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Glossary of Jewelry Terms


BIRTHSTONES & GEMSTONES
TYPES OF CHAINS

DIAMONDS

FINDINGS

METALS

METAL FINISHES

STONE SHAPES & CUTS

TYPES OF SETTINGS

TOOLS

WATCHES

BIRTHSTONES & GEMSTONES

Birthstones: Stones that correspond to a specific month of the year.
Akoya Pearls: Saltwater cultured pearls that are harvested from Akoya mollusks in oceans off the coasts of Japan and China.
Alexandrite: Discovered in Russia in 1830, this mineral has a unique ability to change colors in various lights. It is also traditionally given for the 55th wedding anniversary.
Amethyst: A purple form of quartz. Amethyst is the birthstone of February and the traditional gift for the 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries.
Aquamarine: A blue-green mineral from the beryl family. Aquamarine is the birthstone of March and the traditional gift for the 19th wedding anniversary.
Blue Topaz: The most common form of topaz. Blue Topaz is traditionally used to celebrate December birthdays and the fourth year of marriage
Citrine: A yellow variety of quartz. Citrine is the birthstone for November and the accepted gift for the 13th wedding anniversary.
Cultured Pearl: Cultured pearls are created when tiny irritants are inserted into a mollusk shell. Nacre builds around the irritants over time, resulting in cultured pearls. Most pearls today are cultured.
Diamond: The hardest known natural mineral to man. Diamonds are the birthstone of April and the traditional gift for the 10th, 60th and 75th wedding anniversaries
Emerald: Found in all shades of green, emerald is a member of the beryl family. It is the birthstone of May and the traditional gift for the 20th, 35th and 55th wedding anniversaries.
Freshwater Pearl: Freshwater pearls are harvested from freshwater rivers and/or lakes in China, Japan and the United States.
Garnet: The reddish-brown birthstone for January. Less common varieties are found in all colors except blue. Garnet is also the traditional gift for the 18th wedding anniversary.
Hardness (Moh’s Scale of Hardness): The ability of a stone or mineral to resist scratching. Hardness is measured from 1-10, 10 (diamonds) being the hardest.
Mother of Pearl: Thin layers of nacre that make up the iridescent interior of a mollusk shell. These layers are removed and used for watch faces and other pieces of jewelry.
Onyx: A traditionally black gemstone used to celebrate the 7th wedding anniversary.
Opal: This gemstone is believed to reflect the colors of all other gemstones. Opal is the birthstone for October and the traditional gift for the 14th wedding anniversary.
Pearl: Organic gemstones created from layer upon layer of nacre and produced in mollusk shells. Pearls are the traditional anniversary gemstone for the third and 30th year of marriage and the birthstone for June. Today, because of their rarity in nature, most pearls are cultured.
Peridot: This gemstone is known for its yellow-green color. Peridot is the birthstone for August and the traditional gift for the 16th wedding anniversary
Ruby: The red form of the mineral, corundum. Along with sapphires, rubies are the second hardest minerals, (diamonds are the hardest). Rubies serve as the birthstone of July and the traditional gift for the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries.
Sapphire: A form of the mineral, corundum, that comes in every color except red. Sapphires and rubies are the second hardest minerals, (diamonds are the hardest). Sapphire is the birthstone of September and the traditional gift for the 5th, 23rd and 45th wedding anniversaries.
Sapphire Crystal: A timepiece crystal that is crafted of natural or lab-created sapphire, the second hardest mineral on the Moh’s Scale of Hardness (diamonds are the hardest).
Tahitian Pearl: Dark colored pearls grown in black-lipped oysters. Because of their rarity in nature, most Tahitian pearls are now cultured.
Tanzanite: A fairly new gemstone discovered in Tanzania in 1967. Tanzanite is known for its bluish-purple hues and is December’s newest birthstone as well as the traditional gift for the 24th wedding anniversary.
Tourmaline: Tourmaline occurs in more colors or combination of colors than any other gemstone. It is heat resistant, extremely durable and the traditional gift for the 8th wedding anniversary. It is also an October birthstone.

