THE JEWELRY GLOSSARY:
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO JEWELRY TERMINOLOGY
THE JEWELRY GLOSSARY:
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO JEWELRY TERMINOLOGY
4 Cs of diamonds:
The 4 Cs of diamonds are grading characteristics that include cut, carat, color, and clarity. The “cut” of a diamond determines its fire and brilliance, which is the reflection of light from the facets that make up the diamond. The “carat” of a diamond is its weight, and the bigger the carat size, the more valuable a diamond usually is. “Color” refers to how much color a diamond has—from clear or colorless diamonds to those with yellow or brown tints or even shades of pink. Finally, the “clarity” of a diamond is a measure of how clean it is, which means how many blemishes and flaws it has.
A semiprecious gemstone, agate is a variety of quartz and usually features bands of color that vary from tan to red or brown to green. It has a 6.5 to 7 hardness rating on the Mohs Hardness Scale, making it suitable for jewelry and decorative objects.
A gem material that's made of small crystals or particles. Chalcedony, jade, lapis lazuli, malachite, and turquoise are all aggregates.
Akoya pearls are saltwater cultured pearls harvested from Akoya mollusks in the ocean off the coasts of Japan and China.
Discovered in Russia in 1830 and named for Czar Alexander II, the alexandrite gemstone has the unique ability to cast two different colors – green in sunlight and red in artificial light. The alexandrite gemstone is highly sought after due to its rarity and color change properties.
An alloy is a mixture of two or more metals created to enhance a particular metal's strength and/or appearance. These two or more metals are typically combined to create a metal with a different color and is resistant to tarnishing.
Metals used in jewelry that are slightly less rare than the precious metals platinum and pure, yellow gold. Examples of alternative metals include palladium, titanium, stainless steel, tungsten, and cobalt.
A purple form of quartz, the amethyst gemstone is the birthstone for February and the traditional gift for the 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries.
An analog is a type of watch display with a dial and hands, not a digital numeric display.
A bracelet style worn around the ankle.
An anniversary band is a ring (often with diamonds) representing the renewal of a marriage or partnership commitment.
A chemical or electrolytic coating that protects certain metals.
An antique finish is used in sterling silver; the oxidation process enhances the details in the design. Oxidized pieces require special care to maintain contrast.
The aquamarine gemstone is an icy blue‐green mineral from the beryl family and is the traditional birthstone for March and the classic gemstone choice for the 19th wedding anniversary.
An asscher‐cut diamond features a square cut with deeply cropped corners. This stone cut features a series of parallel steps, creating an effect similar to a house of mirrors.
A baguette diamond or gemstone is one cut into a small rectangular or tapered shape with a stepped edges. Baguette‐cut diamonds and gemstones are popular as accents to larger stones.
A rigid bracelet that is either solid or hinged, designed to slip easily over the hand and around the wrist.
Baroque pearls have irregular non-spherical silhouettes ranging from minor aberrations to distinctly ovoid, curved, pinch, or lumpy shapes.
Two metal findings on either end of a necklace or bracelet that generally screw together, forming a clasp that looks like a barrel.
Any metal chain that looks like a series of small, conjoined beads, rather than open links. The beads may be solid or hollow to reduce weight.
Bead setting is a generic term for setting a diamond or gemstone directly into metal using tiny chisels called gravers. A hole is drilled directly into the metal surface, and then a ball burr is used to make a concave depression just the size of the stone.
Beryl is a mineral species that includes emerald and aquamarine gemstones.
A 45-degree flat edge to the top surface of an item.
A setting that uses a metal rim to hold the stone in a piece of jewelry. The bezel setting also protects the diamond or gemstone better than other types of settings. Metal is wrapped around the stone's girdle, making only its crown and table visible.
A birthstone is a precious or semiprecious stone traditionally associated with a particular month or sign of the zodiac and believed to attract good fortune.
Black diamonds are opaque diamonds with a black color that come in only one color intensity: Fancy Black.
Onyx is a variety of microcrystalline quartz called chalcedony, traditionally found in black; onyx is also available in various colors.
Blemishes are slight imperfections found on the external surface of a diamond.
Blue diamonds are rare, fancy-colored diamonds that feature a blue body.
Blue is the most popular shade of corundum. However, sapphires also come in many other colors, including purple, pink, orange, yellow, and white. Blue sapphire is the traditional birthstone for September.
Available in many colors, blue topaz is the most popular type of topaz and is the traditional birthstone for those born in December.
A bolo bracelet features an adjustable chain or cord in which the two loose ends tighten in place with a sliding clasp.
A bolo clasp usually features an ornamental design and adjusts to secure a cord or chain bia tightening.
Brilliance is the intensity and amount of light reflected inside a diamond or gemstone.
A box chain consists of small square links that form a smooth chain.
A box clasp features a piece of folded metal on one end of a chain that fits into the opening of a box on the opposite end, securely fastening both ends together.
A bridal set is a coordinated jewelry set with an engagement ring and a wedding band.
A bridge accent is a design element under the center stone visible when looking at the ring in the through-finger view.
A bright polish is a smooth, shiny, mirror-like jewelry metal finish.
Brightness, or brilliance, is the effect of a gemstone's internal and external reflections of light.
Brilliance, or brightness, is the amount of light that reflects from the diamond to the eye or the amount of sparkle for a particular diamond.
A brilliant‐cut diamond or gemstone is cut in a particular form with numerous facets for exceptional brilliance. The shape resembles a cone and provides maximized light return through the top of the stone. Brilliant‐cut diamonds and gemstones include round, oval, teardrop, pear, princess, radiant, triangle, heart, and marquise diamond cuts.
