Navigate through a world of jewellery jargon and uncover the meanings behind different jewellery terms with our jewellery glossary. Here you will find an alphabetical list including technical jewellery making terms and gemstone information.

Click on a letter below to begin your search:

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, W, Y, Z

 

A

ABALONE

The iridescent inside surface of a mollusc’s shell comprised of nacre or mother-of-pearl.  This surface is highly iridescent with many strong changeable colours 

AGATE

A type of quartz, mainly chalcedony, that varies in colour from white to grey, light blue, orange to red and black

ALEXANDRITE

A mineral which changes colour or appears to change colour as the source of light changes. Found in Russia, Sri Lanka and Brazil

ALLOY

A mixture of two or more metals

AMBER

Fossilised resin in shades from honey through to yellow and reddish brown

AMETHYST

Transparent and opaque varieties of crystallised quartz, typically purple or violet in colour

AMETRINE

A variety of quartz that contains both amethyst and citrine sectors in the same crystal

ANDALUSITE

An orangey brown, yellowish green or gold mineral, named after Andalusia, where it was first discovered. Sometimes called 'poor man's alexandrite.'

ANTIQUE STYLE

Process by which something takes on an aged look. Usually a darkened or tarnished appearance

APPLIQUÉ

An ornamental piece that's created separately and then applied to a piece of jewellery.

AQUAMARINE

A blue semi-precious stone in the beryl family.

ARMOIRE

A moveable cabinet to store your jewellery with several doors and shelves

ART DECO

See 'Deco style'

AUSTRIAN CRYSTAL

Imitation of natural or rock crystal (quartz). see also crystal

AVENTURINE

Translucent greenish quartz mineral, internally granular. Often mistaken for jade, another green stone

AZURITE MALACHITE

A mineral which is characterised in appearance by bands of light and dark blue.

B

BAGUETTE

A type of gemstone cut in which the gem is faceted into a rectangular shape.

BAIL

This is the loop on for example a necklace, to which the actual pendant gets attached. Can also be the loop on a pendant which the chain goes through.

BAND

A ring that has the same width all way around. Often used as a wedding ring.

BANGLE

A solid bracelet. You either slip it on to your wrist or open it like a clasp.

BASE METAL

A non-precious metal like iron and zinc

Baryte - A generally white or grey stone.

BEAD

The shape of a stone or other material cut like a small sphere. Is often pierced and used for threading.

BELCHER CHAIN

A type of trace chain where the links, made of D-section wire, are broad and of equal length.

BELL CAP

A bell shaped setting for drop settings

Bezel – A setting used for rings where a band of metal is shaped around the gem used. This is often used to raise the gem to make it look its best.

BOX AND TONGUE CLASP

A type of clasp that locks by a small v-shaped ‘tongue’ fitting into a small box

BOX CHAIN

A type of chain made from square links that are connected to form a smooth chain

BRAZILLIANITE

A much sought after gemstone, usually ground into facet cuts, and it is a very popular item with collectors.

BRILLIANT CUT

A round cut with 58 facets, mathematically placed to produce the greatest sparkle. The now most common cut for diamonds

BROOCH

A piece of jewellery which you attach to your clothing with a pin.

C

CABOCHON

A type of gemstone cut which is flat on the underside and has a smooth dome on the upper. The name comes from the Norman word ‘Caboche’ meaning 'head.'

CAMEO

A piece that has been carved out of shell or gem for example. It is raised from the background and used as jewellery.

CARAT (used with gems)

The weight unit usually used for gems, where 1 carat = 0.2 grams

CARAT (precious metals)

Used to indicate how many parts of an item is precious metal (gold or silver) and how many parts are alloy. It can be between 1-24 parts, where for example 9 carat gold has 9 parts of gold and 15 parts alloy.

CARNELIAN

A red or reddish-brown variant of chalcedony.

CAT'S EYE

A gemstone which has a sweeping band of light across the centre.

CHALCEDONY

Composed of very fine intergrowth of the minerals quartz and beryl. Often refers to various types of coloured quartz.

CHANDELIER EARRINGS

A drop style earring or pendant with a number of sections branching out like a chandelier

CHANNEL SETTING

Channel set gemstones are placed into a metal channel. The gemstones flow in a continuous row, because no metal is used to separate them.

CHARM

A charm or 'pendant' that you can wear on a bracelet, necklet or earring.

CHARM BRACELET

A bracelet with attached charms

CHRYSOPRASE

A green variety of chalcedony.

CITRINE

A yellow version of quartz

CLASP

the part that keeps the ends of jewellery together on, for example, a bracelet.

CLIP-BACK

Earrings you can wear without having pierced ears. You clip them on and they sit around your earlobe.

CLUSTER

A type of setting where the stones are grouped together in a cluster.

COLLARETTE

Collar style necklace.

CORAL

Calcified skeletons of sea creatures that grow in formations resembling the branches of a tree.

CORUNDUM

The family to which sapphire and ruby belongs.

CROWN

The upper part of a gem

CRYSTAL

A colourless and transparent natural or rock crystal.

