Abalone: The shiny interior of a seashell. Also referred to as mother of pearl.
Agate: A fine-grained, fibrous variety of chalcedony with colored bands or irregular clouding. Agate can come in many colors and is perfect for creating unique beaded jewelry.
Aigrette: A feather-shaped jewelry ornament worn in the hair or on a hat.
A Jour: An open setting that exposes the pavilion facets to the light.
Alexandrite: A type of quartz unique for its color change in different types of light. In natural light, it looks blue-green, but under indoor lights it appears reddish-purple. Natural alexandrite with good color has high value because mining of it has all but stopped, and there are many synthetic versions on the market. Synthetic color-change sapphire is sometimes mistaken for alexandrite.
Alloy: A mixture of two or more metals.
Aluminum: A lightweight, pliable silver metal.
Amber: Fossilized resin of prehistoric pines that can be found in many colors including yellow, red-orange, black, green and blue. Fake amber can be made from plastic.
Amethyst: Quartz that comes in shades of purple ranging from very light lavender to deep, intense purple with little flashes of red.
Aquamarine: A light blue to deep blue or bluish-green gem stone, with the most valuable one being pure blue. Aquamarines are faceted more often than not. However, a cabochon cut aquamarine produces a cat's eye reflective effect.
Ascher Cut: A diamond or gem stone cut named for Joseph Asscher, who developed a square cut diamond with 72 facets in 1902. The cut's wide step facets and deep clipped corners make the gem stone resemble an octagon.
Art Deco: A style popular in the mid-1920s characterized by angular geometric shapes, zigzags, bold colors, glass beads, plastics like Bakelite and chrome. Colored stone jewelry was popular, with the more popular jewelry using natural stones like jade, onyx and coral.
Art Nouveau: Style of design popular between the late 1800’s and 1910. Jewelry was characterized by use of fluid lines, unique representations of nature, floral elements, women with flowing hair, natural colors and unusual materials.
Baguette: Gem stone or diamond cut in a narrow, rectangular shape. Baguette gem stones are often used as accents to a larger gem stone in fine jewelry.
Band: A plain gold, silver or platinum ring. Sometimes includes inlaid gem stones.
Bangle: A rigid bracelet, usually without a clasp, that slips over the wrist.
Bar Setting: Gem stone or diamond setting between two parallel bars where the sides of the gems are left open. This maximizes the amount of light entering the gems, which creates extraordinary brilliance and sparkle.
Baroque: Irregular shaped gem stone usually in reference to a pearl.
Bezel Setting: Gem stone or diamond setting where a strip or wall of precious metal encircles the gem.
Birthstone: Gem stone associated with a specific month of the year. Like the jewelry equivalent of a zodiac sign, birthstones have their roots in ancient astrology. Birthstone lists have changed over the years, but today’s has been around since the U.S. jewelry industry published it in the 1950s.
June: Pearl and/or Moonstone
November: Citrine, Topaz
December: Turquoise, Zircon
Biwa Pearl: Japanese freshwater cultured pearl.
Black Hills Gold: A jewelry style that blends yellow gold, rose gold and green gold.
Black Onyx: Not a true onyx, black onyx is actually chalcedony dyed black. The dye is stable and does not require special care.
Blemish: A blemish is a nick, scratch or any other flaw on the surface of a gem stone.
Blister Pearl: An irregular or dome shaped, hollow pearl that is cut off the inside shell of the oyster.
Box Clasp (also called a Tongue & Groove Clasp): A clasp that incorporates a box with a notch on one end and a metal spring that slips into the box and locks.
Brass: Copper and zinc alloy.
Bridal Set: A matching set of rings that include an engagement ring and a wedding band.
Brilliance: The reflection and refraction of light displayed through a diamond or gemstone.
Brilliant Cut: A gemstone cutting style involving multiple facets designed to maximize brilliance. A modern round brilliant cut diamond or gemstone has 58 facets. Also known as full cut.
Briolette: A teardrop shaped gem stone faceted with triangular or rectangular facets. Also known as drop cut.
