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Glossary

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A

AB

AB stands for Aurora borealis (which means "northern lights").  Aurora borealis rhinestones have a special iridescent finish that shines with many colors.  The iridescent surface is a result of a very thin layer of metallic atoms that have been deposited on the lower surface of the stone.  This process was invented in 1955 by the Swarovski company together with Christian Dior.

ABALONE

Abalone is a mollusk whose shell is iridescent on the inside; abalone is a source of mother of pearl, which is used in jewelry making.

Acroite

Acroite is a rare, colorless variety of tourmaline.

Adamantine

Adamantine means having a luster like that of a diamond.

Adularia

Adularia is a common type of moonstone, a whitish-bluish semi-translucent stone.  Adularia is usually set as a cabochon.  Adularia was very popular early in the 20th century and was extensively used in Art Nouveau jewelry.  Adularia has a hardness of 6 and a specific gravity of 2.57.

Adventurine

Adventurine is a misspelling of aventurine (and sometimes known as goldstone) is a shimmering quartz stone that ranges in color from yellow to red to light green to light brown.  The shimmer is caused by tiny metallic particles (mica) within the stone.

African Emerald

African emerald is a misnomer for green fluorspar that is mined in South Africa; it is not an emerald at all.

African Jade

African jade (also called Transvaal jade) is a misnomer for massive green grossular garnet that is mined in South Africa; it is not jade, but does look like jade.  It can be light green, white, or pink.

Agate

Agate is a variety of chalcedony (a family of microcrystalline quartz).  Agate is a very common stone that is often used in jewelry.  It is found in a wide range of colors, including black, gray, brown, reddish, green, pink, blue, and yellow.  Agate can be flecked with color and is often banded, exhibiting layers of quartz.  Agate is porous and takes dye easily; it is frequently dyed to enhance the coloration and the banding.  White agate was used often in Victorian jewelry, mostly as a background.  Moss agate has green, red or black dendritic inclusions.  Onyx is agate whose bands are parallel.  Eye agate has banding arranged in concentric circles.  Agate has a hardness of 6. 5 to 7 and a specific gravity of 2.6.

Aigrette

An aigrette (meaning "egret" in French) is a feather-shaped piece of jewelry that is worn in the hair or on a hat.

Alexandrite

Alexandrite is a mineral (a type of chrysoberyl) that appears to be different colors depending on whether it is viewed in natural or artificial light.  Alexandrite appears to be red when seen in candle light and blue to green when seen in fluorescent light.  Alexandrite was discovered on the birthday of the Russian Czar Alexander II, and it was named in his honor.  Alexandrite is mined in Russia, Brazil, Burma, Ceylon, and Rhodesia.  Laboratory-produced alexandrite is common, and it is often sold as natural alexandrite.  Alexandrite has a hardness of 8. 5 and a specific gravity of 3.64-3.74.

Alexandrite Effect

The "Alexandrite Effect" is a phenomenon in which a stone appears to be different colors depending upon the type of light it is viewed in.  For example, the stone alexandrite appears to be red when seen in candle light and blue to green when seen in fluorescent light.  Many other stones exhibit the "Alexandrite Effect," including garnet and sapphire.

Alloys

Alloys are formed when two or more elements are combined to form a different type of metal with special attributes. The new metal is typically stronger, more durable, and may be a different color.

Almandine

Almandine is a type of violet-tinged variety of garnet that ranges in color from deep red to reddish-brown.  Almandine is the most common kind of garnet.  Star garnets are almandines that exhibit an asterism.  Almandine has a hardness of 7. 5 and a specific gravity of 3.85-4.20.

Amazonite

Amazonite is an iridescent stone that ranges in color from green to blue-green.  Its composition is potassium aluminosilicate (KAlSi3O8), and is a type of feldspar (a green variety of microcline).  Amazonite is usually set as a cabochon (since it breaks easily if faceted).  This mineral was named for the Amazon River, where it was first thought to be found in the middle 1800s (the mineral found in the Amazon was actually a form of jadeite).  Amazonite is also found in the Ural Mountains of Russia, in Colorado and Virginia, USA, Russia, Australia, and Africa.  Amazonite has a hardness of 6 and a specific gravity of 2.56-2.8.  Most Amazonite is opaque, but rare crystals are transparent.

Amber

Amber is translucent fossilized tree resin (from conifers), a natural hydrocarbon that comes in many colors, including yellow, reddish, whitish, black, and blue. Amber is flammable. Rubbing amber produces static electricity. The word electricity comes from the Greek word for amber, "elektron. 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.

American Ruby

The term American ruby" is actually a pyrope garnet (and not a ruby at all). There are real rubies found in the US, but they are not referred to as "American rubies".

Amethyst

Amethyst (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 color from pale lavender to a very deep, reddish purple to a milky color to green.  Deeper-colored 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.

Ametrine

Ametrine is a variety of quartz, a mixture of amethyst and citrine.  Ametrine is partially purple and partially orange-yellow.

Ammolite

Ammolite (also known as korite, calcentine, or Buffalo Stone. ) is a fossilized, opalized ammonite shell used as a gemstone (it is the shell of the ammonite, a fossilized marine animal, a cephalopod).  It is a gray, iridescent stone with flashes of green, red, yellow, blue or purple (blues and purples are rare); the color changes as the stone is turned.  Ammolite has a hardness of about 4 (it is very brittle before it is treated) and a specific gravity of 2.8.  Ammolite is usually treated with a colorless, hard material to increase the strength of the stone and is often mounted as a doublet or a triplet (with a quartz top layer and a shale underside).  Ammolite is only found in southern Alberta, Canada.

Amorphous

Amorphous means without form.  An amorphous gem, like jet, amber, or ivory, does not have a regular internal structure, like those gems that fall within the seven crystal systems.

Anniversary Band

An Anniversary Band is a ring in which gemstones have been set one-third to one-half of the way around the perimeter. Anniversary bands can be the same width all the way around or they can be tapered. Typically anniversary bands are set with diamonds and symbolize romance.

Antique Jewelry

Jewelry that is generally at least 100 years old.

Apache Tears

Apache tears (a type of obsidian) is a volcanic glass that is usually black, but is occasionally red, brown, gray, green (rare), dark with "snowflakes," or even clear.  This glassy, lustrous form of obsidian is found in lava flows in the southwest USA.  Obsidian is formed when viscous lava (from volcanos) cools rapidly.  Most obsidian is 70 percent silica.  Obsidian has a hardness of 5 and a specific gravity of 2.35.

Apatite

Apatite (calcium phosphate) is a clear to opaque stone that comes in many colors, including green, yellow, blue, violet, and yellow-green (called asparagus stone).  Some apatite stones show a cat's eye asterism.  This stone is rarely used in jewelry because it is brittle and soft.  Apatite comes from the Greek word for "deceit," because it was easily confused with other minerals.  Apatite has a hardness of 5 and a specific gravity of 3.15-3.22.

Aqua Aura

Aqua aura is a beautiful iridescent bluish to clear stone that is made by coating clear quartz that with a fine layer of gold (or aluminium or copper).  In a process called called vapor deposition, the quartz is put into a vacuum chamber and attached to very hot electrodes.  A thin layer of the metal (only a micron or two thick) coats the quartz as the metal evaporates.

Aqua Regia

Aqua regia is a 3:1 mixture of hydrochloric acid and nitric acid.  Aqua regia is used to test gold and platinum; it is one of the few substances that can dissolve gold and platinum.

A

Aquamarine

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.  Aquamarines are usually faceted but when they are cabochon cut, a cat's eye effect or asterism may appear.  Aquamarines belong to the beryl family of stones.  Aquamarine has a hardness of 7. 5-8 and a specific gravity of 2.65-2.85.

Arcade Setting

An arcade setting (also called coronet or châton setting) is one in which the stone is held in by many metal claws around a metal ring.

Arctic Opal

Arctic opal is a blue-green stone that is a mixture of azurite and malachite; it is not a type of opal at all.  Arctic opal is mined in the Wrangle Mountains and the Chugach Mountains of Alaska, USA (near Anchorage).

Arizona Ruby

An Arizona ruby is actually a pyrope garnet (and not a ruby at all).

Arizona Spinel

An Arizona spinel is actually a garnet (and not a spinel at all).

Arkansas Diamond

An Arkansas diamond is actually a rock crystal (and not a diamond at all).

Arkansas Stone

Arkansas stone is an abrasive used in jewelry making.  It is used to smooth metals.

Art Deco

The Art Deco period ranged from 1925 - 1940s and was known for its lavish designs in geometric lines and shapes. Art Deco style originated in Paris, France.  Art Deco pieces are characterized by geometric lines and angles, with very few curves.  This art movement eventually became bolder and evolved into Art Moderne.

Art Nouveau

The Art Nouveau period was popular for its natural flowing designs, which were inspired by leaves, vines, and other organic shapes. The Art Nouveau period peaked around 1890 - 1905. Often incorrectly referred to as "Art Deco", the primary difference is that Art Deco characteristics were angular and geometric, whereas Art Nouveau was a period primarily marked by the flowing natural organic shapes. Art Nouveau pieces are characterized by curves, especially depicting long-haired, sensual women.

Arts And Crafts

Arts and Crafts was an artistic movement that produced hand-crafted pieces toward the end of the 1800's.  Pieces purposely look hand-made, incorporating hammer marks and simple cabochon settings.  The Arts and Crafts movement also revived the art of enamel.  A prominent Arts and Crafts jeweller was C.R. Ashbee (1863-1942); Ashbee founded The Guild of Handicraft in 1888.  Other important Arts and Crafts jewelers included Arthur Gaskin (1862-1928), Georgina Gaskin (1868-1934, Arthur's wife), Fred T.  Partridge, John Paul Cooper (1869-1933), Bernard Cuzner (1877-1956), Henry Wilson (1864-1934), Alexander Fisher (1864-1936), and Edgar Simpson.

Assay

An assay is a test of the purity of an alloy.  A tiny piece of metal is scraped from the piece and the percentage of gold or silver is determined.  Official assay offices determine whether a piece qualifies for an appropriate hallmark.

Asscher, Joseph

Joseph Asscher was an eminent diamond cutter who cut the 3,106 carat Cullinan diamond.  Asscher worked in Amsterdam.  In 1902, his company, the Asscher Diamond Co. , developed and patented the Asscher cut, a squarish step cut with an almost octagonal outline.  This new cut enhanced the fire and light of the stone; it had a small table, a high crown, wide step facets, a deep pavilion and square culet.  This cut became very popular in Art Deco jewelry and was a forerunner of the emerald cut.  Recently, the Royal Asscher Diamond Co.  resumed production of the original Asscher cut diamonds.

Asterism

An asterism is a star-like luminous effect that reflects light in some gemstones, like star sapphires and star garnets.

Aurora Borealis

Aurora borealis (meaning "northern lights") rhinestones have a special iridescent finish that shines with many colors.  The iridescent surface is a result of a very thin layer of metallic atoms that have been deposited on the lower surface of the stone.  This process was invented in 1955 by the Swarovski company together with Christian Dior.

Australian Ruby

An Australian ruby is actually a pyrope garnet (and not a ruby at all).

Aventurine

Aventurine (sometimes known as goldstone and sometimes mis-spelled adventurine) is a shimmering quartz stone that ranges in color from yellow to red to light green to light brown.  The shimmer is caused by tiny metallic particles (mica) within the stone.

Aventurine Feldspar

Aventurine feldspar is also called Sunstone (a variety of oligoclase).  This gemstone varies from golden to orange to red-brown, and can be transparent or translucent.  Sunstone is metallic-looking due to sparkling red, orange or green crystalline inclusions (these are hematite or goethite crystals).  Sunstone is found in Canada, the USA (in Oregon), India, Norway, and Russia.  This brittle stone has a hardness of 6 and a specific gravity of 2.63-2.67.  Sunstone is not enhanced.

Aventurine Glass

Aventurine glass (sometimes spelled adventurine glass) is a shimmering glass that contains tiny metallic particles (copper flakes) within it.  The process of making aventurine glass was invented in Venice, Italy, around 1700.

Aventurine Quartz

Aventurine quartz is a type of quartz that has sparkling flecks (includions) of mica or iron.  This colors of this stone include red-brown, yellow, gray, and green.  Aventurine quartz has a hardness of 7 and a specific gravity of 2.64-2.69.  This stone is usually cut with a flat or rounded surface to maximize its sparkle.  Aventurine quartz is found in India, Russia, and Tanzania.

Awabi Pearl

The Japanese name for abalone pearls is Awabi pearls.

Axinite

Axinite is an unusual, lustrous stone that is brown, yellow, blue, green or gray.  Violet axinite is rare (and from Tasmania).  It has both transparent and translucent varieties.  Axinite is dichroic.  Axinite has a hardness of 7 and a specific gravity of 3.3.  Axinite is a boro-silicate of aluminum and calcium.  It is used only as a mineral specimen and not in jewelry.

Axis Of Symmetry

An axis of symmetry (also called a rotational axis) is an imaginary line around which an object can be rotated a certain number of degrees and look like the original shape.  When two planes of symmetry intersect, they form a straight line, which is an axis of symmetry.  See more in the entry on crystal systems.

Azurite

Azurite is a beautiful copper-based blue mineral that is often used in jewelry.  The color ranges from very deep blue to pale blue.  Azurite has also been used as a dye for paints and luxury fabrics.  Azurite is hydrated copper carbonate; its chemical formula is Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2.  Malachite (another copper-based mineral) and azurite are often found together.  Azurite has a hardness of 3. 5 to 4 (relatively soft) and a specific gravity of 3.7-3.9.  Azurite is found in massive monoclinic crystals in Australia the southwestern USA, France, Mexico, Morocco, Nambia, Zaire, and Europe.  Azurite is sometimes coated with a colorless wax or impregnated with plastic in order to enhance the color and increase the hardness.

B

Baffa Diamond

Baffa diamond is actually rock crystal and not a real diamond.

Baguette

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.

Bail

A Bail is the top loop on a pendant that the chain slides through. Bails come in many different shapes, sizes and designs. Changing the bail on a pendant can make a big difference, both for aesthetic reasons and for strength.

Band

A Band appears to be the same width all the way around your finger. The classic wedding band can be thin, thick or medium in width as long as the width is uniform. Typically, bands are simple rings of uniform width with little or
no raised elements, although decorative designs can be engraved or cast into the piece. They can be thick or thin. Occasionally, gemstones will be flush set in bands.

Banded Agate

Banded agate is a type of agate with distinct layers of color.

Bangle

A bangle is a stiff bracelet.  Some bangles have a hinge; others are solid and must be slipped over the hand.

Bar And Ring Clasp

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

Basket Head

A Basket Head is a type of prong setting for gemstones. It looks similar to a basket—thus the name. Basket heads provide support and stability for the prongs. Viewed from the side, basket heads can have one or two horizontal bars or can be quite ornate.

Baton

A baton is a stone that is cut in a long, thin rectangular shape.  A baton is larger than a baguette.

Bayadère

A bayadère is a pearl necklace that has many strands of pearls twisted together.

Belle Epoque

The Belle Epoque (meaning "Beautiful Time" in French) was the Edwardian period, the time of the reign of Edward VII of England (1901-1910).

Benitoite

Coalinga, California (lesser quality benitoite is found in Mont St.  Hilaire, Quebec, Canada).  Benito means "blessed" in Spanish.  This gemstones is strongy dichroic; although Benitoite is blue when viewed from most directions, it appears colorless when viewed in a single direction (the c-axis).  Some unusual Benitoite is blue, but pink or orange when viewed through the c-axis.  Benitoite is BaTiSi3O9 (Barium Titanium Silicate); no one is sure what element causes the blue color of benitoite, but it may be iron.  Benitoite has a hardness of 6 - 6. 5, a specific gravity of 3.68, and a refractive index of 1.757-1.804.  Benitoite has a very unusual crystalline shape - it is the only known ditrigonal-dipyramidal crystal.

Beryl

Beryls are a family of gemstone that include emerald, aquamarine, beryl (green), red (red beryl), morganite (pink), and heliodor (greenish yellow, named for the sun), and goshenite (colorless).  Beryl has a hardness of 7 - 8, a specific gravity of 2.6-2.9, and the chemical formula Be3Al2SiO6.  Internal flaws in beryl gems can be hidden by treating the stone with oil (this is often not disclosed to the buyer).

Bezel

A Bezel is a type of setting in which a vertical rim of metal snuggly surrounds a gemstone to securely hold it in place. The bezel setting was one of the earliest methods of setting gemstones into jewelry. Today, many beautiful and modern designs make use of bezel settings.

Bezel Setting

A bezel setting is a way of setting a stone in which the stone is held by a band of metal around the outside of the stone.

Bib Necklace

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

Birthstone

In the 1930's, the British and U.S. jewelry industries assigned stones to the months of the year as follows:
Month Birthstone
January Garnet
February Amethyst
March Aquamarine
April Diamond
May Emerald
June Pearl or Moonstone
July Ruby
August Peridot
September Sapphire
October Opal
November Topaz or Citrine
December Turquoise Tanzanite, or Blue Zircon.

Biwa Pearl

Japan.  These irregularly-shaped pearls are smoother and more lustrous than most other freshwater pearls. Black Hills gold ring.

Black Hills Gold

Black Hills gold is gold jewelry that is made (but not always mined) in the Black Hills area of South Dakota, USA.  The first gold found in that part of South Dakota was about 1874, discovered by Horatio N. Ross. E.O Lampinen opened the Black Hills Jewelry Manufacturing Company in Deadwood, South Dakota in the early 1900's.  Modern day Black Hills jewelry often has a three-color (yellow gold, pink gold and green gold) grape leaf and vine pattern.  There are many companies that make Black Hills jewelry today, but by law, their creations must be made from Black Hills gold.  This jewelry is often (but not always) 10 Karat gold.

Black Moonstone

Black moonstone is a type of labradorite and not true moonstone.

Black Opal

Black opals are a valuable type of precious opals with a dark ground color.  They are luminous, iridescent, and frequently have inclusions of many colors ("fire").  Opal is a mineral composed of silica (and some water) and is a species of quartz.  The rainbow-like iridescence is caused by tiny crystals of cristobalite.  Many opals have a high water content - they can dry out and crack if they are not cared for well (opals should be stored in damp cotton wool).  Opals have a hardness of 5.6-6.5 and a specific gravity of 1.98-2.50.  Black opals are found in Australia.

Black Pearl

Black pearls (also called Tahitian pearls) are dark-colored pearls.  They are produced by the large, black-lipped pearl oyster Pinctada margaritifera (also called the Tahitian black pearl oyster), a mollusk found in the tropical Indo-Pacific Ocean.  Black pearls come in many colors, including many body shades and overtone tints including gray (light gray to almost black), peacock green (especially valuable), aubergine (eggplant), and deep brown.  The color of the dark nacre is determined by the minerals in the oyster's diet (plankton) and in its environment.  Many "black pearls" are dyed or irridiated to enhance or change their color; it is difficult to tell a natural pearl from a treated pearl.  Tahitian pearls are graded on six factors: 1. Shape (round is most valued), 2. Size (the larger the better), 3. Surface Quality= (clean is superior to blemished), 4. Luster (the more high-gloss luster the better), 5. Nacre Thickness (thicker is better and longer lasting), and 6. Color (overtones atop the body color add value to the pearl.

Black Star Diopside (Black Star Of India)

Black star of India is another name for Black Star diopside (CaMgSi2O6), an opaque black gem with a white, four-rayed star (an asterism). It has a hardness of 5.5 and a specific gravity of 3.3 - 3.6. These stones are found mostly in India. Stones are generally cut cabochon and are not enhanced.

Blister Pearl

A blister pearl (also called a bouton pearl) is a pearl that developed attached to the inside of a mollusk's shell.  This type of pearl must be cut off the shell, and is therefore hemispherical.  Because of their shape, blister pearls are mostly used for earrings.

Bloodstone

Bloodstone (also called heliotrope) is an inexpensive type of chalcedony that is green with red highlights (caused by iron oxide).  Bloodstone is porous and relatively soft.

Blue Diamond

Blue diamonds are rare, fancy diamonds and are quite valuable.  Diamonds are precious, lustrous gemstones made of highly-compressed carbon; they are one of the hardest materials known.  Diamonds have a hardness of 10, a specific gravity of 3. 5, and a refractive index of 2.417-2.419.

Blue Gold

Blue gold is gold with a bluish tinge.  It has been alloyed with a mix that includes iron.

Bodkin

A bodkin is a heavily jeweled, Renaissance era hairpin.

B

Bog-Oak

Bog-oak is old oak wood that has been blackened and preserved by being in low-oxygen Irish and Scotish peat-bogs for thousands of years.  Bog-oak was carved and used as inexpensive Victorian era jewelry.  It was also used for decorative objects, bowls, chests, dagger handles, and other decorative items.

Bohemian Diamond

A "Bohemian diamond" is not a diamond at all, it is actually a rock crystal.

Bohemian Ruby

A Bohemian ruby is actually a pyrope garnet (and not a ruby at all).

Boke

Boke is a Japanese term for coral that is rose colored.

Bolt Ring

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.

Bonding

Bonding is a process in which a colorless bonding agent (like plastic) is applied on and into a porous gemstone to make the stone more durable and give it an enhanced appearance.