CUFFLINK

A piece of jewellery used to close the cuffs on a shirt with no buttons.

CULTURED PEARL

A foreign object is inserted into a mollusc to induce the creation of a pearl. A material called nacre builds up in layers around the impurity and forms a pearl.

CURB CHAIN

A chain where the links are oval and twisted so that they lie flat.

CUSHION CUT

A type of cut where the gem is square with rounded corners.

 

D

DIAMOND

A precious gemstone made from carbon. One of the most popular stones and the hardest mineral in the world.

DIOPSIDE

A mineral which comes in different colours but usually in green.

DIASPORE

A rare colour changing aluminium oxide gemstone from Turkey.  The name comes from the Greek word 'Diaspora' which means 'to scatter' because it crackles when heated.  The colour changes from a brownish pink under incandescent light to a brownish green under flourescent light.

E

EARRING BACK OR BUTTERFLY

The lose piece of the earring which you put on the earring post to keep the earring in place.

ELECTROPLATING

When covering a metal with a thin coat of another metal.

EMERALD

A beautiful green gemstone which thanks to its colour and rarity is one of the most valuable gemstones.

EMERALD CUT

A kind of gemstone cut featuring a rectangular shape stone with truncated corners. This stepped cut was developed to bring out the best in emeralds but is often used on other gemstones such as diamonds.

ENAMEL

A hard and usually glossy material in different colours is fused on to jewellery as decoration.

F

FACET

The polished surface on a gem that reflects the light

FACETED

A stone that has been cut with facets.

FANCY CUT

Gemstone cuts in different shapes such as flowers, triangles etc.

FINISH

The way the surface of a piece of jewellery is finished, usually by polishing or with a matte or brushed effect.

FRESHWATER PEARL

A pearl made naturally from a mussels living in rivers or lakes.

G

GARNET

A group of minerals whose name originates form the Latin word “granatus” because of its similar colour to pomegranate seeds. Garnet also comes in other colours

GEMSTONE

A mineral that has been cut and polished and is used in jewellery.

GIRDLE

The outermost edge of a cut gem, the part where it is the widest.

GOLD

A soft but heavy and valuable precious metal. It needs to be alloyed with other metals to become more workable and hardwearing when used for jewellery.  The carat of the metal tells you how many parts of gold there are compared to the other alloys. Pure gold is 24 carat which equals 24 parts of gold.

GOLD PLATED

When a metal item has covered with microns of gold to give the same appearance of a gold piece.

GOLD TONE

An item coloured to look like gold.

GOLD FINISH

When an item is finished to look like it is gold.

H

HALF HOOP EARRING

Earrings which appear to be hoops that curl around the ear but are not completely circular.

HALLMARK

A mark made on most gold, silver and platinum items to provethe purity of the item. The mark is made either by hand, laser or stamped. This is done at an Assay office where the item is first tested to make sure of its purity. The hallmark also has to state who requested the hallmarked and which Assay office marked it. There are other voluntary marks that can be added as well.

HAMMERED FINISH

A type of finish where texture is created by using a small hammer to create a “hammered” surface.

HESSONITE

Is part of the garnet family with a yellow, red or brownish colour.

HIGH POLISH

When an item has been polished to get an almost mirror like finish.

HOOP EARRING

An earring in the shape of a circle.

I

INLAY

When a stone is set into another material so that is lies flush and creates a smooth surface.

IOLITE

A gemstone whose name comes from the Greek word for violet. The colour ranges from sapphire blue to blue violet to yellowish gray to light blue as the light angle changes.

IRIDESCENCE

When you can see different rainbow-like colours in a piece, depending on which angle you look at it from.

J

JADE

A green ornamental stone often used in jewellery. Jade is often the umbrella term for both jadeite and nephrite gemstones.

K

KUNZITE

A lilac, pink gemstone. When looking at the gem two shades of the body colour and a colourless section show  depending on which angle you look at it.

L

LAPIS LAZULI

An azure blue stone with small speckles of several different minerals.

LEVER BACK

An earring that has a hinged back section that latches behind the ear.

LINKS

Several hoops joined together to make up a chain.

LOBSTER CLASP

A clasp often used for necklaces and bracelets with the shape of a lobster claw. A spring in the “claw” makes it possible to open and close the clasp to put the other end of the chain on to it to secure it.

M

MALACHITE

A gemstone with light and dark green bands running through it.

MARCASITE

The white form of Iron Pyrite and is also known as “fools gold”. When polished they sparkle beautifully.

MARQUISE

A gemstone cut into the shape of a long oval or leaf shape.

MATTE

A non-glossy finish

MOHS SCALE

A scale on which minerals are graded from 1 to 10 depending on their hardness, with diamond (10) as the hardest mineral on Earth. The scale works so that minerals with a certain number can scratch minerals with a lower number and get scratched by the minerals with a higher number.

MOONSTONE

A stone with a bluish or white sheen, like the moon.