Buttercup Setting: Resembling a buttercup flower, this deep setting has six prongs that flare out from a scalloped shaped base.
Button earrings: Earrings that lay flat on the ear with no dangling parts.
Byzantine chain: A gold or silver chain that consists of oval links that form an intricate tube-like chain.
Cable chain: A silver or gold chain formed with round, uniform links joined together. A standard type of jewelry chain.
Cabochon: Gemstone with a smooth, carved surface that is dome-like with no facets and a flat base. The popular cabochon cut is commonly used with opaque and translucent stones like opals, moonstones, jade and turquoise.
Carat: Unit of weight used the measure precious gem stones and diamonds. Abbreviated “ct” or “c.” One carat is equivalent to 1/5 of a gram. A hundredth of a carat is also called a point. Thus a .10 carat stone can be called either 10 points, or 1/10 of a carat. A one carat round diamond is approximately 6.5 mm in diameter. This relationship of weight and size is different for each type of gem stone. For example rubies and sapphires are both heavier than diamond, so a 1 carat ruby or sapphire is smaller in size than a carat diamond. (Karat with a "K" is a measure of the purity of a gold alloy.)
Casting: Process of forming a piece of jewelry by pouring a molten or liquid substance into a mould until it solidifies and takes on the impression of the mould.
Center stone: The primary precious gem stone which; the centerpiece of a ring.
Chandelier Earrings: Earrings that dangle with a drop suspended like a chandelier.
Channel setting: Jewelry setting with a row of stones of the same dimension, fitted into a metal channel. Gem stones are not secured individually and there is no metal visible between the stones.
Charm: A decorative ornament that is attached to a bracelet, necklace or earring.
Choker: A short, close fitting necklace that fits like a collar.
Cigar Band: A ring with a wide band.
Citrine: Quartz that can be a variety of colors from light yellow to redish-orange to brown.
Clarity: One grading characteristic for diamonds and gem stones, which is determined by the location, type and extent of inclusions or blemishes present in or on the diamond or gem stone.
Clasp: A connection that closes two ends of a piece of jewelry. Clasps may be simple or ornate.
Cluster: Multiple gem stones grouped together in a jewelry setting. This type of setting is used for cluster rings, cluster pendants and cluster earrings.
Cocktail Ring: A large, oversized ring set with gem stones.
Collar: A necklace 12 to 23 inches that fits tightly around the neck and can consist of multiple chains or strands.
Color: A diamond grading characteristic that is measured in a range from D to Z, D being colorless and Z being heavily yellow or colored. Colorless diamonds command the highest prices. Color is the also one of the most important characteristics in determining the value of colored gem stones. Color in gem stones is described by hue, saturation and tone.
Colored Diamonds: Any diamond that is not white. Also known as fancy diamonds.
Coral: The skeleton shell of a network of tiny marine animals, found in the colors white, pink, orange, red, blue, black and brown.
Couture: Highly fashionable designer jewelry and clothing.
Creole earrings: Hoop earring broader at the bottom than at the top.
Crown: A faceted gemstone or diamond can be divided into upper and lower sections. The upper section or top is the crown. The lower section is the pavilion. The perimeter where both parts meet is referred to as a girdle. The flat plane on top of the stone is called a table, and the bottom point is the culet.
Cubic Zirconia: A lab-created simulated diamond. CZ is usually a transparent stone, but colors are added in the manufacturing process to simulate other gemstones.
Cuff Bracelet: A wide, rigid bangle formed to resemble a cuff. Sterling silver cuff bracelets are very popular. Can be inlaid with gemstones or natural stones like turquoise, coral and quartz.
Curb Link Chain: A chain is made of flat, oval links when worn lies flat along the wrist.
Cushion Cut: A square or rectangular cut gemstone with rounded corners and multiple facets for heightened light refraction.
Cut: The shape and style of diamonds and gemstones. Types of cuts include round, princess, emerald, cushion, ascher, baguette.
Demi-Hoop Style: A hoop earring in a half-circle shape. Also known as half-hoop design.
