Jewellery Terms 

While we try to keep jargon to minimum, lots of terms unique to jewellery and watches inevitably creep into our descriptions of items and on other pages of our web site. That's why we've produced this section to explain any terms you might not understand.

We're adding words all the time, but if there are any other terms or expressions that you don't recognise, please contact us at mail@stylish-jewellery.co.uk and we will be happy to explain them - and probably add them to this glossary list too!

Glossary of Jewellery Terms


A mollusc whose shell is iridescent on the inside. Abalone is a source of mother of pearl which is used in jewellery making. Also known for its delicious edible flesh.

Acrylic (also known as "acrylic glass", "plexiglas", "perspex") is the synthetic polymer or simply plastic.

Acrylic has multitude of applications in many many industries: from photographic lenses and scientific instruments to windows in your home and utility boxes.
In jewellery (especially the cheaper pieces) it is used to imitate diamonds. Some of the more expensive costume jewellery items could be made entirely out of acrylic (like necklaces or bracelets) of various colours.
The entire collections of certain designers are known to be made completely out of acrylic.

Akoya pearls
One of the most familiar types of cultured pearls, grown in pearl oysters off the coast of Japan. They are known for their orient and warm colour and rarely grow to more than 9mm in size.

A mineral (a type of chrysoberyl) that appears in different colours depending on whether it is viewed in natural or artificial light. It appears to be red when seen in candle light and blue to green when seen in fluorescent light. Alexandrite was discovered on the birthday of the Russian Czar Alexander II and was named in his honour. It is mined in Russia, Brazil, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe.

Most agates, as a variety of quartz, occur in volcanic rocks or ancient lavas where they represent cavities. It obtains its typical banded appearance through the deposition of other quartz substances within the layers. The bands sometimes look like eyes, fancy scallops, or even a landscape with trees. Agate was highly valued as a talisman or amulet in ancient times. It was said to quench thirst and protect against fever. The tradition still holds strong today as agate is widely used in spiritual healing, believed to balance and harmonise the body and mind.
Agate has Mohs Scale hardness of 7 and Specific gravity of around 2.6

A combination of two or more metals. Common alloys used in jewellery include gold with less than 24 carat (mixed with silver, copper, and/or other metals), sterling silver (92.5% silver, 7.5% copper), brass (roughly half copper and half zinc), bronze (at least 60% copper with tin and possibly other metals), and pewter (tin, lead, antimony, and a little silver or copper).

A translucent fossilised resin (from conifers) that comes in a range of colours including, yellows, reds, whites, blacks and blues. When rubbed, amber produces static electricity. The best quality amber is clear.

A relatively common form of mineral quartz. It is usually purple but can vary in colour from pale lavender to a deep, reddish purple. Deeper-coloured amethysts are more highly valued but synthetic ones are hard to differentiate from the real stone.

Maximum angle by which a balance in a watch swings from its position of rest.

A transparent light blue or sea-green stone. Today, blue aquamarines are more highly valued, but this was not always the case. Large aquamarines are relatively common and the best ones come from Brazil. 

Art Deco
Art Deco style originated in Paris and was popular from mid 1910 to the mid 1920's. Art Deco pieces are typically characterized by geometric lines and angles with few curves. This style evolved into Art Moderne.

Aurora Borealis
AB stands for Aurora borealis (which means "northern lights"). Aurora borealis Swarovski crystals have a special irridescent finish that shines in many colours.

A mineral that is normally opaque and azure-blue. It is misleadingly called "blue malachite" to distinguish it from "green malachite". It is sometimes used in jewellery in flat-top pieces.

A rigid bracelet that is slipped over the hand or clasped in place on the wrist. They can be plain precious metal, be decorated with patterns, or be set with gemstones.

Bib Necklace
A bib necklace (also known as a collarette) is a short necklace with flowing ornaments in the front.

Each month has a particular gemstone associated with it. Each stone is thought to be lucky for the person born in that month. The birthstones are: January - Garnet, February - Amethyst, March - Aquamarine, April - Diamond, May - Emerald, June - Pearl or Moonstone, July - Ruby, August – Peridot, September - Sapphire, October - Opal, November - Topaz or Citrine, December - Turquoise or Zircon.

Brass is a metal alloy containing (at least 50%) copper and zinc.

Used in jewellery to describe a rectangular-cut gemstone.

Brilliant cut
A type of diamond cut, typically round with 58 faces.

Also called a pin, an ornament that can be pinned to a garment.

