back ornament. A type of body ornament made by the Mixtec Indians of Mexico, worn during the late post-classic Aztec period, c. 1200-1500. It was made of a human skull, covered with a mosaic depiction of the features made of lignite, TURQUOISE. SIIELL, and PYRITES. Such pieces were worn by the men, tied on the back of the hip by a long leather thong. Funerary masks were similarly made of mosaic.
badge. An insigne of membership or office, worn since the 17th century. Early examples were sewn on the upper arm of a garment, but later ones, of various metals and made to be pinned on or suspended, were issued by Livery companies, Masonic lodges, some corporations, etc.
baguette. A gemstone (usually a diamond or an emerald) cut so that the TABLE is in the shape of a long, narrow rectangle, bordered by four FACETS each STEP CUT in the shape of an isosceles trapezoid. The name is derived from the French baguette (a long loaf of bread).
baikalite. A dark-green variety of DIOPSIDE.
balas ruby (or balas). A misnomer for a variety of SPINEL that is rose-red, of a paler shade than the red of the variety called RUBY SPINEL. It can be distinguished from a RUBY, which it resembles in colour, by its single refraction and lack of dichroism. Its main source in medieval times was Badakhshan, a province in north-east Afghanistan. from which the name was derived.
ball bracelet. A type of bracelet composed of one or two rows of hollow hemispheres of undecorated gold, linked together. Such bracelets were made in ROMAN JEWELRY, and are similar in style to the BALL EAR-RING.
ball catch. A device serving as a safety-catch on a jewel closed by a pin, e.g. a brooch. It is in the form of a partial circle with a central groove, having within a smaller, partially-circular tongue to which is affixed a small knob that fits into the groove and is moved forward to close the circle and fasten the catch, anti backward to open it.
ball chain. A type of CHAIN composed of small metal balls joined by tiny metal connections.
ball ear-ring. A type of ear-ring in the form of a hollow hemisphere of undecorated gold to which was attached an S-shaped wire hook for fastening in the ear-lobe. Such pieces were worn in the Roman Empire in the 1st/2nd centuries AD. Some later examples have added decoration
in the form of a suspended ornament with three bosses.
Ballochyle Brooch. A silver-gilt eight-pointed brooch set with a CABOCHON crystal within an engraved inscription and bearing the initials M C, with shields bearing Campbell arms and leopard heads for Maclver. It was made in Scotland, c. 1550, and has long been in the possession of the Maclver-Campbells of- Ballochyle, Argyll. bandeau. A type of HEAD ORNAMENT in the form of a narrow band encircling the forehead, as worn by medieval Italian women, and also in France and England in the 1840s and again in the 1920s. See BANDELET(TE); CHAPLET; FERRONIERE; FILLET.
banded opal. A variety of OPAL that has variously coloured layers of opal or of opal alternating with other minerals or MATRIX. bandelet(te). A type of HEAD ORNAMENT in the form of a decorated small band or ribbon worn by women in the hair. Some were ornamented with pearls, AMBER. CORAL or JET. They were worn in the late 19th century. See BANDEAU; CHAPLET; FILLET.
bangle. A non-flexible arm ornament (circular or oval) that slips over the hand or is hinged and closed by a clasp. Such pieces have been made in many styles and sizes, with or without decoration, and of gold, silver, CORAL. AMBER. GLASS, etc. They are worn on the wrist or the lower or upper arm (sometimes several together). They have been made in many regions and in many periods, from the Middle La Tene period (300 BC-100 BC) of the Iron Age onward until today, especially in Africa and Asia. Some were made in Rome of glass, clear or variously coloured. See ARMLET; ARTICULATED BRACELET.