A briolette is an elongated, faceted pear‐shaped gemstone that is often drilled to hang as a bead.
Bronze is a yellowish‐brown alloy metal containing a mixture of copper and iron with up to one‐third tin.
A brooch is an ornamental pin fastened to clothing with a hinged pin and catch.
A brushed finish features tiny grooves on the surface of the metal for added texture. A brushed finish slightly reduces the reflection of the metal and creates a wispy, feathery look.
Similar to a belt buckle, this adjustable clasp is the most popular for leather or fabric watchbands.
Button earrings lie flat on the ear with no dangling parts and feature a disk‐like or slightly domed shape.
A pearl that appears to have a flattened or domed appearance.
A bypass ring coils around the finger, with the ends of the band crossing or passing each other on top, and is also known as a crossover ring.
A cable chain features uniform round or oval‐shaped links to form a chain.
A cabochon is a gemstone cut, the precious stone of convex hemispherical or oval form, polished but not cut into facets. Opaque gemstones such as turquoise are typically cut as cabochons, as are other gemstones such as opals and moonstones, whereas diamonds are always faceted to maximize brilliance and light.
A cameo is a technique of engraving upon a gem or other stone, such as onyx so that an underlying stone of one color is exposed as a background for a low‐relief design of another color. Traditional cameos feature a woman or goddess on them.
A carat (ct.) is the measurement for diamond and gemstone weight. A carat is 200 milligrams or one-fifth of a gram. Diamonds and gemstones can range from small fractions of a carat to many carats.
A red variety of chalcedony, carnelian is derived either from the Latin word meaning "flesh" or the Latin word meaning "cherry."
The cat's eye gemstone is a chatoyant variety of chrysoberyl that reflects a streak of light when cut in a rounded or unfaceted (cabochon) shape.
A cathedral setting uses metal arches to support and hold the center gemstone in place. Cathedral‐like arches rise above the band on either side of the stone. The arches may be carved or set with smaller accent diamonds or gemstones.
A cavity is an inclusion in the form of a sizable opening that penetrates a diamond or gemstone from the surface.
Ceramic carbide is a relatively new artificial product that is extremely durable and nearly impossible to scratch.
Certification is a document that provides an unbiased description of the individual qualities that determine a diamond or gemstone's value and worth as evaluated by expert gemologists.
Chalcedony is a translucent variety of quartz that comes in various colors, the most popular being bluish‐grey.
A champagne diamond refers to brown diamonds with a secondary tone of yellow that resembles the color of champagne. The intensity of the yellow can be weak (yellowish) or strong, and the same goes for the general intensity of the color.
Chandelier earrings feature a series of dangling drops, usually in multiple tiers, suspending from a post or French wire setting.
In a channel setting, diamonds or gemstones are flush between two strips of metal that hold them in place side by side with no additional prongs between the stones. This type of setting protects the gemstone's edge, or girdle, and is very secure.
A charm is a small ornament worn on a necklace or a bracelet.
A chevron is a V‐shaped facet or a pattern of stripes forming either a "V" or an inverted "V."
A choker is a short necklace style measuring about 14 to 16 inches long.
A choker is a close-fitting necklace. Chokers are commonly about 14 to 16 inches in length.
Chrome diopside is a deep, forest green, transparent gemstone, chrome similar in color to tsavorite or an emerald gemstone.
Chrysoberyl is a mineral species that produces alexandrite and the cat's-eye gemstone. It occurs in transparent yellow, green, and brown gem varieties.
Citrine is a golden‐yellow variety of quartz and the traditional birthstone for those born in November.
A Claddagh is a traditional Irish design with two hands holding a crown‐topped heart. This design represents love, loyalty, and friendship.
The clarity of diamonds is a gem's relative freedom from blemishes and inclusions. The clarity of diamonds is measured using a grading system, such as the one developed by GIA. The most sought-after grade is Flawless (FL), meaning no internal or external flaws are visible under 10x magnification.
Clasps are closure types used to fasten each end of a watchband, bracelet, or necklace together.
Named for its resemblance to a lobster claw, this clasp has a hook with a spring‐powered arm that can be opened and closed. The hook is attached to a ring on the opposite end of the chain, and the arm is closed to secure the chain.
A cluster or composite setting features several diamonds or gemstones grouped together to either create a unique design or to look like one larger stone.
Cobalt is the same material used to build jet aircraft engines. Cobalt is harder than steel and, therefore, harder to scratch. Although not 100% scratch-proof, cobalt chrome is much harder than titanium and all other precious metals, including platinum, gold, and silver, and it is also hypoallergenic.
A diamond with no traces of body color is considered colorless. Light travels through a colorless diamond better than a diamond with color, resulting in exceptional brilliance.
A conflict diamond is a rough diamond mined in an area controlled by insurgent forces whose sale finances antigovernment military action.
Copper is a bright shiny reddish‐gold metal that is soft and easily malleable.
Corundum is the mineral species that produces ruby, sapphire, star ruby, and star sapphire.
Adornments made from non-precious materials (e.g., glass, crystal, and plastic) are fashioned into beads or stones set in silver or base metal.
Crown (Diamond or Gemstone):
The crown is the upper portion of a cut gemstone, which lies above the girdle. The crown consists of a table facet surrounded by either star and bezel facets (on round diamonds and most fancy cuts) or concentric rows of facets reaching from the table to the girdle (on emerald cuts and other step cuts).
