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I don't know whether to use "Gold Jewelry" versus "Golden Jewelry" and "Wood Jewelry" versus "Wooden Jewelry".

Let's say the sentence is "Art of gold(en) jewelry" and "Art of wood(en) jewelry"

Using this sentence, which one is grammatically correct ? Could it be a difference between British and American English about this ?

Thank you

  • Possible duplicate of Which one is grammatically correct: wood door or wooden door? and Gold or golden nugget? (though word-choice rather than grammar is involved here). Google Ngrams should be consulted, but I'd guess that 'gold jewelry' and 'wooden jewelry' are the more common variants. // ... I've checked, and don't need to adjust. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 3 '18 at 10:03
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    Possible duplicate of Gold or golden nugget? – JMP Mar 3 '18 at 10:14
  • The answer to the duplicate is incorrect in my opinion. I think that 'golden' definitely conveys the appearance (specifically the colour and the sheen) of the object whilst 'gold' definitely relates to the content of the object. The same with wood/wooden. 'Wood' pertains to the content, 'wooden' to the appearance (colour and texture). – Nigel J Mar 3 '18 at 10:26
  • Thank you guys. FOA, I'd like to precise : by "art of wood(en) jewelry" I mean 90 to 100% made of wood jewels. As @EdwinAshworth suggests, trends show "wooden jewelry" as the winner whilst "gold jewelry" is the clear winner for "Gold versus Golden". It makes no sense to me, why "Gold" on a side, and "Wooden" on the other side ? Since Google Ngram is based upon word/expression popularity, could it be because we are not used to buy jewels made of wood while we are used to buy jewels made of gold. In this case, NigelJ's answer is the more relevant as it's not based upon popularity. – B. Bla Mar 4 '18 at 8:56
  • @Nigel J Have you commented or supplied an answer there? – Edwin Ashworth Mar 4 '18 at 10:39
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The OED makes it clear that 'gold' is a noun, not an adjective. Thus 'gold' jewellery is jewellery made out of gold.

a. The metal regarded as a valuable possession or employed as a medium of exchange; hence, gold coin; also, in rhetorical use, money in large sums, wealth.

But 'golden' is an adjective and is applied to things which, either practically or metaphorically resemble gold or resemble what gold represents, one of the meanings being :

a. Of the colour of gold; that shines like gold.

However the OED states the primary meaning of 'golden' to be :

a. Made of gold, consisting of gold.

So a coin made of gold may be either 'a gold coin' or 'a golden coin'. The OED, as far as I can see, makes no real distinction in concept.

The Ngram agrees with my own instinct and with my own usage of the two words, for 'gold coin' far surpasses 'golden coin' in usage, indicating to me that when English speakers wish to relay the idea of 'consists of gold' they will use the noun form.


The Ngram for 'wood/wooden door' however shows a completely different picture for here, 'wooden door' hugely outweighs 'wood door' in usage.

We use the adjectives 'golden' and 'wooden' to describe things that resemble the materials, either in appearance or in character - 'golden opportunities' and 'wooden behaviour' - but it seems we English speakers are not consistent in our use of the nouns.

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    Dictionaries are divided over whether 'gold' used prenominally should be classified as a noun adjunct or an adjective. AHD, RHK Webster's and CED all take the latter stance. This is the domain of research articles (with which even the best dictionaries are usually out of touch). I can't locate it, but there's a discussion about the POS of 'steel' in 'steel bridge' around somewhere. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 4 '18 at 12:56
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    I upvoted but I see your fine answer has been downvoted. It's supported, it's in perfect English, it's detailed and addresses both issues very well and succintly. What can I say? – Mari-Lou A Mar 4 '18 at 13:02
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Usually I would use "art of gold and wooden Jewelry.

Which Is kind of funny, most craftsmen in order to enhance their gold dilapidation first they use wooden materials for prototypes.

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