MORGANITE

A pink, peach, violet type of beryl that has recently become a popular choice in engagement ring designs.

MOTHER OF PEARL

A hard substance that forms on the inside layer of a pearl-bearing mollusc. You can find it in colours ranging from subtle pastels to brighter and bolder shades, all with a deep iridescent glow.

N

NACRE

The substance that is formed around an foreign object inside a mollusc to become a pearl.

O

ONYX

A variety of microcrystalline quartz, chalcedony. It has brown and white or black and white bands going through it. Often dyed black to give a mysterious look.

OPAL

There are both iridescent and non iridescent opals and made from hardened silica gel. White opals flaunt vibrant flashes of colour within whilst fire opals are a bright burning red-orange colour.

OPAQUE

A stone that is not transparent

OXIDATION

When metals react with oxygen and turn dark and or black.

P

PAVÉ SETTING

Small stones set very closely together.

PEARL

An organic gemstone formed within the shell of a mollusc and used as a gem.

PENDANT

A piece worn on a chain as a necklace

PERIDOT

A gemstone with an olive or bottle green colour.

POINT (pt)

A unit of weight for gemstones, 100 points = 1 carat

PRECIOUS GEMSTONE

Four types of beautiful, rare and costly gems - diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires.

PRINCESS CUT

A square version of a brilliant cut with sharp uncut corners.

Q

QUARTZ

A crystalline mineral and one of the most common minerals of the Earth’s crust. Comes in many colours or can be colourless.

R

RHODIUM

A hard silvery-white metal, part of the platinum group.

RHODALITE

A rose-pink to red mineral related to Garnet gemstones.

ROCK CRYSTAL

A clear and colourless quartz.

ROPE CHAIN

A chain with a design and linkage that spirals like a rope.

ROSE GOLD

Gold alloyed with an amount of copper to give it a romantic pinkish colour.

ROSE QUARTZ

Pink or peach colour quartz. You can find transparent rose quartz but the most common one has a “milky” appearance.

RUBY

Red or pinkish colour corundum and one of the four precious gemstones.  

RUTILATED QUARTZ

Quartz with needle-like rutile red, black or yellow crystals inside.

S

SAPPHIRE

A precious stone that is part of the corundum family. Comes in different colours and the most valuable one is the clear deep blue sapphire

SATIN FINISH

When an item has a matte finish instead of the normal shiny finish.

SCREW BACK EARRINGS

A type of earring that has a clamp with a screw to be tighten against the back of the earlobe.

SHANK

The back part of the ring that encircles the finger.

SHOULDER

The side of the ring that joins the shank to the centre piece. The shoulder may be lined with gemstones along the ring band.

SIGNET RING

A ring with a flat centre piece on which you can have a family crest or similar engraved.

SILVER TONE

An item coloured to look like silver.

SMOKY QUARTZ

Quartz in a smoky brown colour variant.

SOLITAIRE

A ring with one single stone.

SPINEL

A transparent to almost opaque stone that comes in different colours from pink to black.

SQUARE CUT

A square shape stone with long narrow facets around it.

STEP CUT

When a stone is cut with several parallel rows to create “steps.”

STERLING SILVER (925)

Sterling silver (925) – Silver alloy that contains at least 925 parts of silver out of 1000 parts. The other 75 parts are of another metal and is usually added to make the silver more durable.

STUD EARRING

An earring with a post and usually a butterfly backing. The stud earring sits in the ear without dangling.

SYNTHETIC

A stone made in laboratory but with the exact same physical properties as the natural stone. Gemondo does not use synthetic or lab-created gemstones.

T

TABLE

The top flat facet of a ring that makes it look like a table top.

TANZANITE

A purple and blue gemstone mined only in Tanzania.

TARNISH

When an item has a dull finish as a result of reacting with air, water or chemicals.

TENNIS BRACELET

A bracelet style that features a lining of diamonds or other gemstones.

TIGER'S EYE

Type of black quartz with iron oxide staining that gives it golden stripes. Usually cabochon cut to make it look like a cat’s eye.

TOGGLE CLASP

When a bracelet or necklace has a ring in one end and a short bar in the other. You secure it by sticking the bar through the ring so that it sits horizontally across preventing release.

TOPAZ

Topaz gemstones can be found in different colours and a transparent appearance. Topaz is one of the birthstones for November.

TOURMALINE

A crystal mineral that comes in different variations such as pink and green tourmaline or bi-colour watermelon tourmaline.

TRANSLUCENT

Allow light to pass through but are not completely see-through.

TRANSPARENT

Clear or see-through.

TSAVORITE

A green and transparent type of garnet.

TURQUOISE

An opaque to semi-translucent aqua blue stone. Turquoise is one of the birthstones for December.

W

WHITE GOLD

Gold alloyed with other metals to appear silvery white.

Y

YELLOW GOLD

A warm yellow metal which can vary in its colour saturation depending on the amount of gold in the alloy e.g. 9ct, 14ct, 22ct.

Z

ZIRCON

A type of natural gemstone that can be colourless or found in many different shades.