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jewelry glossary

Antique jewelry glossary

Welcome to our extensive antique jewelry glossary with around 1,500 jewelry related entries.If you feel you are missing an explanation, feel free to let us know and we will add it.

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See our: seal jewelry.

A device bearing a monogram or design in intaglio for imparting an impression in relief on a soft tenacious substance, e.g. clay or wax. Seals have been made from ancient times, of clay and later of various substances, e.g. gold, cornelian, and other gemstones, coral, glass, etc.

The earliest forms were flat (called a 'stamp seal'), then on the outside of a cylinder, and later they were mounted on signet rings and also on a shank, usually about 3 to 5 cm in height, made of gold, silver, enamelled ware, or steel, as well as of porcelain (such as those made at Chelsea in the form of figures, cupids, birds, animals, etc.). From the 16th century seals were worn suspended from a neck chain, girdle or chatelaine, and from the 17th century men wore seals dangling from a watch chain. The former term for a seal was a 'sphragis'.

From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson

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