A glossary of ethnic jewellery terms

Miao / Hmong

The Miao (Chinese: 苗; pinyin: Miáo; Vietnamese: Mèo or H’Mông; Thai: แม้ว (Maew) or ม้ง (Mong); Burmese: mun lu-myo) is an ethnic group recognized by the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as one of the 55 official minority groups. Miao is a Chinese term and does not reflect the self-designations of the…Continue Reading


Mosaics are pictures or decorations that are made out of small pieces (tiles) of stone, glass or other materials. Italian mosaics were common souvenirs. Older examples are much more intricate, have smaller mosaic tiles, and generally have better workmanship.Continue Reading

Mourning Jewellery

Mourning jewelry is a type of jewelry worn when one is mourning the loss of a loved one. It is often black, subdued jewelry (often made of jet or black glass and metal with a Japanned finish) or jewelry that commemorates the dead (like hair jewelry or cameos). After England’s Queen Victoria’s beloved husband (and…Continue Reading


Moonstone (orthoclase) is a semi-translucent stone that is made of albite and orthoclase feldspar. It is usually whitish-blue, but can be colorless, yellow, orange, gray, or even reddish. Moonstone is usually set as a cabochon. Moonstone was very popular early in the 20th century and was extensively used in Art Nouveau jewelry. Moonstone has a…Continue Reading

Mokume Gane

A Japanese metal-smithing technique which results in a wood-like finish. Alternating layers of thin, colored metals are laminated together. Patterns are punched in the laminate, filed away or hammered. This technique produces unique and delicate patterns. Photo – moklumegane metalsContinue Reading

Moh’s scale

The Mohs Scale of Hardness measures a substance’s hardness, that is, how resistant it is to being scratched. In the Mohs scale, which ranges from 1 to 10, one substance is harder than another if it can scratch it. For example, a diamond (hardness = 10) will scratch garnet (hardness = 6.5-7.5), but not the…Continue Reading


Millefiori (meaning “thousand flowers” in Italian) is glass that is formed from multiple canes of colored glass that are fused together and cut crosswise. Millefiori glass can also be made into beads.Continue Reading


Malachite is an opaque semi-precious stone with layers of deep green and light green. It is usually found in copper mines; malachite is about 57% copper. Malachite was used as jewelry thousands of years ago by the ancients Egyptians. Malachite is usually cabochon set in silver. Russian malachite carvings were done in miniature and in…Continue Reading


A millegrain (or millegrain setting) is a setting in which the stone is secured by tiny beads [grains] of metal or a band of metal that is decorated with tiny beads of metal.Continue Reading