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Jewelry Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V 


ALLOY: An alloy is a blend of one more elements where at least one of those elements is metal. 

AMETHYST: Amethyst is a purple variety of quartz. The stone is often used in jewellery and comes in several shades from a light pinkish violet to a deep purple. Amethyst is the birthstone for February.

ART DECO: A style of jewellery that was originally introduced in France in the 1920’s, featuring bold colours and geometric lines and angles.

ART NOUVEAU: Is French for ‘new art’. This was a movement, which originated in France in the 1890’s and quickly spread around the world. The jewellery of this period is characterised by curves and the use of sensuous forms.

ANNIVERSARY BAND: This is usually a ring that features gems going partially or completely around the ring. It is traditional anniversary gift and would normally compliment the engagement ring and wedding band.

ASSHER CUT: This is a very elegant square cut stone with cropped corners. It has gained popularity after being worn by many celebrities – in a ring, earrings or pendant. 

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BAGUETTE: This is a rectangular cut that is similar to, but narrower and smaller than the emerald cut. It is one of the most traditional cuts.

BEZEL SETTING:A bezel setting is a simple streamlined setting, where a band of metal is wrapped around the stone to hold it in place.

BLING:A term used to describe flashy, sparkly jewellery. Originally referred to as “bling bling’ in the 1990’s

BOHEMIAN:A popular word these days, it now refers to the 1960’s and 70’s style fashion and jewellery often seen on celebrities such as Sienna Miller and Kate Hudson.

BOX CHAIN:This is a chain available in various lengths that is made from connected square metal links

BRIDAL JEWELLERY: This is jewellery that is worn by members of the ‘wedding party’ and often mother of the bride and bridegroom, on the special day. This includes the traditional wedding and engagement rings as well as earrings, necklaces, bracelets etc for all those involved.

BRILLIANT CUT: A stone cut in to a form with 58 total facets, to best highlight a diamonds brilliancy. The round brilliant cut is the most popular.

BRIOLETTE: A cut of stone featuring triangular facets in a teardrop or pear shape.

BROOCH: A decorative pin, which was designed originally to be worn on clothing, but can also, be worn in the hair.

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The 4 C’s: This is the standard form for grading diamonds, based on the qualities of Carat, Clarity, Colour, and Cut.

CABACHON: A stone that has been polished and shaped and does not have any facets on the top. This smooth finish is generally used to highlight opaque stones that have a natural gloss without the need for light reflecting facets.

CARAT: This is one of the 4 C’s used to grade diamonds. It refers to a unit of weight used to measure gemstones. Diamond carats are determined by weight alternatively, cubic zirconia (CZ) carat weights are based on dimensions. A 3-carat diamond that is exactly the same size as a 3-carat Cubic Zirconia, will actually weighs less.

CHANDELEIR EARRINGS: Larger, dangling earrings, which feature tiers of gemstones and/or detailing, (as seen in a chandelier light). They are very popular at the moment for an extremely glamorous look.

CHANNEL SETTING: A very common design for ENGAGEMENT RINGS. Here stones are TENSION SET between two bands of metal. They do not have any prongs or dividers, but often a slight groove in the lip, which the stones fit in to for extra security.

CHARM BRACELET/CHARM NECKLACE: Usually a bracelet, but often a necklace, which features varying amounts of charms hanging off of it.

CHOKER NECKLACE: A necklace that measures approximately 14 to 16 inches long.

CLARITY: This is one of the 4 C’s used to grade diamonds. In this case, diamonds are graded according to their imperfections (or lack thereof) visible in the stone.

CLIP-ON EARRINGS: Earrings for non-pierced ears, which have a clip on the back, which simply clips on to the earlobe.

COCKTAIL RING: A showy ring with an oversized stone and/or elaborate detailing.

COLLAR NECKLACE: A necklace that measures approximately 12 to 13 inches long.

