The lingo related to the fabrication of making jewelry can be a little complicated. Here is a glossary of terms frequently used in the jewelry industry.
14-Karat White Gold –
14 parts pure gold and 10 parts other metal alloys. White gold is created by combining pure gold with nickel, palladium, zinc, or copper alloy. 14-karat gold hallmark stamps include: .585 or 14K.
14-Karat Yellow Gold –
14 parts pure gold and 10 parts other metal alloys. When combined with copper and silver alloys, yellow gold retains a rich color and its durability is increased. 14-karat gold hallmark stamps include: .585 or 14K.
18-Karat White Gold –
18 parts pure gold and 6 parts other metal alloys. White gold is created by combining pure gold with nickel, palladium, zinc, or copper alloy. 18-karat gold hallmark stamps include: .750 or 18K.
18-Karat Yellow Gold –
14 parts pure gold and 10 parts other metal alloys. When combined with copper and silver alloys, yellow gold retains a rich yellow color and its durability is increased. 18-karat gold hallmark stamps
Akoya Pearls –
A type of cultured pearl harvested in saltwater off the coasts of Japan. Learn More
A mixture of two or more metals created to enhance the strength and/or appearance of a particular metal.
A purple form of quartz. The traditional birthstone for February.
A stone cut into a small rectangular or tapered shape with a step cut. Often used as accents to larger stones in three-stone settings.
Bezel Setting –
A type of setting where metal is wrapped around the girdle of a stone, making only the crown and table visible.
Imperfections found on the external surface of a diamond.
Blue Topaz –
The most common form of topaz. The traditional birthstone for December.
The total light reflected from a diamond.
A style of cutting diamonds. Brilliant-cut diamonds have many facets, which helps increase the amount of light dispersed through the diamond. Diamond shapes include: round, oval, pear, princess, radiant, heart, and marquise-cut diamonds.
Brushed Finish –
A finish applied to metal using a wire brush, which adds texture to the surface of a metal and reduces the reflection of the metal.
A gemstone cut with a smooth, rounded surface, with no facets and highly polished.
The standard unit weight for diamonds and other gemstones.
Carat Total Weight –
The sum of the carat weights for all diamonds in a piece of jewelry.
Cathedral Setting –
A type of setting with cathedral-like arches that rise above the band on either side of the stone.
Channel Setting –
A type of setting where stones are placed side by side and are secured within a metal channel without metal prongs between each stone.
A yellow variety of quartz. The traditional birthstone for November.
The upper portion of a diamond, located between the table and the girdle.
The small facet on the bottom point of a diamond. The last facet put on a stone.
Cultured Pearl –
A variety of pearl created by inserting a round, shell bead and small bit of mantle tissue from another oyster into a mature oyster. This process stimulates the oyster to produce layer upon layer of nacre which covers the bead, forming a beautiful and lustrous pearl. Learn more about Pearls.
A type of cut in which a four-sided stone has smooth, rounded edges.
The hardest know natural mineral to man. The traditional birthstone for April. Learn more about diamonds.
Diamond Clarity –
One of the 4C's that measures the presence or absence of inclusions and blemishes on a diamond. The clarity scale ranges from FL/IF: Flawless/Internally Flawless to I3: Included. Learn more about diamonds.
Diamond Color –
One of the 4C's that measures the amount of body color in a diamond. The color is expressed using a scale from D-Z with D indicating a colorless stone to Z, which indicates a stone with noticeable color. Learn more about diamonds.
Diamond Cut –
One of the 4C's that determines how light travels through a stone. Cut differs from a diamond's shape, which refers to the form a diamond takes, primarily as viewed from above. Learn more about diamonds.
Diamond Certification –
A report created by an expert gemologist or gemological institute, which provides an analysis of a diamond's dimensions, clarity, color, polish, symmetry, and other characteristics. The most well known and respected gemological institute is the GIA, the Gemological Institute of America. Learn more about diamonds.
Diamond Table –
The uppermost flat surface and biggest facet of a stone. Learn more about diamonds.
Diamond Total Weight –
The sum of the carat weights for all diamonds in a piece of jewelry.
Found in all shades of green, emerald is a member of the beryl family. It is also the traditional birthstone for May.
A type of cut in which the stone is rectangular or square with beveled corners and a step cut. Learn more about diamonds.
The flat polished surfaces of a cut stone.
Four C's –
The 4C's refers to the four criteria used for diamond grading and certification – Carat, Color, Clarity, and Cut. Learn more about diamonds.