Bone

Bone is animal bone, carved to make beads, pins, bangles, etc.  It superficially resembles ivory, but has a less-complex characteristic internal patterns and a yellower color.

Bookchain

A bookchain is a metal chain with rectangular links of folded metal, each of which looks like a little book.  This style dates from the Victorian Era, when these chains held lockets.

Botanical Gems

Botanical gems are minerals that form from plants or plant material.  Some botanical gems include amber (fossilized tree resin), coconut pearl (a rare, shiny, calcareous, pearl-like mineral that forms inside the coconut, Cocos nucifera), and pearl opal (also called Tabasheer opal, which form in injured bamboo joints).

Boutique Jeweler

Boutique Jeweler stores feature lines of jewelry from well known jewelry designers. Boutique jewelers are often the exclusive representative for these designers within particular geographic regions. The jewelry is usually artistic, well made, and their prices reflect this.

Bouton Pearl

A bouton pearl (also called a blister pearl) is a pearl that developed attached to the inside of the mollusk's shell. This type of pearl must be cut off the shell, and is therefore hemispherical (half a sphere). Because of their shape, blister pearls are mostly used for earrings.

Brazilian Chain

A Brazilian chain (also called a snake chain) is a metal chain made up of a series of small, linked cups.

Bridge Jewelry

Bridge jewelry is jewelry that "bridges the gap" between fine (precious) jewelry and costume jewelry. An example of bridge jewelry is sterling silver pieces.

Brilliant Cut

Brilliant cut stones have 56 facets, 32 facets are above the girdle, 24 are below. Most modern-day diamonds are brilliant cut since it maximizes the amount of reflected light from the stone (its natural fire). The brilliant cut was introduced in the 1600's, possibly by Cardinal Mazarin (1602-1661), a politician and lover of gems.

Briolette

A briolette (or drop cut) is a pear-shaped cut gemstone with triangular facets on top.

Bronze

Bronze is a metal alloy containing (at least 60%) copper plus tin and other metals.

Brooch

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

Brushed Finish

A brushed finish on a metal's surface is made by rubbing a stiff metal brush across the surface of jewelry, slightly reducing the metal's reflectivity.

Bruting

Bruting is the first step in cutting a diamond.  Bruting involves shaping the girdle, which gives the stone its basic shape.

Bubbles

Bubbles are spherical or tear-shaped bubbles of gas captured in glass stones.  Bubbles can also be found in resins (like plastics and amber), and much less-frequently in minerals (like quartz, emerald, and topaz).  Looking for bubbles is one way to determine if a gem is glass or a gemstone.

Bugle Bead

A bugle bead is a long, thin, tube-shaped glass bead.

Bulla

A bulla is an ancient Roman pendant that consists of a rounded container holding an amulet (a good luck charm).  The bulla is worn on a strap around the neck.

Butterfly Spring

A Butterfly Spring is a thin, flexible strip of metal soldered to the inside bottom shank of a ring. Its purpose is to hold a ring securely on a finger and in an upright position. Butterfly springs are useful for women whose knuckles are larger than the rest of her fingers. The device allows a ring to be sized slightly larger so that it can slip over the knuckle, yet be safe from twirling or falling off the finger.

Butterfly Wing Jewelry

Butterfly wing jewelry is made from real butterfly wings.  A picture is usually painted on the wings, which is then enclosed in glass or plastic and then mounted in metal to make a pin, pendant, or other piece of jewelry.

C

Cabochon

A cabochon is a stone that has a rounded, domed surface with no facets.  A cabochon garnet is also called a carbuncle.

Cairngorm

Cairngorm is a yellow-brown type of smoky quartz that is often used in traditional Celtic jewelry.  Cairngorm is not Scottish topaz.  The supply of cairngorm is virtually exhausted, so heat-treated Brazilian amethyst is used as a substitute in Scottish jewelry.

Calibre-Cut

Calibre-cut stones are small stones that are cut into special shapes that are meant for use in commonly-used designs.  These stones usually have step-cut facets and are generally rectangular shaped.

California Ruby

A California ruby is actually a pyrope garnet (and not a ruby at all). Rainbow calsilica.

Calsilica

Rainbow calsilica is a newly-found, multi-colored, layered stone composed of calcium and silica.  This stone has been recently used for Zuni fetish carvings and in some jewelry (beads and cabochon cut stones).  Rainbow calsilica was only recently found in Mexico or Northern South America (it's origin remains mysterious).  Some people theorize that this stone formed as a result of the runoff of mining or oil-drilling chemicals, and has only formed in the last 30 to 50 years (but this is uncertain).

Cameo

A cameo is 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.

Cameo Habille

A cameo habille (meaning "dressed cameo" in French) is a "jewel within a jewel," a cameo in which the subject carved in the cameo (usually a woman) is wearing a miniature piece of jewelry (like a tiny diamond necklace with a stone embedded in the cameo).

Canary Diamond

Canary diamonds are diamonds that have a deep yellow color.  Diamonds are precious, lustrous gemstones made of highly-compressed carbon; they are one of the hardest materials known.  Diamonds have a hardness of 10, a specific gravity of 3.5, and a refractive index of 2.417-2.419.

Cape Amethyst

Cape amethyst is a form of amethyst that is layered or striped with milky quartz.  Cape amethyst is a translucent gemstone that ranges from light- to medium-purple and has white bands.

Cape Ruby

A Cape ruby is actually a pyrope garnet (and not a ruby at all).

Carat

Carat (with a C) refers to the weight of a gemstone. Abbreviation: ct. Example: 2.3ct carat diamond ring. Note: Karat (with a K) refers to the percentage of gold in fine jewelry. See “Karat.”

Carbonado

A carbonado is a rare type of opaque black diamond; they are not used for jewels, but for items like drilling bits and abrasive wheels.  They were once thought to have been formed as a result of a comet impact 2 billion years ago, but this is no longer thought to be true.  The largest diamond ever found was a carbonardo that weighed over half a kilogram.  Carbonadoes are found in Bahia, Brazil, South America.  Unlike other diamonds, carbonadoes are not found in a crystallized form - they are found in irregular or rounded fragments.  Carbonadoes have a hardness of 10 and a specific gravity (density) of 3.1-3.3.  Diamonds have a very hard polycrystalline carbon structure.

Carbuncle

A carbuncle is a cabochon-cut garnet.

Carnelian

Carnelian (also called cornelian and carneole) is a reddish form of chalcedony (a type of quartz). This translucent stone has a waxy luster. The best carnelian is from India. Most commercial carnelian is really stained chalcedony. Carnelian has a hardness of 7 and a specific gravity of 2.61.

Casting

Casting is a process in which melted metal is poured into a mold and allowed to harden. After a piece of jewelry is removed from the mold, it is filed, polished and if need be, set with gemstones.

Cat's Eye Chrysoberyl

Cat's eye (chatoyant chrysoberyl) is a yellow to green-yellow to gray-green stone with a bright, pupil-like slit that seems to move slightly as the stone is moved.  Most Cat's eye is cut as cabochons to maximize the distinctive pupil-like effect.  Most cat's eye chrysoberyl is found in Brazil.  Cat's eye chrysoberyl has a hardness of 8.5.  This stone is sometimes enhanced by irradiation (this process improves the color and accentuates the stone's asterism).

Cathedral Setting

A cathedral ring setting is a simple band that arches when seen from the side (like the arches of a cathedral).

Cellini, Benvenuto

Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571) was the pre-eminent Italian jeweler during the renaissance. Cellini's intricate works utilized beautifully-cast metals, enamel, table-cut gems, and pearls.

Celtic Jewelry

Celtic jewelry was made by the Celts in Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and Brittany.  The Celts used bronze, silver and gold in their jewelry and stones like cairngorm and amethyst.  Circular brooches with a long, hinged pin, called penannular brooches, date from ancient times.  The earliest-known piece of Celtic jewelry is the Hunterston brooch from AD 700.

Cfw

CFW is an abbreviation for cultured freshwater pearls.

Chalcedony

Chalcedony is a family of minerals (microcrystalline quartz) that are often milky to gray to bluish in color.  Chalcedony includes agate, carnelian (waxy red), chalcedony (blue), chrysoprase (green), onyx (black and white), bloodstone, sard (brownish-red), jasper (hornstone), seftonite, and others.  Chalcedony is porous and translucent.  Chalcedony has a hardness of 6. 5-7 and a specific gravity of 2.6.

Champagne Diamond

A champagne diamond is a pinkish brown diamond (having a color of C2-C3).  Most champagne diamonds are mined in Western Australia (in the Argyle Mine).  The color is produced by a their low nitrogen content.

Champlevé

(meaning sunken enamel) Champlevé (also called email champlevé) is a method of applying enamel to metal in which the design is first outlined on the metal surface by cutting lines into the surface.  The engraved grooves are then filled with enamel, then fired to a glassy sheen, and polished.  Champlevé is similar to cloisonné, but not as delicate.

Channel Setting

In a Channel Setting, multiple gemstones are set in a row between two walls of metal, in other words, “the channel.” The gemstones are held in place by their edges tucked inside a groove in the inside wall. Channel-set gemstones are smooth to the touch and resist catching on clothing.

Charm

Charms are tiny, representational ornaments that are worn on bracelets and necklaces.

Charoite

Charoite is a very rare, bright purple mineral used as a gemstone.  This silicate is only found in Russia (at the Chary River at Aldan).  Charoite is transparent to translucent and has a hardness of 5.

Chasing

Chasing is a type of metal decoration in which the metal is manipulated using a hammer and a punch, resulting in an effect similar to engraving or embossing.

Chatelaine

A Chatelaine is a set of household tools each attached to a chain and usually worn at the waist.  Chatelaine tools frequently included scissors, a needle holder, thimble, vinaigrette, pin cushion, etui/necessaire, writing tablet, pencil, perfume bottle, seal, boot hook, etc.

Chatham Synthetic Ruby

Chatham synthetic rubies (laboratory-created rubies) were introduced by Carroll Chatham in 1959.

Chaton

A chaton is a stone with a reflective metal foil backing.

Chatoyancy

Chatoyancy is the lustrous, cat's eye effect seen in some cabochon stones, like cat's eye, tiger's eye, and sometimes in other stones, like aquamarine.  In chatoyancy, light is reflected in thin bands within the stone.  Chatoyant stones are cut in cabochon to maximize the lustrous effect.

Chenier

Chenier is fine, hollow tubing that is used in the production of some jewelry findings (like clasps and joints), and lately, in the actual production of jewelry.  The hollow tubes are lightweight and save in the use of gold.  The tubes are hard to bend when they are empty, so a metal rod is inserted before bending, facilitating the bending.

Chinese Opal

Chinese opal is a misnomer for pearl opal (a type of organic opal), moonstone, or white chalcedony.

Choker

A choker is a type of necklace that fits tightly around the neck.  Chokers are from 14" to 16" in length.

C

Chrome Diopside

Chrome diopside is an emerald-green colored gemstone.  It is a chromium-rich variety of the common mineral diopside (Calcium magnesium silicate).  Chrome diopside has a hardness of 5 to 6 and a specific gravity of 3.3-3.6.

Chromium

Chromium is a hard, shiny, gray-white metal.  This metal resists corrosion very well and is used in costume jewelry as a coating over other metals.

Chronograph

A chronograph is a stopwatch mechanism on a watch; it can be started, stopped and reset independently from the watch.

Chrysoberyl

Chrysoberyl is a hard stone that ranges in color from yellow, to brown, to green.  Some chrysoberyls include alexandrite and cat's eye.

Chrysolite

Chrysolite is a name used for many stones.  During Victorian and Edwardian time, it referred to green-yellow chrysoberyl.  It can also refer to peridot.  Long ago, the name was used to refer to almost any yellowish gem.

Chrysoprase

Chrysoprase is the most valued variety of the mineral chalcedony (microcrystalline quartz) that contains nickel, giving it an apple-green color.  Chrysoprase is porous and translucent.  It is usually cut as a cabichon, and has been used since ancient times.  Chrysoprase has a hardness of 7 and a specific gravity of 2.6.  Chrysoprase is mined in Australia, Russia (the Ural Mtns), Brazil, and the western USA.  Chrysoprase is sometimes called "Australian jade," but it is not related to jade.  Hard-to-detect imitation chrysoprase is made by staining agate with chromium salts.

Châton Setting

A châton setting (also called coronet or arcade setting) is one in which the stone is held in by many metal claws around a metal ring.

Cini

Cini produces jewelry made of silver and gold-plated silver (vermeil), some with colored rhinestones (in later pieces).  Cini pieces are known for their beautiful workmanship, artistic designs, and intricate detail.  The company was formed by Guglielmo Cini, who was trained as a jeweler in Florence, Italy, and emigrated to the USA in 1922.  He made jewelry in Boston, Massachusetts but moved to Laguna Beach, California, in 1957.  The company went out of business in 1970, but has been reopened by the Cini grandaughters, Amy and Molly.

Cire Perdu

Cire perdu (French for "lost wax") is a process of casting metal in which the original model is sculpted in wax.  The wax is entombed in clay, and the wax is then melted out, producing a hollow mold.  The mold is then filled with molten metal.  The clay is broken off and the cast metal remains.

Citrine

Citrine (from the French for "lemon") is a rare, yellow type of quartz, a semi-precious stone that ranges in color from pale yellow to orange to golden brown.  The best quality citrine is found in Brazil.  Many of the stones sold as citrine are actually heat-treated amethysts.  Citrine has a hardness of 7 and a specific gravity of 2.65.

Claddagh Ring

A claddagh ring is an Irish ring that depicts two hands clasped together.

Clarity

Clarity is the clearness of a gemstone, or the lack of internal flaws.  The clarity scale for diamonds runs from FL (flawless, with neither internal nor external flaws), to I3 (having many clearly visible imperfections using only the naked eye).  A ten-power loupe is used to examine a diamond for clarity.

Clasp

A Clasp is a device used to join together the two ends of chains, bracelets, and necklaces. Clasps come in many different shapes and sizes.

Claw

A claw is a metal prong that holds a stone securely in a setting.

Claw Setting

A claw setting is one in which a series of metal prongs (called claws) holds a stone securely in a setting (the claws grips the stone just above the girdle of the stone), with no metal directly under the stone (it is an open setting).  This setting lets light in under the stone, so this type of setting is usually used for transparent, faceted stones.  The modern-day claw setting became popular in the 1800's.

Cleavage

Cleavage is the natural way in which way a mineral breaks, along certain planes based on its internal crystalline structure.

Cloisonné

Cloisonné is a method of applying enamel to metal in which the design is first outlined on the metal surface using a metal wire.  The space between the wires is filled with enamel and then fired to a glassy sheen.

Closed Setting

A closed setting is one in which the back of the stone is not exposed (the metal is not cut away behind the stone).

Cloud

A cloud is a type of inclusion in some gemstones that has a milky appearance (and greatly affects the value of the stone).  A cloud is usually composed of a cluster of tiny inclusions.

Cluster Setting

A cluster setting is one in which small stones or pearls are set around a larger stone.

Cocktail Ring

A Cocktail Ring is typically large and three dimensional and rises significantly off the finger. It is usually set with many colored gems and smaller diamonds. Cocktail rings are typically worn when dressed up and out to parties. They are not practical for everyday wear.

Cognac Diamond

A cognac diamond is a cognac-brown diamond (having a color of C7).  Most cognac diamonds are mined in Western Australia (in the Argyle Mine).  The color is produced by a their low nitrogen content.

Collarette

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

Collet Setting

A collet setting is a very early method of setting gemstones.  A collet is a thin, round band of metal that goes all around the stone.  One edge of the metal is crimped over the edges of the stone and the other edge is soldered to the metal of the jewelry, holding the stone in place.  This closed setting sometimes also had metal claws along the outside to hold the stone even more securely (the claws were not used much after the 1200's and 1300's.

Color-Change Garnet

Transvaal "jade" . Bright green grossular garnet.

Colorado Ruby

A Colorado ruby is actually a pyrope garnet (and not a ruby at all).

Colored Gold

Yellow Gold . 50% silver and 50% copper.

Composite Suite

A composite suite is a piece of jewelry that can be taken apart into two or more pieces which can also be worn.  For example, a necklace may be disassembled into two bracelets.

Conch

Conch is a marine animal (a mollusk) with a large, beautiful pearly shell that varies in color, but if often white or pink (pink is the most valued color).  Queen conch has a large, pink shell.  Conch shell is often used to make jewelry.  Conch is made into beads and cameos.  Conch has a hardness of 2. 85 (it is relatively soft).

Concha

A concha is a hammered silver disk or oval that often resembles a shell, flower, or sunburst.  Conchas often have raised designs (repoussage).  Conchas are traditionally used to decorate belts (a series of conchas are attached to a leather belt), bridles, and other items.  Concha is the Spanish word for conch shell.

Confetti Lucite

Confetti lucite is transparent plastic with glitter or other small pieces of material within it.  Whimsical bangles, earrings, pins, necklaces and other jewelry have been made from confetti lucite.

Contra Luz Opal

Contra luz (also spelled contraluz) opals are transparent opals that show a brilliant play of iridescence only when light shines through the stone. When the light is on the same side as the viewer, the iridescence is not readily seen (this quality makes it difficult to design jewelry using these beautiful gemstones). Contra luz means "against the light. Unlike other opals, contra luz opals are usually faceted (rather than cabochoned).

Copper

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

Coral

Coral is an animal that grows in colonies in the ocean.  Coral polyps secrete a strong calcium structure that is used in jewelry making.  Coral ranges in color from pale pink (called angelskin coral) to orange to red to white to black.  The most valued colors are deep red (called noble coral) and pink.  In jewelry making, coral is either carved into beads, cameos, or other forms, or is left in its natural branch-like form and just polished.  It used to be thought that coral protected the wearer, so it was a traditional gift to children.  Coral has a hardness of about 3. 5 and a specific gravity of 2.6-2.7.  Since it is composed of calcium carbonate, coral will effervesce if touched with acid.  Imitation coral is made from glass, porcelain, or plastic.

Cornelian

Cornelian (also called carnelian and carneole) is a reddish form of chalcedony (a type of quartz).  This translucent stone has a waxy luster.  The best carnelian is from India.  Most commercial carnelian is really stained chalcedony.  Carnelian has a hardness of 7 and a specific gravity of 2.61.

Coronet Setting

A coronet setting (also called châton or arcade setting) is one in which the stone is held in by many metal claws around a metal ring.

Corundum

Corundum is a very hard mineral (hardness 9); only diamond is harder.  Corundum is called ruby or sapphire, depending on the color (which depends on which metallic oxides are present).  In its rare pure form, corundum is colorless and called white sapphire.  Rubies contain chromic oxide, blue sapphires contain titanium, yellow sapphires contain ferric oxide.  Other impure forms are opaque.  Corundum stones can produce beautiful asterisms.  The word corundum comes from the Tamil word for ruby.  Corundum has a specific gravity of 3.96-4.1.

Costume Jewelry

Costume Jewelry is low-cost jewelry made with inexpensive materials. These materials can consist of almost anything: plastic, wood, tin, copper, enamel, glass, crystals, cloth, etc. Gold, silver, platinum and real gemstones are, for the most part, not used in costume jewelry. Costume jewelry is often expensive to repair, if at all possible. Frequently, it costs more to repair costume jewelry than the original cost of the item.

Crown

The Crown on a ring is the top portion displaying most of the design elements. A crown is also the upper part of a gemstone.

Cubic Zirconium

Cubic Zirconium are manmade replicas of gemstones. They are meant to look like precious gems but possess none of the hardness or durability of the real thing. They wear quickly and become dull and are not suitable for rings worn on a daily basis. CZ’s are fine for earrings, pendants or rings worn occasionally. They are very inexpensive.

Cuff Bracelet

A cuff bracelet derives its name - and often its appearance - from a shirt cuff. Cuff bracelets are among one of the most ancient styles of jewelry.

Cushion Cut

Cushion cut stones are shaped like a cushion - they have a squarish shape that is rounded on the edges.  These stones usually have facets similar to those of a brilliant cut stone.

Cut Stones

Common cuts include the brilliant cut, old European cut, emerald cut, radiant cut, rose cut, step cut, pendelique 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).

D

Damascening

Damascening is the inlaying of a soft metal (like silver or copper) into a hard metal (like steel).  The name comes from the city of Damascus, where this process was first used.

Danburite

Danburite (Calcium borosilicate - CaB2Si2O8) is a clear to white silicate mineral whose orthorhombic crystals are transparent to translucent (danburite can also be yellow, greenish, or brown); it resembles topaz.  It was named for the city of Danbury in Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA (where the original specimens were found in 1839).  Danburite is also found in Russell, New York (USA), Charcas and San Luis Potosi (Mexico), Kyushu Island (Japan), Madagascar, Siberia, Mogok (Myanmar), Bolivia, and Uri (Switzerland).  Danburite has a hardness of 7 - 7.3 and a specific gravity of 2.97 - 3.2.  Its streak is white.

Darya-I-Nur

Darya-i-Nur (meaning "Sea of Light") is one of the largest-known diamonds.  It is a flawless, transparent, pink diamond from India, weighing about 175 to 195 carats.  It was taken to Prrsia (now Iran) after Persia's attack on Delhi, India, in l739.  The Darya-i-Nur is in the crown jewels of Iran, and was worn by the Shah of Iran.