COSTUME JEWLLERY: This refers to any jewellery that is made from faux gemstones instead of real stones and/or from materials other than silver, gold or platinum.

CRYSTAL: A high quality glass component that contains lead. Crystal’s are loved for their amazing refraction of light.

CUBIC ZIRCONIA (CZ): An inexpensive, man-made stone that is most often cut to resemble diamonds. They are most often clear, but can be coloured to resemble other precious and semi-precious stones. They are visually flawless, hard and generally considered to be the best substitute for a diamond. They are most used in high quality, but generally inexpensive, COSTUME JEWELRY.

CZ JEWELLERY: Jewellery made from the man made stone that is most often cut to resemble diamonds. . They are most often clear, but can be coloured to resemble other precious and semi-precious stones. They are visually flawless, hard and generally considered to be the best substitute for a diamond. Cubic Zirconia jewels are now generally high quality and inexpensive.

CUFF BRACLET: Is a generally wider bracelet where the two ends do not meet. Instead of having a continuous circle, there is a break in the middle and it is slipped on, over the side of the wrist.

CUSHION CUT: A squarish cut with rounded corners and brilliant style facets that resemble a pillow shape, hence the name. This is a very popular classic cut, which is often found in antique and vintage jewellery.

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DIAMOND CUT: Small bright cuts made in metal, that gives the look of diamonds set in the metal.

DIAMOND GRADE: This is the grade established by using the 4 C’s. It is the evaluation of a diamond's value, determined by a standardised system.

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ELECTROPLATING: Refers to the process of applying a thin metal layer on top of another metal by using a plating solution and electric current.

EMERALD CUT: Is also referred to as a step cut. It is a classical cut which features a rectangular stone with cut corners. Many engagement rings and wedding bands are made to this cut.

ENAMEL: This is the fusion of glass or coloured material to the surface of metal.

ENGAGEMENT RING: The piece of jewellery traditionally used when one person proposes marriage to another. They are normally made so that they will compliment the wedding band.

ESTATE JEWELLERY: This usually refers to antique jewellery but can also be used to describe second hand jewellery.

ETERNITY BAND: A ring with stones that extend all the way around the band. This symbolises the concept of eternal love, with no beginning or end. Generally given in celebration of reaching a milestone. Also know as an infinity ring.

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FACETS: Are the small, flat polished surfaces on a gemstone. The number, shape, and placement of facets determine a stone’s CUT.

FAKE DIAMONDS: Synthetic diamonds, these are generally CUBIC ZIRCONIA’S

FAKE ENGAGEMENT RINGS: Engagement rings that are generally made with a high quality cubic zirconia, in place if a diamond. It can be very hard to tell the difference.

FAKE RINGS: Another term for rings that are made with Cubic Zirconia’s instead of a Diamond or other expensive coloured stone. Now, it can be hard to tell the difference, due to such high quality Cubic Zirconia’s being made.

FAUX JEWELLRY: This refers to a fake version of something. In terms of jewellery, something may be called ‘faux’ when it is made with a CZ or rhinestone instead of a valuable gemstone. It can be very hard to tell the difference due to the exceptionally high quality ‘faux’ stones now available.

FILIGREE: A delicate, intricate design usually made with twisted thread of gold or silver. It often looks like lace and is used to accentuate jewellery.

FLEUR DE LIS JEWELRY: A stylised design of an iris or lily flower, which is now commonly used as a decorative symbol. It is often featured on emblems.

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GOLD: A metal commonly used to make jewellery.

GOLD PLATED: A layer of gold, which is placed on top of a base metal. It is most often applied by ELECTROPLATING. Gold plated jewellery is a less expensive alternative to whole gold.

GOTHIC JEWELRY: Jewellery that is from Gothic period or inspired by the punk look. It is usually silver and/or black and includes crosses and various gothic symbols.

GRADUATED: In relation to jewellery, this refers to a bracelet or necklace, which has stones that get progressively smaller or larger as they go.

