BackstampBack Stamp The marks on the back of a piece, these can include the makers initials and the hallmarks. Sometimes trade names. Many pieces are unmarked.

Baccarat  French glass maker of high quality crystal glass

Baguette Shape of a gemstone. A baguette is long and narrow and has a flat table or top

Bail The hanging loop between for example a locket and its chain.

banded agateBanding Seen in agate amongst other materials , different layers of the material have different colours and are cut and polished to enhance these colours.

bakelite dress clipBakelite An early form of plastic very popular in art deco jewellery

Bangle A solid bracelet. many be hinged and clipped to fit to the wrist.

Bar Brooch A long thin brooch popular in the early 1900s. Often has a decorative center.

baroque pearlBaroque Pearl An irregular shaped pearl. These were made into the shape of creatures, animals and people in the renaissance jewellery.

Baroque Style Popular  circa 1600 to circa 1730. Started in Ital and spread throughout Europe. Its a very curvy and highly ornamental. It is symmetrical. Large quantities of pearls were very popular during the Baroque era as were floral and natural styles.

Barrel Clasp A necklace clasp regularly seen in jewellery between circa 1920s and 1970s. The two halves of the clasp screw together.

Basalt  A type of ceramic pioneered by J. Wedgwood and used for cameo type jewellery however the cameo is molded not hand carved.

Base Metal Any type of metal which is not Gold or silver or platinum. Usually used to describe a metal where the type is not known or mixed metal material,

Bass-Taille  Where the design is carved or cut and then the enamelled over the top. The design is covered by the enamel

Bead  A piece of jewellery with a hole through so that it can be strung on a chain with many others to make a necklace, bracelet, earrings or other piece of jewellery. Beads have been popular since ancient times and can be found in all sorts of materials including ceramic, glass, silver and gold. Gemstones can be drilled and used as beads.

Bead Work Where beads have been sewn and strung together to make a piece of material . For example this can be bead work can be used as a belt on an evening purse

scarab designBeetle Jewellery Jewellery set with real scarab beetles or with the design of beetles. This was popular during the Victorian era and the art deco era when scarabs were set into Egyptian Revival jewellery. You can also find scarab shaped ceramic jewellery and enameled metal decorated to look like stylised scarabs.

Belcher Chain A chain usually worn round the neck where the links are D shaped in profile and are the same length and breadth

Berlin Ironwork Jewellery made in Germany during the early 1800s when gold and silver was wanted for Napoleonic wars and the precious jewellery was exchanged for Iron jewellery. Most Iron jewellery is lacquered black and is in Gothic revival style . Berlin Ironwork is not common these days but crosses are probably the most common pieces available

Beryl The family name for a group of gemstones which includes Aquamarines and Emeralds. The less well known stones in the family are Heliodore (yellow), Goshenite (clear), Morganite ( rose pink or violet) and Red Beryl which is very rare.


Bezel  A ring ( usually metal) used to hold something in place. Bezels are used in lockets and picture jewellery, they sit just inside the rim and retain the picture.

Bilston and Battersea The original source of quality enamel products such as needle holders and patch boxes. This enamel was usually hand painted with motos and delicate motifs.

Birthstone  A stone associated with the month of your birth

Bloodstone A type of hardstone which is deep bottle green in colour and has red flecks.

blue johnBlue John  A very attractive semi precious gemstone . Looks like quartz with purple and deep blue bands. Blue John is only found in Derbyshire, England.

Bracelet  Worn around the wrist, flexible rather than a bangle which is solid.

Brass Metal used in vintage costume jewellery due to its hard wearing properties . Gold in tone but has a tendency to go green in contact with the skin.

Bristol Blue A super bright blue colour usually associated with glass

Britannia Silver High grade silver not usually used in Jewellery . Sterling silver is .925 parts silver per thousand. Britannia silver is .958 parts silver per thousand parts

Bohemian Style The word Bohemian comes from the French word for Gypsy, Bohemian style reflects this with ruffled skirts and long strings of beads. The Bohemian style was popular With the Pre- Raphaelites in the Victorian era and has become so several times since including the recent BOHO trend.

Bohemian Origin. Coming from the area which is now Czechoslovakia. Much Jewelry and glass has been traditionally been made in this area.

bog oak broochBog Oak Fossilized oak trees. Trees which have been in oak bogs for thousands of years become black and hard. This was used as a cheap jet substitute in mourning jewellery during the Victorian era. Bog oak jewellery with often be found carved with shamrocks

Bone Used since the ancient times in jewellery. Bone has been used as a cheap substitute for Ivory and is a similar colour but does not carve and polish up quite as finely as Ivory does.

Brooch  A decorative piece of jewellery which is pinned to the clothing.  Small brooches can also be known as pins.

Buckle A decorative clasp, originally used for belts and shoes. In Jewellery the buckle shape is popular for rings and brooches.

Butterfly Back The clip from the back of an earring. This has a loop either side of the central hole which holds the back in pace against the ear.

butterfly wing jewelleryButterfly wing  Bright blue butterfly wings were popular in art deco jewellery. You can find them as a background with decorative scenes of beaches and art deco figures or plain as giving an iridescent colour.

Button Buttons have the purpose of fastening clothes, many antique buttons were made of silver or gold and are highly decorative. Sets of antique silver and gold buttons are quite pricey these days. Look out for buttons with enamelling.

Brilliant  A diamond cut which shows off the fire and brilliance of a diamond to its best advantage, it minimises the amount of light which escapes from the gemstone. The brilliant has a flat top ( or Table). The base comes to a point and all the sides except for the table are faceted.

Briolette A gemstone cut with an elongated pear shape. The gemstone is faceted all round and is usually suspended as a pendant or charm.

Byzantine The Byzantine era was after the Roman era until about the 13th century. The jewelry was over the top ornate with lots of gemstones, pearls and enamelling.