Crystals are the transparent form of crystallized quartz.
Cubic Zirconia (CZ):
Cubic Zirconia is an artificial crystal resembling a diamond in refraction, dispersion, hardness, and color.
A cuff is a wide oval‐shaped bracelet and may have a hinge and clasp, or it may encircle about 3/4 of the wrist with open ends that allow it to be easily slided on and off.
The culet is the small part on the bottom tip of a diamond.
A cultured pearl is a pearl created by an oyster farmer under controlled conditions. It is created when tiny irritants are inserted into its mollusk shell by humans. Nacre builds around the irritants over time, resulting in a cultured pearl. Due to scarcity in nature, most pearls today are cultured.
Curb Link Chain:
A curb chain features oval‐shaped links that interlock with each other when laid flat.
A cushion‐cut diamond or gemstone is a variety of a brilliant cut in which the girdle has the form of a square with rounded corners.
The cut is the form, style, and quality of a diamond's or gemstone's fashioning. Cut types include round, princess, cushion, baguette, and many others.
A matching set of jewelry consisting of only a few pieces, as opposed to a oarure (or full suite), such as a necklace with matching earrings or a bracelet with matching brooch, making only a partial suite.
Diamonds are the hardest natural mineral known to man and are the classic birthstone for April and the traditional gift for the 10th, 60th, and 75th wedding anniversaries.
Diamond Clarity Scale:
One of the 4Cs, diamond clarity scale, measures the amount/absence of inclusions and blemishes on a diamond and ranges on a scale from flawless to included/imperfect.
Diamond Color Scale:
One of the 4Cs, the diamond color scale measures the amount of body color (tint) in a diamond on a scale from colorless to yellow/brown or gray.
One of the 4Cs, diamond cut determines how light travels through a stone, and refers to the proportions of a stone, facet angles, finish and shape.
The diamond table is the uppermost flat surface and largest facet of a cut stone.
Diamond Total Weight:
Diamond weight is the sum of the carat weights for all diamonds in a piece of jewelry.
Diamond Carat Weight:
Diamond weight is also called carat weight. A diamond carat is a unit of weight for diamonds and is one-fifth of a gram (0.2g).
A diamond‐cut finish is created by cutting metal with a diamond, giving it a glittering and sparkling look.
Diffusion, Diffusion Treatment:
Diffusion is heating a gem to a very high temperature while it's in contact with selected chemicals. The chemicals penetrate the gem and become part of the gem's crystal, changing its color.
Dispersion is the spreading of white light into spectral hues, resulting from different light colors refracted differently.
A doublet is an assembled gem made with two main components.
Drop earrings feature gems or other decorative elements that dangle.
Durability is the resistance to damage of all kinds. Overall durability depends on the combination of hardness, toughness, and stability.
Dye Treatment, Dyeing:
Dying a gemstone means adding a chemical agent to improve or change its color. This is a common treatment for gems like chalcedony, cultured pearl, jade, lapis lazuli, opal, shell, tiger's eye, and turquoise.
An emerald gemstone is a member of the beryl family and is found in all shades of green. It is the traditional birthstone for those born in May and is the traditional gemstone for the 20th, 35th, and 55th wedding anniversaries.
An emerald‐cut gemstone is rectangular with beveled corners and a step cut.
An enameled finish is a smooth, durable material made of melted and fused glass powder used to coat jewelry.
An engagement ring is exchanged at the time of engagement, symbolizing a couple's love and the promise of marriage. The engagement ring often features diamonds or precious gemstones.
An engravable item features a clean surface area that can be inscribed with a message.
An eternity band is a ring completely encircled with gemstones or diamonds. It is given to express unending love and can also be used as a wedding or anniversary ring.
An expansion bracelet is a flexible watchband without a clasp, it is manually expanded over the wrist and retracts once released for a comfortable fit around the wrist.
An extender is an additional length of chain, usually, about 2.0" in length, used to lengthen anklets, bracelets, and necklaces.
An extinction is a dark area in a faceted gem, usually seen around the edges when viewed face‐up, often due to cutting proportions that don't maximize light return.
A faceted gem is a gemstone cut in a manner, so that is covered with small flat polished surfaces. Most transparent gems are faceted.
Facets are flat surface areas on a cut stone. The placement of facets determines how much light reflects through the stone.
Fancy Cut, Fancy Shapes:
Fancy diamond shapes refer to the variety of non-traditional cuts and shapes that diamond cutters have developed over the centuries. These unusual cuts and shapes add unique visual interest to a diamond, making it stand out from more traditional stones. Classic fancy diamond shapes include emerald, heart, oval, pear, and marquise diamond cuts.
A feather is a type of gemstone inclusion. It is a break within a gem.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC):
A U.S. government agency responsible for promoting free and fair commerce in the national marketplace. The FTC creates guidelines for jewelry, precious metals, and pewter industries to help define legal and ethical standards for the jewelry industry.
Figaro Link Chain:
A Figaro chain features a distinct rhythmic pattern of three (or five) equally sized links separated by one longer link.
Filigree is a delicate work of twisted gold or silver soldered together to form an open design used with jewelry, often resembling delicate lace.
A filling seals fractures or cavities in a gem. In fracture filling, surface‐reaching breaks are filled to conceal them and improve the gem's appearance. In cavity filling, larger surface openings are filled for similar purposes. Fracture fillers include colorless oils, natural and synthetic resins, and glass. Cavity fillings are usually glass or plastic. Fracture filling is common for emeralds, and cavity filling is most frequent with rubies, but both treatments occasionally appear in several gems.
