Jewellery Glossary Online
....read our jewellery glossary page if you need to know more before shopping with us...
Read our jewellery glossary page if you need to know more before shopping with us at Expressions Des Bijoux.
Agate is part of Gemstone family of Quartz, Notable by specific colours and patterns; no gemstone is more creatively coloured and striped by nature than agate.
Alexandrite is among the most expensive gemstones in the world, rarer than fine ruby, sapphire or emerald. Alexandrite will exhibit emerald green, red and orange-yellow colours depending on viewing direction in partially polarised light.
Amazonite is green or blue-green member of the Feldspar family; it is sensitive to pressure. The lively green or blue-green colour of amazonite can be quite beautiful when polished. Since amazonite is an opaque stone, it is usually fashioned as cabochons.
Amber is solidified and petrified liquid from a pine tree. Its colour is golden or amber.
Amethyst comprises the purple and violet varieties of the large family of quartz minerals. Although Amethyst is always violet in hue, the range of colour is very wide and can vary from nearly colourless with a faint mauve tint to a glorious deep purple. Amethyst is the most prized variety of crystal quartz, and it is relatively hard.
Aquamarine is the light green / greenish-blue variety of Beryl, the most desirable colour for Aquamarine is a clear sky blue. Aquamarine is a relatively hard stone which means it has good durability.
This is a gemstone, often a diamond, cut in a narrow rectangular shape. Small diamonds cut this way are often used as intonations.
It was developed in 1907–1909 by Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland. One of the first plastics made from synthetic components.
An item used as a mount between the ring shank and the setting, available in different sizes to match the individual settings.
A method of setting gemstones in which the stone is held in the mounting by a narrow band of metal surrounding the girdle (outside perimeter) of the stone.
A tear-drop shaped stone in the round.
It is a gorgeous gemstone of deep forest green with tiny speckles of bright red scattered throughout.
A component used in the manufacture of earrings for pierced ears. It holds the earring onto the ear by attaching to the pin. It can also be known as a scroll piece.
A gemstone cut with a domed top and a flat bottom. These are usually round or oval, but can be other shapes as well.
A style of carving in which the design motif is left and the surrounding surface is cut away, leaving the design in absolution. Cameos have been popular from ancient times and ancient motifs, such as the goddess Athena, were popular cameo subjects from Victorian times through to the 1930's. Cameos are still made today in Italy.
For stone weight, one carat is equal to 1/5 of a gram ( 200 milligrams ). There are a hundred points in a carat, ie a 0.50ct stone can also be described as a 50 point stone. An average one-carat round diamond usually measures approximately 6.5mm in diameter. This relationship of weight and size, however, is different for each family of stones. Rubies and sapphires, for example, are both heavier than diamonds, so a one carat ruby or sapphire is smaller in size than a one carat diamond.
When referring to gold, carat is a measure of purity. Gold is classified by carats (ct), is a method of expressing the percentage of gold to other metals in a specific mixture. Pure gold is 24ct. 22ct gold contains 22 parts of gold to 2 parts of other metals - 18ct gold contains 18parts of gold to 6 parts of other metals - 14ct gold contains 14 parts to 10 parts of other metals - 9ct gold contains 9 parts of gold to 15 parts of other metals.
Carnelian is a form of Chalcedony (Quartz family). Its colour is reddish-orange or brown, with the most favourable pieces retaining a deep red to red-orange tone Sometimes known as “pigeon Blood Agate”, it is also referred to by trade names such as, red chalcedony and red agate.
This word is derived from the French words chat (‘cat’) and oeil (‘eye’) and describes the phenomenon whereby a strip of light is reflected onto the surface of the stone and glints back and forth, resembling the catlike eye.
The most valued of the Quartz familly, it varies in colour from apple green to a greenish-yellow. It is usually cut in cabochon and is a popular choice for use in intaglios and cameos. It also calls ‘Australian Jade’. It is a very strong stone and tolerates chipping and cracking, so can be perfect as everyday jewellery.
It is a member of the large quartz family. Citrine ranges in color from a pale yellow to brown. Like other quartz, citrine is durable and great for every day wear.
This can be a type of square cut with rounded corners.
As a substitution for diamond, this radiant crystal is created by combining zirconium oxide and yttrium oxide, which is heated to almost 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit and then carefully cooled in order to create flawless, superbly sparkling crystals. The result is a stone that is durable, brilliant and absolutely beautiful. Cubic Zirconia actually weighs 75% more than diamonds of the same weight, and registers a hardness of 8.5 of the Mohs scale, making it harder than most gemstones and only 1.5 points softer than genuine diamond (the hardest of all stones).
They are the most elegant of all gemstones. Though they occur naturally in several colours, they are often dyed in a rainbow of beautiful hues.
The word "diamond" originates from the Greek word "adamas," which means "invincible" - a perfectly fitting name for the hardest of all gemstones. Pure diamond should transmit visible light and appear as a clear colorless crystal. Colors in diamond originate from lattice defects and impurities.
These crystals are cut into a variety of shapes including brilliant round, princess cut, emerald, baguette, oval, pear and marquise.
Emeralds are the green variety of the mineral beryl. Its beautiful green colour, combined with durability and rarity, also make Emeralds one of the most valuable gemstones. Emeralds are notorious for their flaws. Flawless stones are very uncommon.
It is a slightly carved surface decoration.
This is a normal rectangular gemstone-cut with cropped corners.
In most cases enamel is produced by fusing coloured powdered glass ‘paste’ to metal (usually bronze, copper or gold) to produce a glass-like, decorative surface. The colour of the enamel and its transparency depend on the metal oxides in the glass and the temperature at which the glass melts and adheres to the surface.
