brum·ma·gem /ˈbrʌmədʒəm/

1. showy but inferior and worthless.

2. a showy but inferior and worthless thing.

1630–40; local var. of Birmingham, England (Compare Bromwichham, Bromecham (17th century), ME Burmingeham ); orig. in allusion to counterfeit coins produced there in the 17th cent.


“You seized a clutch of glass baubles. The Murthe took the true stones, including those owned by you and Rhialto, and left brummagem in their place.”

Source: Tales of the Dying Earth by Jack Vance.