pinchbeck /pinsh-bek/. noun or adjective. An inexpensive copper alloy that looks like gold. A counterfeit or a sham. The word first appears in the 1500s referring to a miserly person, of unknown origin. But it reappears in the 1700s as the name of an alloy used by jeweler and watchmaker Christopher Pinchbeck to make inexpensive products with the appearance of gold, over time coming to be known generically as a synonym for cheap and/or spurious.
“I saw you come aboard with your privileges about you like a cloud of, of pinchbeck glory!” (William Golding)
“Markson calls it ‘the precious, pinchbeck, ultimately often flat prose of Vladimir Nabokov.’” (David Shields)
“…they no more saw through Scarlett’s pinchbeck pretensions than she herself did.” (Margaret Mitchell)
“I told her of Paris. Late lieabed under a quilt of old overcoats, fingering a pinchbeck bracelet, Dan Kelly’s token.” (James Joyce)