personal ornaments, such as necklaces, rings, earrings or bracelets that are typically made from or contain jewels and precious metal.

“she had silver hair and chunky gold jewellry”

I was surprised to read the commentary noted above. Apart from stating the obvious it conjoined silver hair with gold jewellery. In my experience the choice of silver or gold (at least when confined to ornamental accoutrements) is exclusive rather than inclusive. Having said that, by entire coincidence today I am sporting in addition to my gold rings and necklace (which I always wear) a sterling silver bracelet made by Buddha to Buddha (“designed in Amsterdam, handcrafted on Bali”).

While jewellery is normally viewed as the domain of women, the rappers and their macho colleagues are similarly drawn respectively to heavy gold jewellery or expensive complicated watches as a mark of their success or influence.

By way of explanation of my Buddha to Buddha sterling silver bracelet, it is perhaps curiously something I wear hidden beneath the sleeve of my sweater. The reason I am wearing it in the first place is because I adore the feel of it, buttery smooth. Although it naturally hasn’t the weight of a similarly sized gold bracelet, it has the distinguishing smoothness of polished .925 sterling silver, strengthened in this instance by a unique construction (called “Batul Heritage Sterling Silver Bracelet”). I secrete the bracelet under my sleeve because it otherwise gets in the way especially when typing. And I suppose I harbour the fiction that silver and gold are incompatible – though admittedly the proposition is less persuasive when considering platinum (though not so much for “white” gold which offends my sense of purity because of what I perhaps ignorantly characterize as its veneer).

Colored gold is the name given to any gold that has been treated using techniques to change its natural color. Pure gold is slightly reddish yellow in color, but colored gold can come in a variety of different colors by alloying it with different elements.

I confess too having a warm spot in particular for Buddha to Buddha because I unwittingly discovered the manufacturer over ten years ago on the internet.  Its plausibility was enhanced when I learned that there was a retail agency in a respectable hotel in downtown Montréal. We embraced the opportunity to travel from Ottawa to Montréal to examine the product. Upon arrival I was afforded a couple choices. The entire adventure inspired the buoyancy one hopes for when purchasing an item of personal interest.  If I recall correctly it was also a sunny day so even the heavens were propitiously aligned! Although I have other sterling silver jewellery (which I have reason to suspect was also “handcrafted on Bali”) the Buddha to Buddha piece has a distinctive design element (one which I have never seen repeated).

A common distinguishing feature of male accoutrements is the so-called “pinky ring” which I think you’ll agree is not as frequently seen on women. I have always interpreted the male fashion as illustrative of the purported abandon one has for refinement while paradoxically preserving the tweaking. I first encountered the gentleman’s “pinky ring” in the lobby of the Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia when I visited there with my parents at age 12 approximately.  Small wonder my father never encouraged me to go fishing or hunting with him!  My focus was elsewhere from the outset! I sincerely believe I settled my mind from that moment to “get me one of those”. I have since commissioned at least three such pieces including the one I now devotedly sport from Dixon Jewellers, Ottawa.

Although men have singular outlets for jewellery (such as shirt studs, cuff links and pocketwatch chain fobs) nothing surpasses the discrete glitter of the Highland evening wear of the sgian-dubh, the kilt belt buckle, sporran and lapel pins (clan crest brooch).

The extension of adornment to one’s teeth is no doubt the final frontier.  When I attended boarding school at St. Andrew’s College, Aurora in 1963 (a very, very long time ago) I recall marveling at the front tooth of one of the Prefects.  It was a solid mass of silver. I presume he had lost the tooth in a football accident. Though the silver tooth was highly noticeable I never found it offensive or inappropriate.  Later in life I learned that I reacted to the base metals and amalgams used for dental fillings. As a result all my old filings were removed and replaced with gold. At the time (early in my professional career) it was an undertaking adopted by me from the dental surgeon with measured amortization. It was probably the first of many subsequent ruinous financial habits though in my defence I happily report the fillings are still there almost half a century later.

I have attempted to mitigate or expiate my erstwhile profligacy by having connected with such as Dupuis Fine Jewellery Auctioneers, Toronto to arrange the en masse liquidation of my holdings. But I always end up coming back to the trough. Oddly the critical exponent of jewellery is not only youth but also old age; each affords its singular avenue of expression. One prefers to imagine that in the process of evolution, the experience will distill as commendably as fine wine or whisky, brashness replaced by subtelty.

Post Scriptum:

The correct spelling in Australia and Britain is ‘jewellery’. In American English, the correct spelling is ‘jewelry’. Canadian English, on the other hand, uses both variations, with the most popular being ‘jewellery’.

Where does the word jewellery come from?

It is thought that the word comes from Middle English which has origins in the Old French word juelerie/juelrye meaning jewel adornment.

Looking even further back, some think the word originally dates to the Latin word “jocale” meaning plaything!

But why the different spelling of jewellery?

Well, because until the early 1700s there were no standard English spellings.

This changed in 1755 when Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language was published which heavily influenced the standardisation of English spelling and is thought to have favoured the French origins of words.

Slightly later in 1828 Noah Webster’s An American Dictionary of the English Language was published. This popularised alternative American English spellings, apparently choosing these alternative spellings due to their simplicity, analogy and etymology.

So over time the American English version of jewellery evolved to more closely to its literal sound – jew-el-ry.

And we see this evolution in other examples of American English, like:

    • aluminum (dropping the extra “i” from the British English spelling aluminium)
    • color (dropping the silent “u” from the British English spelling colour)
    • organize (using a “z” instead of the British English “s” in organise)
    • traveled (dropping the extra “l” from the British English spelling travelled)