How to properly spell 'Jewelry' or 'Jewellery'

If you are from the United States, then you most often see jewelry spelled as “jewelry.” However, if you’re from the United Kingdom or Australia, they use a slightly different spelling that looks like “jewellery.” As you can see, the British and Australian versions use two extra letters in the spelling while the American spelling does not. How did this variation happen?

The original spelling “jewellery” comes from French origins. British English uses a lot of rules in their spelling that American English does not use. For instance, whenever a British word has a double “L,” then a vowel must always come right after it. That is why the spelling is not “jewellry” without the “E.” British grammar rules require a vowel, so the “E” was chosen to go after the two “L” letters.

The basis of the word “jewellery” comes from the anglicized word “jewel.” In France, jewel was originally spelt “jouel.” But the French were not the first ones to invent the word. They derived their spelling of jewel from the Latin word known as “jocale.” The original meaning of jocale was a “plaything.” Over the years, the meaning evolved into the meaning that we all know today.

If you go to France, then you will still see the “jouel” spelling used. That makes sense because jouel is a French word rather than an English word. Anyone who doesn’t speak French probably won’t recognize the “jouel” word as being associated with jewelry. But if you speak the British or American version of English, then you can certainly recognize the meaning of “jewelry” and “jewellery”.

Canada is interesting when it comes to the spelling of jewelry. Because of the French roots, Canadians tend to spell jewelry either way. Both forms of spelling are acceptable in the country because they’ve adopted both versions of the English language.

We Americans tend to prefer shortened, more efficient words. The American version of English is a simplified English. That is why longer words such as “jewellery” are shorten to “jewelry”. Similarly, colour is shortened to color in America. There are countless other examples to cite in the language, but you get the point.


TLDR: Americans spell it 'Jewelry'. Britain and Australians spell it 'Jewellery'. Canadians swing both ways.