Navigate through a world of jewelry jargon and uncover the meanings behind different jewelry terms with our jewelry glossary. Here you will find an alphabetical list including technical jewelry making terms and gemstone information.

Click on a letter below to begin your search:

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, W, Y, Z

 

A

ABALONE

The iridescent inside surface of a mollusc’s shell comprised of nacre or mother-of-pearl.  This surface is highly iridescent with many strong changeable colors. 

AGATE

A type of quartz, mainly chalcedony, that varies in color from white to grey, light blue, orange to red and black.

ALEXANDRITE

A mineral which changes color or appears to change color as the source of light changes. Found in Russia, Sri Lanka and Brazil.

ALLOY

A mixture of two or more metals.

AMBER

Fossilized resin in shades from honey through to yellow and reddish brown.

AMETHYST

Transparent and opaque varieties of crystallized quartz, typically purple or violet in color.

AMETRINE

A variety of quartz that contains both amethyst and citrine sectors in the same crystal.

ANDALUSITE

An orange brown, yellowish green or gold mineral, named after Andalusia, where it was first discovered. 

ANTIQUE STYLE

Process by which something takes on an aged look. Usually a darkened or tarnished appearance.

APPLIQUÉ

An ornamental piece that's created separately and then applied to a piece of jewelry.

AQUAMARINE

A blue semi-precious stone in the beryl family.

ARMOIRE

A cabinet to store your jewelry with several doors and shelves.

ART DECO

See 'Deco style'

AUSTRIAN CRYSTAL

Imitation of natural or rock crystal (quartz). see also crystal.

AVENTURINE

Translucent greenish quartz mineral, internally granular. Often mistaken for jade, another green stone

AZURITE MALACHITE

A mineral which is characterized in appearance by bands of light and dark blue.

B

BAGUETTE

A type of gemstone cut in which the gem is faceted into a rectangular shape.

BAIL

This is the loop on for example a necklace, to which the actual pendant gets attached. Can also be the loop on a pendant which the chain goes through.

BAND

A ring that has the same width all way around. Often used as a wedding ring.

BANGLE

A solid bracelet. You either slip it on to your wrist or open it like a clasp.

BASE METAL

A non-precious metal like iron and zinc. 

Baryte - A generally white or grey stone.

BEAD

The shape of a stone or other material cut like a small sphere. Is often pierced and used for threading.

BELCHER CHAIN

A type of trace chain where the links, made of D-section wire, are broad and of equal length.

BELL CAP

A bell shaped setting for drop settings.

Bezel – A setting used for rings where a band of metal is shaped around the gem used. This is often used to raise the gem to make it look its best.

BOX & TONGUE CLASP

A type of clasp that locks by a small v-shaped ‘tongue’ fitting into a small box.

BOX CHAIN

A type of chain made from square links that are connected to form a smooth chain.

BRAZILLIANITE

A much sought after gemstone, usually ground into facet cuts, and it is a very popular item with collectors.

BRILLIANT CUT

A round cut with 58 facets, mathematically placed to produce the greatest sparkle. The now most common cut for diamonds.

BROOCH

A piece of jewelry which you attach to your clothing with a pin.

C

CABOCHON

A type of gemstone cut which is flat on the underside and has a smooth dome on the upper. The name comes from the Norman word ‘Caboche’ meaning 'head.'

CAMEO

A piece that has been carved out of shell or gem for example. It is raised from the background and used as jewelry.

CARAT (used with gems)

The weight unit usually used for gems, where 1 carat = 0.2 grams.

 

CARAT (precious metals)

Used to indicate how many parts of an item is precious metal (gold or silver) and how many parts are alloy. It can be between 1-24 parts, where for example 9 carat gold has 9 parts of gold and 15 parts alloy.

CARNELIAN

A red or reddish-brown variant of chalcedony.

CAT'S EYE

A gemstone which has a sweeping band of light across the center.

CHALCEDONY

Composed of very fine merge of the minerals quartz and beryl. Often refers to various types of colored quartz.

 

CHANDELIER EARRINGS

A drop style earring or pendant with a number of sections branching out like a chandelier.

CHANNEL SETTING

Channel set gemstones are placed into a metal channel. The gemstones flow in a continuous row, because no metal is used to separate them.

CHARM

A charm or 'pendant' that you can wear on a bracelet, necklet or earring.

CHARM BRACELET

A bracelet with attached charms.

CHRYSOPRASE

A green variety of chalcedony.

CITRINE

A yellow version of quartz.

CLASP

The part that keeps the ends of jewelry together on, for example, a bracelet.

CLIP-BACK

Earrings you can wear without having pierced ears. You clip them on and they sit around your earlobe.

CLUSTER

A type of setting where the stones are grouped together in a cluster.

COLLARETTE

Collar style necklace.

CORAL

Calcified skeletons of sea creatures that grow in formations resembling the branches of a tree.

CORUNDUM

The family to which sapphire and ruby belongs.

CROWN

The upper part of a gem.

