Guest Author - Lisa Shea
By knowing the terms used in jewelry, you can make the best decisions when you buy, collect, and sell that jewelry. Here is a set of glossary terms beginning with the letters V and W.
You might think this was pronounced "vehr-meeel" but in reality this is pronounced "vehr-MAY". This is a metallic item. They begin with sterling silver, and then bond gold onto it so that it is a light coating of gold over a base of sterling silver. Both are valuable metals. It's a lovely result, but be cautious - sometimes unscrupulous jewelry sellers will claim that it is actual full gold. Since the outside IS gold, it can be hard to tell that the inside is silver.
The category of Victorian jewelry applies to the period when Queen Victoria was the Queen of England. This was quite a long period of time - 1837 to 1901. In US terms, this would include the time of the Civil War (1861 - 1865). Victorian jewelry was often large and showy. Cameos were very popular.
Designed to look like real pearls, these items are made from glass and have wax within them to add texture and luster.
In Art Nouveau jewelry, often there were gorgeous curves. A whiplash curve was when the curve folds back fairly sharply. If you google "whiplash curve art nouveau" and look at the image results you can see a variety of pretty representations of it.
Gold is an element on the periodic table of elements - so gold on its own is one of the most basic types of items one could find in nature. White gold is gold plus other metals, to change its color. White gold was first developed in 1912, to make gold look more like platinum. Some of the metals added in to gold to create white gold include nickel, zinc, and palladium.
This generic term applies to any time non-precious metals like tin, zinc, or lead are combined together. Usually objects that are made from white metal are then coated with a precious metal. So, for example, a silverware set might be made from white metal and then coated with silver.