A stone that has a rounded, domed surface with no facets.

A relief carving (a carving that comes up above the surface) on a shell or stone.

The unit of weight for a diamond or other gemstone and also for a pearl, equivalent to 200 mg.
Standard to define the fineness of gold and gold alloy, expressed as a number out of 24 parts, e.g. "14 carat" means 14/24ths gold in the alloy. 24 carat gold is pure gold. Most jewellery uses gold of 14 of 18 carats. For convenience, the fineness of gold may be expressed in thousandths rather than carats:
- 24 carats = 1,000 thousandths (1.000),
- 18 carats = 750 thousandths (0.750),
- 14 carats = 583 thousandths (0.583),
- 12 carats = 500 thousandths (0.500).

A rare type of opaque black diamond; they are not normally used for jewels, but for items like drilling bits and abrasive wheels.

Cat's eye chrysoberyl
A yellow to green-yellow to grey-green stone with a bright, pupil-like slit that seems to move slightly as the stone is moved. Usually cut as cabochon.

A family of minerals that is often milky to grey to bluish in colour.

The lustrous, cat's eye effect seen in some cabochon stones, like tiger's eye, and sometimes in other stones, like aquamarine.

A hard stone that ranges in colour from yellow, to brown, to green.

Claw Setting
A claw setting is one in which a series of metal prongs (called claws) holds a stone securely in a setting (the claws grips the stone just above the girdle of the stone), with no metal directly under the stone (it is an open setting). This setting lets light in under the stone, so this type of setting is usually used for transparent, faceted stones.

Clip-on Earrings
Earrings that are designed for people who do not have their ears pierced. The earring is held in-place on the lobe by a clip.

Cluster setting
Setting in which small stones or pearls are set around a larger stone. 

Copper is a soft metal often used in jewellry. It is used in making bronze, brass, and gold alloys.

A hard, calcareous organic substance that is the skeleton of certain polyps, small marine invertebrates that live in colonies. The variety used in jewellery is precious coral, which is compact and solid, without visible indentations. The colours shade from pinkish white to pale pink and ok-blood red. It is mainly used as beads or set en cabochon.

Costume Jewellery
Any jewellery made from faux gemstones instead of precious or semi-precious stones, and/or from materials other than gold, silver, or platinum.

Originally, costume or fashion jewellery was made of inexpensive simulated gemstones, such as rhinestones set in pewter, silver or brass. Modern costume jewelry incorporates a wide range of materials. Austrian (Swarowski) crystals, cubic zirconia (CZ), simulated and semi-precious stones are used in place of precious stones. Metals include gold- , silver- or rhodium-plated brass, copper, steel or sterling silver. Some pieces incorporate plastic, acrylic, leather, wood, mother of pearl, feathers and other cheap or relatively cheap materials.
Citrine (from the French for "lemon") is a rare, yellow type of quartz, a semi-precious stone that ranges in colour from pale yellow to orange to golden brown. The best quality citrine is found in Brazil.

Crystal is high quality glass containing at least 10% lead oxide giving the stone a very clear appearance resembling rock crystal.

Cubic Zirconia
Cubic zirconia or CZ for short is the cubic crystalline form of zirconium dioxide. The synthesized material is hard, optically flawless and usually colorless, but may be made in a variety of different colors. Under shortwave UV cubic zirconia typically luminesces a yellow, greenish yellow or "beige".

As an inexpensive stone with high durability, and close visual likeness to diamond, synthetic cubic zirconia remains it's most important competitor since 1976.
CZ can be coloured to resemble other precious and semi-precious stones, and are a staple of high quality costume jewellery.
Cubic zirconia has an 8.5 to <9.0 on the Mohs hardness scale. Cubic zirconia has a refractive index of 2.176, compared to a diamond's 2.417.

Cuff Bracelet
A cuff bracelet is a stiff, relatively wide bracelet.

Cufflinks are men's jewellery that closes the buttonholes of the cuff of a long-sleeved shirt. They were first worn in the 1800s.

Cultured pearl
Pearl whose formation is started by human intervention with the insertion a piece of mantle tissue into the oyster or mussel.

Cushion cuts
The most common shape for old or baroque brilliant-cuts. It has a rectangular or square cross-section, with rounded corners.

Chrome diopside
Chrome diopside is an emerald-green coloured gemstone. It is a chromium-rich variety of the common mineral diopside.

