Jewelry Dictionary

Annealing: The softening of metal by heating, thus making it more malleable.

Appraisal: The estimated monetary value of an item as researched by an accredited Appraiser. These documents are usually requested for insurance replacement value or estate value.

Asterism: The star-shaped rays that appear on the surface of a gemstone when the light hits the top of the gemstone directly. This is caused by the reflection of light from minute needle-like inclusions.

Fabricated: When we use the terms "hand fabricated" we are referring to the process of making a piece of jewelry that involves soldering or assembling hand-forged components as well as (sometimes, not every time) purchased prepared components together to create a jewelry item. For example, we may take a piece of stock wire and form a ring out of it, then take a purchased head, solder it to the forged ring, and set a stone to create a solitaire engagement ring. On the other hand, we may create a head out of wire or flat stock, forge a ring, solder both items together, and set a stone, to create a solitaire engagement ring "from scratch".

Band: A ring that is often plain and indicative of marriage when worn on the ring finger. Otherwise it may be a ring that does not have a large stone as the centerpiece but may exhibit texture, flush-set stones, patterning, or milgrain.

Bail: The dangling or fixed part of a pendant that is used to pass a chain through in order to wear as a necklace.

Base Metal: The underlying metal in a piece of jewelry. The base metal is usually made up of copper, brass, or zinc. Base metals are not considered precious metals.

Bead: A piece of material (such as wood, metal, glass, or gemstone) that is small in size and has a hole drilled through the center. Beads are typically strung on a type of chord and are widely used in jewelry.

Bead Setting: A method of securing a facetted stone. A small piece of metal is raised with a graver and moved close to the edge of the stone. The piece of raised metal is then burnished down with a concave tipped punch into a ball that sits over the edge of the stone and holds it securely in place.

Bezel: A type of setting for diamonds and gemstones that hugs the stone all the way around its diameter, holding it securely.

Birthstone: Gemstones associated with each month in the calendar year that are considered "birthstones" through popular belief. For example: Blue Topaz and Blue Zircon are the birthstones of December- if you were born in December, these would be your birthstones.

Box Setting: Similar to a Bezel setting but square or rectangular in shape. The edges of the metal "box" holding there stone are pressed down to secure the stone.

Bracelet: A type of jewelry item worn on the wrist. There are several varieties such as: Bangle, Charm, Cuff, Spiral, and Tennis.

Bright Cut: The cutting of flat reflective facets into the surface of metal usually seen in bead setting and bezel settings.

Brittleness: The condition in which metals tend to crack or break with deformation.

Brooch: A type of jewelry item usually worn attached to a shirt or blouse with a sharp pin and hook enclosure attached to the back of the piece.

Bruting: A technique used in lapidary for fashioning the girdle of a diamond or gemstone. This is done by rubbing the diamond's edge with another diamond.

Buffing: A technique in metal polishing that removes any impurities, minor flaws, or patina from the surface of the metal with a fine abrasive.

Burnishing: A metal polishing technique that is done by rubbing the metal with a hard polished tool.

Cabochon: A gemstone that has no facets but is domed at the top and typically flat on the bottom.

CAD: This is a computer-aided design tool that we use to render jewelry sketch ideas into perfect 3D proportions. With the correct design and measurements we can have a wax model made to show the client what the physical item will look like. Then we can use that same wax model to cast the finished piece in precious metal.

Calibre Cut: Small gemstone or diamonds cut specifically for pave setting. This means these stones are cut to a specific size for mounting.

Cameo: A relief carving on gem or shell material where the bottom layer acts as a contrasting background. Cameos are usually seen in Agate, Carnelian Shell, Sardonyx shell, and Mother-Of-Pearl.

Carat: A unit of measurement for gems equal to 200 milligrams.

Casting: A technique used in jewelry where wax or resin molds are embedded into a crucible, cured at high temperatures to disintegrate the material and leave a hollow form that is then introduced with molten metal to produce the molded item as a solid metal piece.

Color Change Gemstone: Some gemstones may experience a phenomenon where the color of the gemstone shifts when exposed to natural light versus when exposed to artificial light. A good example of this can be seen in Alexandrite.

Charms: These are small metal figurines or elaborate beads that people typically hang on a bracelet to commemorate an event in their lives.

