At first glance, the variations of spelling, “jewellery” and “jewelry” seem almost like a brain teaser or tongue twister.
You don’t want to look at the two side-by-side very long, or you might get hypnotized.
Yet, if you’re trying to decide between jewellery or jewelry, please rest assured that both spellings are technically correct.
Jewellery is the British and Canadian version, while “jewelry” is the correct spelling in the U.S.
But even if both versions are correct, we still have to solve the mystery of where the spellings came from and why we have both of them.
Jewellery vs Jewelry: The English Spelling Rule
When there’s a discrepancy in spelling, the first question that pops into many people’s heads is how did it get to be that way?
Well, one very important factor in the difference between the American spelling and the British spelling is the English Spelling Rule.
This rule states that when a word ends in a consonant and the suffix (in this case “ery”) begins in a vowel, one doubles the consonant.
Another example would be the word format. “Format” would become formatting, doubling the “t” because the suffix begins with a vowel.
Well, even if it’s called the English spelling rule, it isn’t adopted by America (the U.S). But only by England and Australia and Canada.
Thus, when you see “jewellery” you see the correct spelling in British English.
Noah Webster and the American Spelling
Noah Webster was an editor, linguist, and lexicographer who would go down in history as one of the inventors of American English.
He was born in 1758, while America was still under British rule. As the colonies became an independent country, immigration from various European countries added to the population of the U.S.
Webster thought it was important to create a dictionary of uniquely American words.
Another main thing Webster wanted to do was simplify various English words by spelling them in a way that mimicked their sound.
So, for example, he wanted to spell “women” “wimmen.” By logic, if choosing jewellery or jewelry, you’d have to go with the latter, the one that spells out the pronunciation more directly.
Which do you Use?
Jewellery or jewelry? For the most part, this will be determined by whether or not you’re using American English or British English.
This small spelling difference is still enough to trigger a spell-check on a word processor, so you may let that be your guide.
But now you know the standard spelling in the major varieties of English.
Jewellery or Jewelry FAQ
Is jewellery and jewelry the same?
Well, both of these are spellings of the same word. Jewellery is the standard spelling in British (Canadian, Australian) English, while jewelry is the preferred spelling in American English.
Is there a plural for jewellery?
There is. While general, you’d just say jewellery or jewelry to refer to multiple pieces, an obscure usage is “jewelleries” for, say, the jewelleries of various centuries or of different cultures.
Is it correct to say jewelleries?
While this is not the most common word for multiple pieces of jewelry an obscure usage is “jewelleries” for, say, the jewelleries of various centuries or of different cultures.
How do Canadians spell jewelry?
They spell it “jewellery,” as Canada was part of the British monarchy for centuries. Unlike the U.S., with someone like Noah Webster to make changes, Canadians didn’t develop a variation like “jewelry”