Spelling Tips: Jewelry or Jewellery?
  • 2-minute read
  • 2nd April 2020

Spelling Tips: Jewelry or Jewellery?

“Jewelry” and “jewellery” both refer to things like necklaces, bracelets, and rings. However, we only use the spelling “jewelry” in American English.

So, do you ever need to use “jewellery”? And how can you be sure of avoiding errors when using this word in your writing? Let’s take a look.

What Does “Jewelry” Mean?

“Jewelry” is a noun that refers to items of personal adornment, such as necklaces, bracelets and rings. We could use it in a sentence like this:

Barbara Cartland wore a lot of jewelry.

It comes from the word “jewel,” which refers to a precious stone (e.g., a diamond or ruby). However, we also use “jewelry” for items that don’t feature any jewels (e.g., a wooden pendant or a gold ring).

Sparkly!
Sparkly!
(Photo: Allan Warren/wikimedia)

American vs. British English

American and British English agree on the spelling of “jewel.” But with “jewellery” – and a range of words derived from “jewel” – there is a transatlantic spelling difference, as shown below:

American English

British English

Jewelry

Jewellery

Jeweler

Jeweller

Jeweled

Jewelled

Jeweling

Jewelling

With all these words, US English simplifies the spellings. In most of these cases, this means you need to add an extra “l” in the UK spelling. But with “jewellery”, there is an extra “e,” too!

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“Jewellery” is also the standard spelling for most English dialects outside North America. The same applies for the other UK spellings above.

Summary: Jewellery or Jewelry?

The basic distinction between these spellings is dialect:

  • Jewelry is the standard spelling in American English.
  • Jewellery is the standard spelling in British English.

If you struggle to tell these spellings apart, remember that the extra “l” and “e” in “jewellery” match the first letters in London, England, where “jewellery” is the standard spelling! And if you’d like any more help with the spelling in a document, we have proofreaders available 24/7.

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