Two or more metals combined. An example would be rose gold which is pure yellow gold combined with copper.
The process of visually aging the metal itself by adding a tarnished look usually via the application of a chemical agent.
Decorative materials or metals affixed to another piece of jewelry.
Similar to an emerald cut an Asscher-cut stone is a stepped cut gemstone with cropped corners and a flat pavilion. Its overall shape is a square as opposed to the rectangular emerald cut. The length-to-width ratio for an Asscher-cut stone traditionally falls between 1.00 to 1.05.
Also known as the star effect needle-like inclusions align within the stone to produce a star-like reflection on the surface of a cabachon cut gem.
An evaluation of the actual replacement value of a piece of jewelry. This practice is often done by a licensed gemologist.
Similar to an emerald cut baguette cut stones feature a step-cut with an overall long rectangular shape and cropped corners. Frequently used as an accent stone the length-to-width ration is traditionally around 1.5 with 20 facets. This cut is commonly associated with the art deco and art nouveau styles that were at the height of their popularity during the 1920s and 1930s.
A jewelry componant used to attach a pendant or stone to the necklace or chain.
An inflexible bracelet worn around your wrist. There are two types: a solid cylinder or a split hinged bracelet with a clasp. Bangles are considered traditional and symbolic ornaments in South Asia.
A setting where the gemstone is set directly into the metal surface. Bead settings placed very close together are referred to as a pavé setting from the French for paved or cobblestoned.
Beryl in its purest form is a colorless gemstone. However impurities in beryl gives this gem its many colors. There are six well known types of beryl. The six different types or varieties of beryl include aquamarine bixbite emerald goshenite heliodor and morganite.
A frame frequently a strip of metal which secures a stone or watch crystal in place. In gem cutting bezel may also refer to the sloping facet of a stone that surrounds the larger flat table facet.
The use of heat light and/or chemical agents to lighten or remove a gemstone's color. Abbreviation: B
Also known as diamond cut. This typically conical style has numerous kite-shaped and triangular facets arranged in a symmetrical pattern radiating from a large center table facet. Brilliant cut style is used to maximize the amount of light return through the top of the gemstone. This cut typically has 57 facets.
A microscopic bubble of liquid or gas trapped with a crystal.
A setting where the gem is recessed below the metal surface. The surrounding metal is formed around the top of the stone to create a bezel, thus holding the gem in place.
A polished gemstone with a flat bottom and a convex or rounded dome top typically applied to opaque stones or gems displaying properties of chatoyancy or asterism. This rounded style can be applied to a variety of shapes.
A unit of measurment based on weight or mass used for diamonds gemstones and pearls. 1 carat = 0.2 grams. Also known as the metric carat. Spelled with a "c" and abbreviated as "ct". A heavier diamond is almost always worth more than a smaller diamond with the same clarity and cut. Carat-weight plays a large role in determining a diamond's value.
A setting where the gemstones are suspended between two frequently parallel bars or strips of metal creating a channel. May also be called a bar set. An excellent setting for protecting gemstones from being scratched.
The technical term for the cat's eye effect from the French for "eye of the cat" (oeil de chat). The chatoyant effect comes from the reflection of light through fibrous materials or channels within the gemstone. Also referred to as tiger's eye effect.
A close-fitting necklace typically measuring 15 inches in length.
The gem commonly known simply as chrysoberyl is a yellowish-green brownish-yellow or colorless transparent to translucent mineral. There are three main types or varieties of chrysoberyl include alexandrite cat's eye or cymphane and chrysoberyl itself.
The ability for light to pass through a translucent gemstone. When a gemstone is formed it contains impurities which range in size from microscopic to visible with the naked eye. These impurities are called inclusions and can affect the clarity of a stone. Gemstones with no visible inclusions when view with the naked eye are called "eye clean." Gemstones with no visible inclusions when viewed with a 10X magnifying loop are called "loop clean."
Diamond clarity grades rank from "I" for imperfect to "FL" for flawless loop-clean gems. By nature all diamonds will have tiny flaws. The fewer obvious flaws in a diamond the more valuable the stone.
Some gemstone have a natural tendency to split along structural planes contained within the crystal. These planes are areas of weakness in the stone and can affect the gemcutter's ability to shape a gem. Diamond is traditionally prized because of its natural lack of cleavage.
A grouping of fine bubbles cavities or material within a gemstone that creates a hazy or cloudy area.