Channel Setting: A style of stone setting that fashions stones in a row within a deep groove in the metal. The walls on either side of the stones are bent or burnished over opposing edges of the stones to hold them securely in place.

Chasing and Repousse: This is a metalsmithing technique where a plat sheet of metal is hammered into using special punches from the back to create an ornamental low relief carving/design.

Choker: A necklace that is worn high on the neck, usually sitting above the collar bone.

Claw Setting: A style of prong setting that exhibits decorative prongs in the shape of small claws. Typically the prong is split into three above the girdle of the stone, but recent jewelry trends have been favoring a single claw prong that is pointy and slimmer at the end.

Clean (gem): This refers to a gemstone that is free of visible inclusions. The stone appears "clean" to the eye and under magnification.

Cloud (gem): The appearance within a gemstone of haziness or "cloudiness" generated by tiny clusters of white inclusions.

Cluster Setting: A style of setting with stones set closely together in a cluster. This is done to give the illusion of a single large stone.

Color Zoning (gem): A term used to describe uneven color in a gemstone, usually seen in uneven patches usually in tones of the same color but could also be of varying color.

Colored Stones (gem): Any gemstone that isn't a diamond. This includes clear/white gemstones, pearls, and coral.

Corrosion: The decomposition of metal over time  through exposure to environmental factors or corrosive chemicals.

Crown (gem): The part of a gemstone above the girdle leading to the table.

Crystal (gem): The resulting solid form of a chemical process via nature or grown in a lab as atoms are bound together.

Culet (gem): The bottom polished surface of a gemstone that varies from open (large, medium, or small) or "nonexistent" meaning the bottom of a gemstone or diamond comes to a closed point or ridge.

Cultured Pearl (gem): A pearl that has been produced by artificially implanting a shell seed into a live mollusk.

Cut (gem): The term used to describe the specific form a gemstone has been fashioned into. This increases or reduces a gems value, depending on the quality and style of cut.

Double Refraction (gem): A characteristic of some gemstones that separates beams of light into two separate beams traveling at different speeds as they enter a gemstone, causing the gemstone to appear as if it has double the facets and double the brilliance.

Doublet (Assembled Stone): A gemstone constructed of two or more layers. Typically a soft stone will be layered with a more durable backing, such as opal doublets, to make the stone more durable and friendly for setting and wear. Other times gems are layered to bring out the main stone's natural luster or optical qualities.

dtw: The abbreviation for pennyweight.

Dyed Stone (gem): A gemstone that has been artificially altered by staining the material with dye to enhance the color.

Ear Climber: A type of jewelry worn on the ear lobe, usually through a piercing on the lobe itself, that "climbs" up the front of the ear usually in a curved style.

Earrings: A type of jewelry worn on the ear lobe, usually through a piercing on the lobe itself.

Enamel: A colored (or colorless) glass coating used in jewelry to decorate and enhance a design. This is usually applied by heat, but there are resin-based enamels that could be applied cold.

Engraving: A technique used to decorate a piece of jewelry by cutting into the surface of the metal using a graver (if done by hand) or by machine.

Etching: A technique used to decorate the surface of metal by using an acid to deteriorate the parts of the metal left exposed by the artist.

Eternity Band: A ring that exhibits diamonds or gemstones (typically in the smaller size range) running along the entire exterior of the band in one single line, edge to edge.

Ethical Sourcing: We are always looking for ethically sourced diamonds and gemstones, and we strive to find and provide gems with a known country of origin whenever possible. Our favorite sources are helping to improve conditions for miners and improve environmental standards around the world.

European Shank: The bottom half of a ring that has been flattened, instead of the usual round. They may often appear squared off and exhibit two bottom corners giving this type of shank its famous look.

Facet (gem): A polished planar surface added to a diamond or gemstone alongside others in an arranged pattern to bring out the beauty and color of the gem material.

Fancy Cut (gem): A cut of diamond or gemstone other than round.

Fancy Diamond (gem): A diamond with a color that is considered desirable, such as canary yellow.

Feather (gem): A type of inclusion found within a gem that is typically a seemingly white, irregular fracture.

Filigree: A decorative technique used in jewelry made up of delicately placed and soldered metal thread, usually curled to resemble foliage or lace.