David-Andersen

The David-Andersen Company is a jewelry company located in Oslo, Norway.  This Scandinavian company produces high quality silver pieces with elegant designs, often with beautiful enamel work.  The goldsmith David Anderson founded the company in 1876, in Christiania, Norway (now called Oslo).  He soon expanded his company, making jewelry and table accessories (like flatware and tongs).  Some designers for David-Anderson include Bjorn Sgurd Oster, Synnove Korssjoen (who designed for D-A during the 1960's), Millie Beherns, Konrad Mehus, and Nora Gulbrandsen (894-1978, who designed jewelry for the company in the 1960s).  Marks from this company include "David-Andersen" and "D-A."

Dead Stone

A "dead" stone is a foil-backed rhinestone that has lost its original shininess, usually after water has damaged the foil.  For example, a "dead" clear rhinestone will appear dull and off-white, greenish or yellowish.

Delft Jewelry

Jewelry made from Delft faience (tin-glazed earthenware) is usually set in silver, often with delicate filigree work and granulation.  The classic hand-painted blue-on-white pottery often depicts windmills, flowers, and Dutch landscapes.  Delftware jewelry includes necklaces, pendants, earrings, pins, bracelets, rings, charms, and cufflinks.  Delft pottery has been in production in Holland since the middle 1600s, but Delft jewelry dates from much later.  Delft blue is the most recognized Delft style, but other colors and styles have been used in Delft pottery and jewelry.

Demantoid Garnet

Demantoid garnets are valuable green, very lustrous garnets with a cubic crystalline structure.  They are a rare variety of andradite.  Demantoid garnets have characteristic inclusions that look like horsetails.  Demantoid garnets have a hardness of 6-7 and a specific gravity of 3.3-3.9.  Demantoids were very popular in the 1800's, but are rarely used today.

Demi-Parure

A demiparure is a matching set of jewelry, usually containing a necklace, earrings, and a pin.  See parure.

Demilune

A demilune (meaning "half moon") stone is shaped like a half (or smaller) moon.

Dendritic

Dendritic means tree-like, having a branching pattern (like moss agate).

Denim Lapis

Denim lapis is a relatively pale, inexpensive variety of lapis lazuli that is from Chile.  It is the color of denim cloth due to calcite inclusions (which whiten the stone and lower its value).

Dentelle

Dentelles (meaning "lace" in French) are rhinestones cut with 32 or 64 facets.

Design

The Design is the idea for the jewelry that is to be made. The design process starts with a drawing of your idea. Next comes a hand-carved or a 3D CAD (computer aided design) wax model of the piece of jewelry. After the wax model is completed, the piece is cast in metal.

Diadem

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

Diamanté

Diamanté is another word for rhinestone.

Diamond

Diamonds are precious, lustrous gemstones made of highly-compressed carbon.  Diamonds are one of the hardest materials known.  Diamonds have a hardness of 10, a specific gravity of 3. 5, and a refractive index of 2.417-2.419.  Colors of diamonds range from colorless, yellow, orange, brown, to almost black.  Rarer colors are red, blue, green, and purple; these colors (called fancies) are quite valuable.  Canary diamonds have a deep yellow color.  A diamond's value is based on the "4 C's": color, cut, clarity, and carat weight.  A diamond's color (saturation) is rated on an alphabetical scale ranging from D (white) to Y (yellow).  "Z" diamonds are fancy, or deep-colored diamond.

Diamond Bail

A Diamond Bail is a solid-front bail cast and set with diamonds.

Diapering

Diapering is a crisscross pattern of diamond-shaped lines on a raised-dot enamel pattern.

Dichroism

Dichroism is the property of having more than one color, especially when viewed from different angles.  Many minerals (like rubies and axinite) are naturally dichroic.  This effect can be artificially caused by a thin layer of a metallic oxides that is deposited on the surface of a material.  Dichroic coated glass transmits some wavelengths of light and reflecting others, giving it an opal-like appearance.

Die

A Die is a hollowed out metal form into which gold and silver is hammered to produce one shape or another. The new “die-struck” piece of metal is light, shiny, and strong and is usually soldered together with similar pieces. The result is jewelry that looks “big” but without the heaviness of thicker, cast pieces. Die striking is often used in the manufacture of earrings.

Die Stamping

Die stamping (also known as machine-stamping) is a process in which sheet metal is cut and shaped between two dies, forming a pattern in relief.  Two steel dies are used, the male die has the design in cameo (protruding); the female die has the design hollowed out.  The male die is put on top of the metal, the female die is put on the underside of the metal.  The press is forcefully brought down onto the dies and metal, forcing the metal into the shape of the mold.  Many medallions and mass-produced jewelry findings are made this way.

Diffusion Treated

chromium oxide, titanium dioxide, etc. ) that will infuse the extreme outer surface stone with color.  Under a microscope, you you can see the loss of color within each tiny scratch.  Diffusion treatment can also change the stone's refractive index.  Also, if the stone is faceted, the color will appear stonger where the facets meet.

Dior

Christian Dior (1905-1957) was an influential French fashion designer.  In the 1950's, Dior jewelry was produced by Kramer (in the 1950's), Henkel & Grosse (from 1955) and Mitchel Maer (from 1952-1956).  In 1955, Swarovski and Christian Dior developed the iridescent aurora borealis stone Licensed Dior jewelry continues to be produced.

Dog Collar

A dog collar (also known as "collier de chien") is a type of short, multiple-strand choker-style necklace that fits tightly against the neck.  Dog collars are also known as " plaque de cou" (meaning "neck badge") when they are fastened by a clasp in the front.  Dog collars are 14"-15" in length.

Dog Tag Jewelry

Dogtag jewelry is based on the dogtags issued to soldiers.  This type of necklace has become popular recently.  Dogtag necklaces consist of a flat, dogtag-shaped pendant strung on a silver ball chain.

Doubly Refractive Stone

In doubly-refractive stones, lthe light entering the stone is split into two light rays, and the rays travel in different paths.  These stones have more than one refractive index.  Calcite, peridot, zircon, tourmaline, and titanite are doubly-refractive stones.  Bi-refringence is another name for double refraction.

Drawn Bead

Drawn beads are cut from a long, straw-like tube of glass (the tube is made by drawing a hot mass of glass fresh from the furnace).  The sharp-edged cut beads are often tumbled and reheated to give them rounded edges.  Some examples of drawn beads include seed beads, bugle beads, furnace glass beads, and pony beads.

Drop Cut

A drop cut (or briolette) is a pear-shaped cut gemstone with triangular facets on top.  This type of stone makes a nice pendant.

Duettes

Duettes are sets of jewelry.  Each "duette" has two clips which attach to a pin base; they can be worn as a single pin or as two clips.

Dumortierite

Dumortierite (Aluminum Boro-silicate Hydroxide) is a blue to violet silicate mineral that is used as an ornamental stone (and sometimes as a semi-precious stone in jewelry).  Dumortierite quartz is a massive variety of opaque quartz that is intergrown with dumortierite crystals.  Dumortierite has a hardness of 7 - 8.5 and a specific gravity of 3.3-3.4.

E

Ear Charms

Ear Charms are small, lightweight charms designed to hang from hoop earrings. They let women jazz up, otherwise, plain earrings.

Ear Jackets

Ear Jackets fit under stud earrings to enhance and enlarge their look. They come in many different designs and shapes: circular, flower, and drops, to name a few.

Ebony

Ebony is a hard, dark, dense wood sometimes used in jewelry.

Edwardian

From 1901 - 1915 Edwardian jewelry was known for it's delicate and intricate styles, and was also referred to as the "Gilded Age".

Edwardian Period

The Edwardian period (also known as the Belle Epoque) was the time of the reign of Edward VII of England (1901-1910).  Edwardian jewelry is delicate and elegant.  Edwardian designs frequently use bows and filagrees.  Pearls and diamonds were also frequently used.

Eilat Stone

Eilat stone is only found in King Solomon's copper mines on the Red Sea, near Eilat, Israel.  This opaque green mineral is composed of azurite, malachite, turquoise, and chrysocolla.  The hardness of this copper-based stone varies.  There are many variations on its spelling, including Eliat, Elat, and Ellat.

Electroplate

Electroplating (also called Galvanotechnics after its inventor, Luigi Galvani) is a process in which one metal is coated with another metal using electricity.  In jewelry, 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 0.000007 inches thick); gold-cased metals have a coating thicker that 0.000007 inches.

Elie Ruby

An Elie ruby is actually a pyrope garnet (and not a ruby at all).

Email

Email (French for enamel) is a method in which enamel is applied to metal.  It can be applied in many different ways, including cloisonné, champlevé, and plique à jour.

Emerald

Emeralds are a very hard, green precious stone (beryl, Be3Al2Si6O18, colored by chromium and some vanadium impurities).  Flaws and cloudiness (called jardin) are very common in emeralds, so many emeralds are oiled, irradiatied,and dyed to improve their look.  Synthetic emeralds (developed by Carroll Chatham in the 1930's) have fewer imperfections and are very hard to distinguish from natural emeralds.  Emeralds belong the beryl group of stones which also includes aquamarines, morganite, and chrysoberyl).  Emeralds have a hardness of 7-8 and a specific gravity of 2.2-2.8.  Emerald (and all forms of beryl) have large, perfect, six-sided crystals.  Emeralds were long thought to have healing powers, especially for eyesight.  During the renaissance, emeralds were used as a test for friendship among the aristocracy; an emerald given to a friend would remain perfect as long as the friendsip endured.

Emerald Cut

Emerald cut stones have a girdle that is rectangular with truncated corners.  Emerald cuts are frequently used on emeralds and diamonds.

Enamel

Enamel is a glassy substance (powdered glass with colorants) fused onto metal using heat (see cloisonné, champlevé, guilloche, and plique à jour).

Engagement Ring

An Engagement Ring is a ring that a man gives to a woman when he proposes to her. After she’s married, it will be worn together with her wedding band. Often engagement and wedding rings are designed together and come in sets that are specifically contoured to fit snuggly into each other. The engagement ring is usually the fancier and more elaborate of the two and is characteristically
set with a larger diamond in the center as the focal point. Oftentimes, this diamond is surrounded by smaller diamonds. Designs range from simple, single stone settings to complex and wildly imaginative creations.

Engrave

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

Enhanced

Enhanced stones are stones that have been treated to improve their color, clarity, finish, strength, or other characteristics.  Some common enhancements are heat-treatment, irradiation, coating the surface, filling cracks, oiling, surface diffusion (coating the surface then applying heat), bleaching, dyeing, etc.

Enhancer Bail

An Enhancer Bail hinges open in the back so it can be snapped onto to larger chains and necklaces. Enhancers work especially well with pearl and beaded necklaces that are too thick to slip through regular bails.

Estate Jewelry

Estate Jewelry is purchased from buyers of estates or the heirs, of varying age, often antique for resale. A Jeweler who specializes in this type of jewelry. Estate jewelry is older, antique, and previously owned jewelry that comes from estates. Today however, almost any jewelry that was previously owned is referred to as estate jewelry.

Etched

Metal with designs created by the use of chemicals. For example, a copper bracelet could have flowers etched into the metal, which would contrast with the surrounding metal not altered by the use of a chemical, generally Ferric Chloride.

Etched Finish

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

Eternity Band

An Eternity Band is a ring set with gemstones that extend uniformly around the perimeter of the piece. The gems can be set with prongs or in one continuous channel. Multiple bands are often worn together to create dazzling new looks. These bands can be different widths and set with different gemstones.

Etruscan Jewelry

Ancient Etruscan jewelry has intricate and beautiful designs; most is made of gold.  The Etruscans employed a lot of delicate granulation (n which tiny beads of gold are soldered to the surface to form a pattern) and openwork filagree (in which filagree patterns are not applied over sheet metal).  The Etruscans lived in Northern Italy for hundreds of years beginning in the late 8th century B.C.

Etui

An etui (also called a necessaire) is a tiny, decorative, cylindrical-shaped case that was often carried on a chatelaine.  The etui was used to carry small "necessary" items like pencils, scissors, manicure set, or spectacles.  The etui was first used in the 1720's.

Eugene

Eugene was a jewelry designer who worked for Miriam Haskell and later started his own company around 1950.  Eugene pieces were produced until the 1960's.  These pieces are often complex, having beads and pearls, rhinestones, or enamel work.

European Cut

The European cut (also known as the old European cut) is an old, round diamond cut that is similar to but less bright than the newer brilliant cut.  The European cut has a very small table and heavy crown.

Evergreen Topaz

EverGreen (R) is a trademarked type of diffusion-treated topaz.  This deep green stone is produced by heating a cut, colorless topaz with coloring chemicals (mineral oxides), resulting in a thin layer of green coating the outside of the stone.

F

Facet

A facet is one of the flat surfaces of a cut stone or glass.

Faceting

Faceting is the cutting and polishing of the surface of a stone.

Fancy Cut

Fancy cut stones are cut in unusual ways.  Some fancy cuts include the heart, fan, rivoli, trapezium, cathedral window, half-moon (lunette), kite, and triangle.

Fancy Diamond

Fancy diamonds are rare diamonds that are red, blue, green, or purple; these diamonds are quite valuable.  Diamonds are precious, lustrous gemstones made of highly-compressed carbon; they are one of the hardest materials known.  Diamonds have a hardness of 10, a specific gravity of 3. 5, and a refractive index of 2.417 - 2.419.

Fantasy Cut

The fantasy cut is a new way of faceting stones that uses freeform angles - virtually anything goes.

Faux

Faux means false.  A faux gem is an imitation.

Feather

A feather is an internal flaw (also called an inclusion) in a gemstone that can start at the surface of the stone and extend deep inside.  Feathers can either ruin a stone (by making it fragile and/or changing the color), or add to its beauty.

Fede Ring

A fede ring is one that depicts two hands clasped together.

Fetish

A fetish is a charm, amulet, pendant or other decoration associated with magical properties; it often represents an animal or person.

Fibula

A fibula is a brooch (pin) that looks a bit like a safety pin.  Fibulas have been used since ancient times to secure clothing.

Figural

Figural jewelry is jewelry designed and formed into specific shapes such as animals, figural heads, hands etc., as pictorial composition. Common subjects are the human body, animals (especially butterflies, dogs, cat, birds, and shells), flowers, leaves, and everyday objects (like baskets and fans).

Filigree

Filigree is a delicate, intricate, and lace-like artistic design element used in gold, platinum and silver jewelry. Filigree creates openness and lightness in pieces.

Findings

Findings are any of the small, functional, and handy pieces of pre-made jewelry parts that combine to make a finished piece of jewelry. Clasps, bails, earring posts, heads, and gold balls are all examples of findings. It is much more convenient and cost effective to buy these “parts” pre-made.

Fine Jewelry

Fine Jewelry is jewelry made out of precious metals, such as gold or platinum, and may contain precious gemstones.

Fineness

Fineness is the proportion of silver or gold in a metal alloy.  Fineness is usually expressed in parts per thousand.  For example, the fineness of sterling silver is 925.

Finger Mate

A Finger Mate shank is hinged with an internal latching mechanism that allows it to expand three to four ring sizes larger when opened so that it can slip easily over larger knuckles.

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.

Fire

A stone's fire is the streaks of brilliant color within it.  Good quality opals have a lot of fire.

Fire Opal

Fire opals are a type of opal that is fiery orange to red in color (but have no opalescence).  These opals are rarely transparent - they are usually milky.  Opal is a mineral composed of silica (and some water) and is a species of quartz.  Many opals have a high water content - they can dry out and crack if they are not cared for well (opals should be stored in damp cotton wool).  Opals have a hardness of 5.5 - 6.5 and a specific gravity of 1.98-2.50.  Fire opals are found in Western Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Firestone

Firestone is an imitation iridescent rainbow quartz.  It is made by heating rock crystal until it crazes; iIt is then put into dye as it cools.

Fit Feel

Fit Feel. You probably have a particular tightness or looseness you’re most comfortable with in the fit of your rings. It’s an important thing to know about yourself because your Jeweler will measure your ring to the tightness they like, not be the feel you like. For best results, communicate your fit feel to your Jeweler when resizing your rings or having custom-made rings created.

Flat Bottom Shank

A Flat Bottom Shank is a shank that’s been flattened on the bottom to help prevent a ring from turning and twisting on the finger.

Flaw

A flaw is a an imperfection in a gemstone.  Flaws include: cracks, inclusions of other minerals or liquid-filled cavities.  A flawless stone is called "clean.  Flaws can greatly reduce the value of a stone, but in some cases, like moss agate or rutilated quartz, the flaws" increase the value of the stone.

Fleur De Lis

The fleur de lis (meaning "flower of the lily" in French) is a heraldic symbol of French royalty; it is still used in many French flags.  Fleurs de lis are a motif often used in jewelry.

Flexible Ring

Flexible Ring style is made like a link chain. It’s floppy, not hard like a regular ring. They are very comfortable, hence their popularity.

Floater Necklace

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

Flora Danica

Flora Danica is a Danish jewelry company that uses real plant parts to make jewelry.  The plant material (usually leaves or sprigs) is electroplated with silver and then gold plated.  The delicately-detailed jewelry is used as pins, earrings, pendants, etc.

Florentine Finish

A Florentine finish on a metal's surface reduces the metal's reflectivity.  It is accomplished by engraving parallel lines into the surface using a sharp tool, and then making more lines or curves at right angles (cross-hatching).

Fluorescence

Fluorescence is property in which light (or other radiation) is emitted from an object. Many stones (including some diamonds) flouresce when exposed to ultraviolet light.

In the laboratory, special ultraviolet lamps are used to check for this but the sun is also a source of ultraviolet rays so diamonds will react in daylight as well. About one third of all diamonds fluoresce. Of these, the most common color is blue, but diamonds can fluoresce other colors. More than 95% of those that do fluoresce will fluoresce blue. The next most common color is yellow. Any other color of fluorescence would be rare.

When a diamond fluoresces blue it has a tendency to appear higher in color than its true body color. This is a good thing. However, many years ago, fluorescence was thought to be a negative; it was thought that perhaps the color grade assigned was lower than its apparent color, so people were fearful that they would be paying too much for a diamond. For example, a J color diamond might look like an H or an I color if it had fluorescence. But as long as the diamond is correctly graded as J, then the fluorescence is really a bonus. The diamond looks higher in color than the price suggests.

Two factors should be considered regarding fluorescence. The first is the color of the fluorescence. If the diamond fluoresces blue, it may be a positive factor since it will make the diamond look whiter. However, note that there is still a stigma against fluorescence and some people will simply not buy the diamond and some sellers will offer a discount for fluorescent diamonds in the higher colors. If the diamond fluoresces yellow, this is a negative factor because the diamond will look lower in color in ultraviolet light.

The second factor is the strength of fluorescence. The range of strengths as reported on laboratory grading reports is None, Faint, Medium, Strong, Very strong. Some labs use the term Negligible for any diamond with no fluorescence or faint fluorescence. Sometimes when a diamond has very strong fluorescence, the diamond will have an “oily” look to it, even in normal lighting conditions. When this happens, a negative value is expected. The range of discounts that might be realized are anywhere from 0% to 15%, but a large discount is rare. Occasionally, a slight premium of 1% to 3% might be added for a diamond that is in the lower color grades but exhibits fluorescence.

Fluorite

Fluorite is a mineral that comes in many colors, including purple, clorless, red, pink, yellow, green, blue, black, and multi-colored stones.  Crystals are transparent to translucent.  Fluorite is relatively soft - it has a hardness of 4 and a specific gravity of 3.0-3.3.  The chemical formula for fluorite is CaF2.  Fluorite is frequently fluorescent (various varieties fluoresce red, blue, green or yellow light).  Fluorite is found all around the world.  Some varieties of fluorite include: Blue John (purple with bands of white or yellow), Chlorophane (thermoluminescent - emitting bright green light when heated), Yttrofluorite (yttrium replaces some of the calcium - formula = [Ca,Y]F2), Yttrocerite (cerium and yttrium replaces some of the calcium in its structure - formula = [Ca,Ce,Y]F2, Antozonite (contains uncombined fluorine ions - when fractured or cleaved, it gives off an odd odor).

Flush Settings

In Flush Settings, the top surface of the gemstone and the surrounding metal are both on the same plane. In other words, the gem is “flush” with the surface of the metal. There are no prongs or bezels in flush settings.

Fob

A fob is a short chain or ribbon that attaches to a pocketwatch; it frequently had a decorative medallion or other ornament attached to one end.  Fobs were worn hanging from a pocket.  Fob is also the word for the small pocket in trousers that held a pocket watch.  The word fob is also commonly used for the fob charm itself.

Foilback

A foilback (or foiled stone) is a stone that has a metallic foil backing; this thin metallic backing is frequently composed of mercury and tin.  Silver-colored, gold-colored, or other-colored foil is applied to the back of a stone to make the stone more reflective.  Before scintillating cuts (like the brilliant cut) were invented, even precious stones were foiled to enhance their sparkle.  Moisture can damage foil and make the stone "dead," losing its brilliance.  Stones are rarely foiled any more.

Fold Over Clasp

A fold over clasp is a jewelry fastener that is composed of a device that opens and closes with a hinge, and latches shut.  It is used to attach the two ends of a necklace or bracelet.

Fracture

A fracture is a crack in a gemstone (also called a feather).

