Confused about the spelling? You’re not the only one, ask anyone in an English speaking country to spell the word ‘Jewellery’ and you’ll get at least 3 different answers. The word has it origin from a combination of the latin word “plaything” and a medieval French word jouel (later ‘jewel’).
Here in Australia we’ve adopted the English spelling rule, stating that the final consonant of a word should be doubled when its added suffix begins with a vowel. Therefore we use the spelling ‘jewellery’. This rule usually applies to instances where the final syllable ends with a vowel followed by a single consonant such as: Jeweller.
As a consequence, some people in Australia and the UK, believe the only ‘correct’ variant to be: ‘Jewellery’. However, although it is little known, the spelling ‘Jewelry’ is also acceptable and legitimate , as correctly written UK English.
The spelling variation ’Jewelry’ is thought to have had some popularity as a preferred ‘poetic’ or ‘rhetorical’ spelling in British English.
This uncertainty leads many to settle on a favourite spelling variant and use it exclusively, comfortable in the knowledge that few would question them.
In the USA, the confusion also continues, with the correct spelling varient being ’Jewelery’ according to rhe Oxford English Dictionary.
This seems to completely contradict the apparent popularity of the variant ‘Jewelry’, that pervades written USA English.
In conclusion, it appears this is one particular noun, that has ‘mutated’ in its currently favoured spelling, with little concern for established spelling rules, national borders and differences in culture. The people of all English speaking nations, appear to have been equally reluctant, to definitively ‘stake their claim’ and ‘own’ a particular spelling variant. Hence, in the case of jewellery, valid spelling as evidenced in everyday usage, seems to simply be a matter of personal preference: jewelry, jewellery, jewelery. Either way, the word is always spelt with a ‘J’!
Click here to read about our Amethyst crystal collecting adventures in northwestern Queensland.