Glossary of Terms
ALPACA Often confused with silver, often made in Mexico, made of mostly copper with nickel, zinc and tin
ART DECO A jewelry style originated in Paris, France and popular from about 1915 until 1925. This style has distinct geometric lines and angles, lacking in rounded edges and curves
ART NOUVEAU A jewelry style popular around the turn of the 19th century exemplified by curves, women with flowing hair and enameled pieces.
ASTERISM A “star” or pattern of rays, typically six rays, crossing in a single spot on a cabochon cut gemstone when viewed under a single source of light. Star Sapphire is one of the best known examples of a gemstone that exhibits the phenomenon known as an asterism.
ANNIVERSARY BAND Typically given for wedding anniversaries, a ring set with one or more rows of gems, usually Diamonds. The diamonds maygo completely, three quarters or half way around the finger. Any anniversary is appropriate for giving this ring, however, recently the Diamond anniversary band has been promoted in major advertising campaigns as the perfect gift for the tenth wedding anniversary. An anniversary band can be used in addition to, or instead of a traditional wedding ring.
ASCHER CUT A square “step cut stone, similar to an Emerald Cut but square with cut corners making 8 edges around the girdle.
BAGUETTE A small rectangular shaped gemstone. A term derived from the French, meaning long and thin as in baguette breads. Baguettes are step cuts, similar to Emerald cuts, but generally small in size. Tapered baguettes are also common in jewelry, where the short sides are not even in length causing the two long sides to taper towards the shorter end.
BANGLE A stiff bracelet that slides over the hand to put it on. . A “flexible bangle” is one which opens flat and is stiff when closed. Bangles may be completely solid or open at the ends which pass each other creating a cuff style bracelet also sometimes called a bangle. This style bracelet often twists on from the side of the wrist. It is very common to see people wearing several bangle bracelets together.
BAROQUE PEARL The term baroque describes the shape of a pearl. An out of round, irregularly shaped pearl is said to be baroque.
BASE METAL Any non-precious metal other than the “Noble Metals”: which are Gold, Silver, and the Platinum group metals. Copper, Nickel, Bronze, Brass, Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Lead and combinations of these are base metals often used in the manufacturing of fashion jewelry.
BEAD SETTING A method of setting stones even with the surface of a metal by raising beads from the metal itself. The beads act as prongs to secure the stones.
BELCHER A claw style ring mounting, common in rings for men. The mounting is one piece with the prongs being part of the shank.
BERYL A gem species. Green Beryl is more commonly known as Emerald. Emeralds blue or blue-green sister in the Beryl family is Aquamarine. Pink Beryl is Morganite.
BEZEL SETTING A gold tube like setting into which a gemstone is set. Bezel setting is also the art of setting gemstones in a bezel. The outer rim of a bezel is burnished, or bent over and smoothed out around the girdle of a gemstone. A bezel setting is an extremely secure one, however the outer edge of the gemstone is completely covered making the diameter of the gemstone appear slightly smaller. Sometimes, a white gold bezel can actually make a Diamond look larger because the color of the metal blends with the Diamond and the exterior diameter of the bezel appears to be the edge of the Diamond.
BRILLIANT CUT A round shaped gemstone with 58 facets also known as a full cut.. A round, full cut Diamond is correctly called a Brilliant Cut. The term refers to the shape of the gemstone, not quality or actual brilliance. There are 16 upper girdle facets, 8 Star facets, 8 Bezel facets, and a table facet above the girdle. Below the girdle there are 16 lower girdle facets 8 pavilion facets and a culet. (see Old Mine Cut and Old European Cut).
BRIDAL JEWELRY A general term used to describe the category ofwedding rings, engagement rings, gifts for the bride or groom and gifts for the best man, maid of honor, ushers, bridesmaids and others taking part in the wedding ceremony.
BROOCH A pin that is worn on clothing that is generally large in size. The term pin refers to smaller pieces of jewelry worn on clothes.
A method of setting in which the diamond is set flush with the surface of the metal, it is similar to a bezel setting, but the host metal is used to create the bezel.
BUTTERCUP A six-prong setting, with tall prongs, resembling a flower. The setting is scalloped in design.
CABOCHON A gemstone that is a polished domed shape on the top and flat on the bottom. Opaque gems such as Onyx, and translucent stones such as Sapphires that will display an asterism (known as Star Sapphire) are typically cut as cabochons.
