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Jewelry: The How To Pronounce It Guide

Posted by Laurie Zeiden on

If you've ever been a sales person, you've probably heard someone asking for a product and mispronouncing its name. That's certainly true in jewelry. Many designers' names and many jewelry terms aren't pronounced the way they look. Do you know how to pronounce VERMEIL? What about CINI? Check below and you may be surprised to learn you're right. Or maybe, you're wrong. And maybe like me, you're so used to saying it a certain way, knowing what's correct doesn't really change anything.


French luxurty haute-couture design house founded in 1952. The jewelry designs are classic and versatle.
Pronounced ZHEE-VON-SHEE

Italian designer whose work was prominent during the years between the two world wars. Her work was influenced in part by the surresalist movement of design and sought after by collectors. Beware of "misspelled" hallmarks - counterfeits unfortunately are out there.

Over 100 years old and still considered by many to the one of the premiere costume jewelry companies. Napier designers are available at all price points on the secondary market.
Pronounced NAPE-EE-YER

Italian born Boston designer started his company in 1922. Early work was mostly done in silver and gold; rhinestones were used starting in the 1950s.
Pronounced CHEE-NEE

New York jewelry company successfully transitioned from fine jewelry to costume jewelry. Ciner is known for its use of quality stones.
Pronounced SIGH-NER

Founded in 1942, Weiss costume jewelry includes a large array of designs at a variety of price points. Pieces are available on the secondary market, but beware, this is one companies counterfeiters have embraced.
Pronounced WICE

Iradj Moini
New York designer since 1989 who formerly designed for Oscar de la Renta. His pieces are in museums and seen in countless fashion editorials.
Pronounced EE-RAJ  MO-EE-NEE


Process of metal being hammered into relief from the reverse side
Pronounced REH-POO-SAY

Appearance of gold over another metal such as silver. These four examples are all pieces stamped sterling silver.
Note, if you're using this word to describe a bright red, then it's pronounced VER-MULL
Pronounced VER-MAY

A decorative technique in which a very precise, intricate and repetitive pattern is mechanically engraved into an underlying material
Pronounced GA-LOWSH
**** 5/23**** based on the comments I'm getting, I'm starting to think maybe there is a second pronunciation. The comments imply that GI-O-SHAY may also be acceptable.

This in an evolving, and on-going blog post. I'll add more examples as I think of them. 

Robin Deutsch for lending a photo for this blog
Merry Shugart for helping to make the list

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  • Im troubled by your definition of vermeil. In the U.S., at least, what vermeil is goes well beyond the “appearance of gold over another metal.” First, the other metal must be at least sterling silver, which is to say, 925 parts per thousand of total metal weight. Higher ratios would be acceptable. But it is the gold layer that makes vermeil. It is not merely an “appearance” or even a standard plate of gold. Rather, U.S. law requires that objects labeled as vermeil have a layer of gold 2500 microns thick, much heavier and more durable than standard electroplating. Consumers should know this. The law does not specify what karat the gold layer must be, however, and it may be 24k (rare), 22k (unusual), 18k (most common), or even 14k (also rare).

    Loved the guide, tho! Now I can say Napier with confidence! Thanks!

    AnneElena Foster on
  • Great post. Some really great info and learned something new which is always Awesome!

    Nikki...Thedealhuntress on
  • @Sue S – Thanks for the info. Interesting topic. Thanks WEC for posting it.

    Sandy W on
  • @Sandy W – According to the lovely Geoffrey Munn (MD of Wartski and Antiques Roadshow superstar ) it is indeed GI-YO-SHAY. Messing around getting the accent above the E on an English keyboard is a lot of hassle, though. :-)

    Sue S on
  • Great blog post. I always thought it was GI-YO-SHAY but I see it’s not! Cini I always thought was CIN (as in Cinnamon) – KNEE, too.

    Sandy W on

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