This Jewelry Dictionary is presented by
request. While there are several jewelry glossaries or dictionaries
available on the internet, I have been requested to add my version to this site
for your convenience.
This list has been compiled by looking at
definitions on other jewelry dictionaries and glossaries. Where I judged a
definition to be unclear, geared too much toward marketing, or otherwise
lacking, I have edited that definition.
I have done so sparingly, to promote standard
4 Cs: Standardized form of grading diamonds, based on the qualities of Carat, Clarity, Color, and Cut.
CABOCHON: A stone cut with a domed shape when viewed from the side. The
stone may be round, oval, square, triangle, or other shape when viewed from
above. Stones are usually opaque to translucent..
CAMEO: A relief carving (a carving that comes up above the surface) on a shell or stone. In multi-colored cameos, a layered substrate is used (with two different colors), and when part of the upper layer is carved away, the second color emerges as the background. Cameos are frequently portraits of women. Many imitation cameos are made from pressed glass or plastic; some of these use two different colors, like the imitation cameo pictured above
CARAT: A unit of weight used for gemstones. 5 carats are equal to one
CHANDELIER EARRINGS: Dangle earrings that feature tiers of gemstones and/or
CHANNEL SETTING: Stones are tension set between two bands of metal, with no prongs or dividers.
The metal bands will usually have slight grooves on the inside.
CHARM BRACELET: Jewelry featuring small dangling charms, which sometimes have symbolic or personal meaning. The charms can be mixed and matched to create a variety of looks.
CLARITY: An evaluation of the transparency and/or inclusions (or lack thereof) visible in a stone.
Uused to grade diamonds and transparent colored gems.,
CLIP-ON EARRINGS: Earrings for non-pierced ears.
CLAW SETTING: A claw setting is one in which a series of metal prongs
(claws) holds a stone securely in a setting (the claws grips the stone by
V-shaped notches cut into the side of the claws.
COCKTAIL RING: A large ring that often features large stones and/or elaborate
detailing. Applies to any ring that is elegant and dramatic enough to be worn to a cocktail party.
COSTUME JEWELRY: Any jewelry made with simulated gemstones in place of
natural stones, and/or from materials other than gold, silver, or platinum.
CRYSTAL: A fine, high quality glass component that includes approximately 10% lead. The hallmark of crystal is its exceptional brilliance and light refraction.
CUBIC ZIRCONIA (CZ): A man made stone that is often used as a diamond
substitute. Manufactured in a variety of colors. Pink CZ jewelry is popularly
known as Pink Ice.
CUFF BRACELET: A type of bracelet which does not form a continuous circle - usually the two ends do not close completely. Made to be slipped on the side of the wrist instead of over the hand.
CUSHION CUT: A square or rectangular shaped stone with bowed sides.
GOLD: A metal frequently used to create jewelry, and measured according to carats. Also a
GOLD PLATED: A layer of gold, usually applied with electroplating, that is placed over another metal. This gives the jewelry the appearance and shine of gold, but at a lower price than jewelry that is completely gold.
GOTHIC JEWELRY Jewelry from the Gothic period or inspired by the punk look.
GRADUATED: For jewelry, this refers to stones or pearls which get progressively larger and/or smaller as they continue along the length of the bracelet or necklace.
GUARD BAND: Generally part of a wedding ring set, this is a band which is worn in front of another ring (often the
engagement ring) to keep it in place.
HALLMARK: A hallmark is an official mark (or a series of marks) made in metal that indicates the fineness of the metal and the manufacturer's mark. For example, a hallmark of 925 indicates 925 parts of gold per 1000 weight. Other hallmarks indicate the maker of the piece and sometimes the year of manufacture. In many countries (like Britain) it is illegal to hallmark metal incorrectly; some countries are notoriously lax in their enforcement of hallmark honesty.
HARDNESS: A substance's hardness is how resistant it is to being scratched. Hardness is measured using the Mohs Scale of Hardness. In the Mohs scale, one substance is harder than another if it can scratch it. For example, a diamond will scratch garnet, but not the other way around, so a diamond in harder than garnet.
HEART CUT: A stone cut in the shape of a heart, often used in promise
HOOP EARRINGS: Earrings with metal formed into hoop shapes, which may form complete circles or extend only partially around.