A diadem is a tiara, a circular or semi-circular piece of jewellery worn on the head.

A clear to white silicate mineral whose orthorhombic crystals are transparent to translucent (danburite can also be yellow, greenish, or brown); it resembles topaz.

Precious, lustrous gemstone made of highly-compressed carbon. Diamonds are one of the hardest materials known. Colours of diamonds range from colourless, yellow, orange, brown, to almost black. Rarer colours are red, blue, green, and purple; these colours (called fancies) are quite valuable. Canary diamonds have a deep yellow colour. A diamond's value is based on the "4 C's": colour, cut, clarity, and carat weight. A diamond's colour (saturation) is rated on an alphabetical scale ranging from D (white) to Y (yellow). "Z" are fancy, or deep-coloured. A diamond's cut is designed to maximize the stone's natural "fire"; brilliant cuts are preferred. A diamond's clarity depends on the number and size of its flaws and inclusions of other minerals, like quartz. Clarity can be rated FI (flawless), IF (flawless at 10x magnification), a series of V ratings (very small flaws at 10x magnification), a series of S ratings (small flaws at 10x magnification), to I1, I2, and I3 (having inclusions visible to the naked eye).

Diamante is another word for rhinestone.

Dog Collar
A dog collar (French: "collier de chien") is a type of short, multiple-strand choker-style necklace that fits tightly against the neck. Dog collars are referred to as "plaque de cou" (from French: "neck badge") when they are fastened by a clasp in the front, Dog collars are usually less than 25cm (10 inches) in length.

Drop Earrings
A style of earring that hangs below the earlobe.

A item of jewellery worn in, or on, the earlobe. Nowadays most earrings are for pierced ears, however there are still clip-on earrings for those who do not have pierced ears. Earrings come in a variety of different styles, including: studs; drop earrings; hoops and wedding bands. All styles can be plain or stone set.

Electroplating is the process that includes coating one metal with another using electricity. Inexpensive metals are electroplated with more expensive metals, such as gold, copper, rhodium, chromium, or silver.

Embossing is a method of surface decoration in which a design is raised slightly above the surface. Sheets of metal, leather, and plastic can be embossed.

Very hard, green precious stones. Flaws and cloudiness (called jardin) are very common in emeralds, so many emeralds are oiled, irradiatied, and dyed to improve their look. Synthetic emeralds have fewer imperfections and are very hard to distinguish from natural emeralds. Emeralds belong to the beryl group of stones (which also includes aquamarines, morganite, and chrysoberyl), which have large, perfect, six-sided crystals. Emeralds were long thought to have healing powers, especially for eyesight.

Emerald cut
A cut that is used for large transparent gemstones, such as diamonds and emeralds, so that the table and the contour of the stone are square or rectangular and the sides are step cut.

Vitreous substance, opaque or transparent, that is fired at a high temperature and used to decorate dials, cases, etc. Several successive firings take place in an oven heated up to 840° C. Some techniques date back to ancient China.

Engraving is a method of surface decoration in which a design is etched into the surface with a sharp tool.

Estate Jewellery
Usually referring to antique jewellery, this term encompasses any jewellery that is being re-sold.

Etched Finish
An etched finish on a metal's surface reduces the metal's reflectivity. It is done by using harsh chemicals to eat into the surface or by cutting into the surface using a sharp tool.

Flat surfaces on a cut stone or glass.

The cutting and polishing of the surface of a gemstone into a distinctive, and specifically proportioned, pattern of flat panels, or 'facets'. This is done with the intention of increasing the stone's reflection of light and its brilliance.

Fashion Jewellery
Fashion jewellery is another term for costume jewellery.

Fancy diamond
Rare diamond of intense colour. 

(Rhymes with 'glow') a synthetic or fake version of something. When used in reference to jewellery, it generally means a rhinestone or cubic zirconia version of a gemstone.

A large group of minerals that is found in a wide area of the earth, but only a few of its members, including moonstone, is suitable for gemstones.

A gold or silver wire that has been twisted into patterns and soldered into place. Openwork filigree is not soldered onto a sheet of metal and is difficult to make. Imitation filigree is made of stamped metal.

An imperfection in a gemstone. A flawless stone is called a "clean".

Floater Necklace
An floater (or invisible) necklace looks as though the beads are simply floating on the skin; the beads or pearls are strung far apart from one another on an almost invisible string (like clear fishing line).

Fold-over Clasp
A clasp where a hinged section is opened and passed through a ring before being snapped shut and holding the ring securely in place.