Jewelry findings used for jewelry making include small finishing components such as bails, clasps, and setting heads.
Fineness represents the amount of precious metal in alloy metal jewelry, usually measured in parts per thousand. For example, an item marked Pt950 is 950 parts platinum and 50 parts alloying metal.
There is a debate as to whether the term fine jewelry should only apply to pieces made with solid gold, platinum, and precious stones, but these days the definition is generally accepted to mean jewelry made with any type of precious metal and any gemstones
A fingerprint is a partly healed cleavage or fracture. This type of inclusion usually forms when a break occurs while a gem crystal is growing, and nutrient fluids seep into the break. The fluids may remain in liquid form or later solidify, creating a microscopic pattern resembling a human fingerprint.
Flat Link Chain:
A flat link chain features open chain links that lays flat against the skin.
Flawless is the highest diamond grading on the clarity scale. A flawless diamond has no inclusions or blemishes visible under 10x magnification.
A Florentine finish is a textured finish on a metal surface featuring small lines engraved in a crosshatch pattern.
A fluid inclusion is a small pocket of liquid trapped within a gem.
Fluorescence is the glow some gems emit under ultraviolet light.
In a flush setting, a hole is created in the metal surface of a piece, and a diamond or gemstone is inserted inside of this opening. Its the table is evenly set with the surface of the metal.
Fluting is a decorative horizontal or vertical grooved design used in jewelry.
A decorative ornament, signet, or seal hung from a chain, usually worn with a watch.
A thick or thin layer or coating used on the back of stones which is sometimes colored to improve their color and brilliance, typically used in closed back settings.
The Four Cs are the four distinct characteristics – cut, color, clarity, and carat weight – that classify each diamond. Experts use these classifications to establish the value and quality of every diamond.
Resembling the fullness of a fox's tail, a foxtail chain is designed by interweaving bent metal circles together in a continuous pattern.
A fracture is an irregular break within a gem. Unlike cleavage, a fracture isn't linked to crystal structure patterns. It can occur in any kind of gem and often has a curved or scalloped contour (such as breaks in glass).
French Wire Earring Back:
A French wire earring back is shaped like a hook, with the 'hook' part going through the pierced ear.
Freshwater Cultured Pearl
A cultured freshwater pearl is a pearl that is cultivated with intentional human intervention in freshwater ponds, lakes, and rivers, as opposed to saltwater environments. Freshwater pearls are harvested from freshwater rivers and/or lakes in China, Japan, and the United States.
A freshwater pearl forms in freshwater lakes, ponds, and rivers instead of saltwater environments
A friction back is the small metal back that is pushed onto an earring's post, preventing it from sliding off.
Gemological Institute of America. This organization is considered to be the authority on gemological teaching and research.
Garnet is the reddish‐brown birthstone for January and is also the traditional gift for the 18th wedding anniversary. Less common varieties of garnet exist in all colors except blue.
A gem treatment is an artificial process that enhances a gem's appearance or durability. Treatments for colored gems include bleaching, coating, diffusion, dyeing, filling, heating, impregnation, and irradiation.
The outline form of a gemstone, not to be confused with the faceting pattern.
A chandelier, brooch, or earring style in which three pear-shaped pendant stones hang from a large central stone or motif.
The girdle is the horizontal midsection and widest part of a diamond. The girdle may be polished, faceted, or unpolished on a diamond but is typically left unpolished on colored stones.
A type of metal obtained by bonding a layer of gold with a second, less expensive metal (usually brass) through an intense heat and pressure process. The Federal Trade Commission requires the weight of gold to be at least 1/20 of the total weight of the jewelry piece and at least 10 karats to achieve a gold-filled classification. Gold filled is also commonly called rolled-gold.
Gold plating is a thin layer of gold coated onto a base metal through an electrical current.
A green amethyst gemstone is a type of green quartz produced by heat treating an amethyst or yellow quartz and is also called prasolite.
A green diamond is a rare, fancy-colored diamond known for its striking green hue.
A type of ring worn with and encompassed by an engagement ring may be the wedding band or worn in addition to the band, creating a coordinated wedding ring set.
A type of setting in which the stone mounting is placed into the metal so that the table or uppermost part of the stone is level with the metal surface.
A half‐bezel setting wraps a metal band around either side of the stone's girdle rather than around the entire stone.
With a half‐channel setting, each side of a diamond or gemstone is bordered and secured by a slender metal strip.
A hammer finish is a type of decorative metal finish with small indentations or dimples covering the surface.
Hardness (Mohs Hardness Scale):
Hardness is the ability of a stone or mineral to resist scratching, measured from 1 to 10 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, with 10 (diamonds) being the hardest.
Heart‐shaped cut diamonds and gemstones are fashioned to form a romantic heart shape. This stone cut is a variation of the round brilliant‐cut.
Heat treatment is a treatment process that uses high temperatures to improve or change a gem's color. This treatment is common for many gems, including aquamarine, carnelian, citrine, ruby, sapphire, tanzanite, topaz, tourmaline, and zircon. Controlled heating can also eliminate needle‐like inclusions and improve clarity in rubies and sapphires. Less often, it's used to make the same inclusions grow to create or intensify a star effect.
Hematite is a steely‐gray crystal of iron oxide often used in men's jewelry.
A herringbone chain is a type of jewelry chain composed of two parallel strands that twist together to form a "V" pattern. The resulting design resembles the skeleton of a fish, hence the name.