HUE: The prominent color or colors within a stone or metal. For instance,
Rose gold has a pinkish hue.
INFINITY RING: A ring which features the infinity symbol (like a figure 8 turned on its side), and/or an eternity ring with stones that extend across the entire band. Infinity rings symbolize love and friendship for all infinity, with no beginning or end.
INLAY: A method of setting stones into a grooved channel or outlined space, so that they lay flush with the surface of the metal.
IMITATION JEWELRY: Another word for costume jewelry.
KARAT: Karat (abbreviated Kt) is a measure of the fineness of gold. 24 karat gold is pure gold. 18 karat gold is 18/24 gold (about 75% gold - three quarters gold). 14 karat gold is 14/24 gold (about 58% gold - a little over half gold). 12 karat gold is exactly half gold. 10 karat gold is 10/24 gold (only about 43.5% gold - less than half gold)
KING CUT: The king cut is a modification of the brilliant cut which is used for large diamonds. This cut has 86 facets
MARCASITE: A gray, metallic like gemstone that looks like antiqued silver. Often found in ESTATE JEWELRY and VINTAGE JEWELRY.
MARQUISE CUT: A stone cut in a football shape.
MATINEE LENGTH: A strand of pearls, or a layered necklace, that measures approximately 22 inches long.
MELEE: A melee is a small diamond, under .20 carat.
MILLEGRAIN: A millegrain (or millegrain setting) is a setting in which
the stone is secured by tiny beads [grains] of metal or a band of metal that is
decorated with tiny beads of metal
MOTHER OF PEARL: An iridescent material derived from the lining of a seashell.
MOURNING JEWELRY: Mourning jewelry is a type of jewelry worn when one is mourning the loss of a loved one. It is often black, subdued jewelry,
or jewelry that commemorates the dead (like hair jewelry or cameos).
OILING: Oiling is a process of applying mineral oil to a stone in order to enhance it and mask inclusions, make them more transparent, and darken their color. Emeralds are frequently oiled to mask their many inclusions.
OPEN-ENDED NECKLACE: An open-ended necklace has no clasp; it is worn by tying the ends together around the neck. Open-ended necklaces usually have ornaments, like beads or tassels, at the ends
OPERA LENGTH: A strand of pearls, or a layered necklace, which measures approximately 30 to 35 inches.
OVAL CUT: A stone that is cut similar to a brilliant cut stone, but in the shape of an oval.
PATINA: A finish or film on the surface of metal, generally caused by oxidation. This usually refers to the greenish hue that brass will take on as it ages, but for jewelry, the term refers to the tone of any metal surface.
PAVE: A method of setting stones close to each other across an entire metal surface, so that it appears to be "paved" with gems. This popular setting gives a rich, textured look to jewelry.
PEAR CUT: A stone that is cut similarly to a brilliant cut stone, but with one rounded end and one pointed end. Often used in dangle drop earrings because they catch light and draw it to a focal point.
PERIOD JEWELRY: Any jewelry that exemplifies the style of a certain historic period, e.g.,
Art deco jewelry or Victorian jewelry.
PLATINUM: A precious metal used to create jewelry. Usually the highest quality metal available for jewelry, platinum is extremely strong and has a white
PLUS SIZE JEWELRY: When used in reference to women's jewelry, this term represents rings that are sizes 9 and above,
and bracelets that are 8 inches or longer.
PRECIOUS METALS: A group of metals that includes the platinum group, gold, and silver.
PRINCESS CUT: A stone that features a 144 faceted modified brilliant cut
in square or rectangular shape. This cut is designed to refract the maximum amount of light, and looks square when viewed from the top.
PRINCESS LENGTH: A strand of pearls, or a layered necklace, which measures approximately 18 inches.
PROMISE RING: A pre-engagement ring which symbolizes the promise of ever lasting love. Promise rings look similar to engagement rings, but are usually on a smaller scale. A favorite among high school and college students!
RADIANT CUT: Radiant cut stones have 62 to 70 facets, and a traditional
emerald cut shape. This cut was invented and patented in 1977.
RETRO: Refers to a style or fashion that was popular in the past.
RHINESTONE: In modern times rhinestone has come to mean an artificial
stone 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 jewelry, inexpensive jewelry pieces, and some clothing..