Fresh water pearls
Pearls cultivated in molluscs, not oysters, found in fresh warm lakes and rivers. They are generally elongated in shape and have a milky translucent appearance. Their wide range of interesting shapes make up in fashion appeal for their relatively low value.

Fluorite is a mineral that comes in many colours, including purple, red, pink, yellow, green, blue, black, and multi-coloured stones. Crystals are transparent to translucent. Fluorite is in many parts of the world.

Any of a group of semi-precious silicate stones that range in colour from red to green (garnets occur in all colours but blue). Some garnets used as gemstones include pyrope (the deep red garnet), almandine, spessartine, grossular, the iron-aluminum dark red garnet (also known as the carbuncle stone), uvarovite (rare), and the lustrous andradite (which includes the valuable green demantoid garnet, topazolite, and melanite).

A natural gemstone is a mineral or an organic object which can be cut, polished or otherwise treated for use in jewellery. A precious gemstone, such as diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald, possess brilliance, beauty, durability and rarity. A semi-precious gemstone, such as quartz and turquoise, possess one or two of these qualities.

Glass Pearl
Glass pearls are not real pearls. They are made out of glass beads and have multiple paint coatings to imitate real pearls. The higher quality glass pearls look very much lick real pearls. The quality of glass pearls depend on the number of coatings applied to the glass bead. The cheaper ones have 3 to 4 coatings, while more expensive ones have 6 to 8 coatings.

This pearl imitations are heavier than the plastic ones and therefore have closer resemblance to the real pearls.

A precious metal that is very soft when pure (24 Kt.). Gold is the most malleable and ductile (able to be made into wire) metal. Gold is alloyed (mixed with other metals, usually silver and copper) to make it less expensive and harder. The purity of gold jewellery is measured in carats.

Gold Plated
Gold plated is a very thin layer of gold applied by electrodeposition.

For jewellery, this refers to stones which get progressively larger and/or smaller as they continue along the length of the bracelet or necklace.

A style of engraved decoration on metal achieved by an engine-turning lathe with an eccentric motion that can cut a variety of patterns.

Gunmetal is a metal alloy that is composed of 90 percent copper and 10 percent tin.

Symbol stamped in metal to guarantee the origin and content of precious metal.

Hammered Metal
Hammered metals have been formed, shaped, or decorated by a metalworker's hammer. The surface of hammered metal is covered with crater-like depressions made by a hammer. Many hammered metals are used in jewellery including gold, silver, brass, aluminium, etc.

This is an important quality of a gemstone because it influences how hard-wearing it is. A gemstone's hardness is measured by how resistant it is to being scratched. It is measured using the Mohs scale of hardness, whereby one substance is harder than another if it can scratch it.

Hoop Earrings
This with metal formed into hoop shapes, which may form complete circles or extend only partially around.

A method of setting stones into a grooved channel or outlined space, so that they lay flush with the surface of the metal

An object that displays many lustrous, changing colours. Iridescence is caused by the reflection of light from the jewel.

Jade (Jadeite)
A semi-precious stone that ranges in colour from green to white to lilac to brown to almost black. Translucent jade is more highly valued than opaque jade. Jade is often cabochon set. Stones with imperfections are usually carved (the imperfections are simply carved away). Two different minerals are known as jade: jadeite and nephrite. Jadeite is the harder of the two; it is usually used in jewellery production. Nephrite is slightly softer and is often veined; it is used in carvings, for making beautiful bowls and vases. The Chinese have prized jade for thousands of years and regarded it as having medicinal properties when worn or ingested as a powder.

US spelling for carat.

Keshi pearl
From Japanese for "poppy", a keshi is a relatively small pearl formed naturally in the oysters or molluscs that produce cultured pearls. The tiniest, at one to three millimetres in diameter, are dubbed "poppy" or "seed" pearls.

A transparent pink, light pink or light purple gemstone that resembles rose quartz. It is a variety of the mineral spodumene. Kunzite can fade after prolonged exposure to light. Kunzite is also called "evening stone," because of its propensity to fade in bright light. The original colour of some kunzite stones can be restored or even intensified by irradiation. It is usually used as a large stone and is easily chipped; small stones of kunzite are difficult to cut.

A deep sapphire blue, green, grey, or white gemstone. The colour is not always uniform; it can be blotchy or in streaks.