A high‐polish finish is a type of metal finish with a smooth, reflective surface.
The hinged back is very popular in hoop earrings. This earring back style features a hinged piece of metal that goes through the ear and snaps into a latch on the opposite side of the earring for secure wear.
Hook & Eye Clasp:
A hook and eye closure features a hook on one end that fits into a metal ring on the other end of a bracelet or necklace.
Hue is one of the three color components, Hue gives a color its generic name – blue, green, blue‐green, greenish blue, and so forth.
A hypoallergenic metal, like the precious metal platinum or the alternative metal titanium, is the least likely to cause symptoms of an allergic reaction when worn. These metals are ideal for those with a sensitivity to certain allergens common in jewelry.
An ideal‐cut diamond features a series of prisms and mirrors. How light returns from the top of the diamond (not its sides or bottom) determines how brilliant and fiery a diamond is.
An imitation is a gem look‐alike. Unlike a synthetic, an imitation (or simulant) doesn't have the same chemistry, structure, or properties as the gem it resembles. Appearance is the only thing they have in common.
An imperfection is a term for a negative clarity characteristic, such as a carbon inclusion in a diamond.
An inclusion is a natural birthmark inside a stone that can affect its light flow and add uniqueness and character. Inclusions vary in size, shape, quantity, position, and color.
Independent certification is a process where diamonds, regardless of the seller, have received an appraisal of value from a trusted and authoritative Third-party source.
An invisible setting is when a diamond or gemstone is set in an arrangement where the metal is not visible, making it appear as if there is no setting behind the stone.
Iolite is a variety of cordierite, ranging in color from blue to blue‐violet. Iolite is a gemstone with pronounced pleochroism, meaning it can appear as different shades depending on the angle and light source.
Ion plating is one of the most advanced protective surface finishes. Ion plating makes gold and other metals more durable, more wear-resistant, and also increases their brightness, and can also add color to a base metal.
Iridescence is the rainbow‐like colors that sometimes appear when light is reflected and refracted through structural layers.
Irradiation is the science of exposing a gem to high‐energy radiation or bombardment with subatomic particles to change its color. This treatment is routine for smoky quartz and blue topaz.
Jade is the common name for two mineral species – jadeite and nephrite ‐ traditionally used as carving materials because of their great toughness.
A journey necklace features a ladder or S‐curve design featuring diamonds or gemstones that graduate in size from smallest to largest, symbolizing love's journey.
Karat is the standard measurement of gold purity. Pure gold is 24 karat; therefore, the amount of gold in an alloy is based on 24 parts. For example, 14K is 14 parts gold and 10 parts alloying metal.
A lab‐created gemstone is one produced in a laboratory setting. Lab‐created stones have the same chemical, physical and optical properties as natural gemstones.
A lariat is an open‐ended necklace held together by an ornamental clasp at the front.
A laser inscription on a diamond or gemstone is an engraving that contains information on it, such as a GIA Report Number, a personal message, or any other text, symbols, or logos.
Light return is the total intensity of light reflected by a faceted gem.
A locket is a jewelry design that opens to store small pictures of loved ones. A locket is most commonly worn on a necklace but may also be on a pin or bracelet charm.
A loose diamond is a diamond that is sold independently of a mounting.
A pair of glasses or spectacles with an attached handle usually suspended from a chain necklace.
A loupe is a magnification tool used by jewelers to analyze gemstones and other jewelry materials. Diamonds and color stones are always evaluated at 10x magnification and in the face-up position.
Luster is the sharpness of light reflections from a pearl. This is one of the pearl value factors, a critical component of every pearl's beauty.
MM or mm is the abbreviation for millimeter, the standard unit of measurement for jewelry dimensions.
Madeira citrine is the trade term for citrine that is deep orange in color (and the most valuable citrine variety).
A magnetic clasp features a magnet on each end of a chain that is drawn together to hold the jewelry in place.
The maker's mark is an identifying mark that is stamped by the maker on a piece of jewelry.
Malachite is a mineral species that is opaque and light to dark green or bluish-green with attractive bands of different shades.
Mariner Link Chain:
A mariner chain, also called an anchor link chain, consists of oval links with a metal strip down the center.
A marquise cut is a gemstone cut in which the stone is elongated and pointed at both ends. A marquise cut stone is longer than it is wide.
A martini setting is a type of setting that has two or three prongs holding the gemstone, similar to a classic cocktail glass. It's a popular choice for engagement rings and other special occasions because it allows more light to show off the stone's sparkle.
A matte finish is a surface finish that is grainy and non‐reflective.
Most jewelry is made of metal. Common metals include gold, silver, platinum, and titanium. Metals can be used in pure form or combined with other metals (alloys) to increase durability.
Milgrain is a decorative detailing technique in which a beaded design is impressed into the metal.
A mineral gem is one created by geologic processes. Diamond, emerald, ruby, and sapphire are the most familiar examples. Others include amethyst, aquamarine, citrine, garnet, jade, opal, peridot, topaz, and tourmaline. Mineral gems are the products most consumers think of as natural gems.
Mohs Hardness Scale:
The Mohs Hardness Scale calculates the degree to which a stone or mineral resists scratches. Hardness is measured from 1 to 10, with 10 (diamonds) being the hardest.
Morganite is the peachy‐pink variety of beryl, cousin to more familiar beryl like emerald and aquamarine. The beautiful, feminine colors of morganite result from the presence of manganese.
