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Jewelry Glossary

Jewelry Glossary

The Jewelry Glossary is filled with jewelry terms and their meanings.

10 Karat - Karats are a unit of measure indicating the fineness of gold. Most gold jewelry contains gold and another metal, making it an alloy. 10 karat gold is 41.7% pure gold.

12 Karat - Karats are a unit of measure indicating the fineness of gold. Most gold jewelry contains gold and another metal, making it an alloy. 12 karat gold is 50% pure gold.

14 Karat - Karats are a unit of measure indicating the fineness of gold. Most gold jewelry contains gold and another metal, making it an alloy. 14 karat gold is 58.3% pure gold and is often preferred in jewelry for its durability.

18 Karat - Karats are a unit of measure indicating the fineness of gold. Most gold jewelry contains gold and another metal, making it an alloy. 18 karat gold is 75% pure gold and is often preferred in jewelry for its beauty and durability.

24 Karat - Karats are a unit of measure indicating the fineness of gold. 24 karat is 100% pure gold and is therefore too soft for most jewelry.

Abalone - Abalone is a mollusk with a pearly shell that is often used in jewelry.

Anklet - A chain or bangle designed to be worn around the ankle.

Art Deco Style - The Art Deco style features geometric patterns and vibrant colors. It flourished in the 1920s and 1930s, synthesizing a variety of influences such as ancient Egyptian and Mediterranean culture with modern technology.

Art Nouveau - Art Nouveau is a decorative style (circa 1890-1914) noted for its free-flowing lines and natural motifs.

Asterism - Four-rayed or six-rayed bands (cat's eye) caused by light reflecting from needle-like inclusions within some gem crystals.

Bail - A metal attachment used for hanging a pendant from a chain or cord.

Band - A ring made from precious metal and normally with a uniform width.

Bangle - A rigid bracelet that slips over the wrist.

Bar Closure - Also known as a bar and clasp, this is a bar-shaped fastener that inserts into a catch with a pin.

Barrel Catch/Clasp - Used to connect two ends of a chain, the barrel catch has two halves that screw together, forming the shape of a barrel.

Basket - This fancy setting exhibits a lacy, basket-like appearance through multiple holes pierced in the side.

Bevelled - Beveled refers to a surface cut at an angle that is less than 90 degrees. Watch bezels are commonly beveled.

Bezel - A bezel is a narrow piece of metal used to hold a gem in place on a piece of jewelry. A bezel is also the part of the watch surrounding the crystal on a watch face. Bezels may or may not contain gems and may or may not be textured. The bezel also holds the crystal in place.

Black Hills Gold - From the Black Hills of South Dakota, this jewelry style blends yellow rose and green golds in a grape leaf-inspired design.

Blemish - A blemish is a nick, scratch or any other flaw on the stone surface.

Box clasp/Tongue and Groove Clasp - Used to connect two ends of a chain, this clasp incorporates a box with a notch on one end and a metal spring that slips into the box and locks.

Box Chain - The links on a box chain form wide and square boxes.

Bridal Set - A matching set of rings that include an engagement ring and a wedding band.

Brilliance - Brilliance is the reflection and refraction of light displayed through a stone.

Brilliant Cut - The style of cutting a stone with multiple facets in a particular way designed to maximize brilliance. Modern round brilliant cuts have 58 facets.

Briolette - A tear or pear shaped stone cut in triangular facets.

Brooch - Designed to be worn on clothing, this ornamental piece of jewelry attaches with a pin and clasp.

Brushed Finish - A textured (satin) finish made from tiny parallel lines etched on the metal surface.

Bruting - Bruting is the initial shaping of a rough gemstone.

Burnishing - Burnishing is a polishing method that magnifies the shine and luster of a metal by combining friction and compression without eliminating any metal.

Buttercup Setting - Resembling a buttercup flower, this deep setting has six prongs that flare out from a scalloped shaped base.

Butterfly Chain - A style of chain that has tiny butterfly-shaped links and oval-shaped "wings."

Button earrings - These earrings look like buttons, laying flat with no dangling parts.

Byzantine chain - A Byzantine chain consists of oval links forming an intricate tubular chain.

Cable chain - Round uniform links join to form this standard style chain.

Cameo - A cameo is a cut ornamental stone that forms a raised picture (normally a portrait) in relief against a contrasting background. (Also, see intaglio.)

Casting - A casting is a jewelry setting created using a mold.

Cat's eye - A term that describes the sharply reflected play of light on certain round gems such as chrysoberyl and some chalcedony that appears similar to the slits in a cat's eye.