French Clip

A French Clip is a type of earring backing in which an open, wire clip fits over a post and against the earlobe. French clip backed earrings normally prevent the ear from bending downward at an unflattering angle.

French Enamel

French enamel refers to fine enamel work (like the work of Fabergé) the was first developed in France.  In this technique, many thin layers of translucent colored enamel (glass paste with colorants) are applied to a metal surface.  After firing the piece at temperatures of up to about 820°C, the work is polished.  A final layer of clear enamel often covers the piece.  Fine miniature paintings in enamel on a white-enamel ground have been produced in France since this technique was developed in 1620-1630 by the French goldsmith Jean Toutin of Chateaudun and other French goldsmiths.

Freshwater Pearl

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. Biwa pearls are very good quality freshwater pearls.

Frost Agate

Frost agate is agate with white markings (that look like frost).

Full Cut

A full cut stone is a gemstone with 58 facets.

Furnace Glass

Furnace glass (also called furnace worked glass) is made by working (shaping) hot glass by hand (the glass was heated in a glass furnace).  Long tubes of glass are drawn from molten glass, then beads are cut from the tube (and later tumbled and reheated to smooth the edges of the beads).  Furnace glass beads are made in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and designs.

G

Gagate

Gagate (popularly known as jet) is fossilized coal. It is a hard, lustrous black stone that was used in mourning jewelry during the Victorian era (especially after Queen Victoria's husband died and she went into a long-lasting mourning, affecting fashion). Jet is frequently cabochon cut. Gagate has been mined near Whitby (on the Yorkshire coast of England) since prehistoric times. It is also found in Spain. France, Germany, and Russia, but these other sources are said to be inferior to the harder, more elastic Whitby jet. Jet/gagate has a hardness of 2.5-4 (quite soft) and a specific gravity of 1.30-1.35 (it is relatively lightweight). Jet leaves a brown streak. When burnt with a red-hot needle, jet smells like coal Black glass and plastics are often used to imitate jet (glass is much heavier and harder than jet) - jet is warm to the touch.

Gahnospinel

Gahnospinel is a rare blue spinel stone that is high in zinc and magnesium.  It can only be distinguished from most spinel by its high specific gravity and high refractive index.  Gahnospinel has a hardness of 8, a specific gravity of 3.97.  Its chemical formula is (Mg, Zn)Al2O4.

Gallery

A gallery is a strip of metal that is perforated with a decorative pattern.  Open galleries can be adapted by jewelers to use as a ready-made claw setting for gemstones.

Garnet

Type of Garnet Color of Gem
Grossular Colorless, orange, yellow, pink, or brown
Pyrope Colorless, pink, or red
Pyrope-Almadine Red-orange to red-purple
Almandine-spessartine Red-orange
Chrome pyrope Orange-red
Almandine Orange-red to purple-red
Hessonite Yellow-orange to red
Spessartine Yellow-orange
Topazolite Yellow to orange-yellow
Malaia Yellow to red-orange to brown
Andradite Yellow-green to orange-yellow to black
Demantoid Green to yellow green andradite
Tsavorite Green to yellow-green
Pyrope-Spessartine Green-yellow to purple
Color-change garnet Blue green in sunlight; purple-red in incandescent light
Transvaal "jade" Bright green grossular garnet
Uvarovite Emerald green
Grape purple
Rhodolite Purple-red
Xalostocite Pink grossular garnet. Garnets are any of a group of semi-precious silicate stones that range in color from red to green (garnets occur in all colors but blue). Some garnets used as gemstones include pyrope (the deep red garnet), almandine, spessartine, grossular, the iron-aluminum dark red garnet (also known as the carbuncle stone), Uvarovite (rare), and the lustrous Andradite (which includes the valuable green demantoid garnet, Topazolite , and Melanite). Red garnet is the birthstone for January. Garnet has a hardness of 6-8 and a specific gravity of 3.5 - 4.3. The formula for garnet is: (Mg, Fe, Ca or Mn) with Al2Si3O12.

Gaspeite

Gaspeite is a pale green to apple-green semi-precious gemstone that often has brown inclusions of its host rock. Gaspeite is translucent to opaque. This beautiful stone has only recently been used in jewelry, and is often set in silver. Gaspeite has a hardness of 4.5 - 5, and a specific gravity of 3.7. Gaspeite is Nickel Magnesium Iron Carbonate; its chemical formula is (Ni, Mg, Fe)CO3. This stone is found in Gaspe Peninsula, Quebec, Canada (where it was originally found and from which it derives its name) and Kambalda and Widgie Mooltha, Western Australia, Australia.

Gemstone Enhancement

Gemstone Enhancement is any method used to alter the appearance of a gem. Heating, dying, and irradiating are typical techniques. Gem enhancement is used to draw out the maximum color, luster, clarity, and brilliance of gemstones.

Gia

GIA stands for the Gemological Institute of America.

Gimmel Ring

A gimmel ring is a double ring that was designed during the Renaissance.  It consists of two or more interlocking rings.  A gimmel ring symbolizes the union of two people.

Gipsy Setting

The glove ring has a clip on one end (for the gloves) and a chain with a clasp on the other end (to attach the device to a purse handle).

GLYPTOGRAPHY
Glyptography is the art of engraving gemstones, making intaglio and cameos. Stones are engraved using grindstones with powdered emory or diamond as an abrasive
Karat Percent Gold
24 Kt. 100% Gold
18 Kt. 75% Gold
14 Kt. 58.3% Gold
12 Kt. 50% Gold
10 Kt. 41.7%

GOLD
Gold is a precious metal that is very soft when pure (24 Kt.). Gold is the most malleable (hammerable) and ductile (able to be made into wire) metal. Gold is alloyed (mixed with other metals, usually silver and copper) to make it less expensive and harder. The purity of gold jewelry is measured in karats. Some countries hallmark gold with a three-digit number that indicates the parts per thousand of gold. In this system, 750" means 750/1000 gold (equal to 18K); "500" means 500/1000 gold (equal to 12K).

Givre

A style of rhinestone or bead, which has variation in the rhinestones color like swirls or stripes creating a multi-coloration within the rhinestone.

Gold Dore

Gold doré (pronounced gold doh-ray) is a bar of semi-purified gold (e.g. bullion).  After being mined, the first stage in the purification process of the gold ore produces a cast bar (gold dore) that is approximately 90% gold.  The other 10% is mostly metals like silver and copper.

Gold Filled

Gold filled (abbreviated GF  or written as "doublé d'or") jewelry is made of a thin outer layer of gold atop a base metal.  For example, jewelry marked 1/20 GF 12 Kt is at least 1/20th gold and is layered with 12 karat gold.  To be classified as gold-filled, a piece must be at least 1/20 gold by weight.

Gold Plated

Gold Plated and Gold Filled jewelry is made by coating a less expensive metal with a thin layer of gold. Gold plating can wear off over time but it’s easy to re-gold plate jewelry. Gold-filled has more gold content than gold- plated jewelry.

Gold Stone

Goldstone (also known as aventurine) is a shimmering quartz stone that ranges in color from yellow to red to light green to light brown.  The shimmer is caused by tiny metallic particles (mica) within the stone (not gold).

Gold Wash

A thin application of gold applied to metal. The metal is dipped, burnished or electroplated with a very thin covering of gold.

Goldette

Goldette is the mark of the Circle Jewelry Products Company, New York, New York, USA (owned by David Gartner).  The Goldette mark has been used since October, 1958.  Goldette made good quality jewelry often based on Victorian styles, featuring gold-tone metalwork, intaglio, and/or enamelwork.

Goshenite

Goshenite is the pure, colorless form of beryl (Be3AlSiO6, related to emerald and aquamarine). This hard, transparent gemstone is named for the town of Goshen, Massachusetts, where it was first found. Goshenite has been found in North and South America (especially Colombia), Northern Europe, East Africa, South Africa, and the Himalayan mountains in Asia. Goshenite has a hardness of 7.5 - 8.0 and a specific gravity of 2.6 - 2.8. It is not enhanced. Goshenite is sometimes coated with a green foil to resemble an emerald.

Graduated

A graduated necklace of beads or pearls has beads that go from a small size in the back of the neck and gradually increase in size to a maximum in the front of the necklace.

Grain

1. A grain is a unit of weight used for diamonds and natural pearls. Four grains are equal to one carat.
2. A grain is a tiny sphere of metal.

Granulation

Granulation is a method of decorating metal with tiny metallic spheres.  Tiny beads of metal are soldered to the surface to form a pattern.

Grape Garnet

Grape garnets are a rare, intense violet to purple-red garnet. Grape garnets are made up of almandite and spessartite. They have a hardness of 7-7.5 and a specific gravity of 3.8 - 3.9. Grape garnets are found in the Orissa district of northwestern India.

Green Diamond

Green diamonds are rare, fancy diamonds and are quite valuable. Diamonds are precious, lustrous gemstones made of highly-compressed carbon; they are one of the hardest materials known. Diamonds have a hardness of 10, a specific gravity of 3.5, and a refractive index of 2.417 - 2.419.

Green Garnet

Green garnets are Demantoid garnets, a valuable green, and very lustrous type of garnet. They are a rare variety of andradite. Demantoid garnets have characteristic inclusions that look like horsetails. Demantoid garnets has a hardness of 6-7 and a specific gravity of 3.8 - 3.9. Demantoids were very popular in the 1800's, but are rarely used today.

Green Gold

Green gold is gold that has been alloyed with a higher percentage of silver than copper.

Greenstone

Greenstone is another name for nephrite, a semi-precious stone and a variety of jade.  Nephrite is slightly softer than jadeite and is often veined; it is used in carvings, for making beautiful bowls and vases.

Grelot

Grelots are small beads that have an elongated, pendant shape.

Grey Gold

Grey gold is gold that has been alloyed with 15-20% iron.

Griqualandite

Griqualandite is tiger's eye from Griqualand, South Africa.  It is a yellowish-brown to reddish-brown gemstone that has a silky luster.  This gemstone has bands of yellow and brown; when viewed from the opposite direction, the colors are reversed.  Tiger's eye is usually highly polished and set as a cabochon (or cut as a bead) to display the stone's chatoyancy (light reflected in thin bands within the stone).  Tiger's eye is a type of chatoyant quartz with fibrous inclusions (especially crocidolite).  This stone is sometimes heat-treated.  Tiger's eye has a hardness of 7.0.

Grosse

Grosse is a mark of the German jewelry company Henkel and Grosse.  Located in Pforzheim, Germany, this company has been in business since 1938.  Grosse has produced jewelry for Christian Dior since 1955.  Grosse also produces jewelry for Burberry's.  Later marks of Grosse have an acute accent on the final e, Grossé.

Grossular Garnet

Grossular garnet is a type of garnet, calcium-aluminum silicate. Hessionite is a transparent brown, yellow, orange, or honey-colored variety of grossular garnet often used in jewelry. The yellow variety is called cinnamon stone, hyacinth or jacinth. Transvaal "jade" is a type of green to gray grossular garnet from South Africa. Pink grossular garnets varieties include landerite, rosolite, andXalostocite. Tsavorite is an emerald-green grossular garnet. Grossular garnet has a hardness of 6-7.5 and a specific gravity of 3.6.

Guilloche

Guilloche is a type of enameling in which translucent enamel (fused glass) is applied over a metal surface that has been engraved.

Gunmetal

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

Gutta Percha

Gutta percha is a resin from the Isonandra Gutta tree.  Jewelry was made from gutta percha in the mid-1800's.  Gutta percha was also used to insulate electrical cables.  The Gutta percha company was founded by Dr.  Montgomerie in 1845 and was in business until 1930.

Gypsy Ring

A gypsy ring (also spelled gipsy) is a ring with a recessed stone or stones.  Also known as "star setting."

H

Hagler, Stanley

Stanley Hagler was a jewelry designer whose pieces were opulent, complex, hand-wired, and usually colorful. Hagler produced pieces from 1953 until 1996. He produced pieces for Lord & Taylor, Bergdorf Goodman, and Saks Fifth Avenue. After Stanley Hagler's death in 1996, jewelry continued to be produced under the name Stanley Hagler & Company. Hagler's ex-employee, Ian St Gielar, produces pieces using the Stanley Hagler name.

Hair Jewelry

Hair jewelry is jewelry containing or composed of locks of hair.  This type of jewelry was popular in the mid-1800's as a remembrance of deceased loved ones.

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 silver 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.

Hammered Finish

A Hammered Finish is accomplished by making small dents or indentations with a rounded hammer in the surface of the jewelry. Hammered finishes often add a rustic and organic character to a piece.

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.

Hawk's Eye

Hawk's eye is a green, grey or blue variety of quartz that has parallel, fibrous inclusions of crocidolite that give it a greenish cat's eye effect (chatoyancy).  This mineral has a silky luster.  It looks a lot like Tiger's Eye, and often occurs with it in the same rock, but the internal structure is different.

Head

A Head is a three to six pronged gemstone setting. Heads are cast separately from the main body design of the jewelry piece. Later, depending on the gemstone that will be set, the selected head is soldered onto the main body of the piece. This is done so different shapes and sizes of gems can be set onto a piece of jewelry per the wishes of the customer.

Heat Treatment

Heat treatment is the heating of stones to a high temperature in order to enhance the color or clarity.  For example, blue-green aquamarine becomes blue with heat treatment and brown zircon becomes blue or clear.

Heishi

Heishi (pronounced he-she) is jewelry made from disk-shaped beads of shell (or turquoise, lapis lazuli, and other stones).  Each bead begins as a tiny flat piece of shell (or stone).  A tiny stringing hole is drilled though the fragment.  Many of these jagged pieces are strung together tightly on a wire and are then sanded into evenness using a fine-grained sandstone and then sandpaper.  The result is a very smooth strand of disk-shaped beads.  This is an ancient form of bead-making developed by the Pueblos of North America.

Helenite

Helenite is a manmade (not natural) green glass that is made from "rock dust" (not volcanic ash) taken from the vicinity of the Mt. St. Helens volcano in Washington state.  The dust is fired to 2700 degrees F, forming glass, which is later faceted and used as a gemstone.  This glass is sometimes called emerald obsidianite or Mount St.  Helens obsidian (but it is not obsidian, which is a natural glass).  Helenite is sold as a souvenir of the eruption of Mt. St.  Helens on May 18, 1980.

Heliotrope

Heliotrope (commonly known as bloodstone) is an inexpensive type of chalcedony that is green with red highlights (caused by iron oxide).  Heliotrope is porous and relatively soft.

Herkimer Diamond

Herkimer diamonds are clear, lustrous, doubly terminated crystals of quartz - they are not true diamonds. These brilliant stones are also called "Middleville Diamonds" or "Little Falls Diamonds." Herkimer diamonds have a hardness of 7. This stone is found in Middleville and Little Falls, Herkimer County, New York, USA.

Hessonite

Hessonite (also called "cinnamon stone") is a cinnamon-brown to orange gemstone variety of grossular garnet. Hessonite's formula is Ca3Al2Si3O12; manganese that gives it its characteristic brown color. This transparent stone has a hardness of 6.5 - 7 and a specific gravity of 3.6. Hessonite is found in Sri Lanka, Brazil, Madagascar, Canada, and California, USA. This stone is not enhanced.

Hidden Bail

With a Hidden Bail design element, either the bail is affixed behind the body of the pendant—rendering it out of sight—instead of being attached to the top, or the chain is going through the designed piece invisibly. Either way the pendant appears to float on the chain, adding modernity and mystery to the piece. See Omega Necklace for picture of hidden bail on a necklace.

Hinging Ring Shank

A Hinging Ring Shank hinges open at the bottom so that it can easily slip over the knuckle. Theses types of shanks are especially helpful for those whose knuckles are considerably larger than the base of the finger where their ring resides.

Hook And Eye Clasp

A hook and eye clasp is a simple and ancient jewelry fastener that is composed of a hook and a circular piece that the hook can latch onto. It is used to attach the two ends of a necklace or bracelet.

Howlite

Howlite is a soft, white to gray mineral that takes dye very easily, and can be dyed to imitate turquoise very well (and is sometimes unscrupulously sold as turquoise). Howlite was named for its discoverer, Henry How, a Nova Scotia geologist.

Hyacinth

Hyacinth is a semi-precious stone that is also known as jacinth. it is a lustrous orange-yellow, orange-red, or yellow-brown type of zircon. Hyacinth has a hardness of 7.5 and a specific gravity of 4.65. Sometimes, topaz and grossular garnet of this color are also referred to as hyacinth (this can be very confusing). Hyacinth is mined in Sri Lanka. Even more confusing is the origin of the name, which comes from the Greek hyakinthos, which refers to blue gemstone.

Hyacinth Opal

Hyacinth opal (also known as girasol) is a yellow or orange type of precious opal. In this opal, the play of colors seems to come from within the stone, like a floating light, and seems to follow the light source.

I

Illusion Setting

In an Illusion Setting, shiny white gold makes small diamonds appear larger than they are.

Imitation Gem

An Imitation Gem is basically an artificial replica of the real thing. A CZ is an imitation of a diamond. A 1ct diamond may cost $6,000. A 1ct CZ may cost $4

Imperial Jade

Imperial jade is another name for emerald jade.  It is a fine emerald-green color.

Imperial Mexican Jade

Imperial Mexican jade is not jade at all; it is calcite that has been dyed green.

Imperial Topaz

Imperial topaz is golden orange-yellow topaz; it is the most valuable type of topaz.

Inca Emerald

Inca emerald is an emerald that is mined in Equador.

Inclusion

An inclusion is a particle of foreign matter contained within a mineral.  Inclusions can be solid, liquid, or gaseous.  Many inclusions decrease the value of a stone, but some, like rutile forming asterisms in star sapphires and needles in rutilated quartz and tourmalinated quartz, are prized.

Indian Agate

Indian agate is another term for moss agate.

Indicolite

Indicolite is a green to blue-green variety of tourmaline.

Inlay

An inlay is a piece of material (often stone or glass) that is partially embedded in another material (usually metal) such that the two materials make a level surface.

Inlay

Inlay is a decorative technique in which a custom cut stone gem like lapis lazuli is imbedded into a corresponding unfilled area with the same dimensions so that the “inlaid” material is level with the surface of the piece. Common stones and organic substances used in inlay are lapis lazuli, malachite, opals, and mother of pearl.

Intaglio

Intaglio is a method of decoration in which a design is cut into the surface.  Signet rings are frequently decorated with intaglio, as are seals.

Intergrown

Intergrown crystals occur when two mineral crystals grow together and become one.

Inverall Sapphire

Inverall sapphires are a type of sapphire from Inverall, New South Wales.

Investment Compound

An investment compound is a refractory material (it can withstand extreme heat) which is slightly porous (so that gases from molten metal can escape) and can be formed into a mold (which will be used in metal casting).  An example of an investment compound is plaster of paris mixed with silica, boric acid, and graphite.

Invisible Necklace

An invisible (or floater) 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).

Iolite

Iolite (meaning 'violet stone'), also known as water sapphire and lynx sapphire, is a transparent, violet-blue, light blue, or yellow-gray mineral. Iolite is pleochroic; a single stone will show many colors (in the case of Iolite, violet-blue, light blue, and yellow-gray). Iolite is not rare and has a hardness of 7 - 7.5. Iolite is found in Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar and Burma.

Iridescent

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

Iridium

Iridium is a metal related to platinum.  Iridium and platinum are frequently alloyed together, since the iridium increases the workability of the platinum.  Iridium is also used for the points of gold-nibbed fountain pens.

Irish Diamond

Irish diamond is actually rock crystal from Ireland.

Irradiated Diamond

Irradiated diamonds are diamonds that have been exposed to radiation. This changes the diamond's color (as the radiation changes the crystalline structure of the diamond). The change in the diamond is permanent. Older radiation treatments involving exposing the stone to radium; newer treatments bombard the stone with atomic particles in a cyclotron (which accelerates protons, neutrons, or alpha-partices to high speeds). The irradiated stones take on a greenish or an aquamarine hue. Irradiations of diamonds was first done in 1904 by Sir William Crookes, who exposed diamonds to radium, giving them a permanent greenish color; his diamonds are still slightly radioactive (at the level of radium-painted watch). Newer irradiation techniques bombard the crystal with atomic particles in a cyclotron, and then the stone is heated to about 800 degrees Centigrade, producing a stone with very little radioactivity and a permanent color change.

Irradiation

Irradiation is the act of being exposed to radiation. Many stones (like kunzite) are irradiated in order to enhance their color. Being irradiated changes the crystal structure of the mineral by moving electrons. Irradiation techniques bombard the crystal with high-energy radiation (like gamma rays), producing a stone with very little radioactivity and a change of color. Some color changes caused by Irradiation are permanent, others care unstable and be reversed by heating or exposure to sunlight. For example, colorless topaz changes to a cinnamon brown color after ibeing irradiated with cobalt-60 radiation, but the color fades as the stone is exposed to sunlight. A new method of irradiation changes clear topaz to a brilliant, non-fading blue.

Italian Lapis

Italian lapis is not lapis; it is actually blue-dyed jasper from Italy.