CAMEO A shell or other gemstone that is carved in relief. When the material to be carved iscomposed of two different colored layers, a raised design in one color will contrast against a different colored background.
CARAT A very accurate unit of weight used for gemstones. The word Carat is derived from the Carob seed, which was used in the days of antiquity as counterweights on scales for small measurements because Carob seeds were extremely similar in weight. A Carat is equal to 1/5th of a gram, or (200) milligrams, and there are about 140 Carats in 1 ounce. The word Karat, which is used to describe the content of fine gold in an alloy is often confused with Carat, the unit of weight.
CARBON A Diamond is composed of pure Carbon. Carbon, when subjected to tremendous amounts of heat and pressure, crystallizes. Many Diamonds do not completely crystallize. As a Diamond crystal forms, some Carbon may not be crystallized resulting in birthmarks known as inclusions. Inclusions aid jewelers in identifying Diamonds and make every Diamond unique. The best way to identify your Diamond is know what its inclusions look like, unless of course you are fortunate enough to own a flawless Diamond which has perfect crystal structure and no inclusions.
CASTING A process used to manufacture jewelry. Molten metal is poured into a mold and allowed to cool resulting in raw piece of metal, also called a casting, which has taken the shape of the design in the mold. Items can be cast one at a time or in very large quantities with specialized manufacturing techniques.
CHANNEL SETTING The art of setting gemstones in a channel, which is two walls of metal between which a gem is set so it appears suspended in a groove. Channel setting is generally used for small stones of similar size, but graduated gemstones can also be channel set in this manner. A piece of jewelry with a groove for stones to be set in is also referred to as a channel setting.
CHASING A very decorative engraving with intricate detail performed by a highly skilled craftsmen.
CHÂTON SETTING A form of prong setting with many small prongs around entire gemstone
CHATOYANCY A phenomenon caused by reflections from parallel needle like inclusions in a cabochon such as cat’s-eye gemstone. Chatoyancy can be seen in some flat gemstones but a cabochon cut enhances the effect.
CIRCA Approximately. Used as a description for approximate date of manufacture. An antique item may be described as Circa 1920 to describe its age or the approximate period which it’s design would be associated with.
CLARITY The amount or absence ofinclusions or other imperfections within a gemstone determines its clarity. A Clarity grade can be assigned to a gemstone based on the amount of imperfections, their size, relief (contrast and appearance), and location within a gemstone. Clarity is one of the 4Cs used to grade Diamonds in the G.I.A. system of Diamond grading..
CLARITY GRADE A category used to describe the amount or absence of inclusions within a Diamond or other gemstone. The G.I.A. Diamond clarity grading scale consists of eleven clarity grades. They are, in order of decreasing quality: FL (Flawless), IF (Internally Flawless), VVS1 and VVS2 (Very Very Slightly Included), VS1 and VS2 (Very Slightly Included), SI1 and SI2 (Slightly Included), I1 and I2 and I3 (Imperfect). Within the jewelry industry the clarity grade SI3 is used because the I1 and SI2 clarity grades encompass a vast range of qualities within their grades which can not be priced similarly based on the clarity grade alone. The Diamond Council and many Gem Laboratories use the SI3 grade. G.I.A., who has created the grading system however, has not acknowledged the SI3 grade to date.
CLASP A lock or closure used to fasten a necklace, bracelet, etc. that makes it easy to put on or take off a piece of jewelry and is designed to prevent loss. Typical clasps are a Lobster Claw, Barrel Lock, Pearl Clasp, or Spring Ring. Clasps may be hidden or a featured part of an items design such as a toggle clasp, which is worn in the front, and is used on many necklaces and bracelets
CLASS RING Aring worn by graduates of high school or college depicting the school attended, graduation year, school insignia, school affiliations to teams etc and/or gemstone for the school or birth month.
CLAW SETTING A type of prong setting (claws) which suspends a stone in an open mounting, allowing for the most light to enter from the sides of the ring
CLOISONNÉ A type of enamel used in jewelry manufacturing. A design is made on metal and small carved out areas called cells or cloisons are filled with enamel and heated in a kiln or oven.
CLOSED BACK SETTING when a stone is set with no hole in the metal below it to allow light. Unless a gemstone is set in a tight bezel, cleaning under stones set this way is difficult. This type of setting is common used in the manufacturing of school rings.
CLUTCH An earring back, also called a push back which uses friction to secure itself against an earring post and hold an earring against the ear
CLUSTER RING A ring set with many gemstones. The gemstones may be of similar or different colors or sizes.