Bapst family. Several generations of Parisian jewellers who were descended from Bapst ancestors from Hall, Swabia, in southern Germany. They became prominent in Paris, making Court jewelry and producing articles made of STRASS. Jean-Melchior Bapst, who started a jewelry business in Paris in 1725, had two sons, Georges-Michel Bapst (1718-70) and Georges-Christophe Bapst (1724 84). The former left Hall in 1743 to join his uncle, Georges-Frederic Strass (creator of strass), by whom he was ceded in 1752 the strass part of the business, and in 1755 he married Suzanne-Elisabeth Strass (1737-89), the daughter of Philippe. Jacques Strass (1693-1757), brother of Georges-Frederic Strass. The couple's eldest son, Georges-Frederic Bapst (1756 1826), carried on the business in strass and other jewelry, and made a jewelled sword for Louis XVI; he died without children, and left the business to his cousin, Jacques-Evrard (originally Jacob Eberhard) Bapst (1771 1841). The latter, the son of Georges-Christophe Bapst (supra), was brought to Paris in 1796 by his childless cousin, married in 1797 Marie-Nicole Meniere (daughter of the Parisian Court jeweller, Paul-Nicolas Meniere), and taking the name Bapst-Meniere he directed the business, becoming a Court jeweller during the Restoration, 1814 30, remodelling from 1815 to 1830 some of the jewels of the regalia of Napoleon I for Louis XVIII, and making the coronation jewelry for Charles X in 1824. His sons, Constant Bapst (1797-1853) and Charles-Frederic Bapst (1799 1872), continued the business as Bapst Freres, making jewelry for Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III; they were joined by Constant Bapst's son, Alfred Bapst (1823-79), until he withdrew to join Lucien Falize, forming the firm of Bapst & Falize, and thereafter the brothers carried on the family business as Bapst Freres et fils. Charles -Frederic Bapst's sons, Jules and Paul, had been associated with the firm of their cousin, Alfred Bapst (supra). until they withdrew in 1885 and founded the firm of J. & P. Bapst, which continued until 1930. Alfred Bapst was Court jeweller during the Second Empire, 1852 70; upon his death, his son Germain (1853 1921) joined Lucien Falize from 1880 to 1892, and thereafter continued alone as the last jeweller in his family line. There was another line of the family, descended from Jacques-Frederic Bapst (b. 1720), a brother of Jean-Melchior Bapst; his grandson, Frederic Bapst (1789 1870), a nephew of Jacques-Evrard Bapst, left Hall in 1805 and was with the Bapst firm for over fifty years.
bar brooch. A type of brooch in the form of a horizontal bar with decoration along its length or with gemstones or a decorative motif at the centre and gemstones at the terminals.
bar ear-ring. A type of ear-ring set with a gemstone below which was an attached horizontal bar from which were suspended several small pendants or pearls. Such pieces were worn during the Roman Empire from the 2nd century Al) and continued into the Byzantine period.
bar pin. A type of BROOCH having a long and narrow horizontal axis like a bar.
barbaric jewelry. Articles of jewelry made during the Dark Ages, from c. AD 410 until c. AD 870. when the barbarian tribes (the Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Franks, Lombards, Anglo-Saxons) were sweeping west over Europe and bringing with them the culture of the Orient to influence Roman art. The styles included those brought from the Middle East and south-east Europe, as skilfully adapted by the invaders. (See ANGLO-SAXON JEWELRY; CAROLINGIAN JEWF.I.RY; FRANKISH JEWELRY; (;oTHic JEWELRY: MEROVINGIAN JEWELRY.) The articles were essentially colourful, with ci.msoNNE enamelling and inlaid coloured gemstones prominent, but also with much metalwork in gold decorated with FILIGREE and REFOUSSF work. Necklaces, FIBULAE, and finger rings were popular, often decorated with zoomorphic motifs. Much has been found, e.g. CIIILDERIC TREASURE; GUARRAZAR TREASURE; PETROSSA TREASURE; SUTTON HOO TREASURE.
Barbor Jewel. A pendant of oval shape surmounted by a crown, the centre decoration being a CAMEO of SARDONYX portraying Queen Elizabeth I. The frame is gold decorated with translucent blue and green enamel on opaque white enamel, set with alternating RUBIES and TABLE CUT diamonds. Below the main part is suspended a grape-like cluster of small pearls. On the reverse is an enamelled oak tree. It is the family tradition that this jewel was ordered by William Barbor (d. 1586), who had been sentenced to be burned at the stake at Smithfield for his Protestantism, to commemorate his last-minute deliverance, brought about by the accession of Elizabeth 1 in 1558 upon the death of Mary Tudor. However, the tradition has been recently questioned on the ground that the style of dress shown on Elizabeth cannot date from before 1580 and that the PEAPOD style on the reverse must be from later than c. 1600. It was given by Barbor to his first granddaughter, who was named Elizabeth, and subsequently passed to each first-born female child to be named Elizabeth. When the last Elizabeth died unmarried, it passed into the possession of the Blencowe family by marriage some time after 1757, and was eventually bequeathed by Miss M. Blencowe, who died in 1904, to the Victoria & Albert Museum.