GUARD BAND: A band worn in front of another ring, to keep it in its place. This is generally seen as part of a wedding ring set. In this instance, it is a ring that holds the engagement ring in place.

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HEART CUT: This is a when a stone is cut in the shape of a heart.

HOOP EARRINGS: Earrings that are formed into a hoop shape. They may be complete circles or may only go part of the way around.

HUE: This is the prominent colour within a stone or metal. For example Platinum has a white hue and an Emerald has a green hue.

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INFINITY RING: Another name for eternity ring. This ring has stones that wrap around the entire band and symbolises that love has no beginning or end.

INLAY: Is a method of setting the stones into a grooved channel or an outlined space, so that they lay flush with the surface of the metal.

IMITATION JEWELLERY: Can also be known as cubic zirconia jewellery, faux jewellery or costume jewellery. They are generally inexpensive versions of popular, more expensive brand name jewellery.

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JOURNEY JEWELLERY: This is traditionally a necklace or bracelet that has a strand of graduated diamonds, cubic zirconia’s or the like, which represents love growing with every step of life’s journey.

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LARIAT: A necklace that does not have a clasp. It is basically one long strand that is put around the neck and the ends that are worn in the front. Some lariat’s have a hoop or open charm through which the other end of the chain can be looped.

LAVALIERE: Is a pendant which is on a necklace that is 24 inches or longer.

LAYERED NECKLACES: A necklace with multiple chains or strands of varying lengths.

LEVERBACK: A type of earring backing with a thin lever that is snaps into place. These are generally extremely and are supportive for heavier, dangling earrings.

LOCKET: A pendant or a charm that opens on a hinge and is able to hold pictures or small mementos.

LOBSTER CLAW: This clasp is a sturdier, oblong version of the spring ring clasp, used on necklaces and bracelets. It opens using a small internal spring.

LUCITE: This was frequently used in jewellery in the 1940’s. It is a transparent, strong, mouldable plastic material.

LUSTER: This refers to the shine or finish of a stone.

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MAGNETIC EARRINGS: Are earrings, which are attached to small magnets. They have magnet backings to hold them in place on the earlobe. A popular option for those without pierced ears.

MARQUASITE (MARCASITE): Most often found in vintage jewellery, estate jewellery or Art Deco inspired jewellery. This is a gray, metallic like gemstone, made of pyrite crystals.

MARQUISE CUT: A stone cut into an oval shape, with pointed ends.

MATINEE LENGTH NECKLACE: A necklace (generally refers to pearls), which measures approximately 20-24 inches long.

MOTHER OF PEARL: The iridescent material taken from the lining of a mollusc shell.

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NICKLE-FREE: Gold or silver that is ALLOYED with a metal other than nickel. Platinum is nickel free. People that get an allergic reaction from standard jewellery should look for this type of jewellery.

NON-PIERCED EARRINGS: Are earrings for those without piercing in their ears. These are either clip on earrings or magnetic earrings.

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OVAL CUT: A stone cut in the shape of an oval, it is cut similarly to a brilliant cut stone.

OPERA LENGTH NECKLACE: A necklace (generally refers to pearls), which measures approximately 28 to 35 inches.

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PAVE: This is a very popular method of setting stones whereby the stones are set so close to each other that it appears to be "paved" with gems.

PEAR CUT: Like the oval cut, it is cut similarly to a brilliant cut stone. It is however, cut in a pear shape with one rounded end and one pointed end.

PERIOD JEWELLERY: Jewellery that is typical of a certain time in history, such as victorian or art nouevaeu jewellery.

PLATINUM: A precious metal with can be used to make jewellery. Platinum is extremely strong and is generally, the highest quality of metal available for jewellery making. Platinum has a white HUE.

PLUS SIZE JEWELLERY: In relation to jewellery, this generally refers to Women’s rings that are sizes 9 and above, bracelets that are 8 inches or longer, and necklaces that are 18 inches or longer.

