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Objects de virtu: (or objects of vertu) small luxury items not classified as jewellery as they are not worn on the person.

Objets trouvés:   found objects such as pebbles,feathers etc.

Obsidian: naturally occurring volcanic glass.

Oiling:  gemstone treatment to disguise cracks.

Old European Cuts: a diamond cut from  the later 19th and early 20th century.

Old Mine Cut: diamond cut popular during second half of the 18th and most of the 19th century.

Omega back:  a clip earring backing with creates a secure way to wear pierced earrings.

Onyx: name for black and white banded variety of chalcedony (often used in Cameo).

Opal: Semi-precious stone with a rainbow-like iridescence.  There are three types: opalescent precious opals, yellow-red fire opals and the common opal.

Opaline glass:  milky white to blue gem imitation, often cut en cabochon. Popular in the Georgian era. Sometimes foilbacked, often to create a pink cast.

Open back setting: setting which allows light to be transmitted through a gemstone. Not used much until the Victorian era.

Openwork: metal piercing technique producing decorative motifs which allow the passage of light.

Opera length: necklace with a length of about 70 cm (26-36 inches).

Oreide: (French gold). An alloy made of 80% copper, 15% zinc and 5% tin used to imitate gold.

Orient: Characteristic sheen of fine natural and cultured pearls.

Orlov (Orloff): Legendary diamond owned by the Kremlin.

 Oscar and Nathan Heyman: American jeweler and manufacturer that first gained attention in the 1920’s.

Osmior: (or plator, or platinor). White faux- platinum metal (around 1918). Also a watch brand.

Ouroboros:  a snake biting its own tail. Popular as a jewellery motif in the 1840s particularly.

Overtone: when one or two colors overlie a pearl’s basic colour.

Oxblood coral: dark red or ‘blood’ coral.

Oxidation: when metal (often silver) combines with oxygen over time to produce an oxide or antique finish. (Sometimes purposefully created with an ‘oxide finish’).


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