barion cut. A modern style of cutting a diamond that is a modification of the EMERALD CUT, intended to improve the BRILLIANCE of the square and rectangular stones while retaining maximum weight. In addition to the usual 24 FACEES plus the TABLE on the CROWN, and the 28 facets plus the CULET on the PAVILION, there are 4 half-moon facets on each side of the GIRDLE, making a total of 62 facets. It was developed by Basil Watermeyer, a cutter of Johannesburg, and named by him with his initial combined with the name of his wife Marion.
barleycorn chain. A type of TRACE CHAIN of which the links are shaped like an isosceles triangle, with the apex of one link looped around the base of the adjoining link.
baroque. A style in art and decoration that developed shortly before 1600 and remained current in Europe until the emergence of the ROCOCO style c. 1730. It was started in Italy, and spread to Germany, Austria, the Low Countries, and Spain and Portugal, with only a somewhat severely classical version being popular in France under Louis XIS'. The style was a development of the Renaissance style (see RF.NAISSANCE JEWELRY) and is characterized by lively, curved, and exuberant forms, by vigorous movement, and by rich ornament, based on classical sources, being symmetrical as distinguished from the asymmetry of the following ROCOCO style. During the baroque period both men and women ceased to bedeck themselves with ostentatious jewelry and tended to wear quantities of pearls or of jewels with gemstones playing a larger role than the polychrome effects of enamelling. Enamelling in restrained style continued to be found on the backs of jewelry, such as lockets and watch-cases), and in the 1630-80s naturalistic floral styles predominated, largely as a consequence of the botanical mania then current in Europe. Diamonds were often used following the discoveries at the Golconda and Hyderabad mines in India and the new methods of diamond cutting.
baroque pearl. A natural pearl or a CULTURED PEARL of irregular shape, formed by a PEARL OYSTER around some irregularly-shaped intrusion. Such pearls are ordinarily not suitable for modern jewelry but natural baroque pearls were featured in certain RENAISSANCE JEWELRY in pendants and brooches made in the form of a figure or animal IN THE ROUND, of which the body was such a baroque pearl; see BAROQUE PEARL JEWEL; HINGE PEARL; HAMMER PEARL. Probably the largest known baroque pearl, 'The Pearl of Asia', weighs 2,420 grains.
baroque pearl jewel. A type of jewel (usually a pendant, but sometimes a !wow:it) having the principal ornament in the form of a single figure or animal, IN THE ROUND and decorated in EMAIL EN RONDE BOSSE, of which the torso is a BAROQUE PEARL to which is added decoration of enamelling and gemstones. In the best examples the figure conformed to the shape of the pearl. The figures were usually drawn from mythology, e.g. a centaur, mermaid, triton, siren, harpy, dragon, sea serpent, hippocampus, etc., but sometimes were a bull, butterfly, cock, turkey or other animal. Often three baroque pearls were suspended from such a pendant in triangular arrangement, a large pearl in the centre flanked by two smaller ones. Such pieces were usually the work of German, Italian, and Spanish jewellers of the Renaissance period
barrel and link chain. A type of CHAIN composed mainly of groups of links but having between each group a long, thin, cylindrical ornament.
barrel polishing. The same as TUMBLING.
basalt. A dark-grey to black, dense, fine-grained, volcanic rock that was used in Egyptian jewelry. It was imitated by Josiah Wedgwood in his 'black basaltes' stoneware that was used by him for making portrait MEDALLIONS; such medallions were sometimes mounted as a brooch or pendant.
basket ear-ring. A type of EAR-RING with an ornament suggestive of the shape of a basket. Such pieces were made over an extended period and in several forms. Some made in the Early Bronze Age in Britain, c. 2100 BC 1800 BC, are in the form of a shallow elongated basket with an overhead handle, made of half-tubular gold sheet with rounded sides and having the ear-hook rising from the centre of one side and curving toward the other side; some were decorated with beaten REPOUSSE work. Later examples in LANGOBARDIC JEWELRY made in the 6th and 7th centuries have been found in the valley of the Danube and in Bohemia; these examples were often in the form of a loop to which was attached a hemispherical openwork basket, on the front of which was a flat disc set with several gemstones or coloured glass beads around a central stone, and having suspended from the basket a small ring for the suspension of a pendant. Such Langobardic examples were closed by the wearer by slipping one end of the open circular loop that pierced the ear into an aperture on the other end of the loop. See Katherine Reynolds Brown, 'Langobardic Ear-rings', in Connoisseur, August 1980, p. 272.