PRECIOUS METALS: Are rare metals that include Platinum, Gold and Silver.

PRINCESS CUT: A stone cut, which was developed in the 1960’s and is now the second most popular cut for a diamond. It is a multi faceted square cut.

PRINCESS LENGTH NECKLACE: A necklace (generally refers to pearls), which measures approximately 17 to 19 inches.

PROMISE RING: Is generally a ring given prior to an engagement ring. It is given as a symbol of commitment.

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RETRO: Refers to a style that was popular in the past.

RHINESTONE JEWELLRY: A faux, inexpensive "gem". This is made of glass with a foil backing to reflect the light. Rhinestones are most often glued in to place, but may also be set like traditional stones. Costume jewellery often features many rhinestones.

RHODIUM: Is now commonly used to give a platinum type finish and more resilience to both silver and gold. Rhodium is a member of the platinum group of metals. The rhodium is usually applied to other metals by electroplating.

ROPE CHAIN: A chain made from two twisted metal chains looped together. The chain resembles a piece of rope.

ROPE LENGTH NECKLANCE: A necklace (generally refers to pearls), which measures approximately 40 inches.

ROSE CUT: A stone cut that has flat base and raised triangular facets.

ROSE GOLD: Has a pink hue, as opposed to the more standard yellow gold. Combining yellow gold with copper makes it.


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SATIN FINISH: A matte or dull finish to a metal, which is usually achieved by sanding or brushing.

SHANK: The portion of a ring that wraps around your finger.

SINGAPORE CHAIN: Twisted diamonds shaped links are intertwined to create a chain with sparkle.

SNAKE CHAIN: Is a chain that resembles a snake as it has round, wavy metal links, lined side by side.

SOLITAIRE: A pendant or ring with a single gemstone.

SPRING RING: Is type of clasp very commonly used on necklaces and bracelets. It has a ring shaped clasp, which opens using a small internal spring.

STACKABLE ETERNITY BANDS: Are rings without stones that sit neatly together, and are stacked together.

STAINLESS STEEL: Stainless steel is a steel alloy and does not readily corrode, rust or stain with water as ordinary steel does. 316 is the most common type of stainless steel used in jewelry.

STEP CUT: This classic cut features a rectangular stone with cut corners. It is also referred to as the emerald cut and is often found in engagement and wedding bands.

STERLING SILVER JEWELRY: Silver jewellery that contains an alloy of 92.5% pure silver, which is alloyed with other metals for strength. Copper or nickel usually comprises the remaining 7.5% of the alloy. Sterling silver jewellery is stamped ".925".

STUD EARRINGS: (STUDS) Earrings that have a post backing adhered to a small gemstone or metal decoration. They are put through the pierced ear and held in place by a backing.

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TENNIS BRACELET: A thin, symmetrical bracelet that normally features one or more rows of diamonds or fake diamonds.

TENSION SET: A method of setting stones in metal whereby, the stones are held in place using the tension formed when they are tightly wedged between two or more bands of metal.

THREE STONE RING: A ring which obviously features three stones! The stones represent the past, present, and future and are usually given for an Anniversary.

TIFFANY CHAIN: A rather traditional, delicate style of chain used for lightweight pendants.

TIFFANY SETTING: Is a SOLITAIRE stone with a four or six prong setting.

TOGGLE: A necklace or bracelet closure or clasp that features a metal bar that fits sideways into a metal circle to hold the jewellery together.

TOTAL CARAT WEIGHT (TCW): This is the total sum of the carat weights for all of the individual stones in a piece of jewellery.

TRILLION CUT: A stone that is cut into a triangle shape. It can have pointed or more rounded edges.

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VERMEIL: is a combination of sterling silver, gold, and other precious metals, commonly used as a component in jewelry. An example is sterling silver coated with 18k gold.

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