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Acid Etching

Acid Etching is a process for the making of cameo glass. A vessel of two or more layers of cased glass has a design drawn onto it, which is then covered with a layer of protective varnish. The piece is immersed in hydrofluoric acid, which attacks the exposed parts not protected by the varnish, and forms the desired pattern. Prolonged immersion deepens the design and different parts of the vessel may be worked on by changing the position of the protective varnish. This technique creates the cameo design, and may be finished by polishing or supplemented with wheel carved details before the final polish. It can also be used to block out a basic design for a more elaborate technique.

Aesthetic Movement

The Aesthetic Movement is loosely defined as a 19th century Europeanpredominantly Britishmovement that emphasized aesthetic values over moral or social themes in literature, fine art, the decorative arts, and interior design. It took place in the late Victorian period from around 1868 to 1901. Major proponents of this movement included James McNeill Whistler and Oscar Wilde. The slogan, “art for art’s sake,” encompassed the ideals of living life intensely, following the ideal of beauty and that art should not be utilitarian, or sacrifice beauty, for practicality. Aesthetic movement décor reflects the sensuality and natural themes stressed by the movement, which was heavily influenced by the art of Japan. The Liberty Store in London popularized the style, which also had a great impact on the art and designs of Louis Comfort Tiffany. 

Applied Arts

The Applied Arts are the application of design and aesthetics to objects of function for everyday use. They include architecture, interior design, photography, graphic design, fashion design, and commercial art. The distinction between applied arts and fine artsthose for aesthetic purposes only, i.e., painting, sculpture, etc.emerged during the Industrial Revolution, as art was becoming increasingly secularized. Art Nouveau rejected the distinction between applied and fine arts by creating functional objects that were ornamental enough to serve as pieces of art as well. Modern day distinctions between the applied and fine arts are increasingly blurred as functional products are produced with an eye towards the aesthetically pleasing, and artists such as Andy Warhol create mass-produced fine art.

Arts and Crafts Movement

The Arts and Crafts Movement is a design movement that influenced architecture, interior design, and the decorative arts, which stressed simplicity of form, a medieval style of decoration, and traditional craftsmanship. Begun as a reaction against the historic revivals and mass production of the Victorian era, the movement reached its peak between 1880 and 1910 in England, America, Australia, and Canada. Instigated by artist and author, William Morris, and art critic, John Ruskin, the movement was against the division of labor. In America, the movement was a bourgeois phenomenon, with the simple, refined aesthetics decorating middle-class homes.

Asscher Cut

The Asscher cut is a diamond cut patented in 1902 by Joseph Asscher of the Royal Asscher Diamond Company. The cut consists of a square cut diamond with chopped corners, a three-step crown, and a seven-step pavilion. The design, which presented a notably small table, allowed for a marked amount of reflected light, creating a sound measure of brilliance. The Asscher cut was the first signature cut to be patented. Edward and Joop Asscher introduced the Royal Asscher cut almost a century later in 2001. The Royal Asscher cut has an extra break on the diamond’s pavilion, giving the diamond 74 facets, compared to the original Asscher’s 58 facets. It is known for superior light performance, especially when compared to other step-cut diamonds.


Avant-Garde is a French term, meaning “vanguard”; in Middle French, the term referred to troops that marched ahead of the army. In the modern era, it is used to describe artists whose work is innovative, experimental, or ahead of its time, often in contradiction to traditional, established ideas. It involves the pushing of boundaries of the status quo in the cultural realm. The term might first have applied to art when the Salon des Refusés opened in 1863, organized by artists who had been rejected from the Paris Salon. The term was first used in print by Saint Simonian Olinde Rodrigues in his essay, “L'artiste, le savant et l'industriel,” calling on people to bring about radical social reforms. Seen as the hallmark of modernist art, in postmodernism, many believe the avant-garde does not exist because the mainstream is accepting and expectant of avant-garde activity.


