You can find here a list that covers the most popular jewellery-related terms including types of jewellery and materials. A real heaven for jewellery aficionados.
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.
"Acrylic glass" is another name for "acrylic" plastic.
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
An alloy is a combination of two or more metals. Common alloys used in jewellery are: gold under 24 Kt (mixed with silver, copper, and/or other metals), sterling silver (92.5% silver, 7.5% copper), brass (roughly half copper, half zinc), bronze (at least 60% copper with tin and perhaps other metals), and pewter (tin, lead, antimony, and a bit of silver or copper).
Amber is translucent fossilized tree resin (from conifers), a natural hydrocarbon that comes in many colours, including yellow, reddish, whitish, black, and blue. Amber is flammable. It used to be thought that amber possessed magical powers that protected the wearer from evil. Pressed amber consists of small pieces of amber that have been fused together to form a larger piece. Fake amber is easily made from plastics, and buyers must beware of cheap imitations sold as natural amber. Amber has a hardness of 2.5 and a specific gravity of 1.05-1.10.
(Greek for "not drunken") is a form of the mineral quartz, and is a relatively common gemstone. Amethyst is usually purple, but can range in colour from pale lavender to a very deep, reddish purple to a milky colour to green. Deeper-coloured amethysts are more highly valued. The ancient Greeks believed that amethyst made one immune to the effects of alcohol. Synthetic amethysts are hard to distinguish from the real stone.
Aquamarine is a transparent, light blue or sea-green stone that is porous. Today, blue aquamarines are more highly valued, but this was not true in the past, when sea-green stones were prized. Heat-treatment turns greenish stones bluer. The best aquamarines come from Brazil. Large aquamarines are relatively common.
Armlet is decorative band, usually of gold, silver, or other metal and sometimes featuring precious gems, worn for ornament around the arm, especially the upper arm. Armlets have been worn since ancient times: in Assyrian art, for instance, deities, monsters, and men are shown wearing armlets.
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.
AB stands for Aurora borealis (which means "northern lights"). Aurora borealis Swarovski crystals have a special irridescent finish that shines in many colours.
Baguette(Bag-ette) a small, rectangular stone that is often used as an accent or border on engagement rings. Similar to an emerald cut but smaller and usually more narrow.
A baguette cut is a stone (usually a diamond) that has been cut into a long, rectangular shape. Baguette means "stick" or "rod" in French.
A band is a ring that is made from a thin, flat, ribbon-like strip of material (usually metal). The band can be unadorned or decorated. Wedding rings are often bands.
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.
bar and ring clasp
This type of clasp has a bar which is inserted into a large ring on the other end of the necklace or bracelet. It is also known as a 'toggle clasp'.
A barrel clasp is a jewellery fastener that resembles a barrel. The two pieces of this clasp screw together. It is used to attach two other rings or links of a necklace or bracelet.
Beads are small objects, each with a hole through it for stringing. Beads are made of glass, stones, wood, plastics, seeds, and ceramics.
The metal around a stone that holds it in place.
(Behz-uhle) stones are set inside a tube of metal, which holds them secure without inserting metal between them. Since the metal edges fold over the stones to hold them in place, it can make stones look slightly smaller.
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 â€“ Peridot, September - Sapphire, October - Opal, November - Topaz or Citrine, December - Turquoise or Zircon.
Bling bling is an American slang term used to describe large, showy jewellery, especially jewellery encrusted with diamonds. The term was coined in the late 1990s by the New Orleans rappers Cash Money Millionaires.
A style of jewellery and clothing exemplified by flowing lines, natural materials, and funky details. Bright colours, layers, and casual pieces are hallmarks of the Boho style.
A bolt ring (also known as a spring ring) is a hollow circular metal fastening ring with a spring opening. It is used to attach two other rings or links of a necklace or bracelet. The bolt ring was invented early in the 1900's
Bows are a common motif in jewellery.
Square metal links are connected to form a smooth, even chain. Often used for men's jewellery.
An item of jewellery worn on the wrist. They can be of plain precious metal, decorated designs of precious metal or set with stones. Common types of bracelets are: chain-link bracelets such as curb and figaro; rope bracelets; charm bracelets; fancy-link bracelets; tennis bracelets; solid and hinged bangles and cuff.