Channel setting - This type of setting holds a number of gemstones side by side in a grooved channel. Each stone is not secured individually and there is no metal visible between stones.

Charm - A charm is a decorative ornament hanging from a bracelet, necklace or earring.

Charm Bracelet - A charm bracelet designed to hold charms that were particularly popular in the 1960s.

Chatoyancy - Chatoyancy is the appearance of a shimmering light that moves across the surface of certain stones and appears as a narrow line similar to a cat's eye. This effect is most noticeable on a cabochon cut stone.

Chevron Style - Often found in heraldry, this design is made up of short lines forming an inverted "V" pattern.

Choker - Similar to a collar necklace, this close fitting necklace style is just a little looser. A choker pearl necklace is usually 14 to 16 inches long.

Cigar Band Style - A cigar band ring is the term used to describe a ring with a wide band.

Claddagh Ring/Pendant - This is a unique design with two hands clasping a heart topped by a crown. The design is over 300 years old and used to symbolize faith, trust, and loyalty.

Clarity - Clarity grading for diamonds is determined by the location, type, and extent of inclusions or blemishes present in or on any stone.

Clasp - A clasp is an adjustable catch, bent plate or hook that connects two ends of a piece of jewelry. Clasps may be simple or ornate.

Cleavage - Among gemstones, cleavage refers to the act of splitting or the tendency to break parallel to certain flat planes. Cleavage is rarely entirely on one level but can have a step-like appearance. A gem’s cleavage can be easy or difficult and can range from perfect to imperfect, depending on the cohesive properties of atoms in the gemstone and the strength of those bonds based on direction of growth. Some gemstones such as quartz have no cleavage.

Cloisonne - This type of enamelwork incorporates thin metal strips soldered onto a metal plate. The outlined design is filled with enamel paste, creating a decorative pattern.

Cluster - Multiple stones grouped together in a jewelry setting. This type of setting is used for cluster rings, cluster pendants, and cluster earrings.

Clutch - An attachment used to secure a piece of jewelry such as an earring back.

Cocktail Ring - This large, oversized ring set with gemstones was highly popular in the 1940s and 1950s.

Coin Style Edge - A coin style edge is a ridged edge on jewelry similar to the look of the edge of a coin.

Collar - At 12 to 23 inches, this necklace style fits tightly around the neck and sometimes has several strands.

Comfort Fit - A ring designed with a rounded interior finish, providing long-term comfort for the wearer.

Crown - A faceted stone can be divided into an upper and lower section. The upper section or top is referred to as a crown. The lower section is referred to as a 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 (when present) is referred to as a culet.

Curb Link Chain - This chain is made up of oval links that lie flat.

Cushion Cut - A cushion cut stone is a square or rectangular cut with rounded corners and multiple facets for maximum light refraction.

Cut - The shape and style of a finished gemstone is known as a "cut."

Culet - A faceted stone can be divided into an upper and lower section. The upper section or top is referred to as a crown. The lower section is referred to as a 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 (when present) is referred to as a culet.

Dangle Earrings - Also known as drop earrings, this style hangs below the earlobe.

Deco Style - Abstract designs and linear, geometric patterns influenced by the famous Art Deco movement.

Demi-Hoop Style - Also known as half-hoop design, this earring looks like its name forming only half a circle.

Depth - Depth is the measure of a diamond determined by measure of culet to table.

Depth Percentage - The fire and brilliance of a diamond is based on the depth percentage and table percentage, which equals diamond height divided by diamond width. For a lovely round cut stone, the depth percentage should normally range between 58 and 64 percent.

Diamond Accent - Diamond accents are small diamonds used in jewelry settings with a combined carat weight of less than one fourth of a carat.

Diamond Cut - Also known as "Brilliant cut," the style of cutting a stone with multiple facets to maximize brilliance. Modern round brilliant cuts have 58 facets. Diamond cut can also refer to the flat diamond shape in other objects such as necklaces.

Diamond-Cut Rope - This is a chain made of flat diamond-shaped links.

Disc Earrings - A disc earring is a round flat earring attached to an earlobe.

Dispersion - Also known as "fire," dispersion refers to the separation of white light into spectral colors in diamonds and finished gemstones.

Dome - This convex shape is thickest in the center and tapers at the edges.

Door Knocker Earring - This hinged bottom earring hangs below the earlobe.

Drop Earring - Also known as dangle earrings, this style hangs below the earlobe.

Druse - Druse is an unusually beautiful crust of small crystals on the surface of a rock or mineral.

Earring Back - An earring back is a disk or bead that attaches to an earring post to secure the earring in place.