Ivory

Ivory is elephant tusks (the large, upper incisor teeth), which used to be carved into beautiful jewelry, trinkets, and piano keys. The finest ivory is the white African elephant ivory; Asian elephant ivory is yellower. Ivory has a complex characteristic grain which helps distinguish it from imitations. Using ivory is now banned since elephants are in danger of going extinct. Other tusk-like material is often substituted for ivory, including walrus tusks, whale teeth, hippopotamus teeth, animal bone, palm seed, and more recently, plastics. Vegetable ivory comes from the inner seed of the South American ivory palm and was used for small items, like dice. Synthetic ivory is made from plastics (like celluloid) and is called French Ivory," Ivoride, Ivorine, or "Genuine French Ivory.

J

Jacinth

Jacinth is a semi-precious stone that is also known as hyacinth. it is a lustrous orange-yellow, orange-red, or yellow-brown type of zircon. Hyacinth has a hardness of 7.5 and a specific gravity of 4.65. Sometimes, topaz and grossular garnet of this color are also referred to as hyacinth (this can be very confusing). Hyacinth is mined in Sri Lanka. Even more confusing is the origin of the name, which comes from the Greek hyakinthos, which refers to blue gemstone.

Jade

Jade is a semi-precious stone that ranges in color from green to white to lilac to brown to almost black.  Translucent jade is more highly valued than opaque jade.  Jade is often cabochon set; stones with imperfections are often carved (the imperfections are simply carved away).  Two different minerals are known as jade: jadeite and nephrite.  Jadeite is the harder of the two; it is usually used in jewelry production.  Nephrite is slightly softer and is often veined; it is used in carvings, for making beautiful bowls and vases.  The Chinese have prized jade for thousands of years and regarded it as having medicinal properties when worn or ingested as a powder.  Natural jadeite is called Type A or Grade A jade (waxing or wax dipping is allowed).  Jadeite that had been bleached and then treated with polymers (plastic) or waxes is called Type B or Grade B jade (it is less durable than natural jade).  Jadeite that had been dyed is called Type C or Grade C jade (the color is less durable than that of natural jade).  Jadeite that has been both dyed and impregnated with polymers is called Type B+C or Grade B+C.

Jadeite

Jadeite is the harder of the two varieties of jade.  Jadeite is harder (compared to nephrite) and is usually used in jewelry production.

Japanned

A Japanned finish in jewelry is when metal is finished with a lustrous, black lacquer.

Jasper

Jasper is a common, opaque, semi-precious stone that is found in many colors, including white, brown, yellow, red, and green. Jasper is found all over the world; it is often striped, speckled, and multi-colored. Jasper has been used for intaglio carvings. Jasper is a type of quartz belonging to the chalcedony family. It is often sealed with petroleum products. Jasper is sometimes dyed to resemble lapis lazuli and misleadingly called "Swiss lapis." Jasper has a hardness of 6.5 to 7.0.

Juliana

Juliana jewelry is distinguished by many beautiful, brightly-colored glass stones of different shapes and sizes (often including speckled or "painted" stones), with very little metal showing in the pieces.  The well-made designs are very feminine, and often use cluster settings.  Stones were either prong-set (usually with four prongs) or glued in.  Juliana bracelets usually have five links and a fold-over clasp (plus most have a safety chain with a spring ring).  Juliana pieces were marked with only a paper hang tag (a detachable tag), so positive identification is not usually possible.  Juliana jewelry was produced from 1950 until the 1960s, and pieces are now highly prized by collectors.  Juliana pieces were manufactures by the De Lizza & Elster company.  A few other companies, including "Gloria" (perhaps made by G.  Fox and Co.  of Hartford, CT) and "Tara," sold pieces similar to Juliana pieces.

Jump Ring

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.

K

Karat

Karat is a measure of the percentage of pure gold in a piece of jewelry. 24 karat (24k) gold is 100% gold. 14k gold is made up of 58% gold and 42% other metals (14 parts gold, to 10 parts other metals). Similarly, 18k gold is made up of 75% gold and 25% other metal (18 parts gold, to 6 parts other metals). Note: Carat—with a “C”—is a measure of gemstone weight.

Karatclad

Karatclad is a trademark for a very thick gold electroplating process; this type of plating is about 14 times thicker than standard electroplating.

Keeper Ring

A keeper ring is a ring which is used alongside another, more valuable ring to keep it securely on the finger.

Keystone

A keystone is a stone cut the shape of a keystone in an arch.  Keystones are usually step cut.

King Cut

The king cut is a modification of the brilliant cut which is used for large diamonds.  This cut has 86 facets.

Klein, Anne

Anne Klein (1923-1974) was an influential and popular American fashion designer.  Anne Klein jewelry and buttons have been manufactured by the Swank Inc.  since 1981.  Anne Klein's logo is a lion's head on a square tag.

Knock-off

A Knock-off is an imitation of another piece of jewelry, often a copy of a piece from a well known designer. Knock-offs are usually less expensive than the original. Quality varies widely, but knock-offs regularly lack the weight and fine details of the real thing.

Knot

A knot is a flaw (a mineral inclusion) in a gemstone (usually a diamond) that is ar the surface of a gem after polishing.  The know is a small raised bump on the finished gemstone.

Knuckle-to-Finger-Differential

The Knuckle-to-Finger-Differential is the difference in size between the knuckle and the part of the finger where your ring rests is what I call the knuckle- to-finger-differential. Persons with large differentials are good candidates for rings that hinge open on the bottom so they can be slipped more easily over the knuckle.

Kunzite

Kunzite is a transparent pink, light pink, or light purple gemstone that resembles roze quartz. It is a variety of the mineral spodumene. Kunzite can fade after prolonged exposure to light. Kunzite is also called "evening stone," because of its propensity to fade in bright light. The original color of some kunzite stones can be restored or even intensified by irradiation. It is usually used as a large stone and is easily chipped; small stones of kunzite are difficult to cut. Kunzite is often used in pendants. Kunzite has a hardness of 6-7 and a specific gravity of 3.1 - 3.2. Kunzite was first found in 1902 in Pala, California, USA, and is named for the gemologist George F. Kunz. Kunzite's chemical composition is LiAlSi2O6.

Kyanite

Kyanite is a deep sapphire blue, green, gray, or white gemstone. The color is not always uniform; it can be blotchy or in streaks. The cystals are crystals are transparent to translucent. Kyanite has a hardness of 4.5 to 6.5; the hardness varies depending on which way it is scratched (this happens because kyanite consists of long, thin crystals). It has a specific gravity of 3.58. Kyanite is found in Brazil, Burma, Kenya, Europe, India, Australia, Kenya, and the USA. Kyanite's chemical composition is Al2SiO5; it is composed of andalusite and sillimanite.

L

Lab Ruby (Sapphire)

A lab ruby (or sapphire) is a synthetic (laboratory-made) stone.  It has the same composition, hardness, and specific gravity as natural rubies (or sapphires) but is much less expensive than a natural stone (since they are relatively inexpensive to create in the laboratory as comared to mining gemstones).  These lab-produced stones can be legally referred to as "real" stones [as opposed to "natural" (mined) stones].

Labradorite

Labradorite (a variety of plagioclase feldspar) is a fairly abundant grayish mineral that has brilliant flashes of color (usually green, blue or red) after it is polished (called labradorescence). The crystals are transparent to translucent. There is a darker variety of labradorite (called "black moonstone") which has bluish inclusions. Labradorite is usually cut with a flat surface in order to highlight the flashes of color. Labradorite was originally found along the coast of Labrador about 1805; it is also found in Newfoundland, other parts of Canada, also known as spectrolite, the Ukraine, the Ural mountains, and the USA. Labradorite has a hardness of 6 to 6.5 and a specific gravity of 2.70. Finnish labradorite is also known as spectrolite.

Lampworked Glass

Lampworked glass (also called torchwork) is formed from glass canes and tubes that are shaped by hand over a flame (oil lamps and bellows were originally used, hence the name lampworking).  Lampworked glass beads are made in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and designs, including millefiori, rose-like overlay beads, aventurine glass, and many others.  Lampworking was invented in the 1700's in Murano, Italy.

Lapis Lazuli

Lapis lazuli is a rich blue opaque, semi-precious stone that has been used in jewelry since ancien times. Ground-up lapis lazuli was once used as a pigment for oil paintings. Lapis lazuli is often dyed to deepen and improve its color. Lapis has a hardness of 5.5; it chips and scratches easily. It has a specific gravity of 2.4 to 2.9. Water can dull its sheen. Lapis lazuli contains the minerals calcite (which decreases its value), pyrite (which can increase its value), and sodalite. Swiss lapis is not Lapis lazuli at all; it is dyed jasper. Denim lapis is relatively pale, low-grade, inexpensive lapis from Chile; it is the color of denim cloth because of calcite inclusions (which whiten the color and lower the value).

Larimar

Larimar is a form of pectolite (with copper) found only in a single place in the Dominican Republic. It is an opaque sky blue stone with white streaks. There are often some red to brown impurities. Larimar is usually shaped and polished (but not faceted). Larimar has a hardness of 4.5 - 6.0 and a specific gravity of 2.7 to 2.9. Larimar is not enhanced. Larimar was named for Larisa (the daughter of Miguel Mendez, a geologist who helped reintroduce this stone) and mar (the Spanish word for sea).

Laser Soldering

Laser Soldering—Traditional jewelry soldering is done by applying a hot, open flame to the area of the piece needing work. Because gold is such a good conductor, the heat from the soldering can be transferred to heat-sensitive gemstones causing them to crack or change color. Laser Soldering is accomplished by directing a tiny laser beam at the jewelry. Much less heat is generated in this process. Thanks to this new technology it’s possible to make repairs on jewelry with heat-sensitive gemstones.

Lavalier

A lavalier is a pendant with a dangling stone that hangs from a necklace.  Lavaliers were named for the infamous Duchess Louise de La Valliere (1644-1710), a French woman who was a mistress of the French king Louis XIV (and was involved in many intrigues at court).

Lead Crystal

Lead crystal is high-quality glass containing at least 10% lead oxide.  Glass containing at least 24% lead oxide is called lead crystal.  Glass containing at least 30% lead oxide is called full lead crystal.  Lead added to the melt produces very clear glass resembling rock crystal.  The process of making lead crystal was discovered by the English glassmaker George Ravenscroft in 1676.  Crystal is colored by adding various metallic oxides to the melt.  When cut and polished, crystal becomes quite brilliant.

Leaf

Metallic leaf is paper-thin sheets of metals.  For example, gold, silver, platinum, and copper are rolled or pounded into metallic leaf which can be applied to surfaces.

Leather Cord Jewelry

Jewelry strung on a thin leather cord has become popular recently.  Pendants, beads, shell, feathers, and/or sharks teeth are strung on leather to make interesting necklaces and bracelets.

Lentil Cut

A lentil cut stone is a cabochon cut in which the upper and lower portions of the stone are identical.

Lever Back

A Lever Back is a type of earring backing that hinges open and closed. Normally, this type of backing is more comfortable than a post.

Liberty & Company

Liberty & Co.  was a British jewelry manufacturer that combined the Arts and Crafts style and the Art Nouveau style in their mass-produced pieces.  Liberty & Co.  was founded in 1975 by Arthur Lazenby Liberty (1843-17).  Archibald Knox (1864-1933) was the chief designer for Liberty and Co.

Linde Star Sapphire

Linde star sapphire ("Linde stars") are synthetic star sapphires that were first made by the Linde Air Products Company in 1947 (they also developed star rubies that year).  The Linde company later became a division of Union Carbide.  Star sapphires are sapphires that have a six-sided asterism.

Lobster Claw Clasp

A lobster claw clasp is a jewelry 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.

Locket

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

London Blue Topaz

London blue topaz (Aluminum silicate fluoride hydroxide) is the darkest blue variety of topaz. Most blue topaz is silver topaz that has been irradiated and heat treated, but some stones are blue naturally. London blue topaz is found in Brazil, U.S.A., Sri Lanka, Myanmar (Burma), Russia, Australia (including Tasmania), Pakistan, Mexico, Japan, and Africa. Topaz has a hardness of 8 and a specific gravity of 3.5-3.6.

Lorgnettes

Lorgnettes are glasses (or opera glasses, which are small binoculars) that are mounted on a handle.  This type of glasses was used a long time ago.

Lost Wax Casting

Lost wax casting is a process of casting metal in which the original model is sculpted in wax.  The wax is then enclosed in clay and the wax is melted out, making a hollow mold.  The mold is then filled with molten metal.  The clay is broken off and the cast metal remains.  This method of casting has been used for at least 4,000 years.

Loupe

A Loupe is a small hand held magnifying device used by Jewelers. The typical magnification is 10 times. It’s used to look at diamonds, gemstones and the fine details in pieces of jewelry.

Lozenge

A lozenge has a diamond shape.  A lozenge cut stone is a step-cut gem with a diamond shape.

Luster

A stone's luster is its sparkle or sheen - the way it relects light.  The luster depends on the nature of the stone's surface reflectivity.  Some types of luster include: adamantine (also called brilliant or diamondlike, like a faceted diamond), earthy (with little reflectivity- also called dull, like shale or clay), greasy (like nepheline or apatite), metallic (also known as splendent, like pyrite or marcasite), resinous (like amber), pearly (with an iridescent reflectivity, like pearls or mica), pitchy (tarry minerals that are radioactive, like uraninite), silky (with a fibrous structure, like some tiger's eye or satin spar), vitreous (also known as glassy, like olivine, transparent quartz, or obsidian), and waxy (like halite or turquoise).  A pearl's luster is derived from its nacre.

M

Mabe Pearl

Mabe pearls are large, hemispherical cultured pearls that grow attached to the inside shells of oysters.  Mabe pearls are used in earrings, pins, and rings.

Maddux, Vega

Vega Maddux was a jewelry designer from California in the late 1960s (she died in 1997).  Maddux 's striking necklaces, rings, earrings, and bracelets include semi-precious stones and creamy enamel work, often with striking abstract forms, flowers or butterflies.

Mahogany Obsidian

Mahogany Obsidian (also called Apache tears) is brownish obsidian. This glassy, lustrous mineral is found in lava flows, and obsidian stones can be massive. Obsidian is formed when viscous lava (from volcanos) cools rapidly. Most obsidian is 70 percent silica. Obsidian has a hardness of 5 and a specific gravity of 2.35.

Malachite

Malachite is an opaque semi-precious stone with layers of deep green and light green. It is usually found in copper mines; malachite is about 57% copper. Malachite was used as jewelry thousands of years ago by the ancients Egyptians. Malachite is usually cabochon set in silver. Russian malachite carvings were done in miniature and in large scale; malachite was also inlaid in furniture. Malachite has a hardness of 4 and a specific gravity of 3.80. It is monoclinic; it has one two-fold axis of symmetry. Malachite is sometimes coated with colorless wax, oil, or hardening agents to increase its durability and enhance its appearance.

Malleable

Malleable metals are easily worked with a hammer or a roller.  gold and sterling silver are very malleable metals.

Maltese Cross

Maltese cross is a cross whose four equal-length arms get larger the farther they get from the center.

Marquise

Marquise cut stones have a shape like an oval with two pointed ends.

Matinee-Length

A matinee-length necklace is a single strand that is from 22 to 23 inches (56 to 58 cm) long. Matinee-length generally refers to a string of pearls that hangs to the top of the cleavage.

Matisse

Matisse is a line of enameled copper jewelry from the Renoir of California" jewelry company.

Matte Finish

Unlike polishing to a high shine, the Matte Finish puts very fine pits into a metal surface to create a non-reflective surface.

Maw-Sit-Sit

Maw-sit-sit is a rare green gemstone that has dark-green to black veining; it sometimes has white spots. The stone is opaque to translucent. Maw-sit-sit has a hardness of 6.0; the specific gravity is 2.5 to 3.5. This stone is found in Maw-sit-sit, Myanmar (Burma), and is often found neat jadeite, but maw-sit-sit is not a type of jade. Maw-sit-sit was first identified in 1963 by the Swiss Gemologist Eduard Gübelin; the local called the stone maw-sit-sit, and the name was retained. Although its exact composition is still unknown, Maw-sit-sit is composed of chromite, ureyite, chrome jadeite, symplektite, chrome amphibole, and other lighter minerals.

Melee

A melee is a small diamond, under 0.20 carat.

Memory Wire

Memory wire is a tough, stiff wire that retains its shape.  It is often used for necklaces and bracelets.

Mexican Diamond

Mexican diamond is a misleading term for rock crystal, and not a diamond at all.

Mexican Jade

Mexican jade is a misleading term for dyed stalagmitic calcite; it is not jade.

Microcrystalline

Microcrystalline is a type of mineral structure in which the crystals are so small that they can only be seen using a microscope.

Micromosaic

Micromosaics are pictures or decorations that are made out of extremely small pieces (tiles) of stone, glass or other materials.  Italian micromosaics were common souvenirs.  Older examples are much more intricate, have smaller mosaic tiles, and generally have better workmanship.

Micron

A micron is a unit of length equal to 0. 001 mm (millimeter).

Milanese Mesh

Milanese mesh (also known as Milanese work or Milanese chain) is a an intricate mesh made from spiral wires braided together.  Milanese mesh is used to make necklaces and bracelets.

Milk And Honey Effect

The milk and honey effect is one in which the apparent coloring of a stone changes (from milky to the color of honey) as the angle of the light changes.  When a light is shined on the stone, one side of the stone is the color of milk and the other is the color of honey.  When the light changes direction, the color effect also shifts.  Cat's-eye chrysoberyl can exhibit this milk and honey phenomenon.

Millefiori

Millefiori (meaning "thousand flowers" in Italian) is glass that is formed from multiple canes of colored glass that are fused together and cut crosswise.  Millefiori glass can also be made into beads.

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.

Milling

Milling is a process in which wood or metal is cut while it either the material or the tool is spinning.  Symmetrical shapes and patterns are cut into the material.

Mine Cut

Mine cut stones have a cushion-shaped girdle.  This type of cut was popular in the late 1800's.

Ming's

Ming's of Honolulu (Hawaii) was a fine jewelry company that sold high-quality jewelry (both gold and silver), often using pearls, jade, coral, and ivory (often dyed).  The designs often used Hawaiian and Asian motifs.  Ming's also produced hand-carved figurals depicting exotic leaves (like banana leaves), flowers (like hibiscus, anthurium, pikake, bird of paradise, and orchids) and other natural objects.  Some older, unmarked Ming's pieces have a distinctive leaf-shaped clasp.  The artist Wook Moon began Ming's in 1940 and the store soon expanded over the Hawaii islands, and to San Francisco, New York City, Miami, Houston, Ft.  Lauderdale, and Atlanta.  The last of the Ming's stores (in Honolulu) closed in October, 1999.

Miracle

Miracle makes Celtic or "Scottish" jewelry, jewelry using ancient Celtic designs and stones such as agate.

Mixed Cut

A mixed cut is one in which the style of the facets above and below the girdle are different.  A standard mixed cut is brilliant cut above and step cut below.

Mogul Emerald

These Indian emeralds were owned by Indian moguls (like Shah Jahan, the builder of the Taj Mahal) and were inscribed with sacred blessings.

Mohs Scale

The Mohs Scale of Hardness measures a substance's hardness, that is, how resistant it is to being scratched. In the Mohs scale, which ranges from 1 to 10, one substance is harder than another if it can scratch it. For example, a diamond (hardness = 10) will scratch garnet (hardness = 6.5-7.5), but not the other way around, so a diamond is harder than garnet. This scale was invented by Austrian mineralogist Friedrich Mohs (1773-1839).
Substance Hardness
Talc 1
Amber, Fingernail, Ivory, Shell, Jet 2.5
Gold 2-3
Bronze, Coral, Pearl 3
Iron 4
Glass 5
Opal 5.5-6.5
Amethyst, Chalcedony, Quartz, Steel (pocket knife) 7
Spinel, Topaz 8
Ruby, Sapphire 9
Diamond 10.

Mystic Fire

Mystic fire (also called mystic topaz or rainbow topaz) is topaz that has been color enhanced by coating it with a fine layer of metal atoms (in a process called vacuum deposition).  This stone has red, green, violet, and blue streaks.  Mystic fire has a hardness of 8.

M

Moini, Iradj

Iradj Moini is a modern jewelry designer who produces exquisite, imaginative, handmade pieces.  Moini's jewelry is highly collectible and is usually figural and studded with brightly-colored stones.  Moini designs for Oscar de la Renta, but he has also produced pieces for Bill Blass, Scaas and Herrera.

Moissanite

Moissanite is a very hard mineral that was discovered by Dr. Ferdinand Henri Moissan (1852-1907), a French chemist and Nobel Prize winner (Moissan did work on synthesizing diamonds and discovered carborundum in 1891). He found tiny amounts of Moissanite in the iron meteorite that was found at Diablo Canyon (also called Meteor Crater) in Arizona, USA. Moissanite ranges in color from colorless to blue to green to yellow. Its chemical makeup is Silicon Carbide (SiC); it is also called Carborundum. Moisannite crystals are transparent to translucent. Moissanite has a hardness of 9.25 (this is almost as hard as diamond) and a specific gravity of 3.1 - 3.2. Laboratory-grown Moissanite is sold as a gemstone.

Mokume-Gane

A Japanese metal-smithing technique which results in a wood-like finish.  Alternating layers of thin, colored metals are laminated together.  Patterns are punched in the laminate, filed away or hammered.  This technique produces unique and delicate patterns.