Is a fairly abundant greyish mineral that has brilliant flashes of colour (usually green, blue or red) after it is polished (called labradorescence). The crystals are transparent to translucent. There is a darker variety of labradorite (called "black moonstone") which has bluish inclusions. Labradorite is usually cut with a flat surface in order to highlight the flashes of colour. Labradorite was originally found along the coast of Labrador; it is also found in Newfoundland and other parts of Canada.

A craftsman who cuts and polishes gemstones. 

Layered Necklace
Necklace with multiple, varied length chains.

A type of earring backing with a thin lever that is snapped into place. These are one of the most secure types of earring backings, and are good for heavy and/or dangling earrings.

Lobster Claw Clasp
Alobster claw clasp is a jewellery fastener that resembles the claw of a lobster. A tiny spring keeps the arm of this clasp closed. It is used to attach two other rings or links of a necklace or bracelet.

A locket is a pendant that can open up. Lockets can hold photos, hair, a charm, or other small, precious object.

A property related to the reflectivity of light on a mineral's surface.

Capable of being easily shaped or formed, malleable metals can be worked with a hammer or a roller. Gold and sterling silver are very malleable metals.

An opaque semi-precious stone with layers of deep green and light green, usually found in copper mines.

A cut that gives precious stones a shape like an oval with two pointed ends.

A naturally occurring, homogeneous inorganic solid substance having a definite chemical composition and characteristic crystalline structure, color, and hardness. Examples of minerals include: A substance, such as stone, sand, salt, or coal, that is extracted or obtained from the ground or water and used in economic activities.

Mohs scale
The Mohs Scale measures a substance's hardness, that is, how resistant it is to being scratched. In the Mohs Scale, which ranges from 1 to 10, one substance is harder than another if it can scratch it. For example, a diamond (hardness = 10) will scratch garnet (hardness = 6.5-7.5), but not the other way around.

Imitation diamond with better refractive index than cubic zirconium. Much cheaper than real diamonds and almost impossible to tell from the real thing.

Metric unit of length, equivalent to one thousandth of a millimetre and represented by the symbol µ. In the watch industry, tolerances are often expressed in microns.

The iridescent coating on the inside of oyster shells. Mother-of-pearl is used for jewellery, buttons, among things.

A rare, glassy, translucent, dark green gemstone. Moldavite is a silica-based tektite, a mineral formed when a meteorite (a rock from space) struck the Earth's surface and melted, fusing the surrounding rock. Moldavite is only found in Bohemia (the Czech Republic).

Mollusc (univalve and bivalve)
An aquatic, soft-bodies invertebrate that lives in a shell, found either in seawater or freshwater. If it has only one shell (e.g. the abalone shell), it is "univalve". If it has two shells connected by a hinge, it is an oyster or "bivalve" mollusc.

A variety of feldspar that is transparent or translucent. Moonstone has been imitated in glass.

Gold or sterling silver that is ALLOYED without using nickel, because some people have allergic reactions and/or skin irritation when wearing the metal.

Noble Metal
The noble metals are gold, platinum, and silver. These are metals that are relatively impervious to chemical actions: oxidation and corrosion.

A volcanic glass (also called Apache tears) that is usually black, but occasionally red, brown, grey, green (rare), dark with "snowflakes," or even clear. This glassy, lustrous mineral is found in lava flows, and obsidian stones can be massive. Obsidian is formed when viscous lava from volcanoes cools rapidly. Most obsidian is 70 percent silica.

A semi-precious stone that is black and white, generally arranged in layers. It is a form of agate with parallel banding. Onyx is a species of chalcedony.

Semi-precious stones that are luminous and iridescent, frequently with inclusions of many colours ("fire"). Opal is a mineral composed of noncrystalline (amorphous) silica water, and is a species of quartz. There are three major types of opals: common opal, opalescent precious opal (white or black, with a rainbow-like iridescence caused by tiny crystals of cristobalite), and fire opal (a milky stone that is orange to red in colour with no opalescence).

A milky white/blue type of iridescence.

Opaque means blocking the passage of light (as opposed to translucent or transparent).

Opera Lenght
An opera length necklace is a single strand that is from 65cm to 91cm (26 to 36 inches) long. Opera-length generally refers to a string of pearls that hangs to the breastbone.

The deep, inner glow and shimmering iridescent characteristics of sea-grown pearls. The deeper the lustre and iridescence, the more precious the pearl.

Term used to describe a particular kind of decoration; for example, on dials in which precious stones, such as brilliants and pearls, are set next to each other without any apparent space between them.

