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Jewellery Dictionary

Most Popular Jewellery-Related Terms Including Types & Materials

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

"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

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

aurora borealis

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