A grouping of smaller gemstones set closely together to give the impression of a larger stone. Can also be a series of gems surrounding a larger center stone.
A push-back style earring back that slips over an earring's post stud or wire to secure your jewelry. Available in disk wire guard and barrel clutch varieties.
The use of surface enhancements such as the lacquer enamel ink foil or optical films applied to the surface of the gem to improve appearance provide color or add other special effects. Abbreviation: C
The color of a gemstone is caused by the absorption and reflection properties of elements and impurities contained within the base mineral. Gemstone colors are considered either idiochromatic allochromatic or pseudoisochromatic. Idiochromatic coloration is due to the inherent chemical makeup of the mineral. Allochromatic coloration is due to the presence of impurities within a mineral's chemical makeup. Pseudochromatic coloration is caused by surface or subsurface reflective properties of the mineral.
A chemically pure diamond is perfectly transparent and colorless. In reality absolutely pure naturally formed diamond is nearly non-existant. The color of a diamond however can either add or detract from its value and brilliance. For white colorless diamonds fewer impurities mean higher values. However in colored diamonds impurities usually nitrogen atoms within the carbon frame of the diamond can add to the value of the diamond. Pink blue and yellow diamonds especially those with more intense color are extremely rare and tend to command high prices.
Gemstone color is not always evenly saturated throughout a single sample or stone. This is because color saturation is affected by many changeable factors present during the formation of the stone like pressure temperature and chemical concentrations. These factors can cause irregularity color banding and zoning as the mineral crystallizes.
A three-dimensional conical-shaped facet applied to the pavilion of the gem that increases brilliance by giving the appearance of more facets than are actually present. Instead of facets being joined by an angle they are joined with a groove. This cut enhances the interior glow.
A crystalline form of aluminum oxide and basic rock-forming minerals
The visible upper part of a cut stone containing the large and bezels located above the girdle or widest part of the stone.
Refers to the last and smallest facet of the stone located at the bottom tip of the pavillion. This facet should be invisible or nearly invisible to the naked eye. Its purpose is to protect the tip of the gem from being chipped or damaged.
A square cut gemstone with rounded corners and larger facets to increase brilliance. Also known as a pillow cut European cut candlelight cut or antique cut. Typically features 64 facets.
Gemstones may be fashioned into different shapes depending on the size and shape of the rough stone. See also Asscher cut baguette cut brilliant cut cabochon cut cushion cut diamond cut emerald cut fancy cut heart cut marquise cut mirror cut octogon cut pear cut princess cut square cut step cut and trillion cut.
Cut is the single most important factor in appraising any diamond. A well-cut diamond allows as much light as possible to be reflected through its table creating the stone's trademark luster. The round-shaped conical cut best displays this luster and brilliance and has traditionally been the most popular shape of diamond.
An earring which hangs below the earlobe and moves freely.
The use of chemicals in conjunction with high temperatures to induce color change and/or asterism-producing inclusions. Abbreviation: DF
The splitting of light as it enters a gemstone. Also known as the stone's "fire".
A stone made of two components generally held together by a clear or colored adhesive.
An earring which hangs below the earlobe and is stationary.
The introduction of a dye or coloring agent into a gemstone to give it a new color intensify the original color or improve color uniformity. Abbreviation: D
Metallic jewelry can be plated or covered with an alternative metal like gold in a variety of ways including electroplating. During electroplating an electrical current is used to bond the two metals on a molecular level. Since pure gold is a relatively soft metal electroplated designs combine the beauty of gold with the strength of an alternative base metal. Gold plating can wear away with use but it depends on how often the item is worn and how thick the plating is.
And emerald cut stone features stepped facets with mitered corners and a rectangular face and rectangular pavilion. The length-to-width ratio for a classic emerald cut traditionally falls between 1.30 and 1.40 with 50 facets. See also Asscher cut and baguette cut.
Enamel is a decorative technique in which a glass "paste" is applied to the surface of a metal--normally bronze copper or gold. This glass composition fuses to the metal under very high temperaturescreating a vitreous or glass-like decorative surface. The color of the enamel and its degree of transparency dependd on metal oxides in the glass and the temperature at which the glass melts and coheres to the surface. Higher temperatures produce more durable translucent enamel and lower temperatures produce softer more opaque enamel. Translucent enamel placed over intricately engraved and patterned metal is a style called guilloché (ghee-YOSH). A solid black blue or white enamel used to fill engraved designs was especially popular during the mid-Victorian era.
