet.

Tubogas

Tubogas translates literally to "gas pipe" and is the descriptive name given to a type of chain formed from a pair ...
Read More
Art Deco Tutti Frutti Earrings c.1925. Carved Rubies, Emeralds & Sapphires.

Tutti Frutti

These extremely imaginative jewels were designed with movement and depth, adorned with brilliant and colorful gemstones. The stones ran the gamut ...
Read More
Etruscan Revival Granulation and Twisted Wire Work Bracelet.

Twist Cable

Twist cable refers to wires that have been twisted together in various combinations. The wire must be annealed before and ...
Read More
A Memento Mori Ring With A Diamond Flower Top Opening to Reveal an Enameled Skull c.1600s. © The Trustees of the British Museum.

Vanitas

Vanitas translates into 'remember you must die'. Symbols such as coffins, skeletons, skulls, and engravings were often used in sixteenth ...
Read More
Natural Pearl and Plique-a-Jour Enamel Grape Cluster Brooch.

Viticulture

Plique-à-Jour Enamel, Diamond, and Red Ruby Grape Cluster Brooch.Viticulture (from Latin: Viti = wine) relates to wine and the cultivation ...
Read More
Retro Ruby and Diamond Brooch with Volute Motifs.

Volute

Retro Ruby and Diamond Brooch with Volute Motifs.A volute is an organic scroll which winds inward on itself. The nautilus ...
Read More
Victorian Etruscan Revival Bangle Bracelet with Granulation and Wirework Design Elements.

Wire Work

Wire work is a design element created by the addition of fine wires on a jewelry piece. Etruscan Style jewelry often has ...
Read More

Notes:

  1. Esther 1:6