Freshwater Pearl –
A variety of pearl produced in and harvested from freshwater rivers and lakes. Learn more about Pearls.
The reddish-brown birthstone for January.
A natural, or synthetic, stone that has the beauty and durability to be cut, polished and used in a piece of jewelry. o Precious Gemstones – gems that have high economic value because of their rarity or aesthetic appearance. Precious gems include diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires.
The thin horizontal band that forms the widest part of a diamond.
Gold (Metal) –
The classic metal used for most jewelry. Pure gold (24K) is too soft to be used for jewelry, so it is often combined with other metals to enhance its durability.
Hallmark Stamp –
The mark(s) stamped on most articles of gold and silver jewelry that designates the precious metal content and attests to the purity of the jewelry's metal.
Heart-Shaped Cut –
Stones cut in the shape of a heart. Heart-shaped diamonds are a variation of the round brilliant.
High-Polish Finish –
Metal with a shiny, reflective surface.
Natural birthmarks inside a stone that can affect how light is dispersed through the stone. Inclusions can vary in size, shape, quantity, position, and color.
A unit of measure for the purity (fineness) of gold and other metals.
A decorative technique in which a beaded design or trim is impressed into the metal.
Mother of Pearl –
Thin layers of nacre that make up the iridescent interior of a mollusk shell. Mother of Pearl is often used for watch faces.
The iridescent material produced in mollusk shells that coats particles and other foreign objects. Over time, layers of nacre build up as they coat the particles, forming a pearl.
A stone with an elongated round shape.
A silvery-white metal that is a member of the platinum metal group. It is similar to platinum is its appearance, malleability, and wear but it is much lighter in weight. Like platinum, palladium will not discolor or tarnish.
The lower part of a diamond, located between the girdle and the culet. Learn more about diamonds.
Pavilion Depth –
The distance from the bottom of the girdle to the culet. Learn more about diamonds.
Pavé Setting –
A style of setting in which many small gemstones, usually tiny faceted diamonds, are set very close together in a group to completely cover and conceal the metal, in which it is set.
Pear-Shaped Cut –
A pear-shaped stone with a rounded bottom edge that comes to a point at the top. Also known as a teardrop-shaped cut.
Organic gemstones created from layer upon layer of nacre and produced in mollusk shells. The traditional birthstone for June. Learn more about pearls.
A gemstone known for its yellow-green color. The traditional birthstone for August.
A durable precious metal, valued for its white color, purity, and durability. Platinum hallmark stamps (hyperlink to definition of Hallmark stamp) include: 950 Plat, Plat, PT, or Platinum.
The condition of a diamond or metal's surface.
A type of cut featuring a square stone.
PVD Finish –
Physical Vapor Deposit. A process by which a durable finish or coating is applied. The black color, formed from a carbon and titanium composite, is placed into a pressurized chamber with stainless steel jewelry or watch parts. The pressure forces the composite into the surface of the steel, coloring the item black.
An eight-sided rectangular or square-cut stone with approximately 70 facets.
A shiny metal, from the platinum family, that increases the whiteness and strength of other metals. Rhodium plating also helps to prevent tarnish in other metals, such as sterling silver.
An extremely hard precious stone that is a variety of Corundum and are typically red in color. The traditional birthstone for July.
An extremely hard precious stone that is a variety of Corundum. Sapphires occur in a variety of colors, including white and black; however, blue Sapphires are the most well known and valuable. The traditional birthstone for September.
Silver (Metal) –
A type of metal used for jewelry. Silver is typically combined with other metals to increases its strength and durability. Sterling silver consists of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% alloy. Sterling silver hallmark stamps include: .925, sterling, sterling silver, or ster.
The process of melting metal and joining it together to make or repair jewelry.
A single diamond in a metal setting, such as a rings, earrings, or necklaces.
Stainless Steel –
A strong metal that is less likely to rust or corrode than regular steel or other metals. Stainless steel is often used for watch cases and watch bracelets.
A way in which diamonds are cut. Step-cut diamonds have rows of facets positioned in a step-like pattern. Most step-cut diamonds are rectangular in shape and have four sides, such as emerald or baguette diamonds.
A diamond characteristic, which refers to how accurately opposing facets have been placed and shaped.
The flat facet on the top of the diamond.
A strong but lightweight metal, often used for men's wedding bands.
A type of gemstone that occurs in many colors and combinations of colors.
An extremely hard metal, which is resistant to corrosion and scratches. Tungsten's use in the jewelry industry is fairly new and it is often used for wedding bands.
Sterling silver covered with a layer of gold usually by plating.
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