Starting with “F”
Faience – a “non clay based ceramic” the ancient Egyptians used to craft things with a flare of color and a flourish of glaze. Those sneaky Pyramid builders would use this material to deceive onlookers into thinking they were seeing actual sapphire, malachite or turquoise. Do not give you fiancée a faience ring or they will give you back a slap.
Fausse Montre – Legend has it, that there was once a time when people didn’t have cellular phones, and needed something called a “watch” to tell the time. In fact, so coveted were these “watches,” that some dreadful individuals couldn’t even afford them. For just such a rakish cad, the fausse montre, or “false watch,” was invented by the ever resourceful Frenchies. This Georgian era device of deceit had the shape of a watch, the dials and hands of a watch, but, alas, only told the correct time twice per day…
Fede Ring – these are the two-hands-grabbing-each-other rings. They were originally conceived during the Roman times and remained popular in Europe for quite a while. They eventually switched hands and became more of an Irish thing. Certain people use them in lieu of diamond engagement rinds, including internationally renowned DJ Fedde Le Grand (one can assume, right?)
Fer de Berlin – a German term, correct? Nope – French again. It means “Berlin Iron,” and refers to a very specific style of jewelry that was worn during the turn of the 19th century. Needing supplemental finances to combat the lilliputian warrior Napoleon and his advancing troops, Prussian citizens were ever so nicely asked to hand over their gold jewelry. In exchange for their patriotic efforts, they received alternate, cast-iron jewelry, with the inscription “Ich gab Gold fur Eisen” which roughly translates to “I got screwed by the government.”
Ferronnière – here we have a cranial jewelry piece that first appeared during the renaissance period; it made a comeback during the 1830’s and then recently started popping up on the foreheads of girls at Coachella (even though they definitely don’t know what it’s called). It’s a fine chain that loops around the forehead with a small gemstone in the middle. It means “the blacksmith’s wife,” originating from a portrait Leo Da Vinci did (‘La Belle Ferronnière’) of a woman wearing this item, that he definitely had the hots for.
Festoon – oh those NeoClassics and their love of festive jewelry. This fellow surfaced during the middle part of the 18th century; a collection of flowers, fruit, leaves and other flouncy things. Used in all sorts of jewelry forms, festoons are the fancy precursor to wearable Edible Arrangements.
Fibula – is indeed the name for a leg bone, but it also the thingy that the Romans used to clasp their togas together (to avoid anything funny happening on the way to the forum). They are like super elaborate and fancy safety pins (minus the safety).
Fichu Pin – French dammes of the 1650’s wouldn’t be caught dead without these. Anyone who was anyone wore a fichu, which is an elegant scarf that is draped around the shoulders, that is held together at the bosom with a beautiful brooch, the fichu pin. Rumor has it that this jewelry piece received its name because when one inquired to the tailor about how it looked on them, the tailer would reply “It fichu perfect.”
Figural – this style of jewelry (of having little figurines attached to things) goes all the way back to the ancient times, with popularity pockets popping up throughout history. The reason for the unrelenting admiration is simply because people will always like little miniatures of big, living things; of animals, bugs, mythic creatures…themselves.
Fleur de Lys – is a highly recognizable, stylized version of a lily, used in many jewelry pieces all over the globe. French in origin, it was often seen in the family crests and the coat of arms of many monarchs, who liked to showcase how florally fluent they really were. There was an abrupt cessation to this style after the French Revolution, as certain people suddenly didn’t want to be identified as the ‘ruling class’ so much anymore (watch ‘Les Mis’ for further clarification, and to see a bald Anne Hathaway cry.)
Florentine finish – this is a technique that can be applied to the surface of metals to make them appear like they are made up of numerous alloy types. The different pieces intersect and interlock in an alternating pattern that looks cool but can make you dizzy if you stare at it for too long. A ‘Florentine’ finish is also what non-meat-eaters get (in the form of iron-rich spinach) in lieu of Canadian bacon on Eggs Benedict.
French Jet – if you couldn’t afford actual jet (or your own private jet) in the 1800’s, you wore French jet to funerals. It’s just black glass that resembles the precious gem. Since it is French by name, it is inherently fancy, and lets you mourn in fiercely fabricated style.
Fringe Necklace – once again, a jewelry commodity first made relevant by the ancient Egyptians (the Tom Fords of their day), the fringe necklace showcases numerous pendant-like units that hang from a chain or cord. They went out of vogue after a few centuries but were figuratively and literally resurrected in the 1850’s. Still the go-to necklace for anyone into #ThrowbackThursdays or #FringebackFridays.