Diamond: A clear gemstone formed of crystalline carbon. They are exceptionally hard and durable, have high brilliance. Fine diamonds are rare. Diamonds are valued based on the 4 C's of color, cut, clarity and carat size.
Diamond-Cut Rope: A silver chain or gold chain made of flat diamond-shaped links.
Diamond melee: Not to be confused with diamond chips, these small diamonds are full cuts, containing all 58 facets, and are frequently used in fine jewelry as accent diamonds. The word melee refers the diamond’s weight, which is less than 1/5 of a carat.
Drop Earring: Sometimes referred to as a “dangle earring”, this design includes any earring with hangs below the earlobe.
Earring Back: A disk or bead that attaches to an earring post to secure the earring in place on the ear.
Electroplating: A method in which an electric current deposits a layer of metal on a piece of jewelry. Usually the item is layered with silver or gold.
Emerald: A deep green gemstone. Fine emeralds are among the most valuable gemstones. Unlike diamonds and some other gemstones, flaws, or inclusions, are common in emeralds, so their value is less affected by them than with other precious stones like diamonds. The most highly prized emeralds are from Columbia. A fine emerald is bright, vivid green, with the most valuable having a slight blue cast to the bright green. Many emeralds used in jewelry are of relatively low quality as they are often dyed or oiled to improve the color and minimize the flaws. If an emerald appears to be very fine and lacking any flaws it is most likely synthetic.
Emerald cut: Rectangular-shaped gemstone with boxed corners. An emerald cut gemstone is elongated and octagonal.
Engraving: A technique in which metal is cut away to form a decorative design or letters, done by either hand or machine, or by using a stamping tool or drill. Also refers to inscribing a dedication or monogram to identify a piece. Under magnification, the design is sharper in a hand engraved piece, with noticeable but subtle irregularities.
Estate Jewelry: By definition this term simply means “previously owned,” although many people today have confused the term to be interchangeable with antique jewelry.
Etching: To remove part of a surface by acid for a decorative effect. Usually etching is done on a precious metal like silver or gold.
Eternity Band (Ring): Traditionally, this term refers to a millenniums old ring design wherein the band has been set with a continuous row of gemstones. Today it is most frequently given to mark an anniversary or the birth of a child, though many have begun exchanging the rings as bridal bands.
Eye Clean: Referring to a diamond or gemstone that has no visible inclusions or imperfections to the naked eye. The stone may have inclusions or flaws, but they are only viewable under magnification.
Facet: A flat surface cut and polished on the surface of a gemstone. The smooth surfaces of a gemstone.
Faceted: Cut with many facets or planes (flat surfaces).
Fancy Cut: Any gemstone cut other than the standard round.
Figaro Chain: A gold chain or silver chain made with alternating long and round links. A look similar to the curb link chain.
Filigree : Silver or gold wire twisted into intricate patterns in fine jewelry pieces. Often used for gold or silver beads, clasps and bead caps.
Findings: All types of fasteners and construction components used in jewelry making.
Finish: The texture or polish on any piece of jewelry.
Fire: Refers to the flashes of color appearing in many gemstones as white light is separated into colors creating a rainbow or prism effect.
Fob: A small charm, amulet or trinket that hangs on a chain.
Fold-Over Clasp: A hinged clasp used on necklaces and bracelets where a piece hinges and clips to closure.
Four Cs: Key indicators in diamond grading and quality. They include “Cut,” “Color,” “Clarity” and “Carat weight.”
Foxtail Chain: An intricate jewelry chain including three rows of links braded together.
French Clip: An earring for non-pierced ears, consisting of a spring clip with padding to hold the earring in place against the back of ear. Also called clip-on earring.
French Wire: Curved wire hook that passes through the pierced ear and sometimes closes with a catch. Primarily used for dangling earrings.
Freshwater pearl: A pearl produced by a mollusk that inhabits freshwater. Commonly have an uneven surface or irregular shape but can also be round and used in fine pearl jewelry. They come in a variety of colors, including rose, lavender and violet.