Special treatments which improve a stone's durability color or clarity. See also bleaching coating diffusion dyeing fissure filling heat high pressure high temperature impregnation irradiation lasering oiling/resin infusion plated polymerization stabilization and waxing/oiling.
Removing metal from a surface using acid to create a decorative effect.
The flat surfaces of a cut gemstone. The largest top facet is referred to as the table. A cut's style depends on facet shapes and arrangement. There are three basic styles. Brilliants have triangular and kite-shape facets in a radial pattern. Step cuts have a rectangular facets in a row. Mixed cuts combine brilliant and step facets.
Recent advances in cutting technology has made it possible to produce the breathtaking innovative shapes. Examples of fancy cuts: flowers clover leaves stars and kites.
Pronounced foh (rhymes with snow) faux is a French word used to describe something made to resemble something else. The original French word means false fake imitation or artificial. Faux marble looks like marble. Faux bois looks like wood. Faux porphyry looks like stone.
A fissure within a gemstone that resembles the barbs of a feather usually created during the formation of the stone. Feather inclusions can be highly reflective colored colorless or transparent.
Feldspar is a non-metallic mineral with a vitreous luster that breaks on distinct planes. Feldspar produces two main subgroups of gem-quality material: Potassium and plagioclases. Among the well-known gemstones of the feldspar family are moonstone orthoclase amazonite andesine labradorite and sunstone.
A popular chain design in which the links of the chain alternate between one elongated oval and two or three round circular links.
A safety catch shaped like a figure eight which snaps over a pin to secure your jewelry.
A technique using tiny beads and/or twisted threads soldered onto an object of the same metal to produce fine intricate patterns. Often used on metal beads clasps and bead caps.
An internal characteristic of a gemstone that is made up of a network of fluid-filled tubes in a pattern that resembles human fingerprints. Typically found in sapphire and ruby.
The filling of surface-breaking cavities or fissures with colorless glass plastic solidified borax or similar substances. This process may improve durability and/or appearance. May also be used to add weight. Abbreviation: FF
The finished metal has a brushed or striated appearance typically in a crosshatch pattern.
A short chain with a decorative seal or other device attached to the end. The fob and chain hung outside watch pocket and could be used to pull the watch out of the pocket.
Adding a foil background to the rhinstoen to enhance its appearance.
The four C's is a classification system representing carat (weight) clarity color and cut used to evaluate the quality of diamond gemstone. See also carat clarity color and cut.
A round-shaped brilliant-cut gem of small proportions.
Most commonly used this secure setting with four contact points allows maximum light exposure to the sides and bottom of the gemstone. See also prong.
Garnets are a group of silicate minerals. The following is a list of garnet families: Almandine Andradite Grossular Pyrope Spessartine and Uvarovite.
The term gemstone applies to any mineral or organic material used for personal adornment display or object of art because it posses beauty durability and rarity. From the many hundreds of minerals found only a few posses all three qualities. Gemstones include diamond brilliant beryl emerald chalcedony agate heliotrope; onyx plasma; tourmaline chrysolite; sapphire ruby synthetic ruby; spinel spinelle; oriental topaz; turquoise zircon cubic zirconia; jacinth hyacinth carbuncle amethyst; alexandrite cat's eye bloodstone hematite jasper moonstone sunstone.
A hollow rock cavity usually containing some form of one or more gems. Two excellent examples of gems often found in geodes are amethyst and peridot.
The widest part of the cut stone like a belt that divides the visible upper crown of the stone from the lower pavilion.
A layer of gold applied to base metal usually by electroplating. This is usually a very thin layer only a few microns which is likely to wear much more quickly than gold-filled.
Gold-colored or electro-plated not gold as in measurable in karats.
"Gold washed" describes products that have an extremely thin electroplating of gold (less than .175 microns thick). This will wear away more quickly than gold plate gold-filled or gold electroplate. The gold is applied by either dipping or burnishing the metal but it is not plated.
Gold-filled also known as rolled gold is a technique where a sheet of gold is applied to the surface of a base metal using heat and pressure. Abbreviated "GF " this technique requires stamping. Victorian pieces are likely to be unmarked but later pieces are marked with the fineness of the gold layer and the part by weight of the gold. Common stamps are 1/20 12kt GF and 1/20 14kt GF. A piece marked "1/10 12K GF" is composed of at least 1/10 of 12-karat gold based on the weight of the finished piece. In the United States true gold-filled pieces must be at least 1/20 by weight. Older unmarked gold pieces can sometimes be identified by wear through to base metal especially when viewing corners or edges under magnification. Look for a change to a darker brassy colored material at these spots.