Brass is a metal alloy containing (at least 50%) copper and zinc.
This round cut is the most common and popular style of cut for diamonds, and many other gemstones. This is because it has been designed with 57 carefully proportioned facets to maximise the amount of light reflected and refracted by the gemstone.
A briolette (or drop cut) is a pear-shaped cut gemstone with triangular facets on top. This type of stone makes a nice pendant.
Bronze is a metal alloy containing (at least 60%) copper plus tin and other metals.
An ornamental piece of jewellery which has a pin back for affixing it to clothing or hats. Usually larger in scale than the ones referred to as "pins".
A smooth and dome shaped stone.
A cameo is a relief carving on a shell or stone. In multi-coloured cameos, a layered substrate is used (with two different colours), and when part of the upper layer is carved away, the second colour 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 colours.
A carat (ct.) is a standard measure of weight used for gemstones. One carat weighs 0.2 gram (1/5 of a gram or 0.0007 ounce). A hundredth of a carat is called a point. The carat unit was introduced in 1907.
A length of connected loops, links, rings or beads used to create a necklece or bracelet. There are various types of chain, with the most popular being: the curb link, flat round or oval links; the belcher link, round or oval links that don't lie flat; the figaro link, a series of alternating short and long links in different combinations; the box link, solid square links; the snake chain; and the rope chain.
Grandiose dangle earrings that feature tiers of gemstones and/or detailing, for a glamorous evening look.
Channel set jewels are arranged in a metal channel, secured by a rim running along the edges of the channel. Jewels used in this setting are usually round or baguette shaped.
Charms are tiny, representational ornaments that are worn on bracelets and necklaces.
Jewellry featuring small dangling charms, which sometimes have symbolic or personal meaning. The charms can be mixed and matched to create a variety of looks.
A choker is a type of necklace that fits tightly around the neck. Chokers are 25cm to 35cm (10 to 14 inches) in length.
Any type of attachment that is used to join one end of a piece of jewellery to the other, usually bracelet and necklace. The most commonly used clasps in jewellery are: the bolt ring; the lobster claw; the box clasp; the bar and ring clasp; and the fold-over clasp.
A claw Is a metal prong that holds a stone securely in a 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.
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.
A ring which has a collection, or 'cluster' of gemstones arranged in a decorative design. The cluster setting usually consists of one large stone (usually round or oval) in the center surrounded with several smaller stones. Common cluster patterns are the 'daisy cluster', which resembles the flower of a daisy, and the 'boat cluster', which resembles the shape of a boat as viewed from above.
Cluster rings are rings with a group of stones in a cluster setting, forming the focal point of the ring. The cluster setting usually consists of one large stone (usually round or oval) in the center surrounded with several smaller stones.
A cluster setting is one in which small stones or pearls are set around a larger stone.
A large ring that often features high karat stones and/or elaborate detailing. Applies to any ring that is elegant and dramatic enough to be worn to a cocktail party.
Copper is a soft metal often used in jewellry. It is used in making bronze, brass, and gold alloys.
Coral is an animal that grows in colonies in the ocean. Coral polyps secrete a strong calcium structure that is used in jewellery making. Coral ranges in colour from pale pink to orange to red to white to black. The most valued colours are deep red and pink. In jewellery making, coral is either carved into beads, cameos, or other forms, or is left in its natural branch-like form and just polished. Imitation coral is made from glass, porcelain, or plastic.
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.
A pendant in the shape of a cross. It can be plain or patterned metal, or set with gemstones.
Crystal is high quality glass containing at least 10% lead oxide giving the stone a very clear appearance resembling rock crystal.
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.
A cuff bracelet is a stiff, relatively wide bracelet.
Cufflinks are men's jewellery that close the buttonholes of the cuff of a long-sleeved shirt. Some cufflinks are basically two button-like objects connected by a chain; the buttons go through the cuff's buttonholes. Another type of cufflink has a decorative button attached to a stick whose end swivels out to form a T-shape that goes through the buttonhole. Cufflinks were first worn in the 1800's.
Cultured pearls are pearls produced by oysters that have been surgically injected (nucleated) with bits of mussel shell. After 5-7 years, the oysters are retrieved and the pearls are harvested. This method of "manufacturing" pearls was invented in 1893 by Kokichi Mikimoto.