G (in color): When grading diamonds “color” refers to the absence of color in a diamond. The rating scale begins at D – colorless - ending with Z. Though some color can be seen when a G diamond is graded, it appears colorless when mounted, thus it is commonly used in fine jewelry.
Garnet: A semi-precious stone found in many colors but usually in a dark, crimson red, but can also range from deep red to deep purple to brown orange and green
Gemstones: Diamond, emerald, chalcedony, agate, heliotrope; onyx, plasma; tourmaline, chrysolite; sapphire, ruby, topaz; turquoise, zircon, cubic zirconia; jacinth, hyacinth, carbuncle, amethyst; alexandrite, cat's eye, bloodstone, hematite, jasper, moonstone, sunstone.
Genuine: Used to describe or designate a true precious stone, as opposed to a synthetic or “fake” version of the stone in costume jewelry. It is common to see gemstone names when describing costume jewelry: amethyst, diamond, garnet, emerald, ruby, sapphire. These words should not be interpreted to mean the precious stones with these names. The terms are used only to describe the color of the non-precious or synthetic stones. If the genuine stone is meant, it is usually indicated with the word “genuine” in the description. This general rule also applies to words for metals, such as gold, silver, copper and pewter.
Gilding: A process of covering fine jewelry or another artistic object with a precious metal like gold or an alloy. Also referred to as plating.
Gimmel ring: A ring formed of two or more linked hoops, which fit together in a manner that make them appear as one ring. Could also be called a puzzle ring.
Girdle: A faceted gemstone or diamond can be divided into upper and lower sections. The upper section of the diamond or top is the crown. The lower section is the pavilion. The perimeter where the top and bottom meet is the girdle. The flat part on top is called a table, and the bottom point is the culet.
Gold: A yellow or silvery precious metal that is prized for its beauty, purity and brilliance. It does not oxidize or tarnish like sterling silver or most other metals. Gold used in gold jewelry is usually alloyed with other metals since gold in its pure form is very soft and pliable, and therefore would not be durable for wear by itself. Gold purity is measured in Karats (Karats with a “K” grade gold, Carats with a “C” measures the weight of diamonds and gemstones.) The Karat marking system was not widely used until around the late 1800’s. The karat number refers to the parts of pure gold per 24 in the alloy. For example, 14K gold jewelry is 14/24 parts pure gold, or about 58% gold. Many European and other countries mark gold with a three-digit number indicating the parts per thousand of gold. Thus gold jewelry is often marked "750" for 750/1000 gold. (Equivalent to US 18K). In addition to various purities in gold jewelry, gold also comes in many colors, including white, pink and green gold, in addition to the familiar yellow gold.
Gold Filled: Abbreviated in jewelry descriptions as g.f. = lower in gold content than 10 KT, usually 1/20 or 1/12 K. In this technique a sheet of gold is applied to the surface of the jewelry. Most gold-filled jewelry is marked with the fineness of the gold layer, and the part by weight of the gold. So a piece marked "1/10 12K G.F." is at least 1/10 12K gold based on the weight of the finished piece. In the U.S., gold filled pieces must be at least 1/20 by weight to be classified as gold-filled.
Goldplate: A layer of gold applied to base metal, usually by electroplating.
Grain: Unit of weight for measuring diamonds and pearls. One grain is equal to .25 carat.
Gram Weight: The most common unit to measure the weight of jewelry. The gram weight is the metal weight of a jewelry piece in grams.
Green gold: Gold that contains a high proportion of silver, but is not a naturally occurring metal. The green color is produced by mixing 24 karat gold with a blend of silver, copper and zinc.
Gypsy setting: A gemstone setting where the stone is sunk into the metal leaving the top of the stone nearly level with the top of the metal surface.
H-I (in color): When grading diamonds “color” refers to the absence of color in a diamond. The rating scale runs from D (colorless) to Z (a lot of color). Though some color can be seen when an H-I diamond is graded, it appears colorless when mounted and is commonly used in fine jewelry.
