I'm trying to find an expression akin to a "gem" in English (as defined by the OALD here):

This picture is the gem (= the best) of the collection.

While 宝石{ほうせき} is the literal translation of the word, I wonder if there is a word that resembles something that is special in the Japanese Language.

While not the same as "masterpiece", by searching this term I have come across words such as 絶品{ぜっぴん} and 名曲{めいきょく} (this one fitting the object I'm trying to define, since it's music), but I am not sure to what extent they relate to the meaning I'm trying to get from the word nor how common they actually are in the language.

1 Answer 1


There are a few words I can recommend.

「珠玉{しゅぎょく} + の + [Noun]」

If you are referring to a photo, for instance, then 「珠玉の一枚{いちまい}」 would be an excellent phrase choice (provided that the rest of your writing is as natural-sounding and refined).

「[Noun] + は + 逸品{いっぴん}である」

↑ This one is pretty versatile, too.

「最高{さいこう}の ( or 特別{とくべつ}な) + 一枚」

↑ Even more versatile, but lacks the elegance of the first phrase above.

「絶品{ぜっぴん}」 is certainly a possibility, but you should know that it is most often used to describe food items these days.

「名曲{めいきょく}」, as you stated, can only refer to a song or piece of music. You can say 「珠玉の一曲{いっきょく}」 to refer to a masterpiece of an album or the artist him/herself.

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