Moldavite

Moldavite is a rare, glassy, translucent, dark green gemstone. Moldavite is a silica-based tektite, a mineral formed when a meteorite (a rock from space) struck the Earth's surface and melted and fused the surrounding rock. Moldavite is only found in Bohemia (the Czech Republic) in the Ries Crater in the Moldau River valley (which it was named for). Moldavite was discovered in the late 1800's; the meteorite from which it formed hit the Earth about 14.7 million years ago. Moldavite has a hardness of 5.5-6.6. Inclusions of gas bubbles and iron/nickel spherules are common. This natural glass has been used for jewelry, religious articles, and decorative objects since prehistoric times.

Molded

Glass or plastic was poured into molds in a variety of shapes ranging from geometric, organic floral shapes, figural shapes etc., and then later placed into settings.

Molded Cameo

Molded cameos are cameos that are made by the molding process and not by carving the material (as traditional cameos are).  Molded cameos are usually made from plastic, glass, or porcelain that is formed in a mold.  Often, two colors of material are used, one for the relief pattern (often depicting a person or scene) and another for the background.

Monoclinic

Monoclinic minerals have a crystalline structure in which there is one two-fold axis of symmetry.  Jade, Malachite and moonstone are monoclinic.

Monster Back

A Monster Back is simply a very wide—9-10mm— earring backing. Monster backs give more support to the ear than smaller backings.

Montana Ruby

A "Montana ruby" is actually a pyrope garnet (and not a ruby at all).

Moonstone

Moonstone (orthoclase) is a semi-translucent stone that is made of albite and orthoclase feldspar. It is usually whitish-blue, but can be colorless, yellow, orange, gray, or even reddish. Moonstone is usually set as a cabochon. Moonstone was very popular early in the 20th century and was extensively used in Art Nouveau jewelry. Moonstone has a hardness of 6 and a specific gravity of 2.57. It is monoclinic; it has one two-fold axis of symmetry. Adularia is a common type of moonstone. Oligoclase is another type of moonstone; Labradorite and albite are rare forms.

Morganite

Morganite is a transparent to translucent pink gemstone. It is a variety of beryl, Be3Al2(Si6O18) that contains some manganese (giving the stone its pink color). Morganite has a hardness of 7.5 - 8 and a specific gravity of 2.71 - 2.90. It has poor cleavage and is brittle. Morganite is often heat treated to give the stone a purer pink color (and remove any yellow spots). Morganite was named for J. Pierpoint Morgan, the American industrialist and gem collector. Morganite is found in Brazil, Madagascar, Italy, Pakistan, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and the USA (California, Maine, Connecticut, and North Carolina).

Mosaic

Mosaics are pictures or decorations that are made out of small pieces (tiles) of stone, glass or other materials.  Italian mosaics were common souvenirs.  Older examples are much more intricate, have smaller mosaic tiles, and generally have better workmanship.

Moss Agate

Moss agate (also called Mocha stone in Britain and the USA) is a green variety of agate. It is chalcedony that has dendritic (tree-like) inclusions of green (red or black) hornblende. The inclusions often form beautiful patterns. Moss agate has a hardness of 6.5-7 and a specific gravity of 2.6. Green moss agate is found in India, and some other locations.

Mother-Of-Pearl

Mother-of-pearl is the iridescent coating on the inside of oyster shells.  Mother-of-pearl is used for jewelry, buttons, and other uses.

Moukaite

Moukaite is a semi-precious gemstone, a variety of jasper from Australia.  The color of moukaite varies from red-browns to pinks, with gold and white bands.

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 (often made of jet or black glass and metal with a Japanned finish) or jewelry that commemorates the dead (like hair jewelry or cameos).  After England's Queen Victoria's beloved husband (and cousin) Albert died (in 1861), she went into an extended period of mourning.  During these years, she wore black clothing and mourning jewelry.  English fashion was greatly influenced by this, and mourning jewelry, especially jet, became quite fashionable.

Mya Yay

Mya yay is the Burmese (Myanmar) name for the highest quality translucent jadeite.

N

Nacre

Nacre is a usually whitish crystalline substance which oysters, mussels, snails, and other mollusks secrete around a foreign object (like a tiny stone) that has made its way into their shell.  As layers of nacre coat the intruder, a pearl is formed over a period of many years.

Natural Pearl

A natural pearl (also called a genuine pearl) is a pearl that was produced in an oyster, freshwater mussel or other mollusk as a reaction to a tiny invading object that happened to be caught inside its shell.

Natural Stone

A Natural Stone is one produced by nature. Diamonds, rubies, and quartz are natural stones. Imitation, artificial, and synthetic stones are manmade and created in a laboratory

Navette

A navette is a gemstone which is cut in a marquise shape. Also the french word for "shuttle".

Necklace

A necklace is a peice of jewelry worn around the neck.  Necklaces of perals of different lengths have different names: A choker is 14" to 16" long; a princess necklace is 18" long; a matinee necklace is 22" to 23" long; opera is 30" to 35" long; a rope is over 40 " long.

Nepal Diamond

Nepal diamond is a huge flawless, pendeloque diamond that probably came from the Golconda mines in India.  The Nepal diamond weighs 80 carats.  It was originally owned by the Nepalese government but is now owned by Harry Winston, an American jeweler.

Nephrite

Nephrite is a semi-precious stone, a variety of jade (sometimes called greenstone).  Two different minerals are known as jade, jadeite and nephrite.  Nephrite is slightly softer that jadeite and is often veined; it is used in carvings and for making beautiful bowls and vases.

Niello

Niello is ancient technique in which an engraved design in metal is filled with powdered niello alloy (a black/dark gray metal alloy composed of silver, copper, lead, and sulphur). The niello alloy is melted (the entire metal piece is heated in a kiln) and it fuses with the underlying metal. The object is then polished - the result is an enamel-like effect. Niello has been made at least since the time of ancient Rome. In older pieces, the niello alloy fills an engraved design in metal. In newer pieces, the nilello forms the backround - the niello alloy is simply "painted" onto the metal (this process is simpler, cheaper, and less durable).

Night Emerald

Night emerald is a misleading term for peridot (a semi-precious stone) - it is not a true emerald.

Nizam Diamond

The Nizam diamond was a huge Indian diamond that may have weighed from 340 to 440 carats uncut. After being cut into an elongated, convex shape with irregular facets, it was 277 carats. This diamond was owned by the Nizams of Hyderabad in the 1830's. This diamond was "lost" or broken up during a battle.

Noble Metals

The noble metals are gold, platinum, and silver. These are metals that are relatively impervious to chemical action.

O

Obsidian

Obsidian (also called Apache tears) is a volcanic glass that is usually black, but is occasionally red, brown, gray, green (rare), dark with "snowflakes," or even clear. This glassy, lustrous mineral is found in lava flows, and obsidian stones can be massive. Obsidian is formed when viscous lava (from volcanos) cools rapidly. Most obsidian is 70 percent silica. Obsidian has a hardness of 5 and a specific gravity of 2.35.

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.

Old Mine Cut

Old mine cut is a term that refers to a brilliant cut in which the stone is cushion-shaped and has a high crown (the upper part of a gemstone).

Old Rock Turquoise

Old rock turquoise is an old Persian (Iranian) turquoise term for very high quality turquoise (sky blue, veinless turquoise that retains it color).

Omega Chain

An Omega Chain is made up of small, smooth, curved, metal plates all linked together to form a rounded and flexible necklace. Omega chains are typically 6 to 8mm in width.

Onyx

Onyx is a semi-precious stone that is black and white, generally arranged in layers.  It is a form of agate with parallel banding.  This structure lends itself to cameo making.  Onyx is a species of chalcedony (microcrystalline quartz).

Opal

Opals are semi-precious stones that are luminous and iridescent, frequently with inclusions of many colors ("fire"). Opal is a mineral composed of noncrystalline (amorphous) silica (and some water) and is a species of quartz. There are three major types of opals: common opal, opalescent precious opal (white or black, with a rainbow-like iridescence caused by tiny crystals of cristobalite), and fire opal (a milky stone that is fiery orange to red in color with no opalescence). Contra luz opals are transparent opals that show a brilliant play of iridescence only when light shines through the stone. Many opals have a high water content - they can dry out and crack if they are not cared for well (opals should be stored in damp cotton wool). Some opals are treated with oil, wax or resin to enhance their finish. Opals have a hardness of 5.5 to 6.5 and a specific gravity of 1.98-2.50. Opals are found in many places worldwide, including Kenya, Czechoslovakia, Brazil, Peru, Honduras, Mexico, Canada, and the USA -- but Australia has a tremendous variety of beautiful opals.

Opal Triplet

An opal triplet is a manufactured stone that is composed of three thin layers that are glued together. A thin layer of opal is sandwiched between a layer of clear quartz and a layer of either obsidian or ironstone. The clear quartz is the top layer, making the gem harder (and less susceptible to scratches). An opal triplet is an opal doublet with a quartz layer on top. Triplets must be cleaned very carefully.

Opalescence

Opalescence is a milky white/blue type of iridescence.

Opaque

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

Open work

Open work uses openings in the metal itself, which go all the way through a piece of jewelry. It’s often done to create more interest or lightness in a design. A shape, or many shapes are cut into the design. When the openings are small, delicate and numerous, it can look like filigree. Filigree however is known for using wire in its work. This openwork technique can be done on the metal itself or worked into a wax model before it is cast. This is also called “pierced through” work.

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

An opera-length necklace is a single strand that is from 30 to 35 inches (60 to 90 cm) long. Opera-length generally refers to a string of pearls that hangs to the breastbone.

Ormolu

Ormolu (meaning "ground gold" in French) is an alloy of the metals copper, tin and zinc that is used to imitate gold. Ormolu can also be cast bronze or brass that is plated (gilded) with a gold and mercury amalgam, giving it a gold-like look. Ormolu is used in frames, chandeliers, candlesticks, and furniture ornamentation. It was very popular in Georgian and early Victorian design. Ormulu can now also refer to any gold-like metal used as decoration. Ormolu is also called bronze doré or mosaic gold.

Ouro Verde

Ouro verde (meaning "green gold" in Portuguese) is a type of quartz crystal found in Brazil. This transparent stone is always irradiated (to give it its pale, golden-green color).

Outer Ring

Outer Ring is the name I give to the ring closest to the knuckle when discussing stacking rings. Stacking rings often need to be sized differently on the same finger.

Oxidation

Oxidation with regards to jewelry refers to the application of a black finish, to one degree or another, by immersing the jewelry in an oxidizing solution such as potassium sulphide. Oxidation creates contrast in jewelry and is often used as a background color in order to highlight a raised element in a design.

P

Pacific Cat's Eye

Pacific Cat's-eye is the operculum of a sea snail called the Turban Shell (Turbo petholatus, found in the South Seas north of Australia). The operculum is part of many shelled animals - it is the calcified, disc-shaped "trap door" that opens and closes to protect the animal inside its shell. The Turban Shell's operculum is an eye-like disc with a natural cabochon shape - it is used in jewelry. This jewelry was popular in Victorian Era Britain.

Padparadscha Sapphire

Padparadscha sapphires (also spelled padparadschah) are a rare pink-orange variety of corundum or the synthetic equivalent. These gems are mined in Sri Lanka and are usually heat treated to improve and intensify the color. The name padparadscha comes from the Sinhalese word for lotus flower. Hardness = 9, Specific Gravity = 4.

Palladium

Palladium is a valuable, durable, and malleable light-gray metal used in some jewelry; it is related to platinum, but is less dense and has a lower melting point. Unlike platinum, palladium reacts when exposed to aqua regia, sulfuric, nitric, and hydrochloric acids. It also develops a tarnish when it is heated. Pallasium is not a shiny as platinum. Palladium was only isolated as an element in 1802 by William Hyde Wollaston and Smithson Tennant. It was first used in jewelry in 1939 (during World War 2, platinum was used for war purposes, and was not available for jewelry making - palladium was temporarily used as a substitute for platinum). White gold is sometimes alloyed with palladium (instead of nickel), resulting in a gray-white gold. After World War 2, palladium was rarely used in jewelry making beacuse of some difficulties in working with it. Palladium was recently discovered to be useful in engine catalytic converters, and its price skyrocketed to over $700 per ounce (it had previously been much less expensive than platinum or gold).

Parenti

Parenti is a rare mark seen on beautiful, handcrafted silver jewelry from the early 20th century. Parenti jewelry was made by the two Parenti sisters, who immigrated from Florence, Italy, to Massachusetts, USA. The sisters had been trained as silversmiths in Europe, and later opened a shop at 97 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts. Pieces from the 1930's to the 1940's-1950's are available.

Parure

A parure (meaning "personal adornment" in French) is a matching set of jewelry, usually containing a necklace, earrings, brooch and a bracelet (or two bracelets).  See demi-parure.

Paste

Paste is a heavy, highly transparent flint glass that when cut and faceted simulates the fire and brilliance of multiple gemstones, depending on the coloring added.  It has relatively high indeces of refraction, and strong dispersion (separation of white light into its component colors).

Pate De Verre

Pate de verre (also known as glass paste) is glass that is ground into a paste, molded, and then melted.  The final piece is an opaque, dense glass with a frosted surface.

Patina

Patina is the change of an object's surface layer that result from aging.  Exposure to the air for an extended period of time oxidizes many metals, turning copper and bronze green, and gold reddish.  Artificial patinas can be applied to newer objects by using acids or electrolytes.

Pave

pah-Vay

Pave is a type of setting in which multiple small gemstones are set together as close as possible—much like paving stones.

Pavilion

The pavilion is the lower part of a cut gemstone, below the girdle.

Pavé

Pavé 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 simple glued in.

Peacock Pearl

Peacock pearls are a type of black pearls that are dark-green (almost black). These pearls (like all black pearls) are produced by the oyster Pinctada margaritifera.

Pear Cut

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 jewelry.

Pearl

Pearls are organic gems grown within oysters and a few other mollusks. Pearls are formed when a foreign object (like a tiny stone) has made its way into the mollusk's shell. The mollusk secretes nacre, a lustrous substance that coats the intruding object. As thousands of layers of nacre coat the intruder, a pearl is formed; this process takes up to seven or eight years (an oyster's useful life span). The most valuable pearls are perfectly symmetrical, large, naturally produced, and have a shimmering iridescence (called orient luster). There are many types of pearls, including natural pearls (made with no human interference), cultured pearls (pearls made by inserting a bit of a mother-of-pearl) into [nucleating] a living oyster or by inserting a bit of foreign tissue), baroque pearls (irregularly-shaped pearls), freshwater pearls, seed pearls (tiny pearls), Biwa pearls (a type of freshwater pearl from Lake Biwa, Japan from the freshwater mussel, Hyriopsis schlegeli), blister pearls (grown attached to the shell), black pearls (gray to black pearls), Mabe pearls (cultivated blister pearls), etc. Pearls can be gently cleaned with mild soap and water. The biggest natural pearl, known as the "Pearl of Allah" or "Pearl of Lao-tse," weighs 14 pounds (6. 4 kg).

Pearl Opal

Pearl opal (also called Tabasheer or tabashir opal) is an organic stone that forms in damaged joints (nodes) of bamboo plants.  This hydrated form of silica appears as a rounded mass of opal, and looks like seed pearls.

Peg Head

A Peg Head has a peg on its base to allow it to be soldered more securely into a ring. Soldering both the peg and the base of the head to the ring achieves a much more secure bond.

Peking Glass

Peking (Beijing) glass was first made in China in the late 1600's, during the Quing Dynasty, when a German priest introduced glass-making techniques to he Imperial court. Early Peking glass was made to imitate porcelain (it often has a translucent, milky sheen). Later (after 1725), an overlay technique was developed in which two (or more) layers of glass are fused together, and then the upper layer(s) are partially carved away, creating a multi-colored bas relief (similar to a cameo). Peking glass and overlay glass is used for vases, bowls, dishes, beads, snuff bottles, and other objects. Peking glass is still made, but is now manufactured in Poshan, China, and shipped to Peking for final finishing.

Peking Jade

Peking jade is the same as jade, but often refers to nephrite.

Pell

Pell is a costumy jewelry company that was founded in 1941 by the brothers Bill, Joe, Toy, and Alfred Gaita. Pell makes high-quality pieces; older jewelry was pedominantly figural and made of clear rhinestones; later pieces are primarily gold-plated with faux pearls.

Penannular Brooch

Penannular brooches are a type of early Celtic jewelry. They are circular brooches with a long pin (oftern hinged to the base of the pin). These pins were used to fasten two pieces of cloth together (before buttons were invented). The earliest-known piece is the Hunterston brooch from A.D. 700.

Pendant

A pendant is a hanging ornament. Necklaces, pins, and earrings often have a pendant.

Pendelique

A pendelique cut in one that is lozenge shaped.  This cut is frequently used for flawed stones.  Pendelique cut stones are often used as pendants.

Peridot

Peridot (also known as the "evening emerald" and chrysolite) is a yellow-green semi-precious stone with an oily luster; peridot is a transparent, green form of olivine. Peridot exhibits double refraction; when you look through the stone, things appear double. For example, when looking into a faceted peridot gemstone, the number of bottom facets appears to be double the actual number of facets. Most peridots are from a volcanic island in the Red Sea, Zebergit/St. John, the "Serpent Isle. Peridots have been found in meteorites. Peridot has a hardness of 6.5. Peridot cat's eye also exists.

Petrified Wood

Petrified wood (also called xyloid jasper or jasperized wood) is wood that has fossilized - all the original chemicals in the wood have been replaced with minerals, making a stone-like replica of the original wood.

Pewter

Peweter is an metal alloy that is composed mostly of tin combined with lead, antimony, bismuth, copper, and/or silver (the formulation varies quite a bit). When pewter is polished it has a silvery luster. Most pewter is over 90 percent tin. Pewter is a soft alloy that is worked by casting, hammering, or turning.

Pierced Work

Pierced work is jewelry (or other metal work) that has patterns cut out of the metal. Pierced work is done with a piercing saw, a tiny chisel, or a stamping machine (with a die as the pattern). When a saw is used, the pattern is drawn on the metal, then a small hole is drilled in each of the future holes. The saw is then used to cut out the desired areas.

Pietra Dura

Pietra dura (meaning "hard rock") is an ancient technique of inlaying semi-precious stones (like alabaster, agate, onyx, lapis lazuli, jasper, topaz, and carnelian) into marble or other soft stone. This art form superficially resembles mosaics.

Pink Gold

Pink gold (also known as rose gold) is gold with a tinge of pink.  It has been alloyed with a mix of 90% copper and 10% silver.

Pink Topaz

Pink Topaz (Aluminum silicate fluoride hydroxide) is a very hard pink gemstone. Pink topaz is usually created by irradiating common yellow topaz. Topaz has a hardness of 8 and a specific gravity of 3.5-3.6.

Pique

Pique is a tortoise shell inlaid with precious metal (usually gold or silver).  Pique is made by inserting hot metal into the tortoise shell; the hot metal melts the shell upon contact.

Plane Of Symmetry

A plane of symmetry is a plane that divides a solid into two mirror-image pieces of the solid.

Plating

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 jewelry, 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 0.000007 inches thick); gold-cased metals have a coating thicker that 0.000007 inches.

Platinum

Platinum is a very strong, dense precious metal with a white color. Platinum jewelry is usually 90%-95% pure, is very sturdy, and holds stones well; to strengthen the metal and increases the workability of the platinum, platinum is usually alloyed with 5 to 10 percent of another platinum group metal (like ruthenium, palladium, or iridium) and/or cobalt. Platinum is 60% heavier than gold. Platinum was only discovered in the 1700's in Russia. Platinum is abbreviated Pt. and Plat.

P

Platinum Group Metals

The Platinum Group Metals (abbreviated PGM) are the precious metals platinum, iridium, palladium, ruthenium, rhodium, and osmium.  They are all rare (platinum and palladium are the most common) and expensive; they are also often found together in nature.

Pleochroism

Pleochroism is the property of having more than two colors, especially when viewed from different angles.  In pleochroic minerals, a single stone will show many colors (in the case of Iolite, violet-blue, light blue, and yellow-gray will be visible).

Plique À Jour

Plique à jour is a back-less enamel that is a bit like stained glass.  In plique à jour, the enamel work is translucent (light shows through it) since the backing of the enamel is absent.  Cells of enamel are surrounded by delicate wire.  Plique à jour is made by shaping cloisonné wire on a thin sheet of metal (or mica).  Enamel (powdered glass) is fired into the wire cells.  After the enamel has melted and cooled, the backing (metal or mica) is peeled away and the translucent enamel is left suspended in a supporting framework of cloisonné wire.

Point

A point is a hundredth of a carat or 0.002 gram.

Porcelain

Porcelain is often used in jewelry.  It is made of fine clay (containing kaolin) which is fired in a kiln to about 2,000°F.  The porcelain is covered with a glassy, decorative glaze.

Porous

Porous stones have tiny holes in them.  These holes allow water, oils, and other substances to penetratethe stone, frequently changing their appearance over time.  Many stones are porous, including turquoise.

Prase Opal

Prase opal is a green, translucent opal that looks quite similar to chrysoprase (hence the name "prase") or jade.  This type of opal is found in Tanzania, Africa.  This gem does not display the iridescence found in some opals.

Precious Stone

A precious stone (also called a gemstone) is one that is valuable and rare.