Findings: Pieces of jewelry that are replaceable and are usually assembled such as heads, clasps, beads, jump rings, earring posts and backs, etc.

Finish: The style and quality of a metal surface. In gemstones this refers to the quality of polish.

Fire (gem): The play of color of a gemstone.

Firescale: A surface layer of oxidation that occurs on metal when exposed to fire and overheated.

Flaw (gem): An imperfection within a gemstone visible to the naked eye.

Fluorescence (gem): The bright, or sometimes mild, glowing coloration seen on a gemstone or diamond when exposed to ultraviolet light (this is usually only visible in the dark with uv exposure).

Foilbacked (gem): A layer of metallic coating on the back of a gem to enhance its color, brilliancy, or other characteristic.

Fracture: A chip or break on a gemstone that isn't along the stone's cleavage plane.

Freshwater Pearl (gem): A pearl grown by a freshwater mollusk.

Gem: A stone that has been cut and polished for use in jewelry.

Gemology: The study of gemstones pertaining to their origins, fashioning, identification, marker value, grading, and appraisal.

GF: The abbreviation used for "gold filled".

Girdle (gem): The edge of a stone that runs along its diameter.

Gold: A ductile precious metal that is alloyed with other metals to create a strong and durable metal suitable for jewelry. It can be made in several colors including white, yellow, green, red, and black. The purity depends on the ratio of gold to other alloys in the mixture. This is why we can find gold in 9k, 10k, 12k, 14k, 18k, 20k, and 22k.

Goldsmith: A person whose primary metal work is in gold.

Granulation: A technique used for decorating metal that consists of fusing tiny balls of metal to the metal surface by means of eutectic bonding.

Graver: A sharpened tool used in engraving  and in stone setting.

Gypsy Setting: A style of stone setting that is a hybrid between flush and bezel setting styles. The stone is set on a flat surface similar to flush setting, but the crown protrudes from the metal similar to that of bezel setting.

Hallmark: A maker's mark placed on a work of metal.

Handmade: An item that is made by hand and with the help of small hand tools but without the use of big machinery that would make it possible to mass manufacture.

Hardening: A technique used to reduce the malleability of metal by working it or heating it a certain way.

Hardness (gems): A term referring to the ability of stone/gem material to resist scratching.

Head: A type of setting for diamonds and gemstones typical of engagement rings. A "head" is jeweler terminology indicating a setting finding that is typically assembled onto a ring to hold center stones and larger side stones. Because heads are typically assembled onto a piece of jewelry, they are easily exchangeable. This is good on instances where the prongs and surrounding metal have been excessively beaten up, worn, and/or warped. They are also convenient for instances where a client may decide to upgrade their center stone.

Heat-Treatment (gems): A process used to alter the color of a gemstone by heating the material at specific temperatures.

Illusion Setting: A type of setting in which the metal surrounding the center stone is cut in a way that gives the appearance that the center stone is larger than it really is.

Inclusion (gem): An irregularity in the stone that can be seen with the naked eye or through a microscope.

Ingot: A shaped lump of metal that was formed through the melting of granulated metal or scrap metal onto a hard steel mold.

Inlay: When any material is placed into the surface of another material. Usually both materials are flush with one another.

Karat: The metal purity of gold, equal to one part of 24.

Liver Of Sulfur: A chemical made up of Potassium sulfide and water used to darken the surface of metals  via oxidation.

Lobster Claw: A chain clasp that is spring loaded and shaped like a lobster claw.

Loupe: A jeweler's magnification instrument used to view jewelry and gemstones more closely, usually at 10x magnification.

Malleability: A term referring to the ability of metals to be changed in shape without suffering damage to the integrity of the metal.

Melee (gems): Diamonds and Gemstones that are under 1/5 carat in weight.

Metal Finish: The final surface treatment done to a piece of jewelry that brings it to completion. There are many variations of a final finish, such as high polish, matte, brushed, satin, signature, textured, etc.

Milgrain: A decorative element made up of tiny beads rolled over the edges of channels or bezels in jewelry.

Mixed cut (gems): A style of cut that consists of a brilliant cut crown, and a step cut pavilion.