Mother‐Of‐Pearl features thin layers of nacre that make up the iridescent interior of a mollusk shell. These layers are usually removed and used for watch faces and other jewelry pieces.
Jewelry worn to commemorate the death of a loved one, usually in the form of a ring, brooch, or necklace.
Mystic Fire Topaz:
Mystic Fire is a colorless topaz that is enhanced after it is cut with a patented azotic coating on its underside, producing a permanent and stable blue‐green appearance with an iridescent rainbow of pronounced color accents, especially in natural sunlight.
Nacre is the material produced in mollusk shells that layers itself onto particles and other foreign objects. Over time, layers of nacre build up around the particles to form pearls.
Natural Fancy Color Diamonds:
Natural fancy color diamonds feature a deep body color, including brown, yellow, blue, violet, orange, pink, and red. Fancy color diamonds are unusual and, therefore, highly valued, are rated Z+ on the color scale, and have nine saturation levels from Faint to Fancy Vivid.
Natural gemstones are those that are mined from the earth rather than created. Natural gemstones are extremely rare, often adding to their value and appeal. Synthetic or lab-created gemstones have the same material as natural ones, so they share the same chemical and optical properties.
A natural pearl is a pearl that forms without human involvement of any kind.
Near‐colorless diamonds have little or no color visible to the naked eye.
The nick setting is similar to the channel setting; stones are positioned in a row, with metal bordering on either side. In a nick setting, small prongs are nicked from the surrounding metal to secure the stones.
Nickel is a hard metal with a silver or white appearance.
Nucleation is the surgical procedure for implanting the nucleus around which a cultured pearl grows.
Olivine is the mineralogist's name for peridot crystal.
An omega back is a hinged and curved closure supporting a post earring's back.
An omega chain features small rectangular pieces of metal linked together on a flexible wire that is invisible to the eye. Omega chains are arched on top but lay flat against the neck and can be decorated with a slide.
Onyx is a gemstone usually found in black but is also available in many other colors and is the gemstone to celebrate the 7th wedding anniversary.
Opal is October's birthstone and the traditional gift for the 14th wedding anniversary.
PVD stands for Physical Vapor Deposit, a process by which a durable finish or coating is applied to metal, such as steel. The black color, a carbon and titanium composite, is placed into a pressurized chamber with a metal like stainless steel. The composite is forced into the surface of the steel, coloring it black.
Palladium is a rare and lustrous silvery‐white metal.
The pavilion is the lower part of a diamond, positioned between the girdle and the culet.
A pavé setting features multiple small stones on a curved or flat surface held in place by prongs.
Also known as a teardrop‐shaped cut, a pear‐shaped stone features a rounded edge on one end and a point on the other.
Pearls are organic gemstones created from layer upon layer of nacre and produced in mollusk shells. Pearls are the traditional anniversary gemstone for the 3rd and 30th years of marriage and the birthstone for June. Today, because of their scarcity in nature, most pearls are cultured.
A piece of jewelry that hangs from a chain worn around the neck.
Peridot (also known as olivine) is known for its yellow‐green color, peridot crystal is the birthstone for August and the traditional gift for the 16th wedding anniversary.
A pin is a piece of jewelry usually fastened to a garment by a hinged pin and catch, sometimes called a brooch.
A pink diamond is a rare, fancy-colored diamond with a pink or rose body color—the vivid pink color results from the presence of trace elements during the diamond's formation process.
Pink Gold s created when pure yellow gold is combined with more copper than other alloys and is sometimes called rose gold.
Platinum is a durable, highly valuable precious metal prized for its white sheen and purity. Platinum is also a hypoallergenic metal. A metal must contain at least 90% pure platinum (10% other metals) to be considered platinum.
Pleochroism is transmitting (or showing) different colors in different crystal directions. Many doubly refractive gems exhibit this property because when light is polarized, the separate rays may undergo differing selective absorption and take on different colors. You usually see a blend of any pleochroic colors present. Still, in gems like iolite and tanzanite, the effect is so strong you see distinctly different colors depending on your view.
(1) Weight: 0.pt (1/100) carat. (2) Cut: The pointed end of a pear, marquise, or other fancy shape.
The polish is the condition of a diamond or metal's surface.
A popcorn chain is a three‐dimensional beaded chain that resembles kernels of popcorn.
A post is the metal part of the earring that goes through the pierced earlobe.
Precious metals are metals that are rare, valuable, and desirable. They include gold, silver, platinum, palladium, and rhodium.
A princess‐cut diamond has a squared shape and beveled edges.
A promise ring is used to signify a pledge or promise between two people. It is most commonly used as a pre‐engagement ring and replaces the tradition of exchanging class rings as a symbol of 'going steady.
A prong setting is one component of what is known to jewelers as a head, a claw‐shaped type of binding (typically 3, 4, or 6 individual prongs per head) that is welded or soldered to a jewelry item to mount (or set) a gemstone to the jewelry item.
Prongs are pieces of metal used to secure diamonds and gemstones in place. Prongs form a basket‐like base, the ends of the prongs are bent over and shaped so that they rest against the gem to hold it snugly in place.
A property is a gem characteristic produced by a mixture of chemical composition and crystal structure. Gemologists normally observe or measure properties to identify gems. These include absorption spectrum, cleavage, fluorescence, hardness, optic character, pleochroism, refractive index, specific gravity, stability, and toughness.
