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Glossary of Terms: Costume Jewelry

The Martha Stewart Show, November 2008

These costume jewelry terms will help you while shopping for your new favorite piece.

Cabochon

A stone that has a rounded, domed surface with no facets, or a paste with a flat back.

Diamante
Faceted, highly reflective crystal or glass stones cut to resemble gemstones.

En tremblant
A piece of jewelry with a motif that is mounted on a tiny spring so that it trembles when the wearer moves.

Jelly Belly
An animal pin that has a clear lucite or glass stone in the center for the "belly."

Duette
A pin or brooch that can be worn as two separate pins or clipped together as one.

Gilding
Process by which a base metal is plated with a very thin layer of gold.

Paste
Crystal or ordinary glass with a high lead content, which has been cut and faceted to look like a gemstone. Also known as rhinestone or diamante.

Vermeil
Sterling silver plated with gold. Also called silver gilt or gold wash. During the 1940s, most American costume jewelry was made of vermeil sterling silver. 

Russian Gold plating
A coppery gold matte finish first used on costume jewelry in movies in the 1940s because it reduced the glare produced by studio lights.

Special Thanks
Special thanks to jewelry collector Judith Miller for teaching us the terms of costume jewelry. Special thanks to Sterling Publishing Co. for giving the studio audience a copy of Miller's Collectibles Price Guide 2009. Special thanks to Roxanne Stuart (gemfairy@aol.com) and Judith Miller ( millers.uk.com ) for providing the vintage costume jewelry used in the segment.

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