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How to Spell Jewelery


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Jewellery? Jewelery? Jewelry?

There are some words in the English language that everybody seems to have trouble with. Ask 10 people in an English speaking country to spell the word ‘Jewelry’ and you'll get at least 3 different answers.

Perhaps because of this uncertainly, many would be reluctant to correct anothers’ choice of spelling. Although phonetically there is no difference; jewellery is normally always pronounced with 3 syllables JOO-uhl-ree, irrespective of a double ‘l’ or not.

The word has its origin in a combination of the latin jocale “plaything" and a medieval French word jouel, which later became the anglicised jewel.

Following the established British English spelling rule, stating that the final consonant of a word should be doubled when its added

suffix begins with a vowel, we get jewel-lery. This rule usually applies to instances where the final syllable ends with a vowel followed by a single consonant: Jeweller.

UK Correctly Written ‘Jewellery'?

As a consequence, some in the UK, believe the only ‘correct’ variant to be: ‘Jewellery’. However, although it is little known, the spelling ‘Jewelry’ is also legitimate and contemporarily acceptable, as correctly written UK English.

Jewelry is thought to have had some currency as a preferred ‘poetic’ or ‘rhetorical’ spelling in British English.

This uncertainty leads many to select a favourite spelling variant and use it exclusively, comfortable in the knowledge that few would question them.

USA Correctly Written ‘Jewelery'?

In referencing the Oxford English Dictionary, the correct variant in the USA is ‘Jewelery’.

This seems at odds with the apparent popularity of the variant ‘Jewelry', that pervades written USA English.

Why Not ‘Gewelry'?

It seems 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 and a universal acceptance of conventions established as a direct consequence of the words’ origin: jewelry, jewllery, jewelery is always spelt with a ‘J'!

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