Cushion cut stones are cut in the shape of a square cushion and rounded at the edges.
Cut beads are glass beads that have been faceted. This process makes the bead reflect and refract more light.
Common cuts include the round cut, oval cut, emerald cut, pear cut, princess cut, marquise cut, baguette cut . Mixed cuts in which the style of the facets above and below the girdle are different. Other, more unusual cuts, are know as fantasy cuts (like the heart cut).
A diadem is a tiara, a circular or semi-circular piece of jewellery worn on the head.
Diamante is another word for rhinestone.
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.
A ring which is worn purely as a fashion accessory. It can be either plain or set with gemstones.
A style of earring that hangs below the earlobe.
An 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.
A green gemstone and the most precious of the beryl group. The emerald cut is the most popular, and most practical cut for showing off the beauty of this gemstone, hence the name. The emerald is the birthstone for May.
This cut features a rectangular stone with cut corners. It is most frequently used on emeralds and diamonds.
An opaque, glassy material which is attached to the metal on an item of jewellery to give it decoration.
A gemstone set ring used to symbolise a strong commitment of love. Diamonds are the most popular choice of gemstone because of their value and traditional symbolism of lasting love, with the solitaire design being the favourite choice. An engagement ring is traditionally worn on the third finger of the left hand, because it was believed that the vein from this finger ran directly to the heart.
Engraving is a method of surface decoration in which a design is etched into the surface with a sharp tool.
Usually referring to antique jewellery, this term encompasses any jewellery that is being re-sold.
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.
An eternity ring is a narrow band with a ring of gemstones.
One of the flat, polished surfaces on a cut gemstone. They are cut to help enhance the gemstone's reflection of light so that its brilliance and beauty are increased.
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 is another term for costume jewellery.
(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.
The fine lace-like decoration sometimes found on jewellery. It is created from delicately arranged and intertwined precious metal wires.
finger ring size
To size a finger for a ring, a finger-ring gauge is used. The rings are marked with their size and the person determines which one fits well. Another, less accurate method is a cardboard card with cut-out holes marked with the ring sizes. To determine the ring size of a finger using the circumference of the finger, or to determine the size of a ring given its diameter.
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).
A clasp where a hinged section is opened and passed through a ring before being snapped shut and holding the ring securely in place.
A freshwater pearl is a pearl that was harvested from a freshwater mussel (a mollusk). These pearls are frequently shaped like crisped rice cereal, and are less valuable than oyster pearls.
Garnets are most frequently reddish brown in colour. Garnets can be found in various colours including: blood red; orange; dark red; pinkish red; and green(but blue). Garnet is the birthstone for January.
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 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, yellow in its natural state but its exact colour depends on the amount and type of impurities. Gold translates from the Latin 'aurum' meaning 'shining dawn'. It is dense, soft, shiny and the most malleable and ductile of the known metals. Because of the softness of pure (24k) gold, it is usually alloyed with base metals for use in jewellery, altering its hardness and ductility, melting point, colour and other properties. The gold used in jewellery is defined by the proportion of pure gold to other metals and is expressed in terms of its karat.
Karat - Percent Gold:24 Kt. - 100% Gold18 Kt. - 75% Gold14 Kt. - 58.3% Gold10 Kt. - 41.7% Gold
Gold can be alloyed into different colours:
yellow gold - pure 24Kt goldwhite gold - alloyed with nickel or palladiumgreen gold - greenish-yellow in colour - alloyed with silver, comes as 18Kt or 14 Kt goldblue - alloyed with ironpurple - alloyed with aluminiumrose gold, pink gold and red gold - are all alloys with copper of varying percentage, more copper gives stronger red colouration. A common alloy for rose gold is three-quarters gold and one-quarter copper. (18 Kt) Because it was popular in Russia at the beginning of the nineteenth century it is also known as Russian gold.
White 18 Kt gold containing 17.3% nickel, 5.5% zinc and 2.2% copper is silver in appearance. High-carat white gold alloys are far more resistant to corrosion than are either pure silver or sterling silver. As an alternative to nickel, which is toxic, white gold could contain palladium, silver and other white metals.