Baroque is an art style, or art movement, of the Counter-Reformation in the 17th century, primarily practiced in Catholic countries, with some limited examples in Dutch art. Applying to the fine arts and architecture, artists sought to emulate emotion and movement in their work. Following the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church encouraged the style to communicate religious themes and evoke a direct emotional response from the viewer. An advanced movement of Renaissance art, Baroque style is characterized by lively, curved, and exuberant forms, vigorous movement, rich ornament, symmetry and themes from the Classical canon. The French Baroque style, under Louis XIV, is today most commonly cited as a prime example of Baroque excess, and was a severely classical version of the style practiced in the rest of Europe. Caravaggio, Rubens, and Michelangelo are classified as Baroque artists.

Baroque Pearls

In jewelry, the term “baroque” is used to describe an irregularly shaped object, as with baroque pearls. It is most commonly used to describe a pearl that is asymmetrical. Baroque pearls are usually made from cultured freshwater pearls, because these pearls are mantle-tissue nucleated instead of bead nucleated. Thus, these pearls are rarely perfectly spherical, and can appear oval or ovoid. The most valuable of baroque pearls are the South Sea and Tahitian pearls. Although these are a variety of cultured saltwater pearls, the amount of time that the pearls are cultured dramatically increases the depth of the nacre, and thus the likelihood of producing a baroque pearl.

Belle Époque

Belle Époque is French for "Beautiful Era”"La Belle Époque" was a period in European social history that began during the late 19th century and lasted until World War I. Occurring during the time of the French Third Republic and the German Empire, the “Belle Époque” was named in retrospect, when it began to be considered a "golden age" for the upper classes, a time when peace prevailed among the major powers of Europe, new technologies improved upper-class lives that were unclouded by income tax, and the commercial arts adapted Renaissance and 18th century styles to modern forms. The arts underwent a radical transformation during the decades before World War I, and new artistic forms associated with cultural modernity emerged. Art Nouveau was notably a large artistic movement within the more general “Belle Époque.” 

Brilliant Cut

Brilliant cuts, one of the most prominent diamond cuts, were first introduced in the middle of the 17th century, known as “Mazarins.” Developed circa 1900, the round brilliant cut is by far the most popular cut given to a diamond today. The modern round brilliant consists of 58 facets: 33 on the crown and 25 on the pavilion.


The term “cabochon,” from a Middle French word meaning “head,” refers to a gemstone that has been shaped and polished rather than faceted, usually resulting in a convex top and flat bottom. Usually applied to opaque and soft gemstones, the polishing and shaping of the stone hides scratches and, in some cases, can highlight the star or eye of a gem which would otherwise not be visible with a faceted cut. Glass cabochons can also be made of colored or clear glass, and mounted over a metallic foil to provide color.

Cameo Glass

Cameo Glass is a form of decoration, produced by carving or etching through fused layers of differently colored glass. First developed in Ancient Rome, the technique experienced a revival during the Art Nouveau movement. Émile Gallé and Daum Nancy produced cameo glass using nature themes in Nancy, France, while in the United States, Louis Comfort Tiffany produced examples through Tiffany Studios New York.


“Cannetille” refers to a type of gold or silver filigree of fine, twisted wires forming a coiled spiral. Commonly used in the early-19th century, mainly in Georgian jewelry design.


Chasing is the process of finishing or refining a malleable metal surface by hammering from the reverse side, and is also frequently called embossing. Chasing is used to refine the design on the front of an object by sinking the metal. A relatively slow process, no metal is lost and the tool marks are still apparent in the finished process. The technique can also be used to remove imperfections or rough spots on a bronze cast. The resulting piece is said to have “chased work.”


A French word, Chinoiserie was also used by English speakers, to describe an aspect of Chinese influence on the arts and crafts of Europe, whether produced by European, Chinese, or artists of other origins. Particularly popular during the “Rococo” period, examples reflected fanciful and poetic notions of China, characterized by asymmetry, contrast of scale, and an attempt to imitate Chinese porcelain and lacquer work. Interest faded as Neoclassicism increased, though the style experienced a revival in the early-19th century.


Ordinary chrysoberyl is yellowish-green and transparent to translucent. When the mineral exhibits a good pale green-to-yellow color and is transparent, it can be used as a gemstone. There are three main varieties of chrysoberyl: ordinary yellow-to-green chrysoberyl, cat's eye (or cymophane), and alexandrite. Yellow-green chrysoberyl was referred to as “chrysolite” during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Chrysoberyl was discovered in 1789, described and named by Abraham Gottlob Werner, in 1790.