Pure gold is a valuable, precious metal. Pure gold is typically alloyed with other metals, such as sterling silver, copper, nickel, and zinc, to create different karats of gold. Pure gold, also known as 24k gold or 100 percent gold, refers to gold that is made up of solely 24 parts out of 24 parts of gold. It is the most valuable form of gold because it is so pure and one of the softest and least durable forms. Pure gold easily scratches, nicks, and dents, making it unsuitable for jewelry use. However, pure gold never rusts, corrodes, or tarnishes.
Pure platinum means that platinum is not alloyed with any other metals.
Quartz is the most abundant mineral species on Earth. Quartz varieties include amethyst, ametrine, citrine, rock crystal, rose quartz, smoky quartz, and tiger's-eye.
A radiant‐cut diamond or gemstone is an eight‐sided rectangular or square‐cut stone with approximately 70 facets.
A red diamond displays a rich red body color. Red diamonds are classified as fancy-colored diamonds and are rarer to find than traditional white diamonds. The red hue occurs due to exposure to certain elements and conditions during formation.
Rhodium is a shiny platinum group metal, commonly used as a plating material, that increases the whiteness and strength of other metals. A rhodium finish also helps to prevent tarnishing.
Rhodolite is a garnet variety that's predominately a mixture of almandite and pyrope. Its color ranges from light pink to dark purple‐red.
A ring shank or band is the part of a ring that goes around the finger, also known as a band.
Rock crystal is the colorless quartz variety.
Rolo chains consist of alternating round or oval links.
A rope chain features several strips of metal twisted together, resulting in a chain with a rope pattern.
Rose gold is the result of combining pure gold with large amounts of copper and may also be called pink gold.
Rose quartz displays a pale pink to rose‐red hue, usually due to trace amounts of titanium, iron, or manganese.
Diamond cutters developed the round brilliant cut to bring out a diamond's brilliance, dispersion, and scintillation.
Ruby is the red variety of the mineral corundum. Along with sapphires, rubies are the second hardest minerals (diamonds are the hardest). Rubies are the birthstone for July and the traditional gift for the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries.
A saltwater pearl is a natural or cultured pearl produced by a mollusk that lives in the ocean or some other body of saltwater. Akoya, South Sea, and Tahitian pearls come from saltwater.
Sapphire is a form of the mineral corundum that comes in every color except red. Sapphires and rubies are the second hardest minerals (diamonds are the hardest). Sapphire is the birthstone for September and the traditional gift for the 5th, 23rd, and 45th wedding anniversaries.
Similar to a brushed finish, a satin finish adds texture with small grooves on the metal's surface. This reduces the metal's reflectivity and adds a desirable soft sheen.
One of the three color components, saturation (also called brightness and intensity), is a color's strength and purity.
Scintillation is the sparkle or flash emitted by diamonds when they are moved under light.
Screw backs are a type of earring backing typically used for diamond earrings. This secure backing features small metal backs that screw onto the post.
A semi‐mounting is a ring that has everything except for the center stone. A semi‐mounting allows customers to add a custom stone later on to complete the ring.
Semi Precious Gemstones:
Semi-precious gemstones are a traditional classification that includes all gems other than "precious" gems (diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and pearls). Most professionals believe the categories are misleading, and the term semi-precious is unfairly negative. However, both terms (precious and semi precious) are still widely used.
A setting is a way in which a gem is held in place in a piece of jewelry. Prong, bezel, and channel are all types of settings.
Silver is a type of metal used for jewelry. Silver is often combined with other metals to increase its strength.
A simulated gemstone is a man‐made stone,
A Singapore chain is a twisted curb chain where the links join so that, even when the chain is untwisted, there is always a natural curve to it.
For diamonds, size means carat weight.
Smoky quartz is a rich brown variety of quartz.
A snake chain features thin bands of metal secured closely together, resembling a snake's body.
Solder is the process of melting metal and joining it together to make, repair or adjust jewelry.
Solitaires are rings, earrings, or necklace styles that feature a single diamond.
South Sea Pearl:
South Sea Pearls are the rarest and most expensive type of cultured pearl, grown primarily in waters around Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The size is large ‐ normally about 8 to 18 millimeters. Shapes are often circled, and colors range from white and cream to silver gray, golden yellow, rose pink, and aqua blue.
A spacer is a decorative bead or accent positioned between charms in personalized jewelry such as charm bracelets.
A spectrophotometer is an advanced gem‐testing instrument that measures selective absorption from infrared to ultraviolet.
A spectroscope is a gem‐testing instrument used to analyze the absorption spectrum.
A Spiga chain features small figure eight‐shaped links that form a 3D braided chain that feels almost square and looks as though the wire has been plaited.
A spinel is a mineral made of aluminum and magnesium oxides that often looks like ruby.
Spring Ring Clasp:
The spring‐ring clasp features a small metal ring with a gap that can be opened and closed by a spring‐powered lever. This ring attaches to a metal ring with no gap on the opposite end of the chain.
A square‐cut stone is cut with a square outline. Facets are shaped in 'steps.' A square cut usually contains 57 facets.
Stability is considered the resistance to damage not directly related to hardness or toughness, including heat, sudden temperature change, intense light, moisture loss, and chemicals.
Stackable rings are slender bands (often matching) worn on one finger at once.
Stainless steel is a strong metal used for jewelry that is less likely to rust or corrode than regular steel.
The star effect is the phenomenon that occurs when intersecting bands of light form a star pattern that appears to move across the top of a gem. This usually results from reflections made by microscopic needle‐like inclusions that crisscross in specific directions. The best‐known examples are star ruby and star sapphire.