Earring Jacket - This earring piece is designed with a hole, allowing a stud earring to hold it in place.

Electroplating - This process utilizes a chemical solution and an electric current to cover a base metal with a thin film of gold.

Enamel - Exhibiting a glassy decorative surface, enamel is powdered colored glass that has been fused to metal, pottery or glass.

Engrave - A pattern or design cut or carved into a jewelry piece using an engraving tool.

Epoxy - A resin used in strong adhesives and enamels.

Etched - A decoration or design lightly scratched onto the surface of a jewelry piece.

Eternity Ring - An eternity ring is a ring with gemstones encircling the band.

Eye Clean - Eye clean refers to a stone that appears to have no visible inclusions or imperfections to the naked eye.

Facet - A facet is the flat, polished surface applied to the exterior of a gemstone. The shapes, sizes, numbers, angles, and placement of facets are the key to unlocking the beauty of any gemstone.

Faceted - A gemstone with multiple facets captures the light and enhances the reflected light.

Fancy Cut - Gem cut in any shape other than the standard round cut.

Figaro Chain - A chain with alternating long and round links that is similar in style to the curb link chain.

Figure Eight Safety Catch - This safety catch is a hinged wire in the shape of figure eight.

Filigree - Fine wire shaped into intricate, intertwined patterns used in jewelry as an open design or soldered to metal base.

Finish - Finish refers to the surface of a gemstone or piece of jewelry. On stones, it indicates a polished, well-cut stone; on jewelry, it can describe the texture as well as polish including high polish, matte or brushed.

Fire - Also known as "dispersion," fire refers to the flashes of color appearing in many gemstones as white light is separated into spectral colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet).

Fissure - A fissure is a surface crack on a gemstone.

Fleur-de-lys - This royal insignia of France is an iris with three petals, and is often used as a decoration in jewelry.

Florentine Finish - This surface finish pattern includes a series of engraved parallel lines crossed lightly by perpendicular lines.

Fluorescence - Fluorescence, a fascinating natural phenomenon, is the tendency of some gemstones to reflect a distinct color when exposed to ultraviolet light.

Fluted - This design motif features rounded grooves in the surface of the piece.

Fold-Over Clasp - A type of hinged clasp used on necklaces and bracelets.

Fool's Gold - See pyrite.

Fossilized - Organic remains from an ancient geologic period, such as a insects, skeletons or even plants that become preserved over time and hardened into a stone-like substance.

Four Cs - The Four Cs are key indicators of diamond grading and quality. They include "Cut," "Color," "Clarity" and "Carat weight."

Chain - An intricate chain including three rows of links braided together.

Fracture Filling - This refers to a stone enhancement method filling in tiny fractures. Fillers include glass, plastic, polymer, resins, and oils. For example, emeralds commonly have wax and resins incorporated into fissures to improve appearance. For more enhancement information, see our Gemstone Enhancements chart.

Fracture - A fracture is a crack against the flat planes or irregular surfaces of a gemstone. A fracture can be characterized as conchoidal (shell-like), uneven, smooth, fibrous, splintery or grainy.

French Clip - Perfect for non-pierced ears, this earring attachment uses a spring clip with padding to hold the earring in place against the back of ear.

French Wire - Primarily used for dangling earrings this curved wire passes through the pierced ear and closes with a catch.

Full Cut - See Brilliant cut.

Gallery - Gallery describes stamped or patterned wire or strips with a repeated design that is sometimes inspired by antiquity. There are two types of gallery: open (upstanding parts on one side that can shape around a stone) and closed (used in borders).

Girdle - A faceted stone can be divided into an upper and lower section. The upper section or top is referred to as a crown. The lower section is referred to as a 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 (when present) is referred to as a culet.

Gold - Treasured for its warm sensuous glow, gold is the most beloved of all metals. Its versatility and ductile nature has made gold the perfect medium for countless artisans and craftsman throughout the ages. For thousands of years, gold has been shaped into jewelry, ornaments, into religious icons and talismans and currency. Gold in its purest state is referred to as 24 karat gold. This is normally too soft for use in jewelry wear, so jewelers will mix gold with an alloy to harden it. (See 10 karat, 12 karats, 14 karats, 18 karat and 24 karats.)

Gold Filled - Gold filled refers to the mechanical process of applying two thin gold sheets to core metal. To qualify as "gold filled" the amount of gold must be at least 1/20 of the total weight.

Gold Plated - Gold plated refers to an item with a layer of at least 10 karat gold bonded to a base metal.

Gold Tone - Jewelry finished with a gold color.

