For a example, a brooch, which has a lot of details of high quality.

I found that next options may work:


An ornate building, piece of furniture, or object is decorated with complicated patterns or shapes. Collins

elaborately or excessively decorated Merriam-Webster


  1. delicate ornamental work of twisted gold, silver, or other wire
  2. any fanciful delicate ornamentation Collins

1: ornamental work especially of fine wire of gold, silver, or copper applied chiefly to gold and silver surfaces 2: ornamental openwork of delicate or intricate design Merriam-Webster

Which one is more idiomatic and why? Are there another options?

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    Jewellery/Jewelry is a mass noun, so you can't say "a jewellery", you have to say "a piece of..." or "an item of..."
    – stangdon
    Sep 9, 2022 at 16:14
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    @stangdon Thanks, duly noted. Sep 9, 2022 at 16:24
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    Presumably you saw that "filigree" is a noun while "ornate" is an adjective. Also, while the words apply to different kinds of items, their meanings can overlap. Thus, it's not an either / or situation, as you seem to suggest. Sep 9, 2022 at 17:29
  • @MarcInManhattan Good point, I didn't notice actually. Thanks. Sep 11, 2022 at 8:21

2 Answers 2


Filigree describes a particular type of ornate jewellery, as described in the definition you found (i.e. using fine wires). An item of jewellery can be ornate without being filigree work.


For a example, a brooch, which has a lot of details of high quality.


A brooch is a small piece of jewellery which has a pin at the back so it can be fastened on a dress, blouse, or coat. Collins

an ornament that is held by a pin or clasp and is worn at or near the neck Merriam-Webster

With that in mind, I think that, of the 2, "ornate" would be a better fit.
Filigree is a bit too narrow and so might not fit certain contexts.

Are there another options?

After searching many words, I found one that fits your case:
Almost all other words related to jewelry either convey the piece being rare or cheap or showy (last one sometimes qualifying for the person too).

If "one-word" isn't a restriction, then for ease of understanding of audience or to not make speech grandiose one may use the following phrase:
exquisite jewellery

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    I really like the word bijouleous. I mean I really like it. I might start using it.
    – EllieK
    Sep 9, 2022 at 17:51
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    @EllieK-Don'tsupporther I agree with "most people will have no idea what bijou means". That's why I also mentioned "exquisite jewelry" for exactly the same reason. But then again many authors use such (rare) words rather richly and that too since times old, making a strong case for existence of google in those ages (XD). Or perhaps they at least had a foresight of it for future readers. (XD). Sep 9, 2022 at 17:59
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    I am a UK English speaker, and I know what 'bijou' means. Small and attractive. A 'bijou residence' is what UK [real] estate agents call a small house or apartment, often to make it sound fashionable and attractive. Incidentally my cousin had a car called a Citroën Bijou which was a plastic-bodied UK version of the Citroën 2CV produced in small numbers around 1959-1964 (it didn't sell, much, only 210 models). He said it was ugly, slow, and tiny, and these were part of its charm (maybe that's a British trait, to like ugly ducklings?). Survivors fetch an eye-watering sum nowadays. Sep 10, 2022 at 8:24
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    My sister just told me that when she was dating a short guy, a catty acquaintance called him her 'bijou boyfriend'. Sep 10, 2022 at 9:23
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    @InanimateBeing - My sister's acquaintance is a normally fluent UK English native speaker. Sep 11, 2022 at 8:52

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