COCKTAIL RING A type of cluster ring, generally more elaborate. An eye catching ring such as one you might wear to a cocktail party.
COIN SILVER An alloy of 90% silver and 10% copper. Most United states silver coins are made of coin silver.
COLLAR BAR A bar worn beneath a tie, attached to the collar of a shirt.
COLOR GRADE A category used to describe the amount or absence of color, typically yellow, within a Diamond or other gemstone. A color grade describes the body color of a Diamond and not the colors that can be seen coming from a Diamond. The G.I.A. Diamond color grading scale consists of twenty three grades represented by the letters of the alphabet beginning with the letter D and subcategorized as follows: COLORLESS (D,E,F), NEAR COLORLESS (G,H,I,J), FAINT YELLOW (K,L,M), VERY LIGHT YELLOW (N,O,P,Q,R), LIGHT YELLOW (S,T,U,V,W,X,Y,Z)
COLORED STONES All gemstones other than Diamonds, or colored Diamonds.
CORUNDUM A gem species that is found in many colors. Red Corundum is called Ruby and all other varieties are called Sapphire. Blue Sapphire is best known, however Pink Sapphire, Green Sapphire, and Yellow Sapphire are also relatively popular.
COSTUME JEWELRY Any jewelry made from materials other than the noble metals (gold, silver & platinum). Costume jewelry can also be very expensive, especially when associated with a designers name. Costume jewelry is usually trendy, in fashion, and often much bolder in shapes, materials, and size because of lower material costs.
CT. Common abbreviation for Carat
CTTW. Common abbreviation for total carat weight when more than one gemstone is present. Also may be CTW.
CUBIC ZIRCONIA A man-made material, created in 1977, usually facetted so it will be similar in appearance to a Diamond. Very inexpensive.
CUFF BRACELET A type of bangle bracelet that does not meet and is put on from the side of the wrist instead of being slipped over the hand. Some styles of cuff bracelets can be worn above the elbow
CUFF LINK A piece of jewelry usually designed with a post and hinge that goes through the two button holes on a shirt (French cuffs – without buttons) and the hinge opens to create a “T” that secures the shirt cuff.
CULTURED PEARL A genuine pearl formed within a mollusk such as an Oyster. In a cultured Pearl, a bead known as a nucleus is inserted into a mollusk to start the process that creates a Pearl, and in nature a grain of sand or some other irritant that enters a mollusk starts the process that results in a natural Pearl. Layers of “nacre” are secreted by the mollusk as a natural reaction to a foreign body and are built up layer after layer. The length of time a pearl is allowed to grow and/or the size of the nucleus will determine the size of the Pearl that will be harvested. Cultured pearls are cultivated on farms in fresh water or saltwater.
CURB-CHAIN A flat link chain with rounded edges also called a service chain because it was used by many serviceman for religious medals and other jewelry
CUSTOM DESIGN Any jewelry made to order.
CUSHION CUT An emerald cut or square cut gemstone with rounded edges. Cushion cut stones are found in many antique style pieces of jewelry.
DEMI-PARURE A matching set of earrings, necklace and pin, a PARURE usually includes a bracelet.
DIAMOND CUT Small scallop like bright cuts in metal created with a diamond cutting tool that create the illusion of Diamonds being set into the metal..
DIAMOND GRADEA value used in a Diamond grading system to categorize the color or clarity of a Diamond, (See Color Grade or Clarity Grade). The Gemological Institute of America (G.I.A.) developed a system that is the most respected, and is the standard used by most jewelers
DIE CASTING A method of casting where the metal to be cast is forced under pressure into a mold, usually made of metal..
DIE STRUCK A manufacturing process employing machinery that applies great pressure to metal againsta die or between two dies. The high pressures creates a denser product than the casting method of manufacturing and can be used to create large quantities of identical items with great precision and fine detail.
DISPERSION: The splitting of white light into the colors of the rainbow.
DOUBLET A stone made of two pieces. Any natural or synthetic materials may be used in any combination. Usually the lower half of the stone is synthetic, glass or composite and a more valuable gemstone is used for the top.
EDWARDIAN A style of jewelry from the turn of the nineteenth century until 1910 exemplified by delicate filigree designs featuring bows and ornate detailed filigree work. Also known as the Edwardian Period or Era.