In jewelry grams are used for expressing the weight of precious metals such as gold or silver.
Heart shaped gemstones are essentially a pear-cut stone with a cleft at the top. This cut possesses a nearly round pavilion that provides beautiful brilliance and is generally used in solitaire settings. This cut's length-to-width ration is typically 1:1 with 59 facets.
The use of only heat to alter the color or clarity of a gemstone. Abbreviation: H
The use of heat and pressure alter the color clarity and/or phenomena of a gemstone. Abbreviation: HPHT
The impregnation of a porous gemstone with a colorless agent (usually plastic) to improve durability and appearance. Abbreviation: I
Naturally occurring variant within the gemstone otherwise known as an impurity. See also bubble inclusion cloud inclusion feather inclusion needle inclusion fingerprint inclusion and silk inclusion.
The art of carving a shell or similar matter beneath its background. An intaglio is the opposite of a cameo.
The play of colors seen within a gemstone as a result of inclusions interfering with light entering the stone.
The use of neutrons gamma rays or beta particles (high energy electrons) to alter a gemstone's color. The irradiation may be followed by a heating process. Abbreviation: IR
Jade is an ornamental metamorphic stone made up of different silcate minerals. The name jade has been used to describe both of its variations: jadeite and nephrite.
A small wire ring not soldered shut used to link elements of jewelry.
Unit of measurement indicating the quantity of fine gold in a piece of jewelry. For example 18-karat gold contains eighteen parts fine gold and six parts other metal alloys.
The use of a laser and chemicals to reach and alter inclusions in gemstones usually diamonds. Abbreviation: L
One who cuts and polishses gems to their finished state.
A term used frequently when referencing pearls. The outward appearance of a gem or organic material.
A compact magnifying glass used to examine stones and settings. The average loupe magnifies an object up to 10 times.
A brilliant cut elliptical or oval-shaped stone which tapers to a point at both ends also called a navette cut Also a stone cut in a boat shape pointed at both ends with rounded sides. The recommended length-to-width ratio for this cuts is 1.75 to 2.25 with 57 facets. Pronounced "Mar-KEYS" not "Mar-KEY" which is commonly heard. See also navette cut.
A commemorative cut created in the year 2000 to celebrate the new millennium this stone features 1 000 facets.
An inorganic element of the Earth of consistent atomic structure and chemical composition.
This variety of a round cut features an extraordinarily large table and thick girdle consisting of as much as 90 percent of the width of the gem. This increases the stone's reflective ability mimicing that of a mirror.
A gemstone cut featuring a combination of both brilliant and step facets.
The Mohs hardness scale is a universally used ranking system for distinguishing minerals. Minerals are ranked one through ten with one (talc) being the softest and ending with ten (diamond) being the hardest. Simply put the higher the number the harder the mineral.
The actual substance that lines the inside of the oyster or other mollusk.
Mollousk refers to the species of invertabrate animal such as clams and snails. These species have a soft body and no backbone they usually live within a shell.
An oval stone that is pointed at both ends. See also marquise cut.
A crystal inclusion shaped like long thin needles. Occasionally these can align in opaque stones to produce optical effects like asterism and chatoyancy.
A white metal mixture of copper zinc and nickel which contains no silver.
A step cut gem four mitered corners this cut is differentiated from an emerald cut by presenting steps on the pavilion that are not equidistant. The facets run in steps parallel to the gemstone circumference and typically features 53 facets.
The filling of surface-breaking fissures with a colorless substance like oil wax or resin to improve the gemstone's appearance. Does not include glass or plastic fillers. Abbreviation: O
Opal is a hydrated amorphous form of silica available in three main varieties: common opal precious opal and fire opal. Among these many sub categories of are available including black or sable opal fire opal water opal and white opal.
Opalescence is primarily used to discribe a shimmer of different colors based on viewing angel.