Hallmarking: A stamp on gold, silver or platinum by assay offices after the metal has been tested and determined to contain the proper amount of precious metals required by law. Common stamps on jewelry are 925 (indicating solid sterling silver), 10K, 14K and 18K (indicating various gold purities).
Head: The prongs that hold a gemstone or diamond in place on a jewelry setting.
Herringbone: A silver or gold chain with small, slanted links that join to form a flat chain.
Hidden Box Clasp: A necklace or bracelet closure that consists of a flat slip piece that locks into a rectangular box hidden under the last link of the chain.
High Polish: Mirror-like finish of a highly polished piece of jewelry. Rhodium plating on sterling silver jewelry produces a high polish.
I.D. Bracelet: A bracelet with a curved plate that displays the name, initials, symbols or a message.
Inclusion: A naturally occurring flaw within a diamond or gemstone.
Inlay: Jewelry design consisting of stones, gems, wood and/or metals like silver and gold applied to the surface of another material and ground down to create a smooth surface.
Invisible Setting: A channel setting using calibrated stones without any metal showing from the top.
Jade: A hard natural stone that has been treasured by the Chinese and Indians for 7,000 years. Jade is made up of two different mineral species with similar appearance: nephrite and jadeite.
Karat: Used to define the amount of pure gold found in a jewelry item.
24 karat (24K) gold is pure gold.
18 karat (18K) gold contains 18 parts gold and 6 parts another metal or metals. (75% gold)
14 karat (14K) gold contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts another metal or metals. (58.3% gold)
10 karat (10K) gold contains 10 parts gold and 14 parts another metal or metals. (41.7% gold) 10k gold is the minimum karat designation that can still be called gold by U.S. standards.
Lab Created: Gemstones created in a lab with exact chemical properties as the natural gems. Also known as synthetic stones, they are usually far lower in proce than natural gemstones.
Lapis Lazuli: A vibrant blue and green natural stone made up of a complex composition of many minerals. Marbling of several colors is common, with colors ranging from royal blue to violet to greenish blue to verdant green. Is rated 5-6 on Mohs’ hardness scale and has an almost balmy luster.
Lariat: A cord-like necklace with two open ends handing down in front, looped into a knot or secured by a slide.
Lavaliere: A chain necklace from which an ornament, pendant or gemstone hangs in the center.
Lever back: An earring closure that consists of a hinged lever that bends and latches behind the ear.
Links: Links are the loops or other shapes that connect together to form a chain bracelet or necklace.
Living Jewelry: Term for jewelry materials made from living organisms such as pearl, cultured pearl, freshwater pearl, mother of pearl and coral.
Lobster-Claw Clasp: A jewelry clasp uses a hinged hook that looks like a lobster claw to secure one end to a ring on the other end of the chain.
Locket: A pendant that hangs on a chain necklace that opens on a hinge that usually holds a tiny picture.
Loupe: A special magnifying glass used by jewelers to view the details of a gemstone or other object. The loupe makes internal flaws and surface blemishes more apparent and allows jewelers to appraise the color, cut, clarity of a gemstone.
Luster: Refers to the brightness a piece of jewelry reflects.
Mabe Pearl: A half sphere or domed pearl. Also called a blister pearl.
Matte Finish: A textured finish produced by brushing the metal surface to produce tiny parallel lines. Today it is popularly used in platinum jewelry, and sometimes referred to as satin finish.
Marcasite : An iron ore material, pyrite, which is set into silver or pewter jewelry creating an antique jewelry look. The minerals marcasite and pyrite are similar in composition but are actually different. True marcasite is not suitable for jewelry making so “marcasite” jewelry usually uses pyrites round-cut and polished, mounted in a rhodium-plated silver setting.
Mariner Link Chain: A bracelet or necklace chain made of thick oval links that have a bar across the center.
Marquise Cut: A gemstone cut in an oval shape, pointed at both ends creating a boat-shaped design. Also called a navette.
Mélange: Term for mixed diamond sizes weighing more than carat.
Mélée: Classification of diamonds weighing less than carat
Milanese Chain: Bracelet or necklace chain made of interwoven rows of small links creating the look of mesh.