ELECTROFORMING A jewelry manufacturing process, similar to electroplating, that creates a lightweight layer of gold or silver over a wax model which is then melted out of the finished piece.
ELECTROPLATING The Process ofplacing a thin layer of metal upon another metal by suspending an item to be plated in a solution containing the plating material. An electric current is then applied to the solution causing the negatively charged plating material to adhere to the positively charged item being plated. The amount of time used in the process determines the thickness of the plating.
EMBOSS To apply a finish from the back of a material which creates a raised design on the surface of a material.
EMERALD CUT A rectangular shaped gemstone. A style of faceting that creates a rectangular gemstone, usually with cut corners to prevent chipping. The pavilion facets run parallel to the girdle, in steps and is also known as a step cut..
ENAMEL Glass or similar material fused to the surface of metal
ENGRAVING A process of etching a design, initials, family crest or anything else into the surface of metal. The traditional method of hand-engraving is becoming less common as it is replaced by sophisticated computerized techniques. An experienced and skillful hand engraver is difficult to find these days.
ESTATE JEWELRY Any previously-owned jewelry offered for sale again. Also describes jewelry purchases from the estate of someone who is deceased. All antique jewelry which is resold is estate jewelry, however all estate jewelry is not necessarily antique.
ETCHING A process similar to engraving in which acid is used to etch a design into the surface ofmetal, glass or gemstones. Wax is often used to protect areas that are not intended to be etched.
ETERNITY RING A ring set with gemstones that go all the way around, having no beginning or end (eternity)
FACETING The process of applying facets, or flat polished surfaces to a gemstone. The goal of a gem cutter, who creates the facet arrangement on a gemstone, is to create the most brilliance and best appearance possible for the gem in hand. When faceting colored gemstones particular attention must be given to how light reflection will affect the gemstones apparent color.
FACE UP Describes the viewing position of a gem as seen when looking at it perpendicular to the table facet. A gemstone that faces up well is excellent in appearance in relation to its color or clarity grades.
FANCY COLOR DIAMOND A Diamond that exhibits a strong color, such as yellow, as opposed to an off colored white Diamond. Fancy colored Diamonds can be very expensive and are often highly prized by collectors. Fancy colored Diamonds have been found in many colors of the spectrum.
FANCY CUT A gemstone cut into a shape other than round. Fancy cuts include princess, pear, marquise, oval, baguette, emerald, heart and less common but very unique shapes such as stars.
FAMILY RING A ring set with the birthstones of children, grandchildren, or other family members. A mothers ring is one type offamily ring.
FAUX A copy, fake, synthetic used as an imitation
FILIGREE An openwork, pierced design, generally delicate in nature and fine in construction.
FINDING Jewelry parts, such as clasps, settings and others used in the manufacturing or repair of jewelry.
FLORENTINE FINISH A finish applied to metal, usually applied by hand, consisting of a series of parallel lines engraved in two directions perpendicular to each other.
FOUR C’S An abbreviation used to describe the Color, Clarity, Carat and Cut of a gemstone as defined by the G.I.A. which created a Diamond grading system using the 4Cs.
FRESH WATER PEARL A pearl which is harvested from a fresh water mollusk as opposed to one from salt water. Chinese fresh water pearls are growing in popularity as their production in rivers and lakes has expanded in recent years. Biwa Pearls, a name which is often incorrectly used for many types of pearls, are a type of fresh water pearls which specifically come from Lake Biwa in Japan.
FRICTION BACK An earring back, also called a push back which uses friction to secure itself against an earring post and hold an earring against the ear.
GERMAN SILVER Invented in Germany. Actually does not contain any silver, made of mostly copper with nickel and zinc
G.I.A.. The Gemological Institute of America. G.I.A. is a highly respected, not for profit organization, devoted to the promotion of education and ethics within the jewelry industry. G.I.A. also has a laboratory used to grade and identify gemstones.
GOLD An element, whose symbol is AU on the atomic charts and has characteristics that make it highly suitable for use in jewelry construction. Gold is very malleable, meaning it can be hammered, bent, drawn, shaped or formed with relative ease compared to other metals. Gold is usually mixed with other metals called alloys to give it rigidity or change its color.
GOLD ELECTROPLATE A final finish applied to non-gold jewelry equal to 7-millionths of an inch offine gold or more.