Citrine is a variety of quartz, ranging in color from yellow to brown. Rarely found naturally, true citrine shows dichroism, in which visible light is split into distinct beams of different wavelengths. Heat treated quartz, commonly amethyst or smokey quartz, has been artificially altered to imitate citrine and does not exhibit dichroism. Most natural citrine is mined in Brazil. The name is derived from the French word “citron” meaning lemon, used to express the common color of the stone.


The term “Classical” is variously defined; generally of, or pertaining to, a pastime in which things were seen as ordered and belonging to a period of “high culture” or a “golden age.” Typically, Ancient Greece and Rome are viewed as the beginning of the “Classical” era and style. In the arts, “Classicism” experienced many periods of revival, most notably during the Renaissance when artists and intellectuals sought a return to the forms and ideals of the Ancient civilizations. The definition, in its broadest sense, is used to describe perfection of form, with an emphasis on harmony and unity of design and a restraint of emotion.

Cloisonné Enamel

Cloisonné enamels were fused inside a wire enclosure on a metal or porcelain ground, forming chambers that are filled with colored enamels, which are then also merged. First used by the Byzantines to decorate small objects and jewelry, mainly in religious themes, the enameling technique spread to China where it was widely used to decorate larger objects. Commonly used in Art Nouveau, Plique-à-Jour is a related enameling technique, which uses clear enamels and no metal back plate, the final product resembling stained glass.

Cloisonné Inlay

Cloisonné inlay is a type of decoration, madein the manner of cloisonné enamelwareby outlining the design on a metal base with thin wire, or strips of metal (cloisons), and filling in the spaces with cemented slices of colored gemstones, or glass cut to fit the spaces, and usually backed with silver or gold foil. The design of Cloisonné inlay covers the entire metal base, and results in a smooth surface. It is found on Egyptian jewelry, and later Carolingian, and Northern Germanic and Anglo-Saxon jewelry. The technique was revived to create Egyptian revival jewelry in the 19th and 20th century. The French termed this type of enameling “verroterie cloisonnée.”

Cultured Pearls

A cultured pearl is one created by a pearl farmer, under controlled conditions. A pearl is formed when the mantle tissue is injured by a parasite, an attack of a fish, or another event that damages the external fragile rim of the shell of a mollusk shell bivalve or gastropod. In response, the mantle tissue of the mollusk secretes nacre into the pearl sac, a cyst that forms during the healing process. By actually inserting a tissue graft of a donor oyster, a pearl sac forms, and its inner side precipitates calcium carbonate in the form of nacre, forming a pearl. This discovery revolutionized the pearl industry, because it allowed farmers to reliably cultivate large numbers of high-quality pearls. In contrast to natural pearls—which have widely varying shapes, sizes, and qualities, and which are difficult to find—cultured pearls could be "designed" from the start to be round and primarily flawless. Cultured pearls can often be distinguished from natural pearls through the use of x-rays, which reveals the inner nucleus of the pearl.

Cypriote Glass

Cypriote is a textured glass achieved at Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company by rolling glass over a marble or iron surface covered with pulverized bits of the same glass. Its iridescence and bubbles resembled the decomposed surface of Roman glass discovered during archeological explorations on the island of Cyprus, hence its name. Lava glass evolved from Cypriote glass by using thicker, brighter glass and dripping golden glass irregularly over the surface.

Decorative Arts

“Decorative Arts” is a collective term to describe embellished or adorned objects, such as ceramics, enamels, furniture, glass, metalwork, and textiles, especially when used as interior decoration. Traditionally, the Decorative Arts were separated from the “Fine Arts” (painting, sculpture, printmaking) based on functionality and intended purpose. In Art Historical terms, Decorative Arts are sometimes referred to as the “Minor Arts.” Art Nouveau sought to eliminate the distinction between the Arts, by creating objects of beauty and elegance that also served a functional purpose beyond being purely aesthetic.

En Tremblant

“En Tremblant” is a term in French, meaning “to tremble,” and is used to describe jewelry with a trembling effect produced when the wearer moved. Mostly used on brooches, en tremblant pieces incorporated tiny springs to allow constant movement of components.


