A glossary of ethnic jewellery terms


Pique is a tortoise shell inlaid with precious metal (usually gold or silver). Pique is made by inserting hot metal into the tortoise shell; the hot metal melts the shell upon contact.Continue Reading


Platinum is a very strong, dense precious metal with a white color. Platinum jewelry is usually 90%-95% pure, is very sturdy, and holds stones well; to strengthen the metal and increases the workability of the platinum, platinum is usually alloyed with 5 to 10 percent of another platinum group metal (like ruthenium, palladium, or iridium)…Continue Reading

Pot metal

Pot metal is an inexpensive metal alloy, usually containing lead. It is sometimes used for inexpensive costume jewelry.Continue Reading

Plique à jour

Plique à jour is a back-less enamel that is a bit like stained glass. In plique à jour, the enamel work is translucent (light shows through it) since the backing of the enamel is absent. Cells of enamel are surrounded by delicate wire. Plique à jour is made by shaping cloisonné wire on a thin…Continue Reading

Pierced work

Pierced work is jewelry (or other metal work) that has patterns cut out of the metal. Pierced work is done with a piercing saw, a tiny chisel, or a stamping machine (with a die as the pattern). When a saw is used, the pattern is drawn on the metal, then a small hole is drilled…Continue Reading


Pewter is an metal alloy that is composed mostly of tin combined with lead, antimony, bismuth, copper, and/or silver (the formulation varies quite a bit). When pewter is polished it has a silvery luster. Most pewter is over 90 percent tin. Pewter is a soft alloy that is worked by casting, hammering, or turning.Continue Reading

Penannular brooch

Penannular brooches are a type of early Celtic jewelry. They are circular brooches with a long pin (oftern hinged to the base of the pin). These pins were used to fasten two pieces of cloth together (before buttons were invented). The earliest-known piece is the Hunterston brooch from A.D. 700  Continue Reading

Peking Glass

Peking (Beijing) glass was first made in China in the late 1600’s, during the Quing Dynasty, when a German priest introduced glass-making techniques to he Imperial court. Early Peking glass was made to imitate porcelain (it often has a translucent, milky sheen). Later (after 1725), an overlay technique was developed in which two (or more)…Continue Reading


Pearls are organic gems grown within oysters and a few other mollusks. Pearls are formed when a foreign object (like a tiny stone) has made its way into the mollusk’s shell. The mollusk secretes nacre, a lustrous substance that coats the intruding object. As thousands of layers of nacre coat the intruder, a pearl is…Continue Reading


A parure (meaning “personal adornment” in French) is a matching set of jewelry, usually containing a necklace, earrings, brooch and a bracelet (or two bracelets).Continue Reading


Patina is the change of an object’s surface layer that result from aging. Exposure to the air for an extended period of time oxidizes many metals, turning copper and bronze green, and gold reddish. Artificial patinas can be applied to newer objects by using acids or electrolytes.Continue Reading

Filed Under: P


The Parsee people, which literally means inhabitant, are of the Indo-Iranian affinity block. Sindhi is the primary of three spoken languages; the other two being Eastern Punjabi and Dari-Parsi, mostly the language spoken among them in Afghanistan. This people group traces its origin to the Persian Kings of the Old Testament including King Darius, Cyrus,…Continue Reading