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Jewelry Glossary

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10 karat Gold
10 karat (10K) gold is 10 parts gold to 14 parts other metals.

14 karat Gold
14 karat (14k) gold is 14 parts gold to 10 parts other metal.

A type of chalcedony quartz that is found in a variety of colors and patterns, with varying color layers.

A metal made up of a mixture of two or more different metals. Common examples of alloys include bronze (a mixture of copper and tin), brass (copper and zinc), and pewter (tin with antimony, copper and sometimes lead).

A fossilized resin of conifer trees. Colors range from honey to yellow to reddish brown.

A transparent variety of crystallized quartz that typically is purple or violet in color.

Process by which something takes on the look associated with age, usually a darkened or tarnished appearance.

A blue semiprecious colored stone in the beryl family.

Austrian crystal
An imitation of natural or rock crystal (quartz).



Small stones that are rectangular-shaped and faceted.

A metal finding that is folded closed, from which a pendant, watch, stone, etc., may be hung from a chain or cord.

A ring that is the same width all around the circumference.

A stiff bracelet that slips over the hand or is clasped onto the wrist.

Base Metal
Non-precious metals used as a core for plating and gold-filled items. Brass and nickel are common base metals in jewelry.

An angled part or surface, usually an angle other than a right angle.

Bezel Setting
A method of setting gemstones in which the stone is held in the mounting by a narrow band of metal, which surrounds the girdle (outside perimeter) of the stone. The metal at the top of the groove is then burnished over the edge of the mounted item to hold it, forming a setting.

Black Hills Gold
Made of 10k to 12k tricolor gold (yellow, green, and pink); characteristics of this unique jewelry are the grape leaf theme.

Box and Tongue Clasp
A clasp in which a V-shaped wire fits into a small tube and locks into place. On broader necklaces, the snap is square.

Unplated, unlacquered raw metal. Formulas with varying proportions of copper and zinc are alloyed together to achieve different brass colors and different ductility (workability) of metal.

Box Chain
A type of chain with links that are wide and square to form boxes.

Brilliant Cut
A round cut of 58 facets mathematically devised to produce the greatest brilliance.



Cable Chain
The links are round and uniform in size.

A round or oval stone cut and polished with one flat side (the back) and one smooth domed side (the front or face).

A carved gem or shell in which the outer layers are cut away so that the design stands out in relief against a background of a different color.

Unit of weight for gemstones with 100 points to a carat, with one carat equaling one-fifth of a gram.

Substance (glass, metal, plastic or other) injected into mold to reproduce form.

A series of connected loops, links, rings, or beads used to create bracelets or necklaces.

Channel Setting
Grooved metal built into a jewelry setting for holding stones. Also a number of uniformly sized small stones set in a row. Unlike most setting methods, the stones are not secured individually, so there is no metal visible between the stones.

A decorative pendant or trinket to be worn on a bracelet, necklace or earring.

Charm Bracelet
A link bracelet to which charms can be attached.

A short, close fitting necklace, like a collar.

A variety of quartz, citrine occurs in color ranging from light yellow to a brilliant orange that may be confused with fine imperial topaz.

Any type of attachment that connects the two ends of a piece of jewelry.

Earrings designed for non-pierced ears. Works like a hinge to secure the earring to the earlobe.

Finding used to fasten post earrings.

A setting in which stones are grouped together.

Cluster Ring
A ring with a setting in which stones are grouped together.

Cocktail Ring
Large, oversized ring set with precious or semiprecious stones.

A top-quality colorless, transparent glass resembling natural or rock crystal. Made through an ancient process that involves lead oxide. To be crystal, there must be a minimum of 10% lead. About 200 kinds of crystal are associated with jewelry.

Cubic Zirconia
Gemologists agree that Cubic Zirconia is the finest diamond simulation because it comes closer than any other gem material to the characteristics of a diamond. Like diamonds, the best cubic zirconia are colorless (or white) and do not lose their brilliance. Given proper cleaning, the cubic zirconia will retain its beauty for years. Almost all the cubic zirconia in the market today is chemically comprised of zirconium oxide and yttrium oxide. Individually, both of these materials are opaque, white ores, but when they are melted together under appropriate conditions, they combine to form an amazingly brilliant clear crystal. To fill the need for colors, manufacturers also produce a variety of colored cubic zirconia. Cubic Zirconia’s are cut in the same way diamonds are cut. The sizing of the gemstone is usually indicated by its weight in carats, a carat being one-fifth of a gram. Because the cubic zirconia is so dense and solid, it outweighs a diamond of the same millimeter size, weighing 1.7 times more than a diamond of the same millimeter diameter. We use the CZ weight in MBM copy, not the equivalent diamond weight.