Golden Beryl - The colors of yellow beryl range from pale lemon to rich gold. Beryl with lush golden hues is sometimes referred to as heliodor.

Golden Finish - Jewelry with no actual gold content but finished with a gold look.

Gram Weight - The metal weight of a jewelry piece measured in grams.

Greek Key - This design dating back to ancient Greece, features repetitive, interlocking rectangles.

Green Gold - Green gold is not a naturally occurring phenomena. The green "color" is produced by mixing 24 karat gold with a blend of silver, copper, and zinc.

Grooved - A long row or channel cut formed in a line on a jewelry piece.

Grossular - Grossular gemstones are a species within the Garnet family. This species includes several significant gem varieties such as hessonite, tsavorite, leuco garnet, and hydrogrossular. On Mohs’ scale of hardness, it is 3.57– 3.73. For color and sources, see individual gemstones.

Guard Chain - Fastening to a clasp on a bracelet or wristwatch band, the guard chain keeps charms or ornaments safe from falling in case the clasp accidentally comes undone.

Half-Hoop Design - Also known as demi-hoop design, this earring looks like its name, forming only half a circle.

Hammered - A dimpled surface treatment created by a small hammer.

Hardness - See Mohs' hardness scale.

Head - Head refers to the prongs that hold a stone in place on a setting.

Head Shape - The shape on the face of a ring is determined by the shape of the gemstone set in it.

Head Size Range - Head size range is the range of carat weight that a ring can mount in one specific head.

Heating - Heating is an ancient and normally stable enhancement that permanently transforms gems. Gemologists use low, medium and high temperatures in furnaces to alter gemstone color, clarity, and phenomena. Nearly all of the world’s ruby, sapphire and tanzanite owe their color and clarity to heating. Many aquamarines are also heated to eliminate traces of green and gray. For a list of stone treatments, frequency and stability of treatments, and care instructions, visit our Gemstone Enhancements and Treatments chart.

Heishi - Literally meaning, "shell," heishi (hee shee) is considered the most ancient jewelry form of New Mexico and is linked to the Santo Domingo and San Felipe Pueblo Indians. Heishi originally referred to pieces of shell exquisitely crafted and strung on necklaces. Now it may also refer to small hand-made beads of other materials.

Herringbone - A herringbone chain has small, slanted links that join to form a flat chain.

Hessonite - Hessonite is a brown-red variety of garnet.

Hidden Box Clasp - This stylish design hides a box clasp under the last link of the chain.

High Polish - Mirror-like finish of a highly polished piece of jewelry.

Hoop Earring - This refers to an earring in the shape of a hoop.

Hue - Hue is one of three characteristics used to describe the appearance of color. Hue is the dominant wavelength of color attributed to a particular stone. (See also saturation and tone.)

I.D. Bracelet - This bracelet, with a curved plate, displays the name or initials of the wearer.

Inclusion - Inclusions are foreign deposits within gemstones such as foreign minerals, cracks, or liquids. They occur naturally during crystal growth and may also result from intense pressure. Some inclusions are visible to the naked eye and some can only be seen with a loupe. While they sometimes affect the appearance of a stone, they can also help verify authenticity and reveal stone origins.

Inlay - Inlaying is a decorative technique of binding one surface into the surface of another material mechanically (by incision and undercut).

Intaglio - An Intaglio is an ornamental stone with a design formed into the stone, sitting below the surface. (In contrast with a cameo.)

Intarsia - Also known as Florentine Mosaic, Intarsia is an art form created by cutting various gemstones together in a pattern. It originally referred to inlay of wood veneers, ivory, or metal into a wood ground.

Intensity - See saturation.

Iridescent - A rainbow range of colors reflected from the surface of a gemstone.

Irradiation - A gemstone enhancement process, irradiation uses high energy, sometimes followed by heating, to alter gemstone color. Diamonds are sometimes irradiated to produce or enhance various colors. Other gemstones may also be treated using this method. For a list of stone treatments, frequency and stability of treatments, and care instructions, visit our Gemstone Enhancements and Treatments chart.

Irritant - Key to the formation of pearls, an irritant is an intruder such as a parasite or particle that gets inside a mollusk’s shell. The mollusk produces a secretion known as conchiolin to soothe the irritant. Another substance known as nacre is secreted over the conchilin. Layer after layer of nacre surrounds the irritant and eventually produces what we know as a pearl.

J Hoop - A hoop earring that is not circular but elongated like the letter "j."

Karat - Karat is a measure of the gold’s purity. Most gold jewelry is actually made from a gold alloy containing gold and another metal or metals.