Enameling is the ancient decorative technique of cold-painting vitreous enamels onto a vessel, typically glass or precious metals (such as silver of gold), then firing the colored enamels in a muffle kilna low temperature kiln used for re-firing glass with enameling and gilding.

Etruscan Jewelry

Etruscan Jewelry was produced by the Etruscan civilization that occupied northwestern Italy, from 950 to 300 BCE before the rise of Rome. Made by highly skilled artisans, Etruscan jewelry is primarily gold, occasionally inlaid with colored beads, gemstones, or enameling. In the early Etruscan period, from the 7th to 5th century BCE, artisans excelled in creating innovative techniques including the use of granulated gold to produce fibulae. The late Etruscan period jewelry, made from the 4th to 3rd century BCE, usually involved embossed work. Many examples of Etruscan work were found in tombs and at burial sights. In the 19th century, Etruscan Revival jewelry was popular, most notably produced by the Italian jeweler Fortunato Pio Castellani.


The term “Favrile,” derived from the Old English word “Fabrile” meaning handmade, is a type of glass that Louis Comfort Tiffany patented in 1894, after years of experimentation. Favrile glass is highly iridescent due to the embedded coloring. The term “Favrile” glass was used generally by Tiffany Studios New York to mark their various products, from art and stained glass to ceramics, to denote a product of the highest quality created by hand by the company’s craftspeople.

Fine Arts

Fine Arts, also known as the “High Arts” or “Major Arts,” traditionally includes painting, sculpture, drawing, and engraving. The term usually denotes a piece made expressly for its beauty, lacking any functional purpose aside from being admired. The Paris Salons and traditional schools of art distinguished Fine Arts from Decorative Arts, a distinction that Art Nouveau resisted.

Fin de Siecle

The French term, “Fin de Siecle,” meaning “end of the century,” was used during the twentieth century to describe the art of the 1890s, most notably Art Nouveau and Aestheticism. It connotes decadence, and occasionally, the beginning of a period a degeneration or the approach of an “end.”

Gilded Age

In American history, the “Gilded Age” refers to substantial growth in population in the United States and extravagant displays of wealth and excess of America's upper class during the post-Civil War and post-Reconstruction eras of the late 19th century until World War I. Corresponding roughly to La Belle Époque in Europe, the Gilded Age connotes a refined, elegant aesthetic of art. Both artists and patrons wanted to show an America that had matured beyond its early provincialism and could equal Europe's culture and grace. During the Gilded Age, the role of the interior decorator evolved aesthetically and commercially from the high style interiors of the 1870s to the artistic sophistication of the 1880s. No artist represents the style of the Gilded Age more so than Louis Comfort Tiffany and the pieces sold by Tiffany Studios New York.


Gilt is the coating of a fine layer of gold, usually gold leaf or gold plate, on a surface. Techniques include hand application, chemical gilding, and electroplating.


“Gesamtkunstwerk” is a German term used to describe a “total work of art,” that uses a variety of art forms. The term can be used to describe certain buildings, such as Victor Horta’s Hotel Solvay, or Hector Guimard’s Castel Beranger, in which both artists designed everything about the building, from construction to interior decoration, lighting, and other elements.

Gothic Revival

Primarily an architectural movement which began in the 1740s in England, Gothic Revival’s popularity grew rapidly in the early nineteenth century, when designers sought to revive medieval forms, in contrast to the classical styles prevalent at the time. The revived Gothic style was not limited to architecture, as jewelry and decorative arts took on a decidedly structural and rigid appearance. Whimsical Gothic detailing in English furniture is traceable as far back as Lady Pomfret's house in Arlington Street, London, circa 1740s. The illustrated catalogue for the Great Exhibition of 1851 is replete with gothic detail, from lacemaking and carpet designs to heavy machinery.


Historicism is the use of styles, ornamentation, and motifs from the past (e.g, rococo, baroque, classical), often in eclectic combination, especially in architecture.