This is gouging out a design in metal with graver's tools, or embellishing metal or other material with patterns using a stamping tool or drill. This was fashionable in mid-Victorian jewellery. The resulting depressions were often filled with coloured enamel.
The polished face of a gemstone called Facet.
A faceted stone has small, flat-cut surfaces that make a sparkling effect on transparent stones. Diamonds, rubies and sapphires are nearly always faceted.
Garnet is a Silicate mineral and in variety of colors, the most popular being red or green. it is widely known as a deep red gemstone, it is famous for its prominent use in Victorian jewellery. Garnets occur naturally in every colour except blue.
14ct Gold Fill is not the same as gold plated. There is approx. 100 times more gold in gold fill than there is on plated wire. Gold filled looks and usually wears as well as carat gold. Gold-filled pieces must be at least 1/20 by weight in gold to be classified as gold-filled.
This is when translucent enamel is applied to metal which has detailed engraving on it. Pronounced ‘ghee-yosh’.
This is a unit sometimes used to measure pearls – a metric or pearl grain is equal to 50 milligrams or 1/4 of a carat.
Routed out in a line called Grooved.
This is a stamped mark applied to items of jewellery and silverware by the Assay Offices of Britain as a guarantee of authenticity.
Hematite is a compact type of iron oxide. Hematite is found in various states of density, from a soft, red paint rock, which was used by early American Indians to decorate their faces and remains to be used today as a pigment, to the most compact form of the mineral, which is cut for jewellery.
Iolite or Dichroite or Cordierite is a transparent, violet-blue, light blue, blue, rich blue-violet stone, but a rather extraordinary optical property. The gemstone changes colours depending upon which angle it is viewed from.
This is Italian for ‘carving’. An Intaglio is a carved gem from which the design is engraved or carved into the object so that it sits below the surface plane of the material, in perfect opposite to a cameo. This technique was often used for seals, to make a raised impression in the wax.
Jewellery differs from other items of personal adornment in that it has no other purpose than to look appealing. Jewellery may be appreciated because of its material properties, its patterns, or for meaningful symbols.
It naturally occurs in many colours, is most treasured in green, and is dyed in an even wider range of hues. The beauty of jade is unsurpassed in opaque gemstones.
Labradorite is truly a fascinatingly beautiful mineral. Its a dark looking mineral with no special virtue but usually intense colours range from the typical blues and violets through greens, yellows and oranges is moving on the surface. Labradorite is sometimes called "black Moonstone"
Lapis colour varies from greenish-blue to a rich purple blue, with the ideal colour being a dark blue of extraordinary depth and intensity.
This is a magnifying glass used by jewellers to see the inclusions and imperfections inside gemstones. Its power of magnification is 10x.
Moonstone is part of feldspar groups of minerals and characterised by the beautiful Rainbow blue. Known for their striking colour and the fascinating play of light within the crystal structure, the classical moonstone will be cut in cabochon, be almost transparent and will have a bluish shimmer.
It is almost as hard, and actually has an amazing 2.4 times more fire and 10% more brilliance than natural diamond. Lab created Moissanite is quickly becoming the most desired stone to replace natural diamonds.
It is breath-taking in its simple, pearlescent beauty.
An oval stone which is pointed at both ends.
A popular form of quartz, onyx is a variant of agate, known for its black colour. However, onyx is also available in brown hues. Onyx is a relatively hard stone, and so should be resistant to light scratches, but should nevertheless be worn and stored with care.
Opal is the most special of the silica gemstones; it is quite a soft gem, opal should be stored carefully to avoid being scratched or chipped by other jewellery and gems. Avoid exposure to heat or acidic substances. There are four types of highly valued Opal. The White Opal, The Black Opal, The Fire Opal, The Water Opal.
Patina is the natural effect of use and age on a surface. Tiny, almost imperceptible scratches eventually merge to form a new lustrous finish. A rich patina on fine sterling silver and carat gold enhances its beauty over time.
The lower-half of a gemstone.
Every pearl is unique in colour, sheen, size and shape. The most popularly available pearls are freshwater pearls; saltwater pearls are slightly more expensive. The ‘perfect’ pearl is completely round and smooth, and are generally the more valued. Irregularly shaped pearls are commonly known as baroque pearls.
Peridot is the gem form of olivine, and is one of the few gemstones that is available in only one colour green. Hues vary from a yellow-green through to a brownish-green, but the most highly valued is a deep olive colour.
This is when the material has been cut completely through with a very small hole.
Platinum is a precious metal, It exhibits a remarkable resistance to corrosion, and oxidation even at high temperatures, as such is considered a noble metal. Unique property of platinum is it neither tarnishes nor wears out (relative to gold). It is one of the most used metals along with silver, which can be alloyed with gold to produce "white gold."
Gold is classified by carats. Pure gold is 24ct. 22ct gold contains 22 parts of gold to 2 parts of other metals - 18ct gold contains 18parts of gold to 6 parts of other metals - 14ct gold contains 14 parts to 10 parts of other metals - 9ct gold contains 9 parts of gold to 15 parts of other metals. Rose gold is the result of varying the proportions of copper and silver in the alloy, which results in a beautiful reddish tone.
Corundum is the parent name for the variety gemstones Ruby and Sapphire. It is difficult to believe that Ruby, with its intense red colour, and the royal blue Sapphire are the same mineral. The names Ruby and Sapphire mean red and blue respectively. Rubies are most famous for being bright red, however, they can also appear in shades of purple, brownish red and deep pink.
Corundum is the parent name for the variety gemstones Ruby and Sapphire. It is difficult to believe that Ruby, with its intense red colour, and the royal blue Sapphire are the same mineral. The names Ruby and Sapphire mean red and blue respectively. However, sapphires are also available in a wide variety of other colours including pink, yellow, orange and purple.
It has been manufactured in the Austrian Alps since the late 19