GOLD FILLED An item made of a base metal such as brass or copper, to which a sheet of gold is bonded by pressure or other means. To qualify as gold filled, an article of jewelry must have a layer of gold at least 1/20th, or 5% of the weight of the entire article. Items must be marked G.F. or 1/20th G.F.
GOLD OVERLAY Has the same meaning as “gold filled”.
GOLD PLATED A thin layer of electroplated gold on base metal. All gold plated items are not plated with fine gold, some are only plated gold in color. A marking of 14K H.G.E. or 18K H.G.E. (Heavy Gold Electroplate) for example would indicate that some amount of fine gold was actually used.
GOLD TESTING The gold content or karat can be tested in a piece of jewelry by rubbing the item to be tested on a testing stone, similar to slate (slate is sometimes used) and using Hydrochloric acid, in different strengths to determine the gold content.
GRAM A unit of weight measurement. There are 31.08 grams in a troy ounce (used to weigh metals), not to be confused with the 28 grams in an avoir ounce used to weigh foods etc.
GREEN GOLD An alloy of gold that appears green in color. The green color of gold is achieved by mixingsilver, zinc, and cadmium with gold.
GUNMETAL An alloy of 90% copper and 10% tin.
HALLMARK A manufacturers mark which indicates the content of the metal used to make an item. Examples are: Sterling “.925”, 14 karat gold “14K” or .585″, Platinum “PT950” or “PLAT”. In other countries symbols such as an anchor, double eagle heads etc.may be used to denote metal content.
HEAD A finding, typically the prong portion of a ring that holds a gemstone.
HEART The name says it all. The shape of love.
HAND MADE Created completely by hand. Not assembled from parts or made in a die or mold.
HIGH POLISH A finish achieved by buffing the surface of metal so it shines brightly, often with a mirror-like finish.
IDEAL CUT A set of proportions used when cutting a round Diamond, created by a man named Tolkowsky, believed by many yield the best balance of fire and brilliance.
ILLUSION SETTING A setting used to make Diamonds appear larger than they are.
IMITATION GEMS Any gems made of material other than the gemstone they are intended to mimic.
INCLUSION A substance or imperfection within the physical composition of a gemstone. An inclusion is an identifying characteristic and may detract from a gemstones beauty or enhance it. While most inclusions in a Diamond would decrease its value. Inclusions in Amber enhance the gemstones value and in gemstones such as star sapphire, the inclusions which align naturally are actually the cause of the star phenomenon.
INITIAL RING Aring with an initial.
INLAY The process of setting stones into a channel or cut out so that they are flush with the surface of the metal. A stone is said to beinlaid when it is set in this manner
INTAGLIO A design cut into the surface of a gemstone. The opposite of carving in relief, such as is common with Cameos.
INTARSIA A design or mosaic composed of several types of gemstones inlaid in metal.
INVISIBLE SETTING Gemstones set next to each other, usually in multiple rows, with no metal between them, giving the appearance that they are set invisibly (without prongs, beads or channels). The stones actually have tiny grooves sawn on the bottom of them so they interlock or are held in place with wires like a puzzle.
IRIDESCENT An irregular patter of colors reflected from the surface of a gemstone. Common in Pearls caused by light reflecting and refracting off the many layers of nacre secreted over each other by a mollusk to create a pearl.
IRRADIATED A gemstone treated with radiation for the purpose of changing the color of the gemstone. The change affects a Diamond crystal structure and is permanent.
JET A black gemstone which is fossilized Coral.
KARAT A unit of measure of gold content. Pure gold is 24 karat and one karat is equal to1/24 part pure gold in an alloy. (14kt. gold is 14 parts gold and 8 parts other metal.)
LAPIDARY A gem cutter or polisher, usually well versed in finishing all types of gems other than Diamond.
LASER FINISH A frosty glittery finish applied with a laser.
LASERING The use of a laser to remove inclusions from inside a gem by “drilling” or burning a fine hole to the depth of the inclusion. In some cases the inclusion is evaporated and in others it may be bleached out.
LAVALIERE A pendant dangling from a necklace, typically 24″ or more in length.
LEVER BACK An earring finding with a snap back “lever” which can be affixed to an earring or have a loop at the bottom from which the earring will dangle
LOCKET A charm or pendant that opens to hold one or more pictures.