Iridescent Glass

Iridescence is an optical phenomenon of surfaces in which hue changes in correspondence with the angle from which a surface is viewed. This phenomenon occurs naturally in glass which has been buried for a long time, such as Middle Eastern and Roman glass. A handful of European glass makers experimented with imitating the look in the nineteenth century, but it was Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Favrile glass, patented in 1894, that achieved the full effect. The iridescence is produced by covering the glass surface with metallic oxides and reducing it by heating using carbon monoxide fumes. Common metallic oxides include gold, which creates a ruby luster; silver for a yellow luster; platinum for a silvery luster; and copper or bismuth.

Intercalary Decoration 

Daum Nancy took out a patent for their “intercalary decoration” technique in 1898. It consists of using basic vessels decorated with powdered colored glass, or enameled with a design, sometimes padded, etched or even carved. The decorated vessel is gradually reheated and an outer and/or an inner layer of glass is blown over it. When finally annealed, the vessel is then etched, carved, or polished to bring out the full effect of the internal decoration. The initial shape of the basic vessel can itself be changed or distorted during the final heating phase resulting in a completely unique specimen each time a new work is created.

Invisible Setting

An invisible setting is a channel setting, using calibrated stones without any metal showing from the top. The “Mystery Setting,” patented between 1934 and 1936 by Van Cleef & Arpels, consists of hundreds of small gems covering a piece of jewelry, which seem to float on top of the structure with no visible mounting. The surfaces are created using an extremely fine rose gold mesh which hugs the contours of the stones resulting in a seamless surface of rubies, emeralds, sapphires, or diamonds.


Japonisme, a French term also spelled Japonism, is a term used to describe the influence of Japanese Arts on those of the West. First used by Jules Claretie in the book L’Art Francais in 1872, western artists were especially influenced by Japanese woodblock prints and the lack of perspective and shadow, with areas of strong color, compositional freedom and off-center placement, and low diagonal axes background found in these pieces. Japonisme especially influenced Art Nouveau styles, influencing design in all of the applied arts.


Sometime synonymous with the term Art Nouveau, “Jugendstil,” meaning “Youth Style” in German, got its name from the magazine Jugend that first promoted the style. In the early-20th century the term only applied to two-dimensional examples in the graphic arts, later expanding to incorporate a broader range of the arts, from architecture to decorative arts. Drawing from traditional German printmaking, the style uses precise and hard edges, an element that was rather different from the naturalistic style of the time.

L'art dans Tout

A French term meaning “Art in Everything,” the phrase “L'art dans Tout” is used to express the idea that artistic design should permeate all aspects of life, from grand buildings to commercial biscuit tins.


A Lavaliere, also spelled lavalier or lavalliere, is a chain from which an ornament or gemstone hangs in the center, which was popular in the Edwardian era.


Marquetry is the craft of covering a structural carcass with pieces of veneer, forming decorative patterns, designs, or pictures. At the height of its use in late-17th century France, fine furniture was embellished with marquetry produced with rare and extremely expensive materials including ebony, tortoiseshell, and brass, often inspired by Japanese lacquer. The technique was very popular in Art Nouveau design, with Émile Gallé and Louis Majorelle producing detailed inlaid work. In glass, the term refers to a technique devised by Émile Gallé and patented by him in April 1898, consisting of inserting cut pieces of hot, colored glass into the parison, then ensuring they were embedded in the surface by rolling on the marver. Once annealed, the vessel could be further decorated by carving.


The term Martelé is derived from the French word “to hammer,” and underscores the significance placed on superior craftsmanship and innovative design. A decorative technique predominately used on silver, it was applied to glass by Daum Nancy and Émile Gallé, producing a multi-faceted surface used as a background texture to a design.

Memento Mori Jewelry

Memento Mori is a jewel or jewelry that is made in memory of a loved one, often containing hair from that person and frequently decorated with enamel. Also called memorial jewelry, this style was popular during the Georgianand especially Grand Victorianera, after Queen Victoria went into mourning for her deceased husband. Memorial Jewelry took on many forms, including small portraits of a loved one that could be incorporated into a ring or locket. Hair jewelry, often woven from a lock of a loved ones hair was also extremely popular, examples being owned by Napoleon and Queen Victoria. Special rings could be commissioned to mark a death, and a memento mori was a jewel that was a reminder of death.