Lab Created - Gemstones created in a lab with exact chemical properties of their natural counterparts are termed lab created. Also known as synthetic stones, these stones are usually significantly cheaper than natural stones.

Lapidary - The art and science of cutting, polishing and shaping precious gemstones.

Lariat - A cord necklace with two open ends handing down in front, looped into a knot or secured by a slide.

Lever Back - An earring closure for pierced ears that is secured by a hinged lever attached to the back of the earring.

Links - The loops or other shapes that connect together to form a chain.

Lobster Claw Clasp - This necklace or bracelet clasp uses a hook similar to a hinged lobster claw to secure one end to a ring on the other end of the chain.

Locket - A pendant or pin designed as a hinged case that can hold a picture, a charm or other small memento.

Luster - The quality and quantity of light reflected by a stone's surface. Luster can also refer to the unique glow that emanates from a pearl as a result of the microscopic crystals in the nacre of the pearl.

Maltese Cross - A cross made up of four arrowheads facing one another with their points meeting in the center.

Mantle - Mantle tissue is the soft tissue found in an oyster and is the medium for the cells that start the production of conchiolin and nacre. In cultured pearls, a round bead is inserted into the oyster with a piece of mantle tissue. In the unique irregular shaped freshwater cultured pearls, mantle tissue alone is implanted into the oyster. These are known as “tissue graft” or "non-nucleated" cultured pearls.

Mariner Link Chain - A chain made of oval links that have a bar across the center.

Marquise - Named after Marquise de Pompadour, Mistress of King Louis XV, the marquise shape is oval with points on both ends.

Matched Pair - Two matching gemstones perfect for use in earrings.

Matinee - This necklace style that ranges from 20 to 25 inches long and is perfect for semi-formal occasions

Matte - A dull, non-reflective finish.

Metal - In one sense, jewelry is the art and science of crafting metals. Regardless of whether gemstones are present or not, virtually all jewelry incorporates some form of metal. Even bead and pearl necklaces normally incorporate some form of metalwork in the clasp. While 70 pure metals exist, only about 20 are used in the craft of jewelry making. Under controlled conditions (such as heating) metals are malleable and can be shaped into various designs. At room temperature, metals are solid and opaque.

Metallic - Reflective like metal.

Mill Grain Edge - Created with a special engraving tool, a millgrain edge is a raised design along the edge of the jewelry.

Mohs' Hardness Scale - Gemstones are measured by Moh's scale of hardness. "Hardness" refers to whether you can scratch one material with another. It also gives you a general idea of the stone’s durability. Sometimes a wide range of numbers may be given for one stone as a direct correlation to the different varieties of that gemstone. For example, an almandine garnet has a different hardness level than a grossular garnet because these two gemstones have a different chemical makeup. Moh’s scale of hardness runs from 1 to 10. Use the following base reference points:

  • 1 – Talc
  • 2 – Gypsum
  • 3 – Calcite
  • 4 – Fluorite
  • 5 – Apatite
  • 6 – Orthoclase (Feldspar)
  • 7 – Quartz
  • 8 – Topaz
  • 9 – Corundum (Ruby & Sapphire)
  • 10 – Diamond

Moissanite - Moissanite is a lab-created stone based on the structure of natural moissanite, which is linked to meteorites. On Mohs' scale of hardness, moissanite is 95. It has more brilliance, fire, and luster than any hard jewel on earth, including diamond.

Mounting - A piece of jewelry designed to hold a gem.

Nucleus - A nucleus is an implant (the bead or mantle tissue) inserted into a mussel to create a cultured pearl.

Nugget - A lump of unshaped precious metal.

Oiling - Oiling infuses colorless oils, resins, and waxes into tiny surface-breaking fissures to hide them and give gems a clean-complexioned appearance. This long-practiced clarity enhancement is used mainly for emerald and jade. The oils used are either natural or have a natural counterpart. If coloring agents are added to the oil, the stones are classified as dyed. Emeralds infused with man-made substances like plastics and polymers that have no natural counterpart are considered impregnated. For a list of stone treatments, frequency and stability of treatments, and care instructions, visit our Gemstone Enhancements and Treatments chart.

Omega Back - An earring closure for pierced ears that is secured by a hinged lever attached to the back of the earrings. Similar to lever back earrings, omega back earrings end in an O shape that secures over a post instead of a clutch.

Omega Chain - Treasured for its sleek sophistication, an omega chain is worn high on the neck and made up of tightly interlocking links that form a flat solid surface.

Opaque - There are several ways a light travels through a stone. In opaque stones, no light is reflected.

Open Work - Similar to filigree, this ring setting is designed to allow viewing of the bottom of the gemstone.