LOST WAX CASTING A method of manufacturing jewelry that duplicates a design made of waxin a metal such as gold or silver. A wax model is suspended in a canister that is then filled with a plaster like substance called an investment. When the investment hardens the wax is then burned out and lost, hence the name of the process. The cavity remaining in the investment is an exact duplicate of the original wax and is then filled with molten metal. When large quantities or intricate designs are being cast, the use of centrifugal force created by spinning the canisters in a drum will force the metal into the thinnest cavities allowing fine detail reproduction. When the molten gold cools and hardens the investment is broken and a duplicate of the wax remains cast in metal.
LOUPE A hand held magnifying glass used by members of the jewelry industry to examine Diamonds and gemstones. Loupes are available in different levels of magnification. A ten power loupe, which magnifies animage ten times, is used for Diamond grading.
LUSTER The shine or finish on the surface of a gemstone. GIA describes luster in the following categories: ADAMANTINE – Diamond like. GREASY, METALLIC, RESINOUS, VITREOUS or WAXY.
MABE PEARL A type of cultured pearl that forms between the shell and tissue of a mollusk. When cut away from the shell it has an unfinished flat surface on the back that is polished. Mabe pearls are most commonly dome shaped like a cabochon.
MARCASITE A steel gray, metallic like gemstone, flat on the bottom and faceted on top, commonly set in sterling silver jewelry.
MARQUISE A gemstone shape pointed at both ends and oval shaped in the center.
MATTE FINISH A dull finished surface created by sandblasting, stone finishing or brushing..
MATINEE A single strand of Pearls22 to 23 inches long.
MELEE Diamonds up to .20 carats in size.
MOSAIC A design made from pieces of gemstones often using different gemstones to create a detail enhanced by each gemstones color. A mosaic may also be made from one gemstone such as opal. In the photo here, a gemstone which is a mosaic of several gemstones, was designed for use in jewelry.
MOTHER OF PEARL The lining of a seashell that exhibits an iridescence..
MOUNTING The process of setting or attaching a gemstone. Also, a piece of jewelry, into which gemstones can be set.
MOURNING JEWELRY Often made of gold or black materials such as jet. Sometimes with a glass frame in which the hair of a deceased loved one is placed.
NATURAL Used to describe a gemstone which is Mined from the earth or a pearl that is created without the assistance of man. Lab created gems may be considered real or genuine because they are of the same chemical composition as their natural counterparts, they are however created by the hands of man rather than those of mother nature.
NICKEL SILVER Not actually silver, also known as German Silver – made of mostly copper with nickel and zinc.
OILING A form of gemstone enhancement used for centuries to improve the appearance and or color of a gemstone. Emeralds are frequently treated in this manner to hide inclusions. Unfortunately this is not a permanent treatment and can be removed by heating or intensive cleaning.
OLD EUROPEAN CUT A round cutting style, the forerunner of the modern Brilliant Cut. An Old European cut, round gemstone is rounder in outline than an Old Mine Cut, but a large culet, small table and high crown distinguish this cut from a modern cut.
OLD MINE CUT Commonly called Old Miners, the Old Mine Cut has a large culet, a high crown, a small table and is somewhat square, with rounded corners, in outline. This cutting style emerged after the industrial revolution and yielded more brilliance and fire than was previously possible to achieve in Diamond cutting. The small table and large crown facets produce more dispersion of white light coming out ofa Diamond, resulting in many colors of the rainbow being seen.
OMEGA CLIP A type of earring back with a hinge that flips over a post to provide additional security.
OVAL CUT A gemstone in the shape of an oval, faceted similar to a round brilliant cut.
OXIDATION A film or coating that forms, like a skin on the exterior of metal resulting from a reaction with oxygen. Antiquing is a chemical process used to create an oxidized look.
OPAQUE A solid or non-transparent gemstone such as Onyx or Jade. If some light passes through the stone it would be translucent, not opaque.
OPERA LENGTH A single strand of pearls 30″ to 35″ in length.
OXIDATION A chemical process which tarnishes the surface of a metal leaving a “patina” or film/finish. Copper oxidizes to green (verdis), Silver oxidizes to black, Gold dulls but doesn’t really change color. Expose to air alone caused this process over time.
PALLADIUM A member of the Platinum group. Palladium is lighter and less expensive than platinum and is mixed with yellow gold to create white gold.
PASTE Glass which is used to imitate gemstones. Can be very expensive reproductions of fine jewelry, sometimes worn by the wealthy when traveling.
PATINA A film or finish on a metal caused by oxidation.
PAVÉ (Pronounced Pa Vay) A method of bead setting gemstones, usually Diamonds, next to each other so that an entire metal surface is covered, or paved, with gems.