Princess Cut

A princess cut is a square-cut stone.  This fancy cut is relatively new and is also known as a Quadrillion or Squarillion cut.

Princess Length

A princess length necklace (usually referring to a string of pearls) is 18" long.

Promise Ring

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

Prong Setting

A Prong Setting, sometimes called a claw setting, holds gemstones in place with three or more small, finger- like extensions of metal that wrap up and over the edge of the stone, securing it in place. Prong settings are the most common type of setting for gemstones, particularly for solitaire engagement rings.

Prystal

A prystal is an imitation crystal made from translucent, phenolic plastic.

Pt

Pt. is an abbreviation for platinum.

Purple Diamond

Purple diamonds are rare, fancy diamonds and are quite valuable. Diamonds are precious, lustrous gemstones made of highly-compressed carbon; they are one of the hardest materials known. Diamonds have a hardness of 10, a specific gravity of 3.5, and a refractive index of 2.417 - 2.419.

Pyrope Garnet

Pyrope garnet is the familiar deep red garnet. Red garnet is the birthstone for January. Garnet has a hardness of 6-8 and a specific gravity of 3.5 - 4.3. The formula for garnet is: A3B2(SiO4)3. Pyrope garnet is also called (misleadingly) American Ruby, Arizona Ruby, Australian Ruby, Bohemian Ruby, California Ruby, Cape Ruby, Colorado Ruby, Elie Ruby, Montana Ruby, and Rocky Mountain Ruby.

Q

Quadrillion Cut

A Quadrillion cut is a square-cut stone.  This fancy cut is relatively new and is also known as a Princess or Squarillion cut.

Quartz

Quartz is a crystalline mineral that come in many forms, including amethyst, aventurine, citrin, opal, rock crystal, tiger's eye, rose quartz,and many others. Rutilated quartz and tourmalinated quartz have needle-like inclusions of other minerals. Quartz has a hardness of 7.0. This common mineral is found worldwide.

Quartz Druze

Quartz druze is a layer of quartz crystals that form within a mineral crust, like the inner cavity of a geode.  For example, the inner cavity of agate geodes are often lined with a druze of sparkling quartz crystals.

Quinzite Opal

Quinzite opal is a red to pink type of opal.  This opal is also called Quincite, Quincite Opal, and Rose Opal.

R

RENOIR OF CALIFORNIA

Renoir of California" is a US jewelry company that makes copper jewelry.  Their line marked "Matisse" is enameled copper; their line marked "Renoir" does not have enamel.

Radiant Cut

The radiant cut is a method of cutting rectangular stones so that they have the sparkle of brilliant cut round stones. The shape is a rectangle with the corners clipped off - the length:width ratio is usually from 1.5:1 to 1.75:1. This cut has from 58-70 facets; it was invented in the 1970's. The top of the stone is emerald cut (with about 25 facets above the girdle), but the bottom of the stone has brilliant cut facets (with about 36 facets below the girdle).

Rainbow Calsilica

Rainbow calsilica is a newly-found, multi-colored, layered stone composed of calcium and silica.  This stone has been recently used for Zuni fetish carvings and in some jewelry (beads and cabochon cut stones).  Rainbow calsilica was only recently found in Mexico or Northern South America (it's origin remains mysterious).  Some people theorize that this stone formed as a result of the runoff of mining or oil-drilling chemicals, and has only formed in the last 30 to 50 years (but this is uncertain).

Rainbow Obsidian

Rainbow obsidian is another name for obsidian that is iridescent.

Rainbow Opal

Rainbow opal is a type of precious opal that has curved bands of colors (that resemble rainbows).

Rainbow Topaz

Rainbow topaz (also called mystic topaz or mystic fire) is topaz that has been color enhanced by coating it with a fine layer of metal atoms (in a process called vacuum deposition).  This stone has red, green, violet, and blue streaks.  Mystic fire has a hardness of 8.

Reconstructed Stone

A reconstructed stone is one that is made from pieces of smaller stones or crystals).  Reconstructed stones often have telltale air bubbles.  For example, "Geneva rubies" (reconstructed rubies) are made from tiny ruby crystals that have been fused together.  This type of stone is generally no longer manufactured (except reconstructed amber, which is stilll made) because synthetic stones are vastly superior to reconstructed stones.

Red Beryl

Red beryl is a is a rare, deep red variety of beryl. Gemstone-quality forms of this mineral are found in only one place in the world, in the Wah Wah Mountains, near Beaver, Utah, USA. Small crystals of this gem were first found in 1905 in the Thomas Range in Juab County, Utah. The mine bearing gemstone-quality red-beryl was found in the 1950's. The biggest red beryl crystal ever found was 14mm by 34mm, weighing about 54 carats. The average faceted red beryl gemstone weighs about 0.15 carats. Red beryl has a hardness of 7 - 8, a specific gravity of 2.66-2.70, and a refractive index of 1.564-1.574. The chemical formula Be3Al2SiO6, with other trace elements. Internal flaws in beryl gems can be hidden by treating the stone with oil (this is often not disclosed to the buyer).

Red Diamond

Red diamonds are rare, fancy diamonds and are quite valuable. Diamonds are precious, lustrous gemstones made of highly-compressed carbon; they are one of the hardest materials known. Diamonds have a hardness of 10, a specific gravity of 3.5, and a refractive index of 2.417 - 2.419.

Refraction

When light enters a medium with a different optical density (like a gemstone), the light is bent at an angle (and also changes its speed).

Refractive Index

The refractive index is a measure of how light is refracted in a substance (like a gemstone).  In doubly-refractive stones, the light is split into two light rays when it enters the stone, and the rays travel in different paths - so these stones have more than one refractive index.

Refractometer

A refractometer is a device that measures the refractive index of a gemstone.

Regard

Regard jewelry uses the stones Ruby, Emerald, Garnet, Amethyst, Ruby, and Diamond to spell the word "REGARD. Regard jewelry was given as a token of affection. This sentimental style was popular during the Victorian era. Matisse leaf pin

Repousse

Repousse is a method of decorating sheet metal in which designs are hammered into the back of the metal.  Special punches are used to form the designs, which form in relief (raised designs) on the front surface of the piece.

Reshank

Reshank — A shank is the bottom portion of a ring that sits under the finger. When a shank breaks or cracks or is too thin, it’s time to replace or “reshank” the ring. This involves cutting off the worn shank and replacing it with one that is thicker and wider. This provides superior support for the top of the ring and prolongs the overall life of the piece.

Retro

Retro jewelry is chunky, geometric jewelry from the 1940's.  Pink gold was often used in retro pieces, as well as features such as large beads.

Rhinestones

Rhinestones are highly reflective glass made to imitate gemstones.  The original rhinestones were quartz stones (rock crystal) obtained from the Rhine river.  These stones were cut to resemble gemstones.  The best rhinestones today are made of highly reflective leaded glass which is faceted and polished.

Rhodium

Rhodium is a white precious metal.  Rhodium is extremely expensive and is often used to plate precious and base metals, giving jewelry a hard, platinum-like sheen.

Rhodium Plating

Rhodium Plating adds a very bright white and shiny metal and is good at resisting corrosion. In the plating process, the jewelry is dipped in a solution containing the rhodium and electricity is applied. The rhodium in the solution then adheres to the immersed jewelry. Rhodium is often used to plate white gold and silver jewelry to make the pieces look whiter and brighter.

Rhodochrosite

Rhodochrosite is a mineral whose color ranges from rose to pink to almost yellow or brown. Although it is very pretty, this stone is soft and brittle; it is used in jewelry and for carvings and figurines. Rhodochrosite is Manganese Carbonate; its chemical formula is MnCO3. Rhodochrosite has a hardness of 3.5 - 4.5 (glass has a hardness of 4) and a specific gravity of 3.5. Rhodochrosite is found in Argentina, Peru, Germany, Mexico, South Africa, Russia, Italy, USA (Colorado and Montana), and Romania. Rhodochrosite is not enhanced.

Rhodolite

Rhodolite (meaning "rose stone" in Greek) is a purple-red to pink-red variety of garnet. It is a combination of almandine and pyrope (it is sometimes called pyrope-almandine garnet). This silicate stone has a hardness of 7-7.5 and a specific gravity of 3.5 - 4.3. The formula for garnet is: A3B2(SiO4)3. Rhodolite is found in the US, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Rhodolite is not enhanced.

Ring

A ring is a piece of jewelry worn around the finger; rings have been worn on every finger, including the thumb.  Rings have been worn through the ages, and often have significant meaning.  Some rings include wedding and engagement rings (denoting commitment), signet rings (impressed with the owner's seal), bands (made from a ribbon of metal), rings denoting group membership (like Masonic rings or college rings), devotional rings (with religous meaning), and pugilist rings (pointed rings worn by boxers to harm their opponent).

Ring Guards

Ring Guards are small metal strips that stretch across the lower portion of ring shanks. Their purpose is to hold a ring in place and keep it from spinning or sliding off of the finger. Ring guards are temporary solutions, at best. They can cut the finger, collect oils and dirt,
and cause rashes. A better answer is to have the ring professionally sized.

Ring Size

Rings are sized using a graduated cone (a mandrel) with markings denoting the ring sizes.  The ring is put on the cone and its size is read where it fits snugly on the cone.  To size a finger, 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.  Sizes in the US and Europe are numerical; sizes in the UK are alphabetical.

Ring Sizer

A Ring Sizer is a series of consecutively sized metal or plastic rings. The rings progress from very small to very large. A person tries on different ring sizes until they find the one that fits the best. That will be their ring size.

Riverstone

Riverstones are smooth, rounded pebbles found in rivers and on beaches.  The action of the water and other rocks on riverstones polishes them naturally.  Riverstones can be used as beads/stones in jewelry.

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Signet Ring

A signet ring is a ring that was used as a means of identification for relatively important people.  The signet ring was engraved with a symbol (a coat of arms or initials) identifying a particular person.  Some signet rings also had intaglio-carved seals.  The earliest-known signet rings date from ancient Egypt, thousands of years ago.

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Safety Catch

A safety catch is a secondary closure (usually on a fine bracelet or necklace) that is used in case the primary clasp opens, preventing the loss of the jewelry. It is often a hinged, snapping loop that is permanently attached to one side of the clasp (often a box clasp), and, when the bracelet is closed, snaps onto the other side of the clasp.

Safety Chain

A safety chain is a secondary closure (usually on a fine bracelet or watch) that is used in case the primary clasp opens, preventing the loss of the bracelet.  It is usually a chain that is permanently attached to one side of the bracelet, and attaches to the other side with a spring ring clasp (or other type of clasp).

Safety Clasp

A safety clasp is a secure type of closure on a piece of jewelry.  The term safety catch is used for a variety of these closures.  On pins and brooches, a safety clasp often refers to a long pin on a hinge that can be held or released with a secure clasp (often a rotating circle within a circle).

Sapphire

Sapphire is a precious gemstone (a type of corundum) that ranges in color from blue to pink to yellow to green to white to purple (mauve sapphire) to pink-orange (padparadscha sapphire). Six-sided asterisms sometimes occur in star sapphires (caused by inclusions of tiny, thin, parallel needles of rutile). Sapphires are related to rubies. Sapphires were once thought to protect the wearer from poisonous creatures. Sapphire has a hardness of 9 and a specific gravity of 3.9 - 4.1. Sapphires are often heat treated to improve their color.

Sapphire Quartz

Sapphire quartz (also called blue quartz) is another name for blue chalcedony.

Satin Finish

A Satin Finish is fine, brushed-look type of texture applied to the surface of jewelry.

Semi-Mount

A Semi-Mount is a ring in which the main center stone has yet to be set. Typically, the smaller side stones will have been set already. Semi-mounts provide flexibility for the buyer to choose from a variety of different center stones. One buyer might want a 1.25ct flawless diamond for the ring. Another might be quite satisfied with a 1ct, slightly included stone.

Setting

A Setting is any open element on a piece of jewelry into which a gemstone will be set. Settings include prongs, bezels, channels, or any other method of holding a gem in place. Sometimes, a whole piece of jewelry that has yet to be set with gemstones is called a setting. Occasionally, settings refer to particular styles of jewelry.

Shank

The Shank is the bottom part of a ring that rests underneath the finger. Shanks come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are important factors in how rings sit on the finger.

Silver

Silver is a fine, silver-white metal often used in jewelry. Pure silver has a hardness of 2.5. Other metals are alloyed with silver (usually copper) for silver used in jewelry making. Silver tarnishes after exposure to air (a thin layer of silver-oxide forms on the surface). Silver often occurs near copper lodes. Sterling is silver with a fineness of 925, that is, sterling is 925 parts per thousand (or 92.5%) silver and 75 parts per thousand (or 7.5%) copper (the copper increases the silver's hardness).

Silver 800

Silver 800 is silver with a fineness of 800, that is, it contains 800 parts per thousand (or 80 percent) silver and 200 parts per thousand (or 20 percent) copper.  Silver 800 is used for casting.

Sizing

Sizing is the process of increasing or decreasing the size of a ring. It’s as simple as that!.

Sizing Bar

The Sizing Bar is a small, solid section of an eternity ring that can be cut for sizing.

Sleeper Earring

A Sleeper Earring is called that because you can sleep in it. It’s a lightweight small hoop. Its post hinges and snaps closed in a “v” lock. In other words you don’t need a backing on it. Other hoops may close like this, but what makes a sleeper is its lightweight construction and small size.

Slide

A Slide is style of pendant in which a chain or necklace slips through an open element on the back of the piece or a part of the design without the use of a bail.

Slide Bracelet

(also called slide charm bracelet) A slide bracelet is a type of modern-day charm bracelet made from stringing Victorian era watch fob charms together on a double chain - the charms can slide along the chains.  When pocket watches (used by men) and necklace watches (used by women) went out of style after wrist watches were invented, the charms on the watch chain were removed and then strung together to make bracelets.  Modern imitations are made using modern, manufactured charms.

Smoky Quartz

Smoky quartz is a type of brownish quartz that has a smoky look.

Snake Chain

A snake chain (also called a Brazilian chain) is a metal chain made up of a series of small, linked cups.

Sodalite

Sodalite is a dark blue mineral with streaks of white, gray, pink, or green. It is used for carvings and jewelry. Sodalite is one of the mineral components of lapis lazuli. Sodalite is sodium aluminum silicate chloride; its formula is Na4Al3(SiO4)3Cl. Sodalite has a hardness of 5.5 to 6 and a specific gravity of 2.1 - 2.3. Sodalite is found in Brazil, Canada, India, Italy, Namibia, United States, and Russia.

Solder

Solder is a metal alloy (a mixture of metals) thatis used to join other metals.  Solders melt at a lower temperature than the metals to be joined.

Soldering

Soldering is the process of joining two pieces of heated metal together with a similar metal, called solder. There is an art to seamlessly soldering two pieces of gold together so that you can’t tell any work was ever done.

Solitaire

A solitaire is a ring set with a single stone, usually a diamond.

Sorrelli

Sorrelli (the Italian word for "sisters") Jewelry of Kutztown, Pennsylvania, was formed in 1983 by Lisa Oswald and her twin sisters Susie and Sandy.  Sorrelli's high-quality, hand-made jewelry features Swarovski Austrian rhinestones and semi-precious stones.

Specific Gravity

The specific gravity (abbreviated s.g.) of a material is a comparison of its weight with the weight of an equal volume of water. Specific gravity measures the density of a material.

Spectroscope

A spectroscope is an instrument that is used to identify gemstones.  It works by determining the light waves that a stone absorbs; different stones absorb different wavelengths of light.

Speed Bumps

Speed Bumps, also known as sizing beads, are two small balls or hemispheres of metal soldered to the lower inside section of shanks. Their purpose is to anchor rings in place on the finger and prevent them from twirling.

Spessartine Garnet

Spessartine garnet (also called Spessartite garnet) is a type of a garnet that is orange (it varies from reddish orange to brownish orange to yellowish orange). The chemical composition is Manganese Aluminum Silicate. Crystals vary from transparent to translucent. This relatively rare gem is found in Sri Lanka, Australia, Madagascar, Brazil, Sweden, Myanmar, and the U.S. Spessartine garnet has a hardness of 7.0 - 7.5, a specific gravity of 4.19 (relatively heavy), and a refractive index of 1.8.

Spinel

Spinel is a very hard semi-precious stone composed of octahedral crystals. Spinel ranges in color from red to black to yellow, frequently resembling rubies. Iron and chrome are components of spinel, giving it its color. Spinel belongs to the feldspar species and is found in in Burma, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Some varieties include: Balas ruby (red spinel), Almandine spinel (purple-red), Rubicelle (orange), Sapphire spinel (blue), Ghanospinel (blue), Chlorspinel (green). Spinel is also laboratory synthesized. Spinel has a hardness of 8, a specific gravity of 3.58-4.06, and a refractive index of 1.72.

Split Ring

A tightly-coiled ring used as an jewelry finding; it can attach charms to a charm bracelet or a clasp to a necklace or bracelet (it is like a miniature version of a keychain).

Spring Ring

A spring ring (also known as a bolt ring) is a hollow circular metal fastening ring with a spring opening.  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.  The spring ring was invented early in the 1900's.  Jewelry made prior to 1900 or so will not have a spring ring clasp.

Square Shanks

Square Shanks can range from strongly visible in the design, to a mere touch of square element. Sometimes the inside of the shank has the straighter up-and-down square suggestion and sometimes the square element is only on the outside.

Squarillion Cut (Square Cut)

A Squarillion cut is a square-cut stone. This fancy cut is relatively new and is also known as a Princess or Quadrillion cut.

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SS is an abbreviation for sterling silver.

Stabilized Stones

Stabilized stones have been impregnated with plastic to improve its durability, stabilize cracks, and improve the stone's appearance (a dye is sometimes added to the plastic - this is called a color shot or color stabilized).  Liquid plastic resins are injected into soft, porous stone at high pressures - the plastic fills the pores in the stone.  Turquoise is often stabilized.

Stackers

Stackers are sets two or more of rings worn together on the same finger. Typically edges are straight so the different rings fit together seamlessly. Each ring can be set with identical or different gemstones, be curvy or straight, and have varying widths. Aesthetic possibilities are endless.

Stacking

Stacking refers to wearing two or more rings together on the same finger. The rings may have been specifically designed for this purpose or they may be ones that just happened to look good with each other. I encourage creative stacking!

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Star Ruby

A "star ruby" is a ruby that exhibits an asterism, a six-pointed star of light (when cut as a cabochon).  The world's biggest star ruby is the Rajaratna, which weighs 2,475 carats.  The world's biggest double-star ruby (with a 12-pointed star) is the Neelanjali, weighing 1,370 carats.  Most star rubies today are synthetic.

Star Sapphire

A star sapphire is a sapphire that exhibits an asterism in the form of a colorless, six-rayed star that reflects light.  Star sapphires are cabochon cut.  Laboratory-produced star sapphires ("Linde stars") were developed in 1947 by the Linde company; most star sapphires today are synthetic.

Star Setting

A star setting is one in which a gem is set within an engraved star; the gem is secured by a small grain of metal soldered to the base of each ray of the star.  This type of setting was popular in the 1890s.

Steampunk

In the 1980's technological movements became the inspiration for items designed from materials dating back to the steam era. Steampunk is often used as the term to describe items made from things such as cogged watch parts, etc.

Steatite

Steatite (also called soapstone) is a soft, easily-carved, fine-grained metamorphic rock that can be green, brown, or gray. This stone has a greasy, soapy feel to it, hence its name. Soapstone is found worldwide. It is carved into figurines, beads, seals, bowls, pipes, cookware, and other items - it has been used since ancient times. Chemically, soapstone is composed mostly of talc, hydrated magnesium silicate (Mg3Si4 O10(OH)2) plus other minerals. Soapstone has a hardness of 1-1.5 (extremely soft - it can be scratched with a fingernail) and a specific gravity of 2.2-2.8.

Step Cut

The step cut is generally used for colored stones. This cut is rectangular to square and has many facets parallel to the edges of the stone.

Sterling

Sterling is silver with a fineness of 925, that is, sterling is 925 parts per thousand (or 92.5%) silver and 75 parts per thousand (or 7.5%) copper (the copper increases the silver's hardness). Sterling is quite malleable.

Strass

Strass is highly reflective glass that is made to imitate gemstones.  The original rhinestones were quartz stones obtained from the Rhine river.  These stones were cut to resemble gemstones.

Streak

The streak of a mineral is its color when it is in powdered form.  You can determine the streak of a mineral easily by rubbing a rough mineral (not cut stones!) along the surface of a hard, unglazed porcelain sheet (this is called a streak plate - you can use the back of a white porcelain bathroom tile).  Even though the color of a mineral may vary, the streak color is constant.  Note: the streak plate has a hardness of about 6. 6, so it can only test mineral that less hard than that (since they must leave a streak on the porcelain).  For example, the streak of chalcopyrite, graphite, magnetite, and pyrite is black, the streak of galena is gray, the streak of cinnabar, the streak of azurite and lapis is blue, the streak of malachite is green, the streak of turquoise is white with a green tint, the streak of olivine, amethyst, and tourmaline is white, and the streak of hematite is red-brown.

Striations

Striations are grooves, lines and scratches found naturally in some minerals.

