Pictorial Glossary of Jewelry Terms


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

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14K by weight 14 parts gold to 10 parts other metals, or 58.33% pure gold.


18K by weight 18 parts gold to 6 parts other metals, or 75.0% pure gold, marked 750 or 18K.


22K by weight 22 parts gold to 2 parts other metals, or 91.66% pure gold, marked 22K.


585 14K by is at the 58.5% standard and is marked 585.


750 18K gold is marked 750, being 750 parts gold per 1000


STERLING SILVER 925, meaning 925 parts silver per 1000

ALLOY a fusion of compatible metals (or minerals) while molten, to enhance the hardness or other properties of the resulting combination of metals.

ASTERISM A "star" or pattern of rays, typically six rays, crossing in a single spot on a cabochon cut gemstone when viewed under a single source of light.  Star Sapphire is one of the best-known examples of a gemstone that exhibits the phenomenon known as an asterism.

ANNIVERSARY BAND Typically given for wedding anniversaries, a ring set with one or more rows of gems, usually Diamonds.  The diamonds may go completely, three quarters or half way around the finger.  Any anniversary is appropriate for giving this ring, however, recently the Diamond anniversary band has been promoted in major advertising campaigns as the perfect gift for the tenth wedding anniversary.  An anniversary band can be used in addition to, or instead of a traditional wedding ring.

BAGUETTE A small rectangular shaped gemstone.  A term derived from the French, meaning long and thin as in baguette breads. Baguettes are step cuts, similar to Emerald cuts, but generally small in size.  Tapered baguettes are also common in jewelry, where the short sides are not even in length causing the two long sides to taper towards the shorter end.

BANGLE A stiff bracelet that slides over the hand. Bangles may be completely solid, hinge or open at the ends. It is very common to see people wearing several bangle bracelets together.

BAROQUE PEARL The term baroque describes the shape of a pearl. An out of round, irregularly shaped pearl is said to be baroque.
  BASE METAL Any non-precious metal, Copper, Nickel, Bronze, Brass, Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Lead and combinations of these are base metals often used in the manufacturing of fashion jewelry.
BEAD SETTING A method of setting stones even with the surface of a metal by raising beads from the metal itself. The beads act as prongs to secure the stones.
BERYL A gem species. Green Beryl is more commonly known as Emerald. Emeralds blue or blue-green sister in the Beryl family is Aquamarine. Pink Beryl is Morganite.
BEZEL SETTING A gold tube that a gemstone is set in. Bezel setting is also the art of setting gemstones in a bezel. The outer rim of a bezel is burnished, or bent over and smoothed out around the girdle of a gemstone. A bezel setting is an extremely secure one. Sometimes, a white gold bezel can actually make a diamond look larger because the color of the metal blends with the diamond.
BRILLIANT CUT round shaped diamond with 58 facets also known as a full cut. A round, full cut diamond is correctly called a Brilliant Cut. The term refers to the shape of the gemstone, not quality or actual brilliance. There are 16 upper girdle facets, 8 Star facets, 8 Bezel facets, and a table facet above the girdle. Below the girdle there are 16 lower girdle facets 8 pavilion facets and a culet.
  BRIDAL JEWELRY A general term used to describe the category of wedding rings, engagement rings, gifts for the bride or groom and gifts for the best man, maid of honor, ushers, bridesmaids and others taking part in the wedding ceremony.
BROOCH A pin that is worn on clothing that is generally large in size. The term pin refers to smaller pieces of jewelry worn on clothes.
BURNISHED SETTING A method of setting in which the diamond is set flush with the surface of the metal, it is similar to a bezel setting, but the host metal is used to create the bezel.
CABOCHON A gemstone that is a polished domed shape on the top and flat on the bottom. Opaque gems such as Onyx, and translucent stones such as sapphires that will display an asterism (known as Star Sapphire) are typically cut as cabochons.
CAMEO A shell or other gemstone that is carved in relief. When the material to be carved is composed of two different colored layers, a raised design in one color will contrast against a different colored background.
CARAT A very accurate unit of weight used for gemstones. The word carat is derived from the carob seed, which was used in the days of antiquity as counterweights on scales for small measurements because Carob seeds were extremely similar in weight. A carat is equal to 1/5th of a gram, or (200) milligrams, and there are about 140 Carats in 1 ounce. The word “Karat”, which is used to describe the content of fine gold in an alloy is often confused with “Carat”, the unit of weight.

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rev. January. 2017