PEAR SHAPE A gemstone shape rounded at one end and pointed at the other. The facet arrangements are similar to those of the round brilliant cut.
PENDANT A charm or other item worn on a chain that swings freely.
PENNYWEIGHT A unit of weight equal to 1/20th of an ounce. DWT is the abbreviation for Pennyweight..
PERIOD JEWELRY Articles of jewelry that exemplify the design style of the times in which they were created. Examples of well know periods are Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco.
PINK GOLD Also called rose gold because of its soft pink tones. Pink gold is made by adding enough copper to a gold alloy so it turns pink.
PINK ICE Pink colored Cubic Zirconia, popularized by television shopping networks
PLATINUM The noblest of the noble metals, Platinum is a white, hard and very dense metal. Platinum is usually alloyed with Iridium (90% Plat. 10% Iridium) and more recently Cobalt is being used in Platinum alloys.
PLATINUM GROUP A category of five noble metals including Platinum, Palladium, Iridium, Rhodium, and Ruthenium
PLUMB GOLD A term used to describe gold jewelry that contains the precise amount of gold in the alloy that the Karat mark indicates. In the past an item marked 14Kt could legally have been 13.5 karat and still considered 14K. Today an item marked 14k must be at least 14 of 24 parts fine gold and is considered plumb gold. In some instances manufacturers have marked their jewelry 14KP meaning plumb, but inadvertently have confused the public that believed the 14KP mark meant gold plated.
POINT A unit of weight equal to 1/100th of a carat. One hundred points equal one carat, fifty points equal a half carat and so on. A point is an extremely accurate unit of measure used to weigh gemstones. One point isequal to about 1/14,000 of an ounce.
PRECIOUS METALS Gold, Silver, Platinum and the other members of the Platinum group.
PRE-ENGAGEMENT RING An engagement style ring set with a very small diamond, given in lieu of an engagement ring or as a prelude to an engagement ring. Also called a promise ring.
PRINCESS CUT A square cut, which is facetted similar to an Emerald Cut above the girdle and facetted like a Round Brilliant Cut below the girdle.
PRINCESS LENGTH A single strand of pearls 18″ in length.
PROMISE RING A pre-engagement ring offered with the promise of ones heart. Typically similar to an engagement ring with a very small diamond, maybe 5 points in size.
REFRACTION: When a single beam of light passes from one substance to another (air into water) it bends or changes direction. The angle or number of degrees which light bends can be measured and this is known as s substances Refractive Index (RI). Some substances can split light into two beams and are known as doubly refractive (DR) and will have two Refractive Indexes. If the light beam does not split a substance is Singly refractive (SR).
REPOUSSE A raised design on metal created by punching or hammering the back of the metal.
RETRO A style common in the 1940’s exemplified by chunky styles, geometric designs and pink gold.
RHINESTONES Glass gemstones with foil backings which enhance the reflective nature of the material. Rhinestones are generally glued, but may be set and are used extensively in costume and fashion jewelry as well as other accessories.
RHODIUM A member of the platinum group of metals commonly used for plating gold, sterling and other metals. Rhodium is white and will make yellow gold white in appearance or can add a two-tone effect to a jewelry finish. Rhodium prevents tarnishing of sterling silver and adds a brighter, mirror like finish.
ROPE LENGTH A single strand of pearls which is 40″ in length.
ROSE CUT A method of cutting a gemstone in which the bottom of the stone is flat and the top is faceted. The rose cut was phased out as more modern cutting techniques evolved during the industrial revolution. Rose cut gemstones give a jeweler or an appraiser clues as to the age of a piece of jewelry.
SANDBLAST FINISH A dull matte looking finish applied to the surface of metal using sand and air to blast the surface and create the finish.
SATIN FINISH A dull matte finish created with fine emery sand paper, sandblasting, wire brushing, stone finishing, or using acid.
SAUTOIR A long necklace, usually about 40″ with a pendant or ornament at the bottom.
SCATTER PINS A grouping of several small pins worn together
SEMI-MOUNT A mounting, generally a ring, designed to hold a large or primary gemstone and smaller accent gemstones in which only the accent gemstones have already been set.
SEMI-PRECIOUS A term that formerly was used to describe colored gemstones other than Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald. In fact many of the gemstones called semi-precious could be quite valuable, costing several thousands of dollars and more. For this reason the term is really not appropriate and its use has been discontinued by most people in the jewelry industry.