Strongwater, Jay

Jay Strongwater is a New York company that produces metal decorative objects (like picture frames, boxes, clocks, candle holders, napkin rings, coasters, vases, bottle stoppers, compacts, Christmas tree ornaments, etc. ) that are elaborately decorated with enamel work and Swarovski rhinestones.  These elegant pieces often use themes from nature (including leaves, flowers, and animals) or Perisan designs.  Jay Strongwater designs a line of these upscale accessories for Oscar de la Renta.  Jay Strongwater was created by Jay Feinberg, who began his career designing jewelry under his own name, but later named his company Jay Strongwater (using his mother's maiden name).

Sugar Beads

Sugar beads are beads that look as though they were rolled in granulated sugar; the fine grains on the surface of the beads are in fact tiny grains of glass (or plastic).  Delicate glass sugar beads were made in Gablonz and Japan early in the 20th century.

Sugilite

Sugilite is a medium to dark purple semi-precious gemstone (it can also range from pink to brown to black). It is usually opaque with a waxy luster (but can be translucent) and often has brown, pink and white inclusions, looking like a purple version of turquoise. It is usually polished and not faceted. Sugilite has a hardness of 5.5-6.5 and a specific gravity of 2.75 - 2.80. This stone is not enhanced - massive stones are often found. Sugilite is Potassium Sodium Lithium Iron Manganese Aluminum Silicate; its formula is KNa2Li3(Fe, Mn, Al)2Si12O30. This stone was named for Ken-ichi Sugi, the Japanese geologist who discovered it in 1944. It is found in Iwagi Island, Shikoku, Japan and Mont Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, Canada, but the largest deposits are in northern South Africa.

Sunstone

Sunstone is also called aventurine feldspar (a variety of oligoclase). This gemstone varies from golden to orange to red-brown, and can be transparent or translucent. Sunstone is metallic-looking due to sparkling red, orange or green crystalline inclusions (these are hematite or goethite crystals). Sunstone is found in Canada, the USA (in Oregon), India, Norway, and Russia. This brittle stone has a hardness of 6 and a specific gravity of 2.63 - 2.67. Sunstone is not enhanced.

Super Fit

Super Fit shanks open completely, enabling the ring to easily slip on and off nearly any size finger. A virtually invisible push-button activates the mechanism. Super Fit is used for knuckle-to-finger differentials over four sizes.

Swarovski

Swarovski is an Austrian company that makes high-quality rhinestones, beautiful cut crystals, costume jewelry, and other glass-related items. The company was founded by Daniel Swarovski (1862-1956), the son of a glass faceter. In 1892, Daniel developed a new mechanized technique for faceting glass crystals, creating a sparkling, diamond-like "chaton. He then started a factory (and company) in Wattens, Austria (in the Tyrolean Alps) in 1895. In the 1970's, the company expanded to the Providence, Rhode Island, USA - they later moved to Cranston, Rhode Island. In 1955, Swarovski and Christian Dior developed the iridescent aurora borealis stone. The company began a line of rhinestone costume jewelry in 1977. Since 1988, the Swarovski logo has been a swan (before 1988, the logo was an edelweiss flower).

Swiss Lapis

Swiss lapis is not lapis lazuli at all. It is jasper dyed to resemble lapis lazuli and is misleadingly called Swiss lapis.

Synthetic Gems

Synthetic Gems have all the chemical and physical properties of natural ones but are created in a laboratory.

Synthetic Ruby

Synthetic rubies were first made by the French chemist Auguste Verneuil, who invented the flame-fusion process for producing inexpensive rubies in 1886. It was a ruby, but it didn't look much like one. In 1918, J. Czochralski invented the pulling method for growing inexpensive rubies. Carroll Chatham synthetic rubies (more expensive to produce, but natural-looking) were introduced in 1959. Kashan synthetic rubies were made beginning in 1979.

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Tabasheer Opal

Tabasheer (also spelled tabashir) or pearl opal is an organic stone that forms in damaged joints (nodes) of bamboo plants.  This hydrated form of silica appears as a rounded mass of opal, and looks like seed pearls.

Table

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

Tahitian Pearl

Tahitian pearls (also called black pearls) are dark-colored pearls. They are produced by the large, black-lipped pearl oyster Pinctada margaritifera (also called the Tahitian black pearl oyster), a mollusk found in the tropical Indo-Pacific Ocean. Black pearls come in many colors, including many body shades and overtone tints including gray (light gray to almost black), peacock green (especially valuable), aubergine (eggplant), and deep brown. The color of the dark nacre is determined by the minerals in the oyster's diet (plankton) and in its environment. Many "black pearls" are dyed or irridiated to enhance or change their color; it is difficult to tell a natural pearl from a treated pearl. Tahitian pearls are graded on six factors: 1.Shape (round is most valued), 2.Size (the larger the better), 3.Surface Quality (clean is superior to blemished), 4.Luster (the more high-gloss luster the better), 5.Nacre Thickness (thicker is better and longer lasting), and 6.Color (overtones atop the body color add value to the pearl; the most sought-after color is peacock green and darker colors are more valuable - overtone colors include blue, pink, gold, silver, aubergine, and peacock green).

Tanvorite

Tanvorite is a trademarked name for a man-made gemstone.  This synthetic stone is a deep blue-purple stone that resembles tanzanite.

Tanzanite

Tanzanite (strontium-rich Calcium-aluminum silicate) is a valuable, transparent, blue-violet type of zoisite resembling sapphire. Tanzanite has a hardness of 6 and a specific gravity of 3.35. It is often heat-treated in order to produce a deeper blue-violet color. This mineral was discovered in 1967 by Manuel d'Souza (an Indian tailor) southwest of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa. Tanzanite is one of December's birthstones.

Tapered Head

On a Tapered Head the prongs taper downward, following the contour of the gemstone. Often the gemstone is set higher and seen from above, appears to float. The tapered head gives the ring a feeling of lightness and femininity.

Tapered Shanks

Tapered Shanks narrow toward the bottom of the ring. This is more comfortable for many people.

Tavorite

Tavorite is a green to greenish-yellow to yellow gemstone. This vitreous (glassy) stone, a Lithium Iron Phosphate, has a hardness of 5 and a density of 3.28 (tavorite belongs to the Amblygonite Group, phosphates that have a triclinic crystalline structure). Tavorite was named in 1955 by the mineralogists M. L. Lindberg & W. T. Pecoria for the Brazilian mineralogist Elysairio Tavora (1911- ). The chemical formula for tavorite is LiFe3+(PO4)(OH). The streak is light green. Tavorite is found in Brazil, Germany, Portugal, and USA (South Dakota and New Hampshire).

Taxco

Taxco is a town in the State of Guerrero in Mexico, that is famous for its silver jewelry production.  The American silversmith William Spratling, set up shop in Taxco in 1929, and many other silversmiths followed.  Early Taxco jewelry is avidly collected.  Modern pieces are distinguished by a registration mark of two letters followed by a series of numbers (this mark was required by the Mexican government since 1979).

Tennis Bracelet

A tennis bracelet is a simple, flexible, in-line diamond bracelet.  The name tennis bracelet was first used when the great tennis player Chris Evert dropped a diamond bracelet during a tennis match in the summer of 1987 (at the US Open Tennis Tournament).  She had to stop the match until she found her bracelet.  Since then, that style of bracelet has been called a tennis bracelet.

Tie Bar

A tie bar is a piece of men's jewelry used to secure a necktie.  A tie bar usually has a decorative, bar-shaped front, and a clip on the back that grasps the two parts of the tie.

Tie Tack

A tie tack is a piece of men's jewelry used to secure a necktie. A tie tack has a decorative front, and a pin on the back that goes through both layers of the tie. Attached to the reverse of the pin is a chain with a bar that is meant to go throught a buttonhole to secure the tie loosely to the shirt.

Tiffany Head

The Tiffany Head was designed by Louis Tiffany (yes, that Tiffany). The design exposes the diamond to greater light from the side. At the time Tiffany developed the Tiffany head, other jewelers were surrounding diamonds with more metal to hold the gem in place. Often, the diamond became overwhelmed by the setting. The Tiffany setting creates space and enhances the beauty of the diamond. It’s still popular today for its simplicity and beauty.

Tiffany Setting

The Tiffany setting is a ring with a high, six-pronged solitaire diamond on a simple circular band. This design was introduced by Tiffany & Co. in 1886.

Tiger's Eye

Tiger's eye is a yellowish-brown to reddish-brown gemstone that has a silky luster. This gemstone has bands of yellow and brown; when viewed from the opposite direction, the colors are reversed. Tiger's eye is usually highly polished and set as a cabochon (or cut as a bead) to display the stone's chatoyancy (light reflected in thin bands within the stone). Tiger's eye is a type of chatoyant quartz with fibrous inclusions (especially crocidolite). This stone is sometimes heat-treated. Tiger's eye has a hardness of 7.0. Most tiger's eye is mined in South Africa, but it is also found in Australia, Brazil, Burma (Myanmar), India, Namibia, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), and the USA. Green-grey varieties of this stones are called cat's-eye quartz. Blue-grey to bluish varieties are called hawk's-eye. Deep brown varieties of this stone are called bull's-eye or ox-eye.

Toggle Clasp

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

Topaz

Topaz (aluminum silicate fluoride hydroxide) is a very hard gemstone that ranges in color from brown, to yellow to blue to pink. Pink topaz is usually created by irradiating common yellow topaz. Other colors are often created by heat-treating and/or irradiating topaz. Imperial topaz is golden orange-yellow topaz; it is the most valuable topaz Topaz has a hardness of 8 and a specific gravity of 3.5-3.6. Topaz may have been named for the legendary Topasos Island in the Red Sea.

Torque

A torque (also spelled torc) is a necklace that consists of a narrow, twisted band made of metal.  This type of ornament was worn by the ancient Celts, Britons, and Gauls.

Torsade

A torsade is a necklace made of many strands that are twisted together.

Tortoise Shell

Tortoise shell is the shell of a tortoise. It was used in the 1800's for jewelry, hair combs, and other ornaments but is banned today. Tortoise shell inlaid with precious metals is called pique. Tortoise shell will burn easily, and smells like burning hair. It is easily imitated by plastic, but its smell when burnt is very different. Tortoise shell has a hardness of 2.5 and a specific gravity of 1.29.

Tourmalinated Quartz

Tourmalinated quartz is a variety of transparent quartz that has needle-like inclusions of black to dark green tourmaline crystals. This beautiful stone is found worldwide. Tourmalinated quartz has a hardness of 7.0. This stone is not enhanced.

Tourmaline

Tourmaline is a dichroic gemstone that comes in many, many different colors; it also appears to have different colors depending on the angle at which it is seen. Tourmaline has the greatest color range of any gemstone - the lighter colors are more valuable than the darker colors. It ranges in color from pink to green to red (rubellite) to purple to blue-green (indicolite) to colorless (achroite) to black. Watermelon tourmaline is both pink and green. Tourmaline occurs as an elongate three-sided prism and is mined in Brazil, The Ural mountains in Russia, Namibia, Sri Lanka, and California. Tourmaline was only discovered in the 1700's. Tourmaline has a hardness of 7-7.5 and a specific gravity of 3.02-3.25. It is doubly-refractive.

Translucent

Translucent materials allow light to pass through them, but the light is diffused (scattered). Some translucent stones include moonstones, opals, and carnelian. Lucite and other plastics can also be translucent.

Transparent

Transparent materials allow light to pass through them without diffusing (scattering) the light.  Some translucent stones include diamond, zircon, emerald, rock crystal, and ruby.  Plastics like lucite can also be transparent.

Transvaal Jade

Transvaal jade is not jade; it is a green to gray massive variety of grossular garnet, calcium-aluminum silicate. It is found about 40 miles west of Pretoria, South Africa. Transvaal jade can be distinguished from jadeite or nephrite by its high refractive index. Grossular garnet has a refractive index of 1.72 to 1.73, a hardness of 6-7.5 and a specific gravity of 3.5 - 3.67.

Trapiche Emerald

Trapiche emeralds are rare, valuable emeralds that have a black, six-rayed star within them, caused by black carbon impurities (the star is not an asterism).  These stones are usually cabochon cut to display the beautiful spoke-like star.  These stones are only mined in Colombia, South America.  Trapiche emeralds are sometimes called star emeralds (but the term star emerald can also refer to emeralds with an asterism).  Trapiche is a Spanish word for the spoked wheel that is used to grind sugar cane.

Trembler

A trembler is a piece of jewelry that has a part (or parts) set on a spring; the spring-set parts move as the wearer of the jewelry moves.

Trifari

Trifari is a pre-eminent jewelry manufacturing company that produces high-quality and beautifully-designed pieces. The company began as Trifari and Trifari in 1910, founded by Gustavo Trifari and his uncle; a few years later, his uncle left and the company was simply Trifari. Leo Krussman joined Trifari in 1917. In 1918, when Carl Fishel joined the company, they renamed the company Trifari, Krussman and Fishel (their hallmark was T.F.K.). Alfred Philippe, who had been a jewelry designer for Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, designed pieces for Trifari for many years. Some other Trifari designers included Jean Paris (1958 -1965), Lucius Passavanti (from about 1955 to 1968), Andre Boeut (1967 - 1979), and Diane Love (1971 - 1974). Trifari was owned by the Hallmark Company from 1975-1988, and by Crystal Brands from 1988-1994. It was then part of the Chase Capital division of the Monet Group, which later went bankrupt and was bought by Liz Claiborne (2000). The classic pin and earrings set above has paste rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds (and was designed by Alfred Philippe, about 1947-8).

Trillion Cut

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

Triplet

A triplet is a manufactured stone that is made by sandwiching three thin layers of stones together.  For example, an opal triplet had a top, protective layer of clear quartz, a thin middle layer of opal, and a base layer of dark, color-enhancing matrix (usually black onyx or ironstone).

Troy Weight

Precious metals (like gold, platinum, and silver) are measured in troy weight, which has units of pennyweights, ounces, and pounds.  Troy ounces and pounds are different from everyday US measures.

Tsavorite

Tsavorite is a rare, deep green variety of grossular garnet, a type of garnet, calcium-aluminum silicate. The emerald green color comes from vanadium and chromium. Tsavorite is similar to emerald, but is rarer and more durable; it also has a higher refractive index, 1.74. Tsavorite stones over two carats are considered large and are very rare. Tsavorite has a hardness of 7.5 and a specific gravity of 3.6. Tsavorite is found in east Africa; it was named by Harry B. Platt of Tiffany & Co. for the Tsavo National Park in Kenya, where this gemstone was originally found in 1967. Tsavorite is not enhanced.

Tumbled

Tumbled stones were finished in a tumbler, a mechanical device that smooths and rounds the surfaces of stones.  Tumbled stones look very much like stones that have been in a fast-flowing river or stream for a long time.

Tumbler

A tumbler is a rotating cylinder (powered by a motor) that smooths and rounds the surfaces of stones, increasing their luster.  As the stones tumble around the cylinder, they bump against each other and smooth each other's surfaces.

Turquoise

Turquoise is a non-translucent, porous semi-precious stone (it is a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminum) that is usually cut as a cabochon. Turquoise was believed to have been first found in Turkey, hence its name (Turquie is the French word for Turkey). The oldest turquoise mines are located in Alimersai Mountain in Persia (Iran) and in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. Turquoise is found in desert regions worldwide. The finest turquoise is Persian (Iranian) turquoise; it is robin's egg blue and has no matrix (streaks of the mother stone from which they were found). North American turquoise is greener and has a matrix streaks. Over the years, oil from your skin is absorbed by the stone and it will change color slightly. Turquoise has a hardness of 6 and a specific gravity of 2.60-2.85. Turquoise is the national gemstone of Iran. Turquoise is one of December's birthstones.

U

Unakite

Unakite is an opaque mineral that is green with patches of red and pink. Unakite is a variety of granite that contains green epidote and pink feldspar (but lacks mica). It has a hardness of 6 to 7 and a specific gravity of 2.86 - 3.2. Unakite was named for the Unaka Mountains Mountains in Tennessee, USA. Unakite is found in the USA and Africa.

Urea Bakelite

Urea bakelite is a type of thermoset plastic.

V

Vabanite

Vabanite is a type of brown-red jasper with yellow flecks that is found in California, USA.

Variscite

Variscite, AlPO4-2H2O, Hydrated Aluminum Phosphate, (also called Utahlite) is a relatively rare translucent pastel green to emerald green gemstone with blue or yellow overtones (it is similar to chrysocolla, chrysoprase and turquoise). Variscite is found in the USA (in Utah and Nevada), Germany, Brazil, and Australia (in Queensland). Variscite has a hardness of 4.0 - 5.0 and a specific gravity of 2.57. It is not enhanced.

Vendome

The Vendome label was made by Coro beginning in 1944.  Vendome was a high-end subsidiary of Coro, replacing the Corocraft label.  Helen Marion was the principal designer for the Vendome line beginning in the early 1960's.

Venus' Hair Stone

Venus' hair stone is another name for rutilated quartz.

Vermeil

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

Victorian

The era which ranged from 1837 - 1901 brought a wide variety of designs to jewelry.

Victorian Era

The Victorian era was the time when Queen Victoria ruled Great Britain (1837-1901).  Many different styles of jewelry developed during this era.

Vienna Turquoise

Vienna turquoise is fake turquoise made by compressing a precipitate of aluminum phosphate (colored with copper oleate).

Vinaigrette

A vinaigrette is a tiny, decorative bottle or box that was often carried on a chatelaine.  Smelling salts or aromatic vinegar was carried in the vinaigrette.

Vintage

Generally referring to prior to the 1980's, vintage items are not yet old enough to be considered as antiques.

Vintage Reproductions

Post 1980's modern day manufactured jewelry items, which mimicked the appearance and designs of vintage jewelry.

Vitreous

Vitreous means glass-like.

Volcanic Glass

Volcanic glass is another name for obsidian.

Voluptué

Volupte jewelry, compacts, chatelaines, purses, and cigarette cases were made beginning in October, 1926 by Volupte, Inc., located in Elizabeth, New Jersey, USA.

Vulcanite

Vulcanite (also called ebonite) is a hard, moldable, polished dark colored (ranging from brown to black) early rubber.  Vulcanite was produced by adding sulfur to vulcanized rubber.  It was used for combs, ornaments, and buttons.  It is not the same as gutta percha.

W

Water Sapphire

"Water sapphire" is not a true sapphire, but is iolite, a more common, softer, and much less expensive mineral. It is a transparent, violet-blue, light blue, or yellow-gray mineral. Iolite is pleochroic; a single stone will show many colors (in the case of Iolite, violet-blue, light blue, and yellow-gray). Iolite has a hardness of 7 - 7.5. Iolite is found in Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar and Burma.

Watermelon Tourmaline

Watermelon tourmaline is a tourmaline gemstone that is multicolored, going from pink to green.

Wax Model

Wax Model — Before a ring is cast in precious metal, a model of it is carved in wax. Wax models are carved by hand or by a computer-assisted machine.

Wax Pearl

Wax pearls are hollow glass beads that are filled with wax and resemble pearls.

Wedding Bands

Wedding Bands—also called wedding rings—are traditionally gold rings worn on the left hand ring finger and signify that the wearer is married. They can be worn alone or in concert with an engagement ring. They can be simple gold bands, as is the case with most men’s wedding rings, or they can be intricate and elaborate and set with fabulous gemstones.

Wedding Cake Beads

Wedding cake beads are lampworked glass beads that are decorated with intricate, colorful glass overlays, often of roses and decorative swirls and dots.  This type of bead was originally made in Murano, Italy.

Wedgwood

Wedgwood is an old pottery company that also makes some porcelain jewelry.  The company was founded in Burslem, England in 1752 by Josiah Wedgwood (1730 - 1795), who was Charles Darwin's grandfather.  Their signature Jasper ware (white on blue porcelain formed into a cameo) is made into pins, pendants, and necklaces.

Weld

Welding is a process that joins two pieces of metal using very high heat.  Rolled gold is formed in this fashion.

White Gold

White gold is gold that has been alloyed with a mix of nickel, zinc, copper, tin, and manganese (and sometimes pallladium).  White gold was originally developed to imitate platinum during World War II (during this time in the US, platinum was considered a strategic material and its use was prohibited for most non-military applications, like jewelry making).  White gold jewelry is sometimes plated with rhodium.

X

Xaga

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

Xalostocite

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

Xenolith

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

Xyloid Jasper

Xyloid jasper is jasperized wood (petrified wood).  It is wood that has fossilized - all the original chemicals have been replaced with minerals, making a stone-like replica of the original wood.

Y

YGF

YGF is an abbreviation for yellow gold filled.

Yag

YAG is an actonym for yttrium aluminum garnet, a man-made imitation diamond.  This imitation stone lacks the fire of a natural diamond.

Yellow Gold

Yellow gold is gold that has been alloyed with a mix of 50% copper and 50% silver.

Z

Zircon

Zircon (zircon silicate) is a lustrous gemstone that comes in colors ranging from golden brown to red to violet to blue. Pure zircon is colorless, but most zircon stones are brown. Zircon stones can be heat-treated to become blue or colorless; sometimes, heat-treated stones revert to their original color. Clear zircon is sometimes sold (intentionally or otherwise) as diamond. It has a hardness of 7.5 and a specific gravity of 3.90-4.71.