A minaudière is a woman’s small, hard vanity case or handbag, usually metal or wood, sometimes highly decorated, which is held in the hand. Popularized by Van Cleef & Arpels in 1930, when the firm created a sleek version of the vanity cases of the day, meant to hold a woman’s lipstick, handkerchief, and powder puff, with style and ease.


Modernism is an encompassing label for a wide variety of cultural movements. As an art movement, it is characterized by the deliberate departure from tradition, and the use of innovative forms of expression that distinguish many styles in the arts and literature of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Many modernists believed that by rejecting tradition, they could discover radically new ways of making art.

Négligée Necklace

A négligée is a long necklace that usually terminates in irregular length with tassels or drops, and was popular during the Edwardian era.

Old European Cut

The old European cut of diamond was developed sometime after the old mine cut. The old European cut has a shallower pavilion, a more rounded shape, and a different arrangement of facets. It was the forerunner of modern brilliants, and was the most advanced cut in use during the 19th century.


Onyx is a cryptocrystalline form of quartz, with colors that range from white to almost every color, except blue and purple. Commonly, specimens of onyx available contain bands of colors of white, tan, and brown, although pure black onyx is common as well. Onyx has a long history of use for hardstone carving and jewelry, where it is usually cut as a cabochon, or into beads, and is also used for intaglio or cameo engraved gems.

Opalescent Glass

Opalescent glass is a generalized term for clear and semi-opaque pressed glass, cloudy, marbled, and sometimes accented with subtle coloring, all of which combine to form a milky opalescence in the glass. John LaFarge and Louis Comfort Tiffany first experimented with opalescent effects, driven by their desire to use glass in creating beautiful visual scenes in stained glass without painting. Opalescence is also created during the glassmaking process by alternating heating and cooling of the glass, and with the addition of chemical additives to create the desired effect. Opalescent glass was manufactured by a number of artists of the time, including Tiffany Studios New York, René Lalique, Sabino, and other prominent European glassmakers.


A parure is a suite of matching jewelry, usually four or more pieces, consisting of a necklace, bracelets, earrings, and belt or brooch, common in the Georgian and Victorian era. Beyond various items of matching jewelry, a parure can also be a term encompassing an entire wardrobe, or suite, of matching jewelry. Reserved for royalty and the wealthier classes, no woman was considered socially acceptable without a complete wardrobe of jewelry that defined her status, strength, and political power. A matching suite of coordinating pieces could include a necklace, a comb, a tiara, a diadem, a bandeau, a pair of bracelets, pins, rings, drop earrings or cluster stud earrings, brooch and a belt clasp that might be worn over a fine dress. Napoleon Bonaparte was especially fond of lavishing these gem suites on his beloved first wife, Joséphine, to wear at state functions.


A Pâte-de-Verre object made from a paste of ground or crushed glass, which is cast into a mold and fired until solid. The advantage of Pâte-de-Verre is that it allows for precise placement of particular glass colors in the mold. The technique dates back to the ancient Egyptians, but it was revived in the late 19th century by French glassmakers, notably Gabriel Argy-Rousseau and Amalric Walter, who gave the warm glass technique its current name. Many of the pieces that were made using this technique were relatively small, elaborately decorated, and required more than one firing before they were complete.


Pâte-de-Cristal is a form of Pâte-de-Verre which has a translucent, crystalline aspect.


Patina is a film on the surface of bronze or similar metals, produced by oxidation over a long period of time; or a sheen on wooden furniture produced by age, wear, and polishing; or any such acquired change of a surface through age and exposure. On metal, patina is a coating of various chemical compounds, such as oxides or carbonates, formed on the surface during exposure to the elements (also called “weathering”). Patina also refers to accumulated changes in surface texture and color that result from normal use of an object, such as a coin or a piece of furniture over time. Such naturally formed patinas have come to be greatly prized and are imitated by patineurs, who produce and apply more modern or purposeful patinas. The chemical process by which a patina forms is called patination, and a work of art coated by a patina is said to be “patinated.” Tiffany Studios New York offered many varying patinas on their desk sets and lamp bases, including the green patina, which simulated the effects of aging on copper and bronze by using green pigments.