Opera - Ideal for formal engagements, this necklace style drapes elegantly at 28 to 34 inches long. Sometimes it is also doubled and worn as a shorter necklace.

Optical Properties - One fundamental characteristic of gemstones is the way they interact with the light. "Optical properties" refers to this trait and include color, dispersion, and fluorescence.

Oval Cut - This popular cut is oblong and faceted with rounded edges.

Overlay - There are two techniques of physically joining two materials together: one is inlay and the other is an overlay (or encrustation). Overlay unites one surface onto another surface chemically through an additional substance such as soldering when joining metal to metal or an adhesive/cement when joining metal to nonmetal (such as gemstones or shell).

Oxidation - Tarnishing is the natural process of discoloration that occurs in some metals due to environmental conditions. When this change is induced by choice to create a special effect in the metal, it is known as oxidation.

Pave Setting - This unique setting looks as if the piece is literally paved with stones.

Pavilion - A faceted stone can be divided into an upper and lower section. The upper section or top is referred to as a crown. The lower section is referred to as a 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 (when present) is referred to as a culet.

Pear Cut - Resembling a pear or teardrop, this fancy cut is rounded on one end and pointed on the other.

Pendant - An ornament that hangs from a necklace or bracelet is known as a pendant.

Perfect Cleavage - See cleavage.

Pewter - This dull silver-colored alloy is made from tin, antimony, and copper.

Phenomenal Gems - Gems that display unusual optical properties such as color change gems.

Play of Color - Opal displays a burst of striking colors known as a play of color. As the stone is moved, the appearance changes and a different display of rainbow-like colors can be seen from different angles. This play-of-color is caused by the diffraction of light hitting the stone. In the 1960s, intensive microscopes magnifying between 20,000x and 40,000x revealed that tiny silica spheres (150 to 300 nanometers) with water interspersed make up opals. The shape, size, and alignment of these spheres affect the color of the opal.

Platinum - Thirty-five times rarer than gold, platinum is a treasured and highly sought after precious metal. Platinum is 95% pure, reflecting a brilliant white luster that does not fade or tarnish. Its purity also makes it hypoallergenic and perfect for sensitive skin. With a higher density than most metals, platinum is more durable and less likely to wear away over time. Plus, it is highly pliable and can be shaped into many intricate patterns not possible with other metals.

Pleochroism - In a doubly refractive crystal, a light beam reflects two different rays. The eye cannot normally see both rays at the same time, but by moving the stone, the eye will observe both rays. The result? The stone exhibits one of two or more different colors (or two or more different color depths) from each angle. This effect is known as dichroism (two-color) or the more common pleochroism (many colors). Tourmaline is a perfect example.)

Plum Gold - Karat gold with the exact amount of stated gold content.

Point - Gemstone unit weight equal to one-hundredth of a carat.

Polish - Polish is a finishing process for metals and gemstones. There are several methods of polishing, depending on what is being polished.

Polishing Diamonds - Finishing diamonds is the art and science of a lapidary. For cutting and polishing, the diamond is mounted and pressed into a rotating grinding wheel coated with diamond powder and oil. Polishing diamonds requires a constant inspection to make sure all the facets are symmetrical and uniform.

Polishing Gemstones - While cutting and polishing a diamond incorporates mathematical formulas, the art of cutting and polishing gemstones is more dependent on experience and experimentation of the lapidary. Once the stone is sawed and ground into the desired shape, it must be sanded to remove rough marks and then it is polished with a variety of agents. Depending on the stone hardness and the type of facets, the gemcutter will combine a variety of polishing agents and polishing surfaces to finish the stone into a brilliant shine.

Polishing Metals - In the art of crafting metals into jewelry, the last step involves refining the surface to a beautiful bright finish. This process includes both polishing and buffing.

Polishing involves a multi-step process of hand polishing and/or machine polishing. This phase eliminates all flaws from the surface of the metal. This may take several stages of polishing using multiple abrasives, tools, and techniques.

Buffing utilizes much finer abrasives and removes very little, if any, metal. This step brings the metal to a final finish with a varying degree of brightness depending on the tastes of the jeweler.

Princess - Perfect for every occasion, this necklace style ranges from 17 to 19 inches and looks great on high and low necklines.

Prong - A prong is a small, slender metal piece. Several prongs connect to a bezel or base and are used to hold a stone in place.

Proportion - Proportion is the property of the relationships between the angles and measurements on a polished gem.