Gold plate 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.
Gunmetal is a metal alloy that is composed of 90 percent copper and 10 percent tin.
This is the authorised stamp from an assay office which is found on items of gold, silver and platinum. The hallmark indicates the authenticity and standard of the precious metal and is awarded after independent tests by the official assay offices at London, Birmingham, Sheffield or Edinburgh.
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.
Earrings 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.
Intaglio refers to a form of image making in which the image is produced by incising into the printing plate, thus producing a negative image. Intaglio is the opposite of cameo.
It is used in making engraved seals, where it leaves a raised design on the material being stamped, especially wax. It is also used in some pendants and signet rings.
and where it is the incised line or area that holds the ink.
An iridescent object displays many lustrous, changing colours. Iridescence is caused by the reflection of light from the jewel.
Jewellery is articles of personal adornment, like rings, necklaces, bracelets, cuff links, and pins. Jewellery is made from metals (especially gold and silver), stones, glass, plastic, and other materials.
In UK English it is spelled 'jewellery' while in US English it is spelled "jewelry".
A jump ring is a circular metal ring with an opening. It is used to attach two other rings or links, and is then soldered or pressed shut.
(Lav-ah-leer) A pendant on a necklace, usually with a 24''(61cm) inch or longer chain.
Necklaces 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.
The series of loops that make up a chain or bracelet. They can be of different designs, both plain and fancy.
lobster claw clasp
A lobster 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.
Lustre is the term for sparkle or shine and describes light reflection.
An oval cut with tapered, pointed ends.
A matinee-length necklace is a single strand that is from 51cm to 64cm (20 to 25 inches) long. Matinee-length generally refers to a string of pearls that hangs to the top of the cleavage.
A matte finish on a metal's surface is a soft, lustrous finish that reduces the metal's reflectivity.
A loose scale measuring a mineral's hardness in relation to other minerals, based upon the ability to resist scratching. It is used to classify the hardness of gemstones. It was developed by the German Friedrich Mohs, in 1822, and he used 10 minerals, ranking them 1 to 10 based upon their ability to scratch each other. Whereby, each mineral will scratch the one below it in the scale, but can only be scratched by those above it.
The scale is as follows:
- Turquoise and Opal, Rhodium
- Topaz, Garnet and Aquamarine
- Sapphire and Ruby
Imitation diamond with better refractive index than cubic zirconium. Much cheaper than real diamonds and almost impossible to tell from the real thing.
Mother-of-pearl is the iridescent coating on the inside of oyster shells. Mother-of-pearl is used for jewellery, buttons, and other uses. It is also called nacre.
Two or more conjoined rings, designed to be worn across two, three, or even four fingers; usually popularised by hip-hop culture.
A necklace is a piece of jewellery worn around the neck. Necklaces of different lengths have different names:
- dog collar: below 25cm (10 inches)
- choker: 25cm - 35cm (10 to 14 inches)
- princess: 36cm - 50cm (15 to 19 inches)
- matinee: 51cm - 64cm (20 to 25 inches)
- opera: 65cm - 91cm (26 to 36 inches)
- rope: above 92cm (37 inches)
Gold or sterling silver that is ALLOYED without using nickel, because some people have allergic reactions and/or skin irritation when wearing the metal.
The noble metals are gold, platinum, and silver. These are metals that are relatively impervious to chemical actions: oxidation and corrosion.
Opaque means blocking the passage of light (as opposed to translucent or transparent).
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.
A stone that is cut similar to a brilliant cut stone, but in the shape of an oval.
Pave settings are stones set very close together. The stones hide the underlying surface. In better pieces, claw settings are used; in less expensive pieces, the stones are simply glued in.
A pear cut gemstone (also called a drop cut) is teardrop shaped. This type of cut is used for pendants, drop earrings, rings, and other pieces of jewellery.
These are organic gemstones which grow within molluscs, particularly oysters and mussels. They are formed when a foreign body, such as a small stone, gets trapped inside a mollusc's shell. The mollusc then secretes nacre, a lustrous substance, to coat the object and reduce the irritation that it causes. Over time thousands of layers of nacre coat the foreign body and a pearl is formed. This process takes up to 7 or 8 years to produce a pearl large enough for use in jewellery. The most valuable pearls are large, symmetrical, naturally produced and have a shimmering iridescence. Pearls vary in colour from white, through white with a hint of colour (usually pink), to brown, grey and even black, depending upon the mollusc and the water in which it lives.