Mohs' Hardness Scale: The most common standard for rating gemstone hardness. Developed by Friedrich Mohs, a German mineralogist, as an assessment of “scratch hardness” by ranking 10 different stones from hardest to softest. His list includes the following:
10. Diamond (Hardest)
6. Orthoclase Feldspar
1. Talc (Softest)
Because the numbers are based on properties of actual stones, they are not equally distributed. So the difference between 10 (diamond) and 9 (sapphire) is not equal to the difference between any other two numbers. Very soft stones scratch more easily and some stones are too soft for jewelry.
Moissanite: A lab-created gemstone based on the structure of natural moissanite, which is linked to meteorites. Similar in look to a diamond, but moissanite has more brilliance, fire and luster than any hard jewel - including diamonds.
Mother of Pearl: The smooth iridescent interior surface on the inside of sea shells and certain mollusks
Mounting: The metal frame or housing in which gemstones are set.
Nacre: The silky substance secreted over a “bead” to form a pearl. Layer after layer of nacre builds up to form the pearl. When viewing a pearl in good lighting, light travels through all the layers of nacre, and each microscopic crystal reflects the light like a prism, creating an iridescent effect. The thicker and more lustrous the nacre, the more valuable the pearl.
Natural Gemstone: A stone formed in nature, with no interference from humans. The opposite of synthetic or lab-created gemstones.
Navette Cut: Gemstone shaped like a boat or oval with two pointed ends. Also called marquise cut.
Niello: An inlay technique in which the grooves made in silver or gold are made black in color by the use of a composition of metal sulfides
Nugget: A bead or stone that is unshaped.
Oiling: A technique used to seal a gemstone from water loss or to fill in tiny cracks on the surface of emeralds, improving their clarity.
Omega Chain: A silver or gold chain necklace made of tightly interlocking links that form a flat solid, shiny surface.
Opal: A semi-precious gemstone with a speckled, multi-color iridescent quality. Looking at an opal in different light or at different angles produces a rainbow-like effect of multiple colors. Opal is 5.5-6.5 on Mohs’ scale of hardness. Primary sources include Australia, Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Nevada and Idaho.
Open-work: A piece of jewelry that has open areas. This ring setting is designed to allow viewing of the bottom of the gemstone.
Opera Necklace: Necklace style drapes at 28 to 34 inches long. Sometimes it is also doubled and worn as a shorter necklace.
Orient: The characteristic sheen of fine natural and cultured pearls
Oval Cut: A gemstone cut that is oblong and faceted with rounded edges.
Oxidize: The process wherein a metal mixes with oxygen and becomes rusted. Platinum and gold do not oxidize. Impurities in any alloys containing gold or platinum may oxidize but the actual metals do not.
Palladium: A white precious metal similar to platinum, but weighs and costs must less.
Parure: A set of matching jewelry of four or more pieces, usually including a necklace, bracelets, earrings and belt or brooch.
Patina: Discoloration that forms on metals as a result of natural aging, typically appearing on silver and bronze. The condition is often planned for when the jewelry is designed, can also be introduced artificially by use of chemicals.
Pavé Setting: A stone setting where the entire surface of a gem is covered or “paved” with tightly set stones. Commonly seen with diamonds, but may be used with any gem stone.
Pavilion: The part of a cut gemstone below the girdle.
Pear Cut: Gemstone cut that resembles a pear or teardrop - rounded on one end and pointed on the other.
Pearl: A natural gemstone formed when a oyster is irritated by a substance that gets into its shell or mantle. Most jewelry pearls are cultured pearls, created by purposefully inserting a tiny mother-of-pearl bead. Pearls, like other gem stones come in a variety of shapes and forms. A blister pearl is a pearl that forms attached to the shell. A half-dome shaped pearl is a mabe (pronounced mah-bay) pearl. Irregularly shaped pearls are called baroque.
Pendant: Any article or ornament suspended from a chain or necklace worn around the neck.