Pyrite - Natural pyrite has a brassy appearance and it sometimes confused for gold. It has little or no gold content and is often called "fool's gold." Used by jewelers for thousands of years, pyrite has been found in ancient Greek jewelry and the tombs of Incas. Marcasite jewelry is actually pyrite.

Quartz Movement - Quartz movement is a very accurate method of movement powered by the vibrations of tiny quartz crystals.

Radiant Cut - The radiant cut sparkles with precisely 70 facets, just like a brilliant cut stone, but it is shaped like an emerald cut stone.

Refractive Index - The amount a beam of light bends as it enters a gemstone and then strikes a subsequent surface(s). The amount of refraction depends on the structure of the stone.

Rhodium - A member of the platinum group, rhodium is a shiny white metal that is highly reflective, durable, and expensive. It is often used as a hardening agent for platinum. In jewelry, it is plated on other metals to increase luster and eliminate tarnishing.

Ribbed - A ribbed design element is simply a ridged texture.

Ring Guard - A ring guard is a ring placed above another ring to keep it from slipping off.

Ring Size - This unit of measure is used to indicate the ring diameter necessary to properly fit a person's finger.

Riviere - Sleek and alluring, the Riviere is a long necklace style covered with a single strand of gemstones, usually diamonds.

Rolo Link Chain - This is a chain with thick ring/oval links.

Rope - This luxurious and sensual, 37" and above necklace style cascades down for a dramatic display of beauty.

Rose Finish - Rose finish gives the jewelry a rose gold appearance but with no actual gold content.

Rose Gold - Revealing a distinctive pink hue, this alloy contains gold mixed with copper.

Safety Catch - Used on a clasp, this catch prevents the clasp from becoming undone or from extending beyond the edge of the brooch.

Satin Finish - A satin finish appears textured and is made from tiny parallel lines scratched onto the metal surface.

Saturation - Saturation is one of three characteristics used to describe the appearance of color. Saturation (also known as intensity) refers to the brightness or vividness of a color.

Scalloped - An adorned edge with a series of curved projections.

Semi-Mount/Semi-Mounting - Perfect for setting your own stone, a semi-mount is a piece of jewelry that has already been partially finished with gemstones and/or engraving with the exception of the center stone.

Serpentine Chain - Two sets of small, flat "s" links tightly bound to one another.

Setting - A setting is simply a jewelry piece that holds stones in place.

Shank - On a ring, the shank is the part that circles the finger.

Shell - Shell is originally the external skeleton for many shellfish but it also makes an appealing ornament in jewelry.

Slide Stone - Side stones are set around or beside the center stone.

Signature - A style or design element common to all the pieces of a particular designer.

Signet Ring - Also known as a seal ring, the signet ring traditionally bears the crest or some other family insignia on the table of the ring.

Silver - A versatile metal, silver is used in multiple applications including jewelry. It is found in ore and is often associated with other metals. Second, only to gold, silver is valued for its malleability and ductility as well as its high luster. Pure silver is often too soft for use in jewelry so it is often used with other alloys.

Simulant - The practice of simulating costly and precious objects with inexpensive substitutes has been traced back over 6,000 years ago in ancient Egypt. This practice continues today in simulating precious gemstones.

Singapore Chain - This uniquely designed chain is composed of flat diamond shaped links that are interwoven, creating a stunning appearance.

Slide - A slide is an ornament that hangs from a chain or rope.

Slide Bracelet - This is a bracelet consisting of two strands that are connected to the main clasp. The bracelet is designed so that strands are threaded through slide charms. Each slide charm has horizontal holes through which the strands of the bracelet are threaded. The antique style of slide bracelet contains more of a gold look incorporating the use of precious and semi-precious stones. The contemporary style of slide bracelet is based more upon lettering and personalization of the charms.

Slight Inclusions - Inclusions in gemstones that can be seen by the unaided eye.

Snake Chain - A snake chain uses metal rings connected side by side instead of linked, creating a bendable, textured chain.

Snap Bar Closure - The hinged bar on a lever back or omega back earrings.

Solitaire - Often found in rings or pendants, a solitaire focuses attention on a single stone in a simple setting.

South Sea - Sometimes referred as the "queen" of cultured pearls, South Sea pearls are unusually large regal pearls primarily from Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Sparkle - Reflecting light from many different points.

Spring Ring Clasp - A common clasp, the spring ring sits on one end of a chain. It is 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 setting with four prongs that hold a stone.

Stack Ring - Rings designed to be stacked in multiples on one finger.

Stainless Steel - An iron based steel alloy, stainless steel normally contains less than 20% chromium. While it is hard to work with, stainless steel is extremely durable: it resists corrosion and can hold a long-lasting polish.