Basket-Maker necklace. A type of necklace made by the Basket Makers, who were among the earliest prehistoric inhabitants of south-western United States, c. 1000 BC-500 BC. Such necklaces were made of strands of yucca fibre with suspended turquoise ornaments.
basse taille (French). Literally, shallow cut. The technique of decoration by ENAMELLING on a metal base in which the design was first made in several levels by CHASING. CARVING, ENGRAVING or STAMPING (or, in later examples, by engine-turning) and then the surface was covered with transparent or translucent coloured enamel (but without any partitions to separate the colours) that was then fused by firing. The varying depths of the depressions of the design resulted in different tones of the enamels and thus enhanced the effect of apparent INTAcLio relief. The enamel decoration, after firing and polishing, was smooth and level with the metal surface. The metal base was usually gold or silver. The enamel was sometimes of different colours, but was most effective when of a single colour (usually blue or green). The technique is said to have originated in Italy in the late 13th/14th century, and thereafter was used elsewhere on the Continent, especially in the Rhineland and France, and in England. Sometimes called 'translucent enamelling'
bastard amber. A variety of AMBER that has a cloudy appearance due to many embedded air bubbles. bastard cut gemstone. A gemstone that has a regular and symmetrical arrangement of FACETS, but departs from the recognized standard styles of cutting or has some modification of such styles. If the facets are irregular or not symmetrical, the term is 'cap cut'.
baton. A gemstone cut in the shape of a BAGUETTE but longer.
Battersea enamelled ware. Articles of jewelry and OBJECTS OF VERTU decorated in very limited number, c. 1753-6, with enamelling, at the factory at York House, Battersea, London, founded by Sir Stephen Theodore Janssen. The decoration was painted over transfer printing from copperplate engravings to a white enamelled ground, on a base of copper, and depicted portraits, flowers, and other motifs. The enamelled plaques were mounted in gold or gilt frames and set in bracelets, brooches, pendants, finger rings, watch-cases, and snuff boxes (but no recorded snuff bottle). Much enamelling of similar character, often attributed to Battersea, was made in the Midlands at Bilston (formerly in Staffordshire), and near Birmingham, and also by London enamellers in the 1750s. See R.J. Charleston, 'Battersea, Bilston . . . or Birming-ham?'.
baule ear-ring. A type of ear-ring of ETRUSCAN JEWELRY having a suspended ornament suggestive of the form of certain women's handbags, being made of a strip of gold bent almost to form a cylinder, and sometimes having one end closed by a circular plate, and with an overhead wire or narrow band (in the form of the handle) that passes through the lobe of ,the ear. Such pieces are usually decorated with REPOUSSE work, GRANULATED GOLD, and FILIGREE.
bayadere (French). A type of necklace composed of several strings of SEED PEARLS that are twisted together in a rope-like manner, the strings usually being of contrasting colours.
bazu band. An article of MUCHA!. JEWELRY in the form of a gold ornament (sometimes three-sectioned), decorated with enamelling and gemstones, that is tied around the upper arm.
bead. A small object, usually globular (but sometimes oblate, cylindrical, polyhedral or irregular) and generally pierced for stringing, made for personal adornment or to embellish other wares and usually used in strands. Beads have been made from earliest times and in all civilizations, being of a great variety of sizes and materials, including gold, silver or other metals, glass, porcelain, earthenware, stone, coral, jet, wood, or other organic substance, jade or gemstone. Beads have been worn or carried as ornamental objects or as TALISMANS. They have been strung in strands as a necklace, bracelet or ROSARY, or suspended from a brooch or an ear-ring.
Writer – Thames And Hudson