Learn how to choose pearl jewelry
Traditional & Modern Anniversary Gifts
Birthstone Jewelry

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TYPES OF CHAINS

Box Chain: A classic chain with small box-like links.
Cable Chain: Metal ovals are strung together in a rotating pattern to create this chain.
Curb Link Chain: Oval links interweave to form a long metal chain.
Foxtail Chain: Resembling the fullness of a foxtail, this chain is expertly designed by interweaving bent circles of metal together in a continuous pattern.
Herringbone Chain: A flexible chain that lies flat around the neck.
Mariner Link Chain: Also called an anchor link chain, this chain is made up of oval links with a strip of metal down the middle of each link.
Omega Chain: Small rectangular pieces of metal are linked together on a flexible wire that is invisible to the eye. Omega chains are arched on top but lay flat against the neck and can be decorated with a slide.
Rope Chain: Several strips of metal are twisted together, resulting in a chain with a rope pattern.
Snake Chain: The look of this chain is similar to the body of a snake as thin bands of metal are closely secured together.
Wheat Chain: A durable chain made up of interweaving bands of metal, resembling a grain of wheat.
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DIAMONDS

Brilliance: The light that is reflected from the diamond to the eye, or the amount of sparkle for a particular diamond.
Brilliant-Cut: A way in which diamonds are cut. Brilliant-cut diamonds include round, oval, teardrop, pear, princess, radiant, triangle, heart and marquise-shaped diamonds.
Carat Weight: One of the 4Cs that measures diamond weight. Diamonds can range from small fractions of a carat to many carats.
Certification: A certification provides an unbiased description of the individual qualities that determine a diamond’s value and worth as evaluated by expert gemologists.
Colorless: A diamond with no traces of body color. Light travels through a colorless diamond better than a diamond with color, resulting in exceptional brilliance.
Crown: The upper portion of a diamond, located between the table and girdle (midsection).
Culet: The small facet on the bottom tip of a diamond.
Diamond : The hardest known natural mineral to man. Diamonds are the birthstone of April and the traditional gift for the 10th, 60th and 75th wedding anniversaries
Diamond Clarity: One of the 4Cs that measures the amount/absence of inclusions in and blemishes on a diamond. Clarity ranges from flawless to included/imperfect.
Diamond Color: One of the 4Cs that measures the amount of body color (tint) in a diamond on a scale from colorless to yellow/brown or gray.
Diamond Cut: One of the 4Cs that determines how light travels through a stone. Cut refers to the proportions of a stone, facet angles, finish and shape.
Diamond Table: The uppermost flat surface and biggest facet of a stone.
Diamond Total Weight: The sum of the carat weights for all diamonds in a piece of jewelry.
Facets: The flat surfaces on a cut stone. The placement of facets determines how much light reflects through the stone.
Flawless: The highest grading on the clarity scale. A flawless diamond has no inclusions or blemishes visible under 10x magnification.
Four Cs: The four distinct characteristics – cut, color, clarity and carat weight – that classify each diamond. Experts use these classifications to establish the value and quality of every diamond. For more information, visit our guide to the.
Girdle: The horizontal midsection and widest part of a diamond. The girdle may be polished, faceted or unpolished on a diamond, but is typically left unpolished on color stones.
Hardness (Moh’s Scale of Hardness): The ability of a stone or mineral to resist scratching. Hardness is measured from 1-10, 10 (diamonds) being the hardest.
Natural Fancy Color Diamonds: Diamonds with a deep body color, including brown, yellow, blue, violet, orange, pink and red. Fancy color diamonds are unusual and therefore highly valued. They are rated Z+ on the color scale and have nine saturation levels from Faint to Fancy Vivid.
Pavilion: The lower part of a diamond, located between the girdle and the culet.
Proportions: How a diamond’s angles and parts relate to one another.
Return of Light: The amount of light that reflects out the top of the diamond to the eye, or the measurement of diamond brilliance.
Scintillation: The sparkle or flash emitted by diamonds when they are moved under light.
Step-Cut: A way in which diamonds are cut. Step-cut diamonds feature rows of facets positioned in a step-like fashion. Most step-cut diamonds have four sides and a rectangular shape, such as emerald or baguette diamonds.
Symmetry: The precision of a diamond’s cut.

Learn more about diamonds.