Stamped/Stamping - In the creation of some jewelry pieces, the metal will be cut or embossed with a die or punch. This is known as stamping.

Step Cut - Also known as a trap cut, the step cut has a large facet surrounded by rectangular facets. Smaller step cut stones are often used as accents and are called baguettes.

Sterling Silver - A silver alloy consisting of .925 parts pure silver and .725 parts pure copper, sterling silver is often used for jewelry and flatware. Named after the British currency known as "sterling," sterling silver was once the standard for currency prior to 1920.

Stippled Finish - A series of dots or short lines created by a pointed graver is known as a stippled finish.

Straight Bar Closure - On a straight bar closure, a hinged bar slips into a catch, securing a pin.

Stud - In classic simplicity, this earring has a ball or stone attached to a straight post with no dangling parts.

Surface Markings - Imperfections on the surface of a pearl are known as surface markings.

Symmetry - Symmetry refers to the alignment of facets on the surface of the stone. There are three indicators of symmetry on a gemstone: the alignment of facets with one another, from side to side, and from top to bottom. Proper alignment will affect the reflection and refraction of light through the stone, thus affecting its overall beauty.

Synthetic - Synthetic refers to a man-made material with a natural counterpart. The synthetic crystal replicates the chemical and physical properties of the natural crystal with little or no variation.

Table - Normally the largest surface on a gemstone, the table is located on the crown (or top) of a faceted stone. The table may take many geometric forms, dependent on the shape and style of fashioning. On a round brilliant-cut diamond, for example, the table forms an octagon. However, certain styles of cutting, such as checkerboards, buff tops, or roll tops, do not have a table.

Table Percentage - The table percentage of a diamond represents the ratio of table width to overall stone width. Like depth percentage, the luster of the stone is directly affected by table percentage. A beautiful stone will normally have a table percentage ranging from 53 to 64 percent.

Tarnish - Tarnish is the undesirable dulling due to the effects of humidity, temperature and other atmospheric conditions upon certain metals.

Tassel - In jewelry, a tassel refers to decorative group of short metal threads bound together at one end and hung from a necklace.

Tennis Bracelet - A tennis bracelet is flexible and made up of matched stones or alternating matched stones.

Tennis Style - Tennis style indicates evenly matched or alternating matched stones.

Three Stone Ring - A three stone ring is a ring setting with three stones of the same shape and the center stone is usually larger than the other two. Sometimes this symbolizes the past, present, and future of a relationship.

Tie Tack - A stylish way to keep a tie in place, the tie tack has a stone or ornamental on the face connected to a short straight pin that attaches the tie to the shirt.

Titanium - Titanium is a metal with an extremely high melting point and is part of group of other metals with high melting points known as refractory metals. Under controlled conditions, titanium is highly reactive and can be permanently colored for various decorative applications.

Toe Ring - Often worn on one or more toes, toe rings are designed to slip easily on and off the toe.

Toggle Clasp - The toggle clasp is a simple closure consisting of a ring on one end of a chain and a small bar on the other. The bar slides through the ring and then sits across, holding the two ends of the chain together.

Tone - Tone is one of four characteristics used to describe the appearance of color. Tone refers to the lightness or value of the lightness in a particular stone. (See also saturation and hue.)

Translucent - There are several ways a light travels through a stone. In a translucent stone, the light is diffused as it travels through stone. Translucent stones are not clear but frosted like ice. (See also transparent and opaque.)

Transparent - There are several ways a light travels through a stone. In a transparent stone, the light travels through stone with virtually no distortion. Transparent stones are clear and easy to see through. (See also translucent and opaque.)

Trillion Cut - A "trillion cut" is a variation of the brilliant cut triangular stone with 44 facets.

Triplet - Assembled opals combine natural opal with other materials. A doublet contains a slice of opal glued to common opal, glass or other material. A triplet contains a slice of opal glued between a base and a crystal or a glass top. Triplets are usually less expensive than doublets, and both are less expensive than natural opals. Triplets are great for ring stones as they have the protective coating over the opal.

Vermeil - Real gold that is chemically bonded to sterling silver. The finish looks great but the price is substantially lower.

Vitreous - Vitreous refers to a glass-like luster on a stone.

White Gold - The en vogue color of the younger generation, white gold uses silver-colored alloys (silver, zinc or nickel) to decrease the yellow tint of gold. To intensify the white luster and eliminate the slight yellow tint, white gold is sometimes plated with rhodium or platinum.

Y Necklace - Forming a dangling y-shape around the neck, the Y-necklace style is usually 16 to 18 inches long.