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The most common metalwork techniques used by goldsmiths, silversmiths and lapidaries to create jewellery, include casting, cutting, welding or soldering, and cold-joining (the use of staples and rivets to assemble parts).

More advanced decorative techniques include embossing, repoussé work, engraving, enamel-work (types include champlevé, cloisonné, basse taille, plique-à-jour) granulation and filigree decoration.

Today, many students train at jewellery Arts Schools devoted to goldsmithing, and precious metal arts fabrication.

Other leading arts colleges, like the L'Ecole des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, also play an important educational role.

Popular semi-precious stones used by jewellery designers include: amethyst (violet/purple), garnet (deep-red), opal (milky white), aquamarine (bluish/green), jade (green), lapis lazuli (blue), malachite (bright green).

Another important material used to create coatings, is fused-glass or enamel.

Enamel can be transparent, opaque or translucent, while a wide range of different colours and hues may be added to the smelted glass by mixing it with various minerals, like the metal oxides cobalt, iron, neodymium, praseodymium and others.

Named after the French word for "raised field", champlevé enamelling is an ancient technique designed to add colour and lustre to metal jewellery - in which troughs are sunk into the surface of a metal object, filled with vitreous enamel and fired.

Considered to be decorative art, jewellery is one of the oldest categories of precious metalwork.

Gold sheets may be embossed into shape, or pressed or pierced into decorative forms, while gold wire is often employed to join jewels together or to make chains.

Less expensive precious metals used in jewellery-making include silver and platinum, as well as alloys like bronze, and non-precious metals like copper and steel.

Indeed, jewellery - like body painting and face painting - has been a fundamental element of tribal art for millennia.

Jewels have also been used to adorn weapons, as well as ceremonial and religious objects.