Pear cut
A teardrop shaped gemstone used for pendants, drop earrings and other pieces of jewellery.

Organic gems grown within oysters and abalones, formed when a foreign object (like a tiny stone) has made its way into the mollusc's shell. The mollusc secretes nacre, a lustrous substance, and as thousands of layers of nacre coat the intruder, a pearl is formed. This process takes up to seven or eight years. The most valuable pearls are perfectly symmetrical, large, naturally produced, and have a shimmering iridescence. Pearls may be natural or cultured (i.e. when the irritant is purposely placed in the oyster's body).

Hanging ornament, often used with necklaces, pins and earrings. 

A gemstone with a distinctive green colouring. It is the birthstone for August.

Perspex" is another name for "acrylic" plastic.

Pierced Earrings
Earrings designed for wear in ears that are pierced. A post or wire is passed through the earlobe. Due to the hygienic reasons, pierced jewellery can not be re-sold if it was worn previously.

A pin (also brooch) is an ornament that can be pinned to a garment.

Pinky Ring
A pinky ring is a ring worn on the pinky finger. Pinky rings are not gender-specific, and are commonly found on both men and women. Often there is no special significance associated with wearing a pinky ring, other than the typical motivations for wearing jewellery. Although, there are a few exceptions: a Signet ring is traditionally worn on the pinky finger and Members of the Order of the Engineer wear a steel ring on their pinky finger to express the organization membership.

A tortoise shell inlaid with precious metal (usually gold or silver).

Plating or electroplating (also called Galvanotechnics after its inventor, Luigi Galvani) is a process in which one metal is coated with another metal using electricity. In jewellery, inexpensive metals are frequently electroplated with more expensive metals, like gold (gold plating), copper (electrocoppering), rhodium (rhodanizing), chromium (chromium plating), or silver (silver plating). The thickness of the metal coat varies. Electrogilded coating is the thinnest (less than 0.000018 cm); gold-cased metals have a coating thicker that 0.000018 cm.

A valuable, rare metallic element that is very heavy, silvery-white, non- corroding and malleable. As its price exceeds that of gold, it is used in jewellery only for fine articles, but in the form of platinum alloy.

Plexiglas" is another name for "acrylic" plastic.

Plique-a-jour is an enameling technique which is considered to be one of the most beautiful and the most difficult of enameling techniques. It loosely translates as "light of day" and sometimes referred to as "backless cloisonne" because of the appearance of the fine silver or gold filigree wire "veins" running through areas of transparent and translucent glass enamel.

The enamel is applied in cells, similar to champleve, but with no backing, so light can shine through the translucent enamel.

The stained-glass appearance of plique-a-jour enamels usually brings to mind the skilled craftsmanship of great Art Nouveau jewelers and artists such as Louis Comfort Tiffany and Peter Carl Faberge.

Plus Size
When used in reference to women's jewellery, this term represents rings that are sizes 9 and above, bracelets that are 20cm (8 inches) or longer, and necklaces that are 46cm (18 inches) or longer.

A smooth and glossy effect on the surface of a gemstone or precious metal to remove flaws and increase its shine.

The pin-like part of an earring that passes through the pierced earlobe. It is usually held in place by a butterfly.

Princess cut
A square-cut stone. It is a relatively new cut and is also known as a quadrillion or squarillion cut.

Princess Length
A strand of pearls, or a layered necklace, which measures 36cm to 50cm (15 to 19 inches).

Promise Ring
A promise ring is a pre-engagement ring, usually with a relatively small stone.

The familly name for naturally occuring crystals composed of silica diaxade ocurring in hexagonal habit. The most comon variety is colorless and transparent. This is often refeared to as " Clear Quartz", "Rock Crystal", or simply "Quartz."

A change in the velocity and direction of a light ray. In diamonds, the carbon atoms are so compact that light decelerates dramatically when it enters the stone. This allows a correctly-cut stone to reflect light and display the gem's characteristic brilliance.

Retro jewellery is characterized by chunky, geometric shapes from the 1940's.

A "gem" made of glass with a foil backing to reflect the light. They are usually glued in place, but can also be set like traditional stones. Rhinestones are a staple of costume jewellery and inexpensive pieces.

A rhinestone or diamante is a diamond simulation made from rock crystal, glass or plastic.
Rhinestones originally where gathered from river Rhine, hence the name.
Crystal rhinestones are produced mainly in Austria by Swarowski and in Czech Republic by Preciosa.