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FINDINGS

Bangle: A rigid bracelet that slips over the hand, sometimes with a clasp.
Barrel Clasp: Two metal pieces on either end of a necklace or bracelet screw or click together, forming a clasp that looks like a barrel.
Box Clasp: A piece of folded metal on one end of a chain or bracelet fits into the opening of a box on the other end and securely fastens the chain or bracelet together.
Clasp: The device used to fasten each end of a watchband, bracelet or necklace together. Clasps are traditionally made of metal and include several designs.
Euro Wire Backs: Long curved wires that attach to the earrings on one end, while the other end goes through the ear and secures with a clasp.
Fishhook Clasp: Also called a Hook and Eye Clasp, this fastener has a hook on one end of the chain and a metal loop on the other. The hook fits through the loop to keep the chain together.
Lobster Clasp: Named for its resemblance to a lobster claw, this clasp has a hook with a spring-powered arm that can be opened and closed. The hook is attached to the opposite end of the chain, and the arm is closed to secure the chain.
Slide: A piece of jewelry that slides onto an omega chain and acts as the centerpiece.
Omega Back: A straight piece of metal (a post) goes through the earlobe while a hinged curved arm supports the back of the earring.
Post: The metal part of the earring that goes through the pierced earlobe.
Push On Screw Off Earring Backs: A small metal back is pushed onto the earring’s post and unscrewed when removed.
Screw Back: Screw backs are typically used for diamond earrings. This secure backing features small metal backs that screw onto the post.
Spring Ring Clasp: This popular clasp features a small metal ring with a gap that can be opened and closed by a spring-powered lever. This ring attaches to a metal ring with no gap on the opposite end of the chain.
Tongue Clasp: This clasp has a V-shaped piece of metal that securely fits into a box on the opposite end of the chain.
Toggle Clasp: A metal bar on one end of the chain fits through a small metal ring on the opposite end. When flat, the bar cannot fit back through the ring, securing the ends together.
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METALS

10 Karat White Gold: 10 Karat gold (10K) is 10 parts pure gold and 14 parts other metal alloys. White gold is created by combining pure gold with a copper, zinc and nickel (or palladium) alloy.
10 Karat Yellow Gold: 10 Karat gold (10K) is 10 parts pure gold and 14 parts other metal alloys. By combining with copper and silver, yellow gold retains a rich yellow color while increasing its durability.
14 Karat White Gold: 14 Karat gold (14K) is 14 parts pure gold and 10 parts other metal alloys. White gold is created by combining pure gold with a copper, zinc and nickel (or palladium) alloy.
14 Karat Yellow Gold: 14 Karat gold is 14 parts pure gold and 10 parts other metal alloys. By combining with copper and silver, yellow gold retains a rich yellow color while increasing its durability.
18 Karat White Gold: 18 Karat gold (18K) is 18 parts pure gold and 6 parts other metal alloys. White gold is created by combining pure gold with a copper, zinc and nickel (or palladium) alloy.
18 Karat Yellow Gold: 18 Karat gold (18K) is 18 parts pure gold and 6 parts other metal alloys. By combining with copper and silver, yellow gold retains a rich yellow color while increasing its durability.
Alloy: A mixture of two or more metals created to enhance the strength and/or appearance of a particular metal.
Gold (Metal): The classic metal used for most jewelry. Pure gold (24K) is too soft to be used for jewelry so it is combined with other metals to enhance durability. For example, 14K gold is 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metals.
Karat: The standard measurement of gold. Pure gold is 24 Karats.
Metals: Fine jewelry and jewelry settings are crafted of metal. Common metals include gold, silver, platinum and titanium. Metals can be used in pure form or combined to increase durability.
Palladium: Palladium is a rare and lustrous silvery-white metal.
Pink Gold: The result of combining pure gold with large amounts of copper. Also called “Rose” or “Red” Gold.
Platinum: A durable precious metal, valued for its white color and purity. Platinum is hypoallergenic. To be called platinum, it must contain at least 90% pure platinum (10% other metals). (585 Platinum contains 58.5% platinum, 41.5% other metals.)
Rhodium: A shiny platinum group metal that increases whiteness and strength of other metals. A rhodium finish also helps to prevent tarnishing.
Silver (Metal): A type of metal used for jewelry. Silver is often combined with other metals to increase its strength. Sterling silver consists of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% alloy.
Solder: The process of melting metal and joining it together to make, repair or adjust jewelry.
Stainless Steel: A strong metal used for jewelry that is less likely to rust or corrode than regular steel or other jewelry metals.
Sterling Silver: A durable jewelry metal consisting of at least 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% alloy.
Titanium: A popular jewelry metal, especially for wedding bands and watches. Titanium weighs 1/3 less than gold, but is extremely strong.
White Gold: White gold is created by combining pure gold with a copper, zinc and nickel (or palladium) alloy.
Yellow Gold: Pure gold is 24 Karat, which is too soft for gold jewelry. By combining with copper and silver, yellow gold retains a rich yellow color while increasing its durability.