Peridot: A green semi-precious gemstone that can range in color from bright, vibrant greens to yellow-green to olive green to deep green. On the Mohs’ scale of hardness, peridot is 6.5-7. Peridot is the birthstone for August.
Platinum: A heavy silver-white precious metal that is 35X rarer than gold. Platinum is 95% pure with a brilliant luster that does not tarnish. Its purity also makes it hypoallergenic and perfect for sensitive skin or those with jewelry allergies. It is highly pliable and can be shaped into very intricate patterns.
Point: Gemstone unit weight equal to one-hundredth of a carat.
Polish: A finishing process for metals and gemstones that refines and intensifies shine and reflection. Normally, polishing involves a multi-step process of hand polishing and/or machine polishing, with the end goal of eliminating all flaws from the surface of the metal.
Posy Ring: A ring engraved with a verse
Precious metal: This metal group is generally defined as referring to platinum, gold and silver, which are valued for their rarity, color, and malleability.
Prong: A small, slender metal piece on a jewelry setting used to hold a gem stone in place.
Regard Ring: A ring set with colored stones, the first letters of which spell the word “regard”, ruby, emerald, garnet, amethyst, ruby, diamond. Popular in the second half of the 19th century signifying friendship or affection.
Rhodium: A metal that is part of the platinum family, but not precious metal. Silver, gold, and even base metals are often Rhodium plated to give them the shiny, mirror-like look of platinum. Rhodium plating makes silver jewelry less vulnerable to tarnishing and easier to care for.
Rollo Chain: A silver or gold chain with thick round or oval links.
Ruby: A red precious gemstone. The birthstone for July. Color can range from a hot pink to deep, blood red. Lab-created rubies are often attempted to pass for genuine – a genuine stone can usually only be deciphered by an experienced gemologist. Fine, genuine rubies can be worth more than diamonds.
Sapphire: A precious gemstone in the corundum family of stones, most commonly blue but they also come in a range of colors from white to orange to green to pink. A corundum gemstone is red, it is referred to as a ruby, but any other color in inexpensive jewelry are referred to as sapphires. Some sapphires are synthesized, so it takes an expert to determine if a sapphire is natural.
Screw Back: A highly secure earring fastening similar to a standard post but the back or “nut” actually screws onto the post. Many diamond stud earrings use this secure fastener.
Saturation: A term or characteristic used to describe the vividness or brightness of a color. Could also be referred to as intensity.
Seed Pearl: A very small round or oval pearl.
Serpentine Chain: A gold or silver chain made from two sets of flat “s” links tightly bound together.
Setting: A jewelry piece or enclosure that holds gem stones in place.
SI (clarity): SI grade diamonds are frequently found in jewelry, especially in multi-stone diamond earring, rings, pendants and bracelets. The grade signifies that inclusions cannot be seen by the naked eye but can be seen under 10x magnification.
Silver purity: Like gold, pure silver or fine silver is relatively soft and pliable. Because of this, fine jewelry can be easily damaged if created from pure silver. As a consequence, silver is commonly alloyed with other metal, usually copper, to create a stronger precious metal. Unlike gold, but like platinum, silver purities are expressed a percent of purity. The most regularly seen silver purities are: 958 or 95.8 percent pure silver, and 925 or 92.5 percent pure silver (stamps could also say 92.5 and .925). 925 silver is known as sterling silver.
Slide: A type of pendant or fastener that slides onto a chain or fabric ribbon necklace.
Snap Bar Closure: A hinged, straight bar that lifts up and down to secure or release earrings.
Solitaire: A single gem or diamond featured in a simple setting style. Most often seen in solitaire diamond earrings, solitaire gemstone earrings, solitaire gemstone and diamond pendants, and diamond solitaire rings.
Snake Chain: A jewelry chain made from metal rings connected side by side creating a rounded, bendable, textured chain.
Spring Ring Clasp: A common clasp for necklaces and chains made from a circle with a small spring-tension knob that can open a gap in the circle, allowing the circle to hook onto the other end of the chain.
Square Setting: A diamond or gemstone setting with four prongs that hold a stone, usually a square or princess-cut gemstone.