CRYSTAL

A colorless and transparent natural or rock crystal.

CUFFLINK

A piece of jewelry used to close the cuffs on a shirt with no buttons.

CULTURED PEARL

A foreign object is inserted into a mollusc to induce the creation of a pearl. A material called nacre builds up in layers around the impurity and forms a pearl.

CURB CHAIN

A chain where the links are oval and twisted so that they lie flat.

CUSHION CUT

A type of cut where the gem is square with rounded corners.

 

D

DIAMOND

A precious gemstone made from carbon. One of the most popular stones and the hardest mineral in the world.

DIOPSIDE

A mineral which comes in different colors but usually in green.

DIASPORE

A rare color changing aluminium oxide gemstone from Turkey.  The name comes from the Greek word 'Diaspora' which means 'to scatter' because it crackles when heated.  The color changes from a brownish pink under incandescent light to a brownish green under flourescent light.

E

EARRING BACK OR BUTTERFLY

The lose piece of the earring which you put on the earring post to keep the earring in place.

ELECTROPLATING

When covering a metal with a thin coat of another metal.

EMERALD

A beautiful green gemstone which thanks to its color and rarity is one of the most valuable gemstones.

EMERALD CUT

A kind of gemstone cut featuring a rectangular shape stone with truncated corners. This stepped cut was developed to bring out the best in emeralds but is often used on other gemstones such as diamonds.

ENAMEL

A hard and usually glossy material in different colors is fused on to jewelry as decoration.

F

FACET

The polished surface on a gem that reflects the light.

FACETED

A stone that has been cut with facets.

FANCY CUT

Gemstone cuts in different shapes such as flowers, triangles etc.

FINISH

The way the surface of a piece of jewelry is finished, usually by polishing or with a matte or brushed effect.

FRESHWATER PEARL

A pearl made naturally from a mussels living in rivers or lakes.

G

GARNET

A group of minerals whose name originates form the Latin word “granatus” because of its similar color to pomegranate seeds. Garnet also comes in other colors.

GEMSTONE

A mineral that has been cut and polished and is used in jewelry.

GIRDLE

The outermost edge of a cut gem, the part where it is the widest.

GOLD

A soft but heavy and valuable precious metal. It needs to be alloyed with other metals to become more workable and hardwearing when used for jewelry.  The carat of the metal tells you how many parts of gold there are compared to the other alloys. Pure gold is 24 carat which equals 24 parts of gold.

GOLD PLATED

When a metal item has covered with microns of gold to give the same appearance of a gold piece.

GOLD TONE

An item colored to look like gold.

GOLD FINISH

When an item is finished to look like it is gold.

H

HALF HOOP EARRING

Earrings which appear to be hoops that curl around the ear but are not completely circular.

HALLMARK

A mark made on most gold, silver and platinum items to provethe purity of the item. The mark is made either by hand, laser or stamped. This is done at an Assay office where the item is first tested to make sure of its purity. The hallmark also has to state who requested the hallmarked and which Assay office marked it. There are other voluntary marks that can be added as well.

HAMMERED FINISH

A type of finish where texture is created by using a small hammer to create a “hammered” surface.

HESSONITE

Is part of the garnet family with a yellow, red or brownish color.

HIGH POLISH

When an item has been polished to get an almost mirror like finish.

HOOP EARRING

An earring in the shape of a circle.

I

INLAY

When a stone is set into another material so that is lies flush and creates a smooth surface.

IOLITE

A gemstone whose name comes from the Greek word for violet. The color ranges from sapphire blue to blue violet to yellowish gray to light blue as the light angle changes.

IRIDESCENCE

When you can see different rainbow-like colors in a piece, depending on which angle you look at it from.

J

JADE

A green ornamental stone often used in jewelry. Jade is often the umbrella term for both jadeite and nephrite gemstones.

K

KUNZITE

A lilac, pink gemstone. When looking at the gem two shades of the body color and a colorless section show depending on which angle you look at it.

L

LAPIS LAZULI

An azure blue stone with small speckles of several different minerals.

LEVER BACK

An earring that has a hinged back section that latches behind the ear.

LINKS

Several hoops joined together to make up a chain.

LOBSTER CLASP

A clasp often used for necklaces and bracelets with the shape of a lobster claw. A spring in the “claw” makes it possible to open and close the clasp to put the other end of the chain on to it to secure it.

M

MALACHITE

A gemstone with light and dark green bands running through it.

MARCASITE

The white form of Iron Pyrite and is also known as “fools gold”. When polished they sparkle beautifully.

MARQUISE

A gemstone cut into the shape of a long oval or leaf shape.

MATTE

A non-glossy finish.

MOHS SCALE

A scale on which minerals are graded from 1 to 10 depending on their hardness, with diamond (10) as the hardest mineral on Earth. The scale works so that minerals with a certain number can scratch minerals with a lower number and get scratched by the minerals with a higher number.

MOONSTONE

A gemstone with a white sheen and flashes of blue.