Plique-à-Jour Enamel

“Plique-à-Jour” is a French term, translating to "braid letting in daylight," whereby enamel is applied in cells, similar to cloisonné, but with no backing, so light can shine through the transparent or translucent enamel, giving it a stained-glass like appearance. The technique was used extensively in Art Nouveau jewelry.


“Pinchbeck” is a form of brass, a gold simulant, invented circa 1720 by Christopher Pinchbeck, and is a mixture of copper and zinc. Used in Georgianand laterjewelry, Pinchbeck was commonly substituted for gold, along with simulated diamonds, to create elaborate jewelry pieces.

Reticulated Glass

Reticulated glass is that which has been blown into a metal armature, which has apertures through which the glass may bulge out. Louis Comfort Tiffany used the technique at Tiffany Studios New York, and Daum Nancy executed a number of vases and bowls blown into wrought armatures by Louis Majorelle, a design that was copied by several other firms.


Rococo, less commonly Roccoco or Late Baroque, is a style of 18th century French art and interior design. Rococo rooms were designed as total works of art, with elegant and ornate furniture, small sculptures, ornamental mirrors, and tapestry, complementing architecture, reliefs, and wall paintings. It was largely supplanted by the Neoclassic style, but the 1730s represented the height of Rococo development in France. Rococo style took pleasure in asymmetry, a taste that was new to European style. This practice of leaving elements unbalanced for effect is called “contraste,” and was later implemented in Art Nouveau decorative objects as well.

Rose Cut

Rose cut is an antique type of diamond cut which gained popularity in the Georgian era. The basic rose cut has a flat base (no pavilion), and a crown composed of triangular facets (usually 12 or 24) in symmetrical arrangement, which rise to form a point. Various forms of the rose cut have been in use since the mid-16th century, though rose cuts are seldom seen nowadays, except in antique jewelry.


A sautoir is an extremely long neck chain, which falls below the waistline and terminates with a tassel or pendant. Popular in the early 20th century, most notably the Edwardian and Art Deco eras, the sautoir draws the eye downwards across the body. 


A late-19th century art movement of French and Belgian origin in poetry and other arts, Symbolism had its roots in literature, in Les Fleurs du Mal by Charles Baudelaire. The aesthetic was developed by Stephane Mallarmé and Paul Verlaine during the 1860s and 70s, and was largely a reaction against naturalism and realism, which were anti-idealistic movements that attempted to capture reality in its gritty particularity, and to elevate the humble and the ordinary over the ideal. Symbolism, on the other hand, emphasized interior states, fantasy, dreams, the erotic, the exotic, and the occult. In the English-speaking world, the closest counterpart to symbolism was aestheticism. Art Nouveau often depicted Symbolism in idealized female figures.


Turtleback is a type of thick glass tile, pioneered by Louis Comfort Tiffany and manufactured by Tiffany Studios New York, made in translucent iridescent glass in various colors and sizes. The turtleback tiles were often used as decorative, and in bases, in leaded glass lamps.


Glass transition, or “vitrification,” refers to the transformation of a glass-forming liquid into a glass, which usually occurs upon rapid cooling. It is a dynamic phenomenon occurring between two distinct states of matter, liquid and glass, each with different physical properties. Glass is commonly made using silica and an alkali, which is turned into a hard substance using heat fusion.

Whiplash Curve

A “whiplash curve” is classified as curved, flowing lines. A description published in Pan magazine of a Hermann Obrist wall-hanging, “Cyclamen,” described the work as “sudden violent curves generated by the crack of a whip,” which became well-known during the early spread of Art Nouveau. Subsequently, not only did the work itself become better-known as “The Whiplash,” but the term, “whiplash,” is frequently applied to the characteristic sinuous curves employed by Art Nouveau artists. Such decorative “whiplash” motifs formed by dynamic, undulating, and flowing lines in a syncopated rhythm, are found throughout the architecture, painting, sculpture, and other forms of Art Nouveau design. A whiplash curve is also sometimes referred to as a “tensile line.”


Wheel-carving is a pattern or design for glassworks that is carved with a rotating wheel covered with an abrasive, usually diamond, powder, either in relief (en camee) or hollowed out (intaglio).