A professional cleaning device that removes dirt from unset gems or jewelry with high‐pressure blasts of super‐hot water. However, steam cleaning is not always safe and may damage most colored gems.
Step‐cut is a way in which diamonds are cut. Step‐cut diamonds feature rows of facets positioned in a step‐like fashion. Most step‐cut diamonds have four sides and a rectangular shape, such as emerald or baguette diamonds.
Sterling silver is a durable jewelry metal consisting of at least 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% alloy metals.
Studs are post earrings with single gems or small clusters in simple settings for pierced ears.
Symmetry is the precision of a diamond's cut.
Synthetic diamonds are also called laboratory-grown, laboratory-created, man-made, artisan-created, artificial, or cultured diamonds. Synthetic diamonds are created in a laboratory environment instead of being mined from the earth.
Tahitian Cultured Pearl:
Tahitian cultured pearls are known for their compelling dark color, grown in black‐lip oysters, Tahitian cultured pearls range in color from metallic to gray to black, sometimes with colorful overtones.
Tanzanite is a relatively new gemstone discovered in Tanzania in 1967. Tanzanite is known for its bluish‐purple hues and is December's newest birthstone and the traditional gift for the 24th wedding anniversary.
Tarnish is simply the loss of a metal's luster from air and moisture exposure.
In a tension setting, the stone is held on either side by metal and appears as if it is floating in the air. Unlike other settings, the tension setting exposes almost the entire stone.
A three‐piece set, or a trio, is a coordinating bridal set that includes an engagement ring and wedding band for her and a wedding band for him.
Tiger's-eye is a chatoyant variety of quartz. The color is usually yellowish brown or brownish yellow. Because the phenomenon results from fibrous structure (rather than needle-like inclusions), the gem usually displays a silky sheen or diffused cat's eye effect.
Titanium is a metal as strong as steel but about half the weight.
A toggle clasp features a metal bar on one end of the chain that fits through a small metal ring on the opposite end. When flat, the bar cannot fit back through the ring, securing the ends together.
Tone is one of the three color components. Tone refers to the degree of darkness or lightness of color and is sometimes described as tints (adding white) and shades (adding black).
Topaz is a mineral species that occurs in many shades of blue, yellow, brown, orange, red, and pink. All colors of topaz are birthstones for November, while blue topaz is the birthstone for December. Topaz is also the gemstone for the 4th wedding anniversary.
Total Weight/Total Ct. Weight:
Total weight or total ct. weight is the combined weight of all gems in an item of jewelry.
Toughness is the ability of a stone to resist pressure from impact.
Tourmaline is a semiprecious stone and comes in various colors ranging from black to brown, violet, green, pink, or dual‐colored pink and green.
A treatment is an artificial process that improves a gem's appearance or durability. Treatments for colored gems include bleaching, coating, diffusion, dyeing, filling, heating, impregnation, and irradiation. It may also be called enhancement.
Tri‐color designs feature three colors of metal in one jewelry piece. These can be the same metal, such as gold, or a combination of different metals.
A triplet is an assembled gem with three main components.
Tsavorite is a vibrant green type of grossularite, which is a type of garnet. The gemstone was discovered in 1975 in Kenya.
Tungsten is a fairly new metal in the jewelry industry, popular for use in wedding bands, Tungsten is resistant to corrosion and four times harder than titanium.
The turquoise gemstone (the December birthstone) is a mineral species that's opaque and light to medium‐dark blue or bluish-green. The turquoise gemstone may feature spangles of pyrite, or include remnants of matrix.
Two‐toned jewelry designs feature two metal colors in one jewelry piece. These colors can come from the same metal, such as gold, in different shades (karat weights) or a combination of different metals.
An ultrasonic cleaner is a cleaning device that cleans jewelry by sending high-frequency sound waves through a detergent solution. Unfortunately, ultrasonic cleaners are not always safe and can damage some colored gems.
Vermeil is created by coating a base metal (made of sterling silver) with an outer layer of gold that is at least 10 karats (42% pure) and 2.5 micrometers thick.
Vintage-style jewelry is a modern twist on classic designs of the past, often looking like something that would have been popular in the 1950s or 1960s but with contemporary materials and techniques.
Wedding bands are rings exchanged between the bride and groom on the wedding day. They are symbols of everlasting love and commitment.
A wheat chain consists of oval‐ and twisted oval‐shaped links connected and intertwined, resulting in an intricate chain with great visual detail, resembling grains of wheat.
White is the body color most traditionally associated with diamonds. White diamonds are graded on a scale from colorless to slightly yellow; the diamonds closer to colorless are more valuable.
White gold combines pure, yellow gold with a copper, zinc, and nickel (palladium) alloy. White gold is mostly mixed with other white metals to preserve its brightness.
White topaz is a clear variety of topaz with little to no color.
Yellow diamonds are rarer than traditional white diamonds—the yellow color results from the presence of nitrogen during the formation process. Yellow diamonds are included in the fancy-colored diamonds category.
Zinc is popular in alloy metal jewelry. Zinc is commonly mixed with gold, sterling silver, and copper to produce various colors.
Zircon (the December birthstone) is a mineral species that occurs in blue, green, yellow, brown, orange, red, pink, occasionally purple, and even colorless varieties. Light‐colored zircons may show the optical effect known as dispersion.
Now that you've read through this jewelry glossary, you should be able to talk the talk and walk the walk when it comes to all things bling! From briolette to box chains, there are endless styles of jewelry out there just waiting for you to discover. Thanks for reading!