RHODIUM: A member of the platinum group of metals, rhodium is often used to give a platinum type finish and durability to silver or gold. This metal top layer is usually applied using
RIGHT HAND RING: Similar to an engagement ring, but usually in more creative shapes and/or higher
carat weights. These rings are designed to be worn on the right hand ring finger, as a symbol of a woman's independence.
ROPE CHAIN: A chain consisting of oval links that are linked together to
create a linear, spiral effect.
ROPE LENGTH: A strand of pearls, or a layered necklace, which measures approximately 40 inches.
ROSE CUT: A stone cut which features a flat base and raised triangular
facets. This cut has been in use since the 16th century.
ROSE GOLD: A gold alloy that is made by combining yellow gold with copper, to achieve a rosy pink hue.
ROUND CUT: Like many of the definitions for "cuts" on this
page, round denotes the shape of a stone. There are many facet patterns and
proportions for round cut stones. Today round cut usually refers to the round
brilliant cut. Other round cuts for diamonds include the old European cut.
SATIN FINISH: A matte or dull finish to a metal, usually achieved by sanding or brushing the jewelry.
SHANK: The portion of a ring that wraps around your finger.
SINGAPORE CHAIN: Twisted oval links are intertwined to create a chain with texture and sparkle.
SNAKE CHAIN: Round, wavy metal links are lined up side by side to create a jewelry chain that resembles a serpent.
SOLITAIRE: A pendant or ring with a single gemstone.
SPRING RING: The ring shaped clasp which opens using a small internal spring. This is the most common form of clasp used on lightweight necklaces and bracelets. When the ring is sturdier and oblong, it is considered a LOBSTER CLAW.
STEP CUT: A cutting technique with rows of facets that resemble the steps of a staircase. The emerald cut and the baguette are examples of the step cut.
STERLING SILVER JEWELRY: Jewelry containing an alloy of 92.5% pure silver, which is
alloyed with other metals for strength and rigidity. The remaining 7.5% of the alloy is usually comprised of copper or nickel. Sterling silver jewelry is stamped ".925" to indicate the purity of the metal.
STUD EARRINGS: (STUDS) Earrings which feature a post backing adhered to a small gemstone or metal decoration.
SWAROVSKI: A world leader in high quality crystal products, particularly jewelry and home decor items.
WEDDING BAND: Usually a plain gold ring worn by a married person.
WEDDING RING SET: A woman's wedding and engagement ring designed to be worn together. Sometimes the wedding ring is shaped so that it fits around the solitaire engagement ring, making the set look like a single piece.
Wedding Trio: A three-piece wedding ring set consisting of his and her matching wedding rings and a matching engagement ring.
WHITE GOLD: White gold is alloyed with nickel and Zinc.
Zinc: A bluish-white metal used in white gold alloy.
This jewelry dictionary will be expanded and developed
into an easily accessed page on this site.
Enter any of the keywords defined above into the search
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Gem Industry News...
Shrinking Economy Kills Jewelry Jobs
Each weekly issue of a favorite jewelry industry newsletter brings news of
more jewelry jobs lost.
Jewelry retail chains, venerable independent jewelry stores, jewelry
manufacturers, display makers, packaging vendors, and other jewelry-related
businesses are liquidating.
Some suppliers declare bankruptcy, are sold off in pieces to competitors who
then consolidate operations and cut duplicate jobs.
Larger retailers and chain stores hold GOBs (Going Out of Business
sales) and then close... leaving the employees jobless.
Others simply disappear without a ripple.
And jobs isn't all that's being lost. Empty store buildings and Mall spaces
aren't generating rent payments.
It is apparent that the jewelry industry will not recover and grow until the
general economy begins to expand again.
With the economy getting worse rather than better, the strategy outlined
below is becoming even more relevant...
From a supply perspective, now is the time to replenish your depleted inventory.
If you have some money to invest in inventory - there are deals to be had.
And you should have some cash. After all, that depleted inventory was sales.
From a sales perspective, gift giving occasions have not disappeared. Birthdays,
anniversaries, and many other reasons to give nice jewelry at a great price just
keep on coming. Your customers (and their friends) need what you offer!
A market where people perceive they should spend less fits right into your