SHANK The bottom of a ring set with gemstones into which you insert your finger . The shank is the part of the ring which is cut when sized and can be replaced when worn thin.
SIGNET A ring with a flat surface used to engrave initials, insignias or family crests.
SINGLE CUT A cutting style for a round gemstone with 18 facets: 8 crown, 8 pavilion, a table and a culet which is sometimes omitted. Single cut Diamonds are common in sizes up to about10 points..
SIMULANT A material used to mimic or resemble another. Plastics are commonly used to simulate the look of genuine gemstones.
SOLITAIRE Typically used to describe a ring or pendant set with a single gemstone.
SPECIFIC GRAVITY A unit of measure which compares a materials weight with that of an equal volume of water with water being equal to one as a value. An item with a specific gravity of less than one would be lighter than water and Sapphire which has a specific gravity of about 4 would be 4 times heavier than water when compared in equal volumes.
SPECTROSCOPE An instrument that measure the absorption of light in a material and is commonly used to identify gemstones.
SPRING RING A ring shaped clasp with an internal spring which is drawn back to open and released to close. Spring rings are inexpensive clasps commonly used on lightweight neck chains and bracelets.
STAMPING A jewelry manufacturing process used to make ultra light weight jewelry. Gold sheets not much heavier than thick paper or as thin as foil are stamped with dies to produce cookie like cut outs that are assembled into jewelry. Lightweight earrings and charms are often made in this manner.
STERLING SILVER An alloy of92.5percent silver and other metal, usually copper used for strength.
STICK PIN An ornamental item on a long rigid wire that is pinned through fabric. A clutch is fastened at the bottom to prevent loss.
STUD EARRINGS Also called studs, small post style pierced earrings, sometimes set with gemstones. Diamond studs are probably the most popular type of Diamond earrings.
STUDS Worn on men’s tuxedo shirts instead of buttons. Also, a term used to describe stud earrings.
SUITE A matched set of gemstones or jewelry.
SYNTHETIC A man-made material.
TAPERED BAGUETTE A baguette in which the two short edges are unequal in length causing the longer sides to taper in towards the short edge. Tapered baguettes are very popular as accents in the settings of engagement rings.
TIE BAR A clip worn on a tie as an accessory, secured byan alligator clip or spring tension in the metal. Sometimes referred to as a tie clip.
TIE TAC An ornament pinned through a tie and secured with a clutch. Some styles of tie tacs have a small piece of chain attached to the clutch with a tiny bar at the endto connect to a button hole in a shirt .
TIFFANY SETTING A solitaire style setting, usually a ring, with a four or six prong head or setting.
TOTAL WEIGHT The sum of the carat weight of all of the gemstones in a piece of jewelry.
TRANSLUCENT A substance which allows light to pass through it but in neither opaque or transparent. Frosted glass is translucent.
TRANSPARENT A substance which allows light to pass thru it completely allowing you to see thru it such as clear glass.
TRILLION A triangular shaped gemstone. The three sides of the triangle typically have a slight bow in them as opposed to straight edges.
TRIPLET A gemstone made of three pieces. A common example is an Opal triplet which is made by placing a very thin layer of Opal between an Onyx or dark material background which provides rigidity and enhances the thin materials color and a covering layer of clear quartz or other gem material to protectthe Opal from damage.
TROY OUNCE A unit of measure used to weigh metals. There are 31.08 grams in a troy ounce, not to be confused with the 28 grams in an avoir ounce used to weigh food and other materials.
TUBE SET Also known as a bezel setting. A gemstone that is setin agold, tube like setting.
VERMEIL An article of Sterling Silver jewelry that has been plated in 14Kt Gold.
WEDDING SET A woman’s wedding and engagement ring designed to be worn together. Sometimes the wedding ring is shaped so that it fits around the solitaire engagement ring, making the set look like a single piece.
WEDDING TRIO A three piece wedding ring set consisting of his and her matching wedding rings and a matching engagement ring
WHITE GOLD An alloy of gold made by mixing yellow goldwith a combination of nickel, zinc, or palladium.
ZIRCON A genuine and natural gemstone not to be confused with Cubic Zirconia which is a synthetic. Zircon is common in colorless, blue and pink or rose varieties. Colorless Zircon was used as a Diamond simulant until Cubic Zirconia came along and natural colorless Zircon has all but disappeared from the marketplace.