Jewelry and/or/vs. Jewellery.
Ever wondered if it is "jewelry" or "jewellery"?
Have you already googled it and found that "jewellery" is an alternative British English spelling of the same word - "jewelry" in American English.
We thought so too. We wish it would be that simple!
In this article "jewelry" and "jewellery" mean: "costly ornaments, such as rings, necklaces or bracelets, that are typically made from gold, silver, other precious metals and/or precious stones".
If you landed here looking for an answer to your music-related question, you may want to click one of the links below:
Jewelry and Jewellery, Jewelry or Jewellery, Jewelry vs. Jewellery.
Jewellery is an alternative spelling of the same word - jewelry. It is the preferred spelling in British English, while jewelry is the preferred spelling in American English.
Both words are in use in the territory of the USA and UK, regardless of the official spelling.
The charts below show how frequently these two words "jewelry" and "jewellery" were searched in Google from the USA, UK, and Worldwide.
On all charts blue line shows you searches for "jewelry" and the red line - searches for "jewellery".
As you can see, jewelry is often used by American searchers/writers/journalists, while British searchers/writers/journalists are more likely to use jewellery. The worldwide view is more balanced, showing about 70% for jewelry to 30% for jewellery.
While this may generally be true, when it comes to particular searches, statistics for jewelry and jewellery show that some word combinations or phrases are almost exclusively searched using jewelry or jewellery.
For example, in the United States, searches like:
- black owned jewelry,
- jaxxon jewelry
- lovisa jewelry
- nihao jewelry
- girls crew jewelry
will be searched almost exclusively using the word jewelry.
While in the United States for the same period:
- story jewellery
- dior jewellery
- jesper nielsen jewellery
- j&co jewellery
- northern jewellery
and many more will be searched only as jewellery.
Facts are stubborn things.
Jewelry or Jewellery found in the same article!
But what if you see both jewelry and jewellery in the same article when reading online?
Did not an author of the article make a mistake?
In this particular case, the problem is not gramma-spelling-related.
The problem is that authors of the article, or promoters, or SEO departments purposely include both spellings "jewelry" and "jewellery" in the content of online articles. This simple trick gives them a chance to reach both UK, the USA, and other audiences, like Canada and Australia, that uses both. At least, this is what they hope for.
Advertisers know that on the Internet if you do not include both jewelry and jewellery in the content, you can not be sure that the website or article will be seen by those searching for ornaments, adornments, or accessories.
This is done to ensure that online articles, reviews, or entire websites do not get disregarded by search engines if only one or the other spelling of the word is used.
Jewelry is or are? Countable or uncountable?
Officially, whether a person is wearing one piece of jewelry or a dozen is irrelevant; jewelry or jewellery is the word to use either way.
Jewelry and jewellery are used for both the singular and plural of the noun.
I bought a nice piece of jewellery today.
I bought my wife four pieces of jewellery today.
When deciding on a verb to use in the sentence with "jewellery/jewelry," always take the singular form.
For example, "Your jewelry goes well with your dress" - not "... "go" well with your dress!"
None of the famous dictionaries give a plural form for jewelry/jewellery.
You will not find it mentioned in any of the following dictionaries:
- Oxford Concise
- New Oxford American
- American Heritage
- Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Native speakers may find both plural forms like jewelries or jewelleries sound wrong:
Both "jewelries/jewelleries" and "anyways" sound strange to my BrE ear. The difference is that the first sounds totally wrong, whereas the second just sounds totally American. :D
- Wordsmyth, Senior Member, SW France, Native language: English (BrE)
Jewelries sounds positively weird to native speakers. Formal or informal, it just isn't ever used, as far as I know (unlike anyways, which is pretty common around here :)). I have never heard it.
- JustKate, Senior Member, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. Native language: English - US
Some websites list the use of the plural form jewelries, specifying:
...in more specific contexts, the plural form can also be jewelries e.g. in reference to various types of jewelries or a collection of jewelries.
Jewelry is a singular collective noun. Whether a person is wearing one piece of jewelry or a dozen is irrelevant; jewelry is the word to use either way. Its plural is jewelries, but most writers would use the phrase pieces of jewelry instead.
