Bullion is a metal thread made from very fine wires wound into a tubular shape. It is very similar to purl metal thread. The main forms of bullion are: a) Bright check bullion, which has a faceted (zig-zag) and very shiny surface; b) Wire bullion, which has a smooth surface and is matt in appearance; c) Bright bullion, which is a form of bullion that has a smooth surface and is shiny in appearance.
Flat worm (also called oval thread) is a form of metal thread made from a flattened metal strip that is loosely wound around a core yarn. This gives it a spongy feel. The thread is then lightly flattened so that the finished appearance is similar to broad plate, but is more flexible and therefore easier to handle while stitching. The thread is normally couched down with a thread with the same or contrasting colour.
A Japanese thread is a form of metal thread. There are two basic types. The first is made from gilded paper cut into long, narrow strips, which are normally couched down onto the ground material. The second form uses a similar strip of gilded paper, but this time it is wrapped around a fibre or thread core. Again, it is often couched down onto the ground fabric. Both forms have been used for hundreds of years.
Lamé or lamella is a very thin sheet, normally of metal, that can be cut into lamé shapes or strips with scissors or shears or another instrument. The metal is often gilded to give it a gold colour. Lamé is used for a variety of embroidery forms, including Indian badla and Egyptian tulle-bi-telle (also known as Assuit work). The word derives from Latin lamina, a thin plate. Compare 'omelet'.
Lizerine is a form of metal thread made from tightly coiled wires, which looks like a strand of gold pearls. Lizerine, also called lizardine, has a flatter, more solid coil in comparison to pearl purl and jaceron purl, which are rounder. Lizerine and jaceron purl are sometimes classed as pearl purl.
Lurex is a registered brand name for a type of thread with a metallic appearance. Lurex is made from a very fine strip of metal (such as aluminium, silver or gold) that is laminated between two layers of synthetic film. The technique was developed in 1946 by the Dobeckmun Company (USA).
Milliary wire is a form of metal thread made from a central metal core with another metal thread wound around it. Milliary wire is normally couched down onto the ground material with a thread of the same colour, so that the stitches are not visible. Milliary wire is generally used as an outlining thread.
Various methods are used in the twenty-first century to produce metallic yarns. The two most widely applied processes nowadays are laminating and metalizing. The Dobeckmum Company (USA) is said to have produced the first modern metallic yarn in 1946, using the process of laminating.
Passing is a form of thread used in metal thread embroidery. It consists of a thin strip of metal wound around a thread core, usually of cotton or silk. Some passings have a white or grey core, others are yellow or orange. This is said to be linked with whether silver (white/grey) or gold (yellow/orange) metal thread is being used. Another explanation is one of economics: an undyed core is cheaper than a yellow/orange dyed one.
Pearl purl is a metal thread made from tightly coiled wires, which looks like a strand of gold pearls. It is normal to stretch the purl slightly in order to make it easier to couch it down onto the ground material. This type of metal thread is often used to outline designs or, in combination with other couched threads, as a filling thread for designs, such as leaves.
Plate is a form of metal thread made from a narrow, flat strip of metal. There are three main types of metal plate: a) narrow plate, being a flat strip of shiny metal, approximately 2 mm in width; b) broad plate, which is a broad flat strip of shiny metal 3-4 mm in width; c) whipped plate, which is a broad, flat, shiny metal plate with a wire wrapped around the plate at an angle. The three forms, when applied, are couched down in the same way.