Jewelry or Jewellery – Which is Correct?

If your spouse has a birthday coming up, should you buy jewelry or jewellery?

Choosing a birthday gift for a loved one can be a stressful shopping experience, but, luckily, knowing the difference between these two words does not have to be so nerve-racking.

Even if your spouse wants something else as a gift, it is still a good idea to be aware of the difference between these two words. In reality, they are two versions of the same noun. One is used by American writers, and the other by British writers, so your gift choice might depend on whether you are living in America or England.

What is the Difference Between Jewelry and Jewellery?

In this post, I will compare jewelry vs. jewellery. I will use each of these words in example sentences, so you can see them in context. Plus, I will show you a helpful memory tool that will allow you to choose jewellery or jewelry correctly every time.

When to Use Jewelry

define jewellery define jewelryWhat does jewelry mean? Jewelry is a noun. It refers to decorative adornments worn as accessories. Jewelry can be made of precious stones and metals, but it can also be made of plastic or glass. It can be very expensive or very cheap.

Jewelry preferences vary widely from person to person and region to region. Some common types of jewelry are bracelets, necklaces, rings, and various objects worn in body piercings.

For example,

  • Kara bought Edina jewelry for her birthday, but Edina returned it and chose a different item.
  • Albert wore so much gold jewelry that his outfits were worth more than many of his employees’ cars.
  • A staggering $53 million worth of diamonds and other jewels was stolen Sunday from the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel in Cannes, in one of Europe’s biggest jewelry heists in recent years, police said. –New York Daily News

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.

A seller of jewelry is called a jeweler. Jewelers may also provide other services, like repair or appraisal.

When to Use Jewellery

jewellery or jewelry spellingWhat does jewellery mean? Jewellery is an alternate spelling of the same word. It is the preferred spelling in British English, while jewelry is the preferred spelling in American English.

  • Malka said the safe-deposit boxes were used to store both jewellery and loose diamonds in packets. –The Guardian

The charts below graph jewellery vs. jewelry in American and British English, respectively.

American English:

jewelry versus jewellery

British English:

definition of jewellery definition of jewelry

As you can see, jewelry is used much more often by American writers, while British writers are more likely to use jewellery.

Trick to Remember the Difference

Jewelry and jewellery are alternate forms of the same word. The only difference between them is where they are used.

  • American English writers have standardized around jewelry.
  • British writers have made jewellery the standard form in their language community.

Since jewellery has an extra L, like the city of London, England, it should be easy to remember that jewellery is the British version of this word.

Summary

Is it jewelry or jewellery? Jewelry and jewellery are spelling variations of a noun that refers to decorative adornments worn as accessories.

  • Jewelry is the American English version.
  • Jewellery is the British version.