Stack Ring: A ring designed to be “stacked” – or worn in multiples - on one finger.
Sterling Silver: 925 parts silver, or 92.5 percent pure silver. The most common type of silver used in fine silver jewelry because it is not only luxurious, but also durable and relatively easy to care for.
Stud: A simple earring made from one ball or gem stone attached to a straight post with no dangling parts.
Synthetic Gemstone: A gemstone created by humans in a lab. Synthetic stones mimic the structure, color and texture of natural stones making it sometimes difficult to tell a synthetic from a genuine gemstone. These stones are usually far cheaper, making gemstone jewelry more attainable for some.
Tahitian Pearls: The highest quality black pearls, Tahitian pearls exhibit luster, nacre and color variations rivaled by none. They have a gentle, velvety luster and often exhibit a strong iridescence. Color can range from deep gray to peacock blue to metallic green and everything in between.
Tanzanite: A precious gemstone from the zoisite family. Colors naturally occur in shades of blue, green, yellow, pink, brown and khaki but virtually all gemstone quality crystals are heat treated to produce the popular shades of sapphire blue, amethyst and blue violet. On Mohs’ scale of hardness, tanzanite is 6.5-7. Named for the stone’s prime mining source: Tanzania.
Tarnish: Undesirable dulling or discoloration due to the effects of heat, humidity, chemicals or aging on certain precious metals.
Tennis Bracelet: A flexible, chain-like bracelet made up of evenly matched gems or diamonds.
Tiffany Setting: A high, six-pronged ring setting most common for large, solitaire stones, first introduced by Tiffany & Co. in 1886.
Toggle Clasp: A jewelry fastener consisting of a ring at one end and a short bar on the other. The bar passes through the ring to sit across it, securely fastening the two ends together. Most commonly used in bracelets and necklaces.
Topaz: A precious gemstone that comes in many vivid colors including yellow, orange, red-brown, light to dark blue, pink-red, red, purple, light green, colorless and more. It is an 8 on Mohs’ scale of hardness.
Tourmaline: A mineral that can actually exhibit two or more colors in the same crystal. It has one of the widest color ranges and can be seen in virtually every color imaginable. It is a 7.5 on Mohs’ scale of hardness.
Trapeze Cut: A gemstone cut into an equilateral triangle with a flat top.
Translucent: Used to describe the effects of light passing through a stone. Translucent stones appear frosted instead of clear or transparent.
Transparent: Used to describe the effects of light passing through a stone. Transparent stones are clear and easy to see through.
Trillion Cut: A cut similar to the brilliant cut; triangular gemstone or diamond with 44 facets.
Turquoise: A natural, semi-precious gemstone found in desert. The brown or grey streaks in turquoise are caused by the matrix, or “mother” stone, from which the turquoise is mined. Interesting and intricate patterns are considered to add beauty to the stone. Persian turquoise is the only type of turquoise that usually does not have a matrix. Modern turquoise "stones" that appear very shiny and absolutely flawless are probably manufactured and of less value. Geuine turquoise can appear in colors ranging from sky blue to green.
Ultrasonic Cleaner: A machine that cleans jewelry by vibrating a solution at an ultra-high frequency. Capable of cleaning tiny cavities on or inside fine jewelry without scratching the surface, but can damage soft or brittle gemstones. Ultrasonic cleaners should never be used to clean pearls, coral and turquoise jewelry or any beaded jewelry strung on string or silk.
Vermeil: Gold-plating; gilded silver
VS (clarity): VS clarity diamonds are of superior quality and frequently used in fine jewelry. The grade signifies that minor inclusions are difficult to see, even under 10x magnification.
White Gold: Created by alloying yellow gold with palladium, nickel, zinc, and/or silver, white gold is often selected as a less expensive and easier-to-maintain alternative to platinum. It is often plated with rhodium to give a platinum-like sheen.
Yellow Gold: In its natural state gold comes in varying shades of yellow. Relatively pure when initially mined, gold is usually alloyed with copper, zinc, and/or silver when used in jewelry making.