These features play a very important part in determining the value of a gemstone. Some light is reflected off the surface of the gemstone. The amount of reflection and the angle of light off the surface determines the luster of the gemstone. Some light enters the gemstone through the surface and gets refracted scattered and dispersed as the light exits the stone. The light beam is also broken into its component parts (dispersion) causing the effect known as "fire." This dispersion widens the beam to the point that the observer can see the full visible spectrum of the beam from red to violet simulating a rainbow. As the stone is moved the refraction and reflection points of the facets change showcasing the stone's scintillation or "play of color."
A gem derived from animal or plant life. Examples: Amber coral ivory
A technique of layering a metal over the top of a base metal. This technique is used when creating costume jewelry.
As a general term patina refers to the change in an object's surface resulting from natural aging. Patina preservation is a reason to avoid all but very superficial cleaning of antiques. In bronze sculpture patina specifically refers to the surface of the bronze itself often altered by the sculptor with acid or the application of other chemicals.
A tight grouping of identically sized stones laid across a flat or convex surface. The stones are held in place using three to six raised beads per stone. From the French for paved or cobblestoned. See also bead setting.
The bottom faceted area of a cut gemstone located below the girdle usually covered by the setting.
Shaped like a teardrop a nice pear cut is generally one that is well cut with a polished girdle. Color displays dramatically in a pear cut and this cut typically features 58 facets.
To cover the base material with a thin coating or film or a different material to enhance the appearance protect or strength of the gemstone. Abbreviation: PL
A gem that displays pleochroism will appear different colors when viewed from different angles.
A polymorphic gemstone shares the same chemical composition with another gem or mineral but takes a separate form based on its crystal structure. Occassionally a polymorph can be converted to another gem or mineral with the addition of heat or pressure.
Also known as a square modified brilliant cut the princess cut is a square version of the round brilliant cut with typically 76 sparkling facets. This is a relatively new cut. The design this cut requires more weight to be directed toward the gem's depth in order to maximize brilliance.
The most common setting a prong setting uses the least amount of metal to secure a gemstone allowing more of the stone to be exposed to light. Stones are set with two or more individual prongs securing them into place.
One of the most prolific gemstone families quartz makes up close to 12 percent of the earth's crust and occurs in a variety of igneous metamorphic and sedimentary rocks.
The bending of light as it enters the stone and the surfaces slow down the light display.
Rhodium is part of the platinum metal family. Silver gold and other base metals were frequently rhodium plated during the 30's and 40's to give them the white shiny look associated with platinum. Genuine rhodium in its raw state is a liquid. Although a member of the platinum family of metals it is not the same as platinum which is a solid precious metal.
The raw or natural state in which the gemstones is found.
Prior to the 1900s brooches had a simple c-catch with no locking mechanism.The pin would often extended beyond the catch far enough to weave back into clothing for security. At the turn of the century several safety catches were invented and came into common use. A piece that exhibits a safety catch was most likely made during the twentieth century.
A cut made across the table of a gemstone. This cut changes the appearance by making it appear as a higher carat weight.
These are made in laboratories to mimic that of a real gemstone using the exact same chemical composition of the natural gemstone.
Refers to a grouping of needle-like inclusions within the stone which intersect each other and shine like silk.
A silver-plated coated metal that is not solid sterling silver.
Stones consisting of seventeen facets or less.
A square cut gemstone with sides of equal length similar to a princess cut. Typically with 57 step cut facets parallel to the edges in the manner of a pyramid with its top chopped off.
A method to protect the gemstone and retain its natural color by mixing gemstone material and clear resin or a bonding agent into a porous material. Stabilization is not a color enhancement. Used to "stabilize" hardness and clarity. Abbreviation: S
Facets are rectangular or more precisely trapezoidal and they're arranged in rows that look like flight of stairs.
Sterling silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% of other metals usually copper. Sterling silver is harder than pure silver and has a lower melting point than either pure silver or pure copper. This is a legal standard that requires stamping for identification. Concentrations of 80 percent or less silver is known as silver parts as marked on the jewelry not sterling silver.
Table refers to the largest flat surface on the top of a cut gemstone.
In a tension setting the metal is spread apart and the girdle of the stone is settled into small grooves carved into the inside surface of the metal. Tension settings are only appropriate for high density gemstones with Mohs hardness scale rankings of 9 or 10.
A triangular cut usually with truncated corners and displaying a variety of facet designs.This polyhedron typically features 43 facets creating a spectacular wedge of brilliance.
The infusion of a colorless wax paraffin or oil into porous opaque or translucent gemstones to improve their appearance. Abbreviation: W