Truth be told, while jewelries and jewelleries may not be grammatically correct, and official dictionaries do not show plural form for these words, real life and real people use it more and more often.
The graphs show that statistics of use of the word jewelries in published media is steadily increasing from 1930 until today:
References are found all over the published media, and the names of many authors do not sound foreign at all.
Costume jewelries became popular due to its cheap price. Costume jewelries are even better than fine jewelry because they make great accent pieces.
- Janet Evans, "Costume Jewelry Making & Making Jewelry With Beads : A Complete & Step by Step Guide", 2013
The same is true for the British plural form jewelleries.
For example, McGraw-Hill Education Essential ESL Dictionary: 9,000+ Words for Learners of English, 2014 by McGraw Hill itself, last line for jewellery paragraph specifies the plural form to use:
Here is another quote from the book of James Thomas:
OLD IS GOLD Earlier costume jewelry was all about semi-precious stones, artificial metals coated with gold and silver polish and other chunks of mirror, stone or patch-works, shells or colorful threads, etc. these jewelleries were designed keeping in mind middle class and poor women and girls who could not afford to spend much on jewelleries and those women who liked to wear jewelleries properly coordinated with their clothes.
- James Thomas. Costume Fashion: The Truth About Fashion, 2016
The instances are plentiful, showing how the English language changes over time.
We will not be surprised to see both jewelries and jewelleries as an official plural form in some not too distant future.
Jewelry and jewellery: what is the correct grammar and spelling
Short answer: both are correct.
Jewellery is British English (BE).
Jewelry is American English (AE).
If you are curious about the longer BE spelling version, the answer is found in the English grammar rule, called Doubling Up Rule.
Doubling Up Rule requires doubling the final letter when adding a vowel suffix.
Single Consonant without vowel suffix: Control, Propel
Double Consonant when vowel suffix added: Controller, Propeller.
So when suffixes like -er, meaning a person and -ery meaning a type or place of work are added to the word jewel that ends with a consonant, it is natural to double the consonant and then add the suffix.
As such, the correct word in British English becomes jeweller and jewellery.
NOTE: It is a mistake to spell: jewellry ("e" is missing after double "l")
But do they pronounce the same?
Yes, they sound about the same.
If you are curious to see if you can spot the difference, here are two videos for you.
One video gives you a clear pronunciation of the word jewelry.
Another one - jewellery.
Jewelry vs. jewellery in Canada, Australia and other commonwealth countries
In commonwealth countries, both words jewelry and jewellery can be used, and the use may differ depending on the provinces or territories.
For example, in Canada, Ontario shows that 67% of searchers use the word jewelry and 33% - jewellery.
Yukon, the smallest and westernmost Canadian Territory, shows the same ratio as 88% vs. 12% for the same year.
Jewelry vs. jewellery correct spelling in a word processor.
If you find yourself either manually correcting or habitually ignoring the spell check for jewelry or jewellery while you write in your word processor, you either can't spell or you have the wrong dictionary set in your preferences.
The most common cause is that UK English users have the American English dictionary set in their preferences or vice versa.
That is why it is often that jewelry and jewellery spelling becomes a problem.
If this is your case, you may want to check the Proofing Language settings and Auto-correct option if your processor has it.
You may have Custom Dictionary set incorrectly, which creates this problem.
In this case you may want to check: Tools -> Options -> Spelling and Grammar -> Custom Dictionaries.
If you are not sure where to find these preferences or how to set them, a couple of google and youtube searches will bring you plenty of "How-to" articles or videos for the name and version of the software you are using.
Do it once, and you will never have to apologise (or possibly apologize - pun intended) for your spelling mistakes ever again.
Both jewellery and jewelry are based on the Old French word juelerie (modern - joaillerie).
Both are based on the word "jewel" and refer to any objects used for body adornment.
The word "jewel" in its turn relates to Middle English words "iuel," "iowel," "gewel," Anglo-Norman "j(e)uel," and Old French "joel".
Ultimately, all these words are based on the Latin word "jocus" or "jest," which in Roman means "game," "sport".
Jewelry vs. Jewellery grammar test
If you are still not sure where and how to use the jewelry and where and when - jewellery, take a free Grammar Test from Grammar Monster:
And if you still have any questions or we missed some vital information, please, comment below.
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