Friday, 31 May 2013


Trinket, Ornament, Knick-knack, Bauble, Pot, Mexico, Curio


Foreign biblo (plural same). Noun. Late 19th century.
[French, from reduplication of bel beautiful; compare BAUBLE.]

A small curio or artistic trinket.

I love curios, I hate trinkets and as a general rule I don't like ornaments. Oh, and holiday souvenirs from gift shops - don't get me started on those. But I'm undecided on bibelot. On the one hand, it has a gentle, lilting French pronunciation; on the other hand, it's connected by the OED to the tawdry and classless bauble.

While I make up my mind, I can show you my own bibelot, which is small ceramic pot (the lid is about the size of my thumb nail), hand-painted with a blue flower and the word Tlaquepaque on its side. A visiting friend from Mexico gave it to me and, while I usually hate this kind of thing, for some inexplicable reason I rather love this little bibelot. It's completely impractical, useless for both storage and serving food, but I do find it rather charming and thought I would show it to the world.

If you have any strong (or weak) opinions on knick-knacks, trinkets, ornaments and bibelots, do please  share them in the comment section below (but please don't send me any - I hate that kind of tacky tat).


  1. As a window cleaner, I have accidentally destroyed many-a-bibelot. I have any also killed more insects than any self-respecting Buddhist would be comfortable with, and tripped over my 'Warning - Tripping Hazard' sign more times than any self-respecting samurai would be comfortable with.

    Thankfully, I'm not a Buddhist Samurai with a penchant for nicknacks.

    1. You are The Bibelot Bandit.

      Now that you have a name, you need some kind of cape. And pithy catchphrases dryly delivered in a Schwarzeneggeresque voice as you coldly dispatch your marks:

      "Thanks for the smashing time ..."

      "You looked like you needed a break ..."

      "That's quite a chip on your shoulder ..."

      Etc, etc as you fix the world, one tacky trinket at a time.

    2. Hasta la Vista, baby shell-owl.

      hmmm - I'll work on it a bit longer.

  2. You touch upon one of the great mysteries, Ed. Where do a gift shop's wares go once they leave the shop? I feel sure that owls made of seashells, for instance, must self-destruct if they get more than a certain distance from the coast, because they're never to be seen anywhere else.

    If only we knew exactly how, we could probably solve Britain's entire landfill problem,

    1. I agree, with the same kind of passionate-lip-trembling-impetus I felt when ed posted an entry on the word 'Belswagger.'

      - clueless

    2. An annoyingly high proportion are given to me as 'thoughtful gifts'.

      I can tell you exactly where they end up.

  3. What I hate is bibelots and other relevant paraphernalia resting on crochet doilies on end tables. In Greece, you can find doilies and bibelots on the TV, the fridge, even the washing machine. An excessive amount of doilies means good housekeeping. Thank God, younger generations are starting to put this stuff back where it belongs, the drawer. (or the place where you send your thoughtful gifts to be free)

    1. I'm with you 100% on this, Evi. Doilies are ... *shudders* ... one of the great evils of this world.