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What exactly is “bijoux”?

What is bijoux (or singularly, bijou)?

Well technically bijoux (according to Wikipedia) is “an intricate jewelry piece incorporated into clothing, or worn by itself on the body.”

So how is bijouterie any different than jewelry?

Digging a little deeper, I discovered that the difference between “bijouterie” and  “jewelry” didn’t exist before Louis XIV became the king of France. Prior to that time, adornment was closer to what we consider today’s costume jewelry.

But Louis was obsessed with appearance and display and wanted to up the game of the cheaper bijouterie to match his high pedigree tastes.

This encouraged goldsmiths and jewelers throughout the country to improve the originality and quality of their pieces.

Bijouterie became jewelry.

Step up to the plate, jewelers. No more bijoux!

Step up to the plate, jewelers. No more bijoux!