MORGANITE

A pink, peach, violet type of beryl that has recently become a popular choice in engagement ring designs.

MOTHER OF PEARL

A hard substance that forms on the inside layer of a pearl-bearing mollusc. You can find it in colors ranging from subtle pastels to brighter and bolder shades, all with a deep iridescent glow.

N

NACRE

The substance that is formed around an foreign object inside a mollusc to become a pearl.

O

ONYX

A variety of microcrystalline quartz, chalcedony. It has brown and white or black and white bands going through it. Often dyed black to give a mysterious look.

OPAL

There are both iridescent and non iridescent opals and made from hardened silica gel. White opals flaunt vibrant flashes of color within whilst fire opals are a bright burning red-orange color.

OPAQUE GEM

A stone that is not transparent.

OXIDATION

When metals react with oxygen and turn dark and or black.

P

PAVÉ SETTING

Small stones set very closely together.

PEARL

An organic gemstone formed within the shell of a mollusc and used as a gem.

PENDANT

A piece worn on a chain as a necklace.

PERIDOT

A gemstone with an olive or bottle green color.

POINT (pt)

A unit of weight for gemstones, 100 points = 1 carat.

PRECIOUS GEMSTONE

Four types of beautiful, rare and costly gems - diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires.

 

PRINCESS CUT

A square version of a brilliant cut with sharp uncut corners.

Q

QUARTZ

A crystalline mineral and one of the most common minerals of the Earth’s crust. Comes in many colors or can be colorless.

R

RHODIUM

A hard silvery-white metal, part of the platinum group.

RHODALITE

A rose-pink to red mineral related to Garnet gemstones.

ROCK CRYSTAL

A clear and colorless quartz.

ROPE CHAIN

A chain with a design and linkage that spirals like a rope.

ROSE GOLD

Gold alloyed with an amount of copper to give it a romantic pinkish color.

ROSE QUARTZ

Pink or peach color quartz. You can find transparent rose quartz but the most common one has a “milky” appearance.

RUBY

Red or pinkish color corundum and one of the four precious gemstones.  

RUTILATED QUARTZ

Quartz with needle-like rutile red, black or yellow crystals inside.

S

SAPPHIRE

A precious stone that is part of the corundum family. Comes in different colors and the most valuable one is the clear deep blue sapphire.

SATIN FINISH

When an item has a matte finish instead of the normal shiny finish.

SCREW BACK EARRINGS

A type of earring that has a clamp with a screw to be tighten against the back of the earlobe.

SHANK

The back part of the ring that encircles the finger.

SHOULDER

The side of the ring that joins the shank to the center piece. The shoulder may be lined with gemstones along the ring band.

SIGNET RING

A ring with a flat center piece on which you can have a family crest or similar engraved.

SILVER TONE

An item colored to look like silver.

SMOKY QUARTZ

Quartz in a smoky brown color variant.

SOLITAIRE

A ring with one single stone.

SPINEL

A transparent to almost opaque stone that comes in different colors from pink to black.

SQUARE CUT

A square shape stone with long narrow facets around it.

STEP CUT

When a stone is cut with several parallel rows to create “steps.”

STERLING SILVER (925)

Sterling silver (925) – Silver alloy that contains at least 925 parts of silver out of 1000 parts. The other 75 parts are of another metal and is usually added to make the silver more durable.

STUD EARRING

An earring with a post and usually a butterfly backing. The stud earring sits in the ear without dangling.

SYNTHETIC

A stone made in laboratory but with the exact same physical properties as the natural stone. Gemondo does not use synthetic or lab-created gemstones.

T

TABLE

The top flat facet of a ring that makes it look like a table top.

TANZANITE

A purple and blue gemstone mined only in Tanzania.

TARNISH

When an item has a dull finish as a result of reacting with air, water or chemicals.

TENNIS BRACELET

A bracelet style that features a lining of diamonds or other gemstones.

TIGER'S EYE

Type of black quartz with iron oxide staining that gives it golden stripes. Usually cabochon cut to make it look like a cat’s eye.

TOGGLE CLASP

When a bracelet or necklace has a ring in one end and a short bar in the other. You secure it by sticking the bar through the ring so that it sits horizontally across preventing release.

TOPAZ

Topaz gemstones can be found in different colors and a transparent appearance. Topaz is one of the birthstones for November.

TOURMALINE

A crystal mineral that comes in different variations such as pink and green tourmaline or bi-color watermelon tourmaline.

TRANSLUCENT

Allow light to pass through but are not completely see-through.

TRANSPARENT

Clear or see-through.

TSAVORITE

A green and transparent type of garnet.

TURQUOISE

An opaque to semi-translucent aqua blue stone. Turquoise is one of the birthstones for December.

W

WHITE GOLD

Gold alloyed with other metals to appear silvery white.

Y

YELLOW GOLD

A warm yellow metal which can vary in its color saturation depending on the amount of gold in the alloy e.g. 9ct, 14ct, 22ct.

Z

ZIRCON

A type of natural gemstone that can be colorless or found in many different shades.