Cultured Pearl
Created through a painstaking process of mimicking the natural pearl process in live mollusks. A pearl is formed as a result of implanting a piece of mantle from a mollusk into another host mollusk.

Curb Link Chain
A type of chain where the links are oval and twisted so they lie flat.



A precious gemstone composed of pure carbon. Hardest of all known substances, with a Mohs scale rating of 10.

Drop Earring
Any earring that hangs below the earlobe, also called a dangle earring.



Earring back
A disk or bead that fits over an earring post and holds the earring securely in place.

The process of covering a base metal with a thin film of gold. The base metal is set in a chemical solution, and an electric current flows through to coat it with precious metal.

A mechanical process, done under considerable heat and pressure, which permanently imprints a variety of unique grain effects into the leather surface.

A gemstone of the beryl family, emeralds are green in color. Unlike most gemstones, flaws (called inclusions) are quite common in emeralds, so they lower the value much less than with other precious stones such as a diamond. Many emeralds seen in jewelry are of relatively low quality.

Emerald Cut
A cut, which is usually rectangular, but sometimes square, with rows of step cuts along the edges and at the corners.

To decorate metal by gouging with graver’s tools; embellishing metal or other material with patterns using a stamp or drill.

European Wire
A curved wire that passes through the earlobe of a pierced ear and clasps shut.



A polished surface; a small plane that is cut into a surface and enhances its reflection of light.

A gem of plane faces or facets.

Fancy Cut
Refers to gems which are cut other than in the round brilliant shape such as single cut marquise, emerald, pear, heart, oval, square, baguette, triangle, etc. Also called fancy shape.

Faux is a French work used to describe something made to resemble something else. The original French word means false, fake, imitation or artificial.

Similar in style to a curb chain, but instead of uniform links, the links alternate between long ones and round ones.

Figaro Chain
Similar in style to a curb chain, but instead of uniform links, the links alternate between long and round.

Delicate metal openwork.

All types of fasteners and construction components used in the jewelry industry.

The way the surface of a piece is polished or textured.

Fish Hook Clasp
Type of necklace clasp, used mostly on pearls.

French Hook
Metal finding used in earrings.

French Wire
A curved wire which passes through the pierced earlobe and has a catch closure. Used mostly in dangling earrings.

Freshwater Pearl
An irregularly shaped pearl formed naturally by a mussel living in a lake or river.



A family of crystals whose name is derived from their resemblance to red pomegranate seeds. A semi-precious stone, usually a reddish-brown color; can range from true red to violet- or blackish red, often semi-opaque.

A heavy, yellow, metallic element used for coins and jewelry since prehistoric times.

Gold Filled
The jewelry is not actually filled, but is made of base metal (usually brass or copper) covered by sheets of gold in a mechanical bonding process.

Gold Plate
A thin coating of electroplated or mechanically plated gold on top of a base metal.

Gold Tone
Jewelry done in a gold color. Gold colored or electroplated, not gold as is measurable in karats.



Herringbone Chain
Created by small, slanting links, which gives it a flat effect.

High Polish
A surface which is polished to a mirror-like finish.

Hoop Earring
A circular-shaped earring made from metal wire or tubing. Variations include the traditional shape as well as hoops with charms and other ornaments hung from the hoop.



Id. Bracelet
Identification bracelet. A curved plate is engraved with the name or initials of the wearer.



An ornamental gemstone, typically greenish in color.

Jump Ring
A small wire ring, not soldered shut, used to link elements of jewelry.



A measure from 1 to 24, used to indicate how much of a piece of jewelry is gold content and how much is alloy.



Lapis Lazuli
A semi-precious stone of an azure blue color.

Lever Back
An earring with a unique back that delicately bends and latches behind the ear. This is an old-fashioned design that has come back into style

Lobster Claw Clasp
A clasp used for necklaces and bracelets that features an elongated hook (like a lobster claw). It contains a spring mechanism and can be opened to catch the ring from the other end of the chain.

Colorless transparent coatings that give a very high gloss to the underlying surface.



An oval shaped gemstone cut with pointed ends. It's named for the Marquise de Pompadour, mistress of King Louis XV.

A non-shiny, frosted surface.

A chain that is fabric-like and woven of fine wire.

Mill Grain Edge
A look which is knurled, or has the look of small beads or ridges, such as the edge of a coin.

Hard, iridescent substance that forms on the inside layer of a pearl-bearing mollusk.



A semi-precious stone composed of chalcedony (a variety of quartz) found naturally in white or gray. The white variety is generally dyed black for onyx.

Non-crystalline, iridescent silica.

(Antiqued) Darkening or other color changes of metal which is accelerated by humidity, especially salty air or the presence of acidic perspiration. This does not happen to very high-karat gold or stainless steel.