MOHS Scale (gems): A trade scale used to categorize minerals in terms of their resistance to scratching, a.k.a. hardness.

Mounting: The part of a piece of jewelry used to hold a stone in place.

Mokume-Gane: A Japanese technique with metal that produces mixed-metal sheet or wire with a unique look that impressed consumers and jewelry artists throughout time. Mokume-gane translates closely to "wood grain metal" or "wood eye metal", describing the way the metal takes on the appearance of natural wood grain.

Nacre (gems): The outer iridescent surface of a natural or cultured pearl.

Natural Pearl (gems): A pearl grown inside of a wild mollusk.

Opaque (gems): This refers to a quality in gemstones and diamonds that prevents light from passing through the stone.

Oxidizing: The process, wether from exposure to the environment or through chemical application, that darkens the outer surface of metal.

Palladium: A rare precious metal, similar to platinum, that is hypoallergenic, tarnish-resistant, white, strong, and lighter than gold.

Pave: A setting technique where small stones are set closely as together as possible.

Pavilion (gems): The section on a gemstone below the girdle.

Pendant: A type of jewelry piece hung on a chain to create a necklace.

Pennyweight: A unit of weight in the troy system equal to one twentieth of an ounce.

Piercing: A technique of cutting openings into sheet of metal often in decorative patterns.

Pinhole Porosity: An imperfection that occurs in cast metal when tiny gas bubbles get trapped during the melting process.

Platinum: A rare and precious metal used in jewelry that is the heaviest and whitest of the precious metals used in jewelry production. Platinum does not tarnish and is very resistant to wear and tear while at the same time is very ductile and malleable, making this metal amazing to work with.

Polish- A procedure done on metal to bring it to a mirror-like finished state.  I.e. "High Polished Finish"

Prong: A piece of wire-like metal that has a portion cut to seat the girdle of a stone and then folded over the stone to secure it within a setting (prongs are part of a setting).

Refining: A process to purify metals.

Recycled Metals: Metal collected as scrap from old jewelry and parts and refined to be used again.

Rhinestone: A colorless quartz used to imitate diamonds in jewelry, often confused with paste gems.

Ring: A type of jewelry worn around the base of the finger.

Rough (gems): A gemstone or diamond in its natural form, before being cut into a faceted gem.

Setting: The part of a piece of jewelry that holds a stone, refer to "mounting".

Shank: The bottom half of a ring.

Shoulder: The sections on each side of a center stone. This is a reference to the anatomy of a ring.

Silver: (sterling and fine) A semi-precious metal widely used in jewelry that is lightweight, brilliant white, malleable, and inexpensive.

Solder: An alloyed metal used to join metals together by heating and flowing into fashioned joints.

Solitaire: A ring that holds a single center stone at it's center, typical of engagement rings.

Spring Ring: A type of clasp in the form of a circle with a spring loaded catch.

Star Setting: A type of setting that has an appearance of a star made by engraving the star pattern around the stone, mounting the stone flush to the surface, and bead setting it along four of the star rays.

Stretching: A technique used to size a plain and solid wedding band up or down a size without the use of cutting, fire, or solder.

Sustainability: We believe that jewelry can be beautiful without having a negative impact on the environment, so we only work with recycled metals provided by Hoover & Strong, Canadian or recycled diamonds, and ethically sourced gemstones. We also work with client metal and repurpose their diamonds and gemstones into new heirloom pieces.

Synthetic (gems): A gemstone grown in a lab that has the same chemical composition of its natural counterpart but has slight structural differences, including inclusion growth and formation, due to the synthetic process it was made from.

Tarnish: The surface oxidation that occurs on metal as exposed to the environment over time.

Tiffany Setting: A style of head setting that has six slender prongs that holds a center stone slightly higher than a regular four prong setting.

Tube Setting: A type of bezel setting made from a piece of metal tubing where a seat is cut into the end of the tube and metal is pushed over the stone and burnished.

Tulip Setting: A type of tall head setting that has six slender prongs (similar to the Tiffany Setting) but has a narrow bottom that usually has a peg at the end for soldering onto a shank.

WJA: Acronym for the Women's Jewelry Association. A business networking organization that focuses on helping women in the jewelry and watch industry succeed and advance professionally by providing education, networking opportunities, leadership development, and other member services.