A glossary of ethnic jewellery terms

Job’s Tears

Job’s tears (Coix lacryma-jobi) is a wild tropical grass plant that has very hard seeds. The white seeds are used as beads in jewellery. The seeds are dried, dyed or painted, polished, drilled and then strung into necklaces and bracelets.  Continue Reading


Jewellery or jewelry[1] /ˈdʒuːəl(ə)ri/ is small decorative items worn for personal adornment, such as brooches, rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. Jewellery may be attached to the body or the clothes, and the term is restricted to durable ornaments, excluding flowers for example. For many centuries metal, often combined with gemstones, has been the normal material…Continue Reading


Jet is fossilized wood formed from a species of Araucaria (the monkey puzzle tree). It is synonymous with the colour black and can be highly polished to give an intense black colour that never fades. When polished the material is so reflective that pieces of Jet were even used as mirrors in medieval times. It…Continue Reading