Learn more about platinum.

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METAL FINISHES

Brushed Finish: A firm metal brush creates tiny grooves in the surface of the metal to add texture. This effect slightly reduces the reflection of the metal and creates a wispy, feathery look.
Diamond-Cut Finish: Created by cutting the metal with a diamond, giving it a glittering and sparkling look.
Florentine Finish: The texture on a metal’s surface in which small lines are engraved in a crosshatch pattern.
High-Polish Finish: Metal with a shiny, reflective surface.
Milgrain: A decorative technique in which a beaded design is impressed into the metal.
Polish: The condition of a diamond or metal’s surface.
Satin Finish: Similar to a brushed-finish, a satin-finish adds texture with small grooves in the metal’s surface. This reduces the metal’s reflectivity and adds a desirable soft sheen.
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STONE SHAPES AND CUTS

Baguette: A stone cut into a small rectangular or tapered shape with a step cut and often used as accents to larger stones.
Cabochon-Cut: A common cut for gemstones that features a smooth, rounded surface rather than faceted.
Cushion-Cut: A type of cut in which a four-sided stone has smooth, rounded edges.
Emerald-Cut: A type of cut in which the stone is rectangular or square with beveled corners and a step cut.
Facets: The flat surfaces on a cut stone. The placement of facets determines how much light reflects through the stone.
Heart-Shaped Cut: Stones cut in the shape of a heart. Heart-shaped diamonds are a variation of the round brilliant-cut.
Marquise: A type of cut in which the stone is elongated and pointed at both ends. A marquise stone is longer than it is wide.
Oval: A stone with an elongated round shape. This cut is popular for color gemstones.
Pear-Shaped Cut: Also known as teardrop-shaped, a pear-shaped stone features a rounded bottom edge that comes to a point at the top.
Princess-Cut: A type of cut featuring a square stone.
Radiant-Cut: An eight-sided rectangular or square-cut stone with approximately 70 facets.
Round Brilliant-Cut: Diamond cutters have developed this cut over hundreds of years. The round cut brings out a diamond’s brilliance, dispersion and scintillation.
Step-Cut: A way in which diamonds are cut. Step-cut diamonds feature rows of facets positioned in a step-like fashion. Most step-cut diamonds have four sides and a rectangular shape, such as emerald or baguette diamonds.
Teardrop-Shaped: Also known as pear-shaped, a teardrop-shaped stone features a rounded bottom edge that comes to a point at the top.
Trillion: A type of cut in which the stone has three distinct sides.
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TYPES OF SETTINGS

Bead Setting: A decorative setting in which stones are set evenly with the metal surface and secured by small metal bead-like prongs.
Bezel Setting: Metal is wrapped around the girdle of the stone, making only its crown and table visible. This setting is admired for its protection, security and its ability to minimize inclusions.
Cathedral Setting: Cathedral-like arches rise above the band on either side of the stone. May contain diamond or colored stone accents.
Channel Setting: Stones are placed side by side within a metal channel. There is no metal between each stone.
Cluster Setting: Several stones that are grouped together for a unique design or to look like one large stone.
Flush Setting: Holes are cut in the surface of the metal, and stones are placed inside. Only the tops of the stones are visible, and their tables are even with the metal’s surface.
Friction Back: A small metal back is pushed on the earring’s post through a hole, preventing it from slipping off.
Half-Bezel Setting: Metal wraps around either side of the stone’s girdle, rather than around the entire stone.
Half-Channel Setting: Either side of a stone is bordered and secured by a strip of metal.
Inlaid Setting: A portion of the metal setting has been cut away and replaced by a stone. In this setting, the stones are flush with the metal surface.
Invisible Setting: Several stones are mounted together by metal under the stones. The metal cannot be seen from above, making the stones appear as if they have no setting at all.
Nick Setting: The nick setting is similar to the channel setting. Stones are placed in a row, with metal bordering either side. In a nick setting, small prongs are nicked from the surrounding metal to secure the stones.
Pavé Setting: Multiple small stones set in a curved or flat surface and held in place by prongs. The prongs are created by hand from the surrounding metal with the use of a fine sharp gravers tool. The tables of the stones will all be level with the jewelry surface.
Prong Setting: A stone rests in a metal base with prongs that extend to its girdle, securely holding it in place. Four-prong settings are the most popular, but some settings use more for added security.
Solitaire: Rings, earrings or necklaces that feature a single diamond in a metal setting.
Tension Setting: A stone is held on either side by the metal setting, as if it was floating in the air. Unlike other settings, the tension setting exposes almost the entire stone.
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TOOLS