Pave' Setting
A setting in which small stones are set as close as possible, so that the piece literally looks "paved" with stones.

A smooth, round growth formed naturally within the shell of a mollusk due to an irritant and used as a gem.

An ornament suspended from a single chain.

A transparent gem that is olive green in color.

Pierced Earrings
Earrings designed for wear in ears that are pierced. A wire or post is inserted through the ear lobe.

Process used to make metal smooth and glossy. The process increases shine and eliminates flaws.

A pin-like finding attached to an earring. It passes through the pierced earlobe and may be held in place by a back.

Precious Stones
Rare and costly gems such as diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires.

Princess Cut
A modification of a brilliant square-cut gemstone.

One of several claw-like wires used to hold a gem or stone in place.



Quartz Movement
An electronic movement in a watch powered by a battery that causes vibrations in a tiny piece of quartz.



A noble metal with a whitish gray appearance. Rhodium is typically applied to metal through the electroplating process.

A piece of jewelry that is worn on the fingers or toes and slides on and off.

Rope Chain
Chain with a spiral appearance, with the effect of two thick strands woven together.

Highly precious and valued red corundum whose color is obtained from chromium oxide. Rubies symbolize beauty, charity, love, passion, power, and royalty.



Safety Catch
Added to a closure to prevent the opening of a clasp.

A highly valued and precious stone, a member of the corundum group. Most common color is blue. Sapphires come in a range of colors.

Satin Finish
A matte finish achieved by sandblasting, brushing with a stiff wire brush, or chemically altering a high shine surface. Satin finish has a soft, pearl-like luster instead of a bright polish.

Semi-Precious Stones
They are natural stones including amethyst, aventurine, carnelian, garnet, opal, rose quartz, and so on. . . used in fine jewelry as well as fashion jewelry.

Part of the ring that circles the finger and to which the setting is attached.

A ring with a flat table or face on which there is an inscription of a coat of arms, family crest, or some other type of insignia or monogram.

Silver Plated
A very thin layer of silver bonded through an electrical process to a base metal core.

Silver Tone
Jewelry with the look of silver.

Simulated Aquamarine
Manufactured imitation of a genuine aquamarine—a greenish-blue semiprecious stone.

Simulated Diamond
A manufactured imitation of a genuine diamond.

Simulated Emerald
Manufactured imitation of a genuine emerald--one of the most valuable of all gemstones--which is green. Emeralds are the symbol of spring, rebirth, hope, and faith.

Simulated Pearl
Glass beads coated in the ground-up iridescent nacre from fish scales.

Simulated Sapphire
Manufactured imitation of a genuine sapphire that is a blue stone.

Simulated Stones
Any substance that is meant to resemble or take the place of a gem. For example, Cubic Zirconium (CZ) is a simulated diamond.

Snake Chain
A type of chain with links that fit together to form a bendable-tubular chain.

A single stone that is in a very basic setting.

Split Ring
Finding used to join two or more pieces of chain or other findings. The wire goes around twice, like a mini key-ring, which makes it difficult for the piece to come apart.

Spring Ring Clasp
A rounded, hollow, circular wire that fits into a hollow, circular tube and is kept shut by a coiled spring on the inside.

Square Cut
A style in which the stone is square and bordered by four long narrow facets that are step cut. Similar to emerald cut.

Stainless Steel
Steel containing chromium and is resistant to rust and corrosion.

Sterling Silver
Silver that is at least 92.5 percent pure with 7.5 parts of another metal, usually copper, to make the piece harder.

A single stone or metal ball on a straight post worn on pierced ears.

Surgical Steel
Stainless steel—a non-allergenic material when not plated. It is darker and grayer than sterling silver.

Man-made, but having the same physical, chemical and optical characteristics as the natural stone.



Tennis Braclet
A flexible bracelet made up of evenly matched stones, commonly diamonds or simulated diamonds. There are variations on the style, such as alternating stones.

A metallic element that has been used mainly in industry, but also used in some jewelry because of the range of colors it produces when heated.

Toggle Clasp
A fastener consisting of a ring on one end of a necklace or bracelet and a short bar on the other end. The bar is slid through the ring and sits across it so it does not slide or pull.

A transparent gem, the most precious type is wine-yellow in color. It also may be found in other colors, such as white, blue, brown, orange, and pink.

A crystalline mineral that is used as a gemstone. It typically comes in a variety of colors, the most common of which is black.

Trillion Cut
A modified brilliant cut triangular stone with 44 facets.

A semi-precious stone that is greenish-blue in color.




A heavy gold electroplate over sterling silver. Silver with gold plating. (Vehr-may)


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