(Row-dee-um) A noble metal, member of the platinum group of metals. Rhodium is often used to give a reflective white finish and durability to silver or gold by applying a top layer coating using electroplating. This is known as 'rhodium flashing' in the jewellery business.

Rhodium is the most expensive precious metal. As of October 2007, rhodium cost approximately eight times more than gold, 450 times more than silver, and 27,250 times more than copper by weight.
Rhodium has been used for honours, or to symbolize wealth, when more commonly used metals such as silver, gold, or platinum are deemed insufficient. In 1979 the Guinness Book of World Records gave Paul McCartney a rhodium-plated disc for being history's all-time best-selling songwriter and recording artist. Guinness has also noted items such as the world's "Most Expensive Pen" or "Most Expensive Board Game" as containing rhodium.

The Mohs hardness of this metal is 6.

A mineral whose colour ranges from rose to pink to almost yellow or brown. Although it is very pretty, this stone is soft and brittle; it is used in jewellery and for carvings and figurines.

A piece of jewellery worn on the fingers or, sometimes, toes. They are used for dress and fashion purposes or to show a commitment of love. Some common gemstone set rings are: solitaire rings; eternity rings; cluster rings; two-stone rings; trilogy rings; and pave rings.

Rope Chain
Two twisted metal chains are looped together, to create a chain that resembles a length of rope

Rope Length
A strand of pearls, or a layered necklace, which measures above 92cm (37 inches).

A precious stone that is a red variety of a transparent corundum, a mineral that is second only to a diamond in hardness.

Sapphires are one of the four most valued stones (the others are rubies - sapphires that are red, emeralds, and diamonds).

Sapphire is a gem of the mineral corundum, an aluminium oxide, one of the rock-forming minerals. It is naturally clear, but can have different colours when impurities are present. In fact, any corundum stone that is not red is a sapphire. Although traditionally blue in colour, sapphires can also be colourless or vary in colour: yellow, pink, purple, orange or greenish tones. Blue sapphires are the most commonly seen in jewellery, and range from pale blue to a very dark blue, almost black, with the most valuable being those that are a clear and deep blue. Pink sapphires, whose colour comes from the chromium which give ruby its colour, are also very desirable, especially when set in white gold.
The 45th wedding anniversary is known as the sapphire anniversary.
Sapphire is the birthstone associated with September.

Satin Finish
A satin finish is a semi-glossy finish created by crafting shallow parallel lines on the surface of the metal and reducing its shine.

The method of securing a gemstone in a piece of jewellery. There are a variety of different settings used to mount gemstones in pieces of jewellery, some common ones are: the claw setting; the bezel setting; the channel setting; the pave setting; the bar setting; the chevron setting; the Tiffany setting; the box setting; and the illusion setting.

The shank is the portion of a ring encircling the finger.

Signet Ring
Signet Signet rings are made by intaglio engraving, either in metal or sometimes semiprecious gems. Agate is a frequent material, especially carnelian or banded agate like sardonyx; the banding make the impression contrast with the ground.

Signet rings have long held a fascination for art historians, geologists, connoisseurs and collectors not only for aesthetic appeal but also for the great amount of history they contain.

They occur in many different cultures and may be considered 'works of art' in miniature.

A metallic element that is medium heavy and malleable. It is usually used in an alloy with copper to make it harder.

Artificial gemstones used to 'simulate' natural gemstones in order to make more affordable jewellery, for example simulated pearls.

Sleeve rings are rings that consist of a thin inner ring or sleeve, with several other rings stacked onto it to form one solid ring. The rings can either be soldered onto the sleeve or the ends of the sleeve can be upset (like a tube rivet) to keep them all together. A combination of both can also be done.

Snake Chain
chain composed of a series of small linked cups.

Stainless steel
Corrosion resistant steel of a wide variety, but always containing a high percentage of chromium. Stainless steel is highly resistant to corrosion attack by organic acids, weak mineral acids and atmospheric oxidation.

Step cut
A style of cutting a large diamond so that, below the table, there are a number of slopping, parallel rows of four sided facets that increase in size.

Stud Earrings
which feature a post backing adhered to a small gemstone or metal decoration.

Swarovski is an Austrian company that manufactures high quality rhinestones, crystals, costume jewellery, and other glass type products.

Swarovski Crystal

Swarovski crystal was born when Daniel Swarovski invented an automatic cutting machine in 1892. Swarovski crystal is very popular in costume jewellery and contains approximately 32% lead to maximize its shine.