There are several types of pearl:
- Natural Pearls - occurring naturally with no human interference
- Cultured Pearls - where a piece of mother-of pearl or a small bead is inserted artificially into a mollusc to start the process in a controlled way. Most pearls found in jewellery today are cultured pearls.
- Freshwater Pearls - produced by molluscs living in rivers and lakes. They are quite irregular and elongated in shape. They are popular in jewellery because of their shape and excellent value.
- Seed Pearls - tiny pearls used in smaller items of jewellery.
- Blister pearls - this is where the pearl is attached to the inside of the shell.
Pearl is the birthstone for June.
A hanging ornament on a chain.
A gemstone with a distinctive green colouring. It is the birthstone for August.
"Perspex" is another name for "acrylic" plastic.
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.
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.
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.
Of the three precious metals, platinum is the rarest and most valuable. It is silvery-grey to white in colour and, unlike silver, it does not tarnish when exposed to the atmosphere. It is slightly more dense than gold and about twice as dense as silver. To make it easier to use, the platinum used in jewellery is an alloy containing 95% pure platinum and 5% other metals (or 950 parts platinum to 50 parts other metals).
"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.
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.
A stone that is cut in a popular style which features a multi-faceted square cut. This cut is designed to refract the maximum amount of light, and looks square when viewed from the top.
A strand of pearls, or a layered necklace, which measures 36cm to 50cm (15 to 19 inches).
A promise ring is a pre-engagement ring, usually with a relatively small stone.
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 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.
Two twisted metal chains are looped together, to create a chain that resembles a length of rope.
A strand of pearls, or a layered necklace, which measures above 92cm (37 inches).
A gemstone of the corundum family, which can be any shade of red from pinkish to almost brownish. Along with sapphire, it is the hardest gemstone after diamond. It is the birthstone for July and has a very regal history.
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.
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.
The upper part of a ring that joins the shank and the setting. They are often decorated, set with gemstones, or have a v-like split in them.
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 precious metal with a characteristic shiny white colour and a metallic lustre. Silver is quite soft when pure, when used in jewellery It is alloyed with other metals to form 'Sterling Silver' (usually 92.5% silver with 7.5% copper). 'Britannia' silver is an alternative hallmark-quality standard containing 95.8% silver.
Silver has been known since antiquity. It has long been valued as a precious metal and used in ornaments and jewellery.
The name of the United Kingdom monetary unit "pound" reflects the fact that it originally represented the value of one troy pound of sterling silver. The word "Silver" derived from the Anglo-Saxon: seolfor.
Silver is currently about 1/50th the price of gold by mass, and approximately 70 times more valuable than copper.
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.
A chain composed of a series of small linked cups.
A solitaire is a ring set with a single stone, usually a diamond.
A high quality alloy of silver used in jewellery. It contains a minimum of 92.5% pure silver (or 925 parts pure silver to 75 parts other metals).
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 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.
A flexible chain-like made up of evenly matched gemstones.
Toe rings are smaller rings worn on any of the toes.
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.
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.
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.
Birthstone of the month for December. This semi-precious gemstone has an intense colour varying from sky-blue to green.
Vermeil is gold-plated silver. Less occasionally, gold-plated bronze is referred to as vermeil.
Jewellery that exemplifies the ornate, richly textured styles of the Victorian era.
Jewellery that is collectively refers to styles from past decades: antique, estate or retro.
A band of precious metal, usually gold or platinum, used to symbolise the union of two people in marriage. The band can be plain, patterned, two coloured gold, diamond set, have bevelled edges and even shaped to fit comfortably with an engagement ring.
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.
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.
Yellow is the natural colour of pure gold.
Zircon (zirconium silicate) is a lustrous gemstone that comes in colours ranging from golden brown to red to violet to blue. It is not to be confused with cubic zirconia (CZ).
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. Clear zircon is sometimes sold (intentionally or otherwise) as diamond. It has a Mohs hardness of 7.5 and a specific gravity of 3.90-4.71.