- a black metallic substance, consisting of silver, copper, lead, and sulfur, with which an incised design or ground is filled to produce an ornamental effect on metal.
- ornamental work so produced.
- a specimen of such work.
- a print on paper made from an incised metal plate before the application of niello and associated especially with 15th-century Italy.
- to decorate by means of niello; treat with niello or by the niello process.
Origin of niello
1810–20; < Italian < Latin nigellus blackish, diminutive of niger black
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for niello
It was of silver, but very beautifully engraved and adorned in Russian niello.Paul Patoff
F. Marion Crawford
For niello, and printing, a transverse cut was substituted for the blow.Ariadne Florentina
The interior of the ears and the lip of the cup have been gilt, and in the nostrils is niello.The Shores of the Adriatic
F. Hamilton Jackson
A design thus filled with enamel was called a niello, a derivative of the word nigellum (the most black).
While making a niello, the artist naturally wished to see how the work was progressing and if any alterations were required.
- a black compound of sulphur and silver, lead, or copper used to incise a design on a metal surface
- the process of decorating surfaces with niello
- a surface or object decorated with niello
- (tr) to decorate or treat with niello
C19: from Italian from Latin nigellus blackish, from niger black
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012