In order to create a crystal that allows light to refract in a rainbow spectrum, Swarovski coats some of its crystals with special metallic chemical coatings. Aurora Borealis, or "AB", is one of the most popular coatings, and gives the surface a rainbow oil slick appearance. Other coatings include Crystal Transmission, Volcano, Aurum, and Dorado. Coatings may be applied to only part of an object; others are coated twice, and thus are designated AB 2X, Dorado 2X etc.

The large, flat area at the top of a cut gemstone.

Tahitian pearl
These are dark-coloured pearls (also called black pearls). They are produced by the large, black-lipped pearl oyster Pinctada margaritifera (also called the Tahitian black pearl oyster), a mollusc found in the tropical Indo-Pacific Ocean. Black pearls come in many colours, including many body shades and overtone tints including grey (light grey to almost black), peacock green (especially valuable), aubergine (eggplant), and deep brown. The colour of the dark nacre is determined by the minerals in the oyster's diet (plankton) and in its environment. Many "black pearls" are dyed or irradiated to enhance or change their colour; it is difficult to tell a natural pearl from a treated pearl.

A valuable, transparent, blue-violet type of zoisite resembling sapphire. It is often heat-treated in order to produce a deeper blue-violet colour.

Tennis Bracelet
A flexible chain-like made up of evenly matched gemstones.

Tiger's eye
A yellowish-brown to reddish-brown gemstone that has a silky lustre. The gemstone has bands of yellow and brown; when viewed from the opposite direction, the colours are reversed. Usually set as a cabochon.

A metallic element that has been used mainly in industry because of its lightness, strength and high melting point, but has in recent years been used in some jewellery, owing to the attractive range of colours that it acquires by being heated.

Toggle Clasp
A toggle clasp (also called a bar and ring clasp) is a jewellery fastener in which a bar can be inserted into a ring to fasten a piece of jewellery. It is used to attach the two ends of a necklace or bracelet.

Birthstone of the month for November, and can be found in a range of colours including yellow, pink, green and blue, as well as being colourless. Colourless topaz can be easily heat-treated and irradiated into a range of blues. Blue topaz and sky-blue topaz are the most popular colours found in jewellery, and are particularly attractive when set in white gold.

A dichroic gemstone that comes in many, many different colours; it also appears to have different colours depending on the angle at which it is seen. Tourmaline has the greatest colour range of any gemstone - the lighter colours are more valuable than the darker colours. It ranges in colour from pink to green to red (rubellite) to purple to blue-green (indicolite) to colourless (achroite) to black. Watermelon tourmaline is both pink and green. Tourmaline occurs as an elongate three-sided prism and is mined in Brazil, The Ural mountains in Russia, Namibia, Sri Lanka, and California.

Trillion Cut
The trillion cut is a triangular cut based upon a brilliant style cut (and not a stepped facet). The corners of the triangle are cut short and there are a variety of facets, giving this cut a sparkling brilliance.

Trilogy Ring
A ring set with three gemstones, either in a row or on a twist. The stones represent the trilogy of the past, the present and the future.


A non-translucent, porous semi-precious stone that is usually cut as a cabochon.

Vermeil is gold-plated silver. Less occasionally, gold-plated bronze is referred to as vermeil.

Vintage Jewellery
Jewellery that is collectively refers to styles from past decades: antique, estate or retro.

The process of joining two pieces of metal by softening or melting both surfaces to be joined by the application of heat.
In jewellery welding could be done by application of pulsating laser to the fine welding wire to build up the material.

White gold
An alloy of yellow gold that has been 'bleached' using silver, zinc or platinum as a whitening agent.It is often rhodium-plated to give extra whiteness and shine.

Xaga is a type of obsidian found in California, USA.

Xalostocite is a pink grossular garnet that is found in a matrix of white marble. Xalostocite is found in Xalostoc, Mexico.

A xenolith (also called an inclusion) is a fragment of foreign rock that is embedded inside an igneous rock.

Yellow gold

Gold that has been alloyed with a mix of 50% copper and 50% silver.


A lustrous gemstone that comes in colours ranging from golden brown to red to violet to blue. Pure zircon is colourless, but most zircon stones are brown. Zircon stones can be heat-treated to become blue or colourless; sometimes, heat-treated stones revert to their original colour.

A grey-green mineral that occurs in cracks of igneous rock.




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