Loupe: A magnification tool used by jewelers to analyze gemstones and other jewelry materials. Diamonds and color stones are always evaluated at 10x magnification and in the face-up position.
MM: The abbreviation for millimeter; our standard unit of measurement for jewelry dimensions. For an approximate conversion to inches, see below.

3MM is approximately 1/8 inch
6MM is approximately 1/4 inch
13MM is approximately 1/2 inch
19MM is approximately 3/4 inch
25MM is approximately 1 inch
50MM is approximately 2 inches
75MM is approximately 3 inches

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WATCHES

Chronograph: Watches that include multiple time measurement functions independent of the timekeeping. These functions can include stopwatches, timers, measurement of one-hour intervals, measurement of fractions of a second or elapsed time.
Chronometer: A watch whose timekeeping has been tested and certified for maximum accuracy according to standards set by the Swiss Official Chronometer Control (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres or C.O.S.C.).
Clasp: The device used to fasten each end of a watchband, bracelet or necklace together. Clasps are traditionally made of metal and include several designs.
Crown (Watch): A metal knob located on the side of a watchcase and used to set the watch to the correct time and date. Some watches have multiple crowns to control other functions and settings.
Crystal (Watch): The clear cover over the dial of a watch that protects it from dirt, scratches and internal damage. Typically made of glass-like substances such as plastic. High grade watches usually have synthetic sapphire crystals.
Deployment Clasp: This metal watch clasp is divided into three parts that extend out to fit over the wearer’s hand. When closing the clasp, the metal parts fold internally as the top latches onto the band. This clasp can also include push buttons on either side of the band for added security.
Dial (Face): The front display of a watch that includes the markings and hands. It is covered by the crystal and enclosed within the case.
Expansion Bracelet: This flexible watchband is used in place of a clasp. It is manually expanded over the wrist and retracts once it is released for a comfortable fit around the wrist.
Face: More technically referred to as the dial, the face is the front display of a watch that includes the markings and hands. It is covered by the crystal and enclosed within the case.
Fold Over Deployment Clasp: A metal watch clasp with three parts that extend out to fit over the wearer’s hand. When closing the clasp, the metal parts fold internally as the top latches onto the band. An extra piece of metal folds over the top of the latch and snaps into place. This clasp can also include push buttons on either side.
Hands: Thin, light strips of metal that are secured in the center of the watch face and point to the hours, minutes or seconds.
Hidden Clasp: A watch clasp that cannot be seen from the outside of the band. Portions of the metal band expand out to fit over the hand and internally fold, bringing the ends of the band together for a seamless look. Can include push buttons for added security.
Markings: The time increment symbols located on the watch dial, or stamping found on fine jewelry indicating gold content, manufacturer’s trademark and sometimes the stone weight.
Subdial: The small dials located on the watch face that display chronograph functions of the watch such as the stopwatch, timer, elapsed time measurement, date, day of the week and moon phase.
Tachymeter (Tachometer): An instrument on the watch that measures time and distance to determine speed. Tachymeters are typically used to measure high rates of speed.
Watch Band: A strip of leather, rubber, cloth or metal that attaches to the case and wraps around the wrist. Metal bands can be resized by adding or removing links; leather bands offer several buckle holes for the best fit.
Watch Movement: The internal device that keeps time. The first watches were mechanical, with a balance wheel and mainspring. They had to be wound to keep time. Most watches today use a quartz crystal and a battery for power – they don’t require winding. Automatic watches are self-winding, powered by the everyday motion of your wrist.
Water Resistant: The feature of a watch that denies water and moisture from penetrating inside its case. No watch is completely waterproof, but several can withstand rain and splashing. Water resistance is measured in ATMs (atmospheric pressure). This number is usually printed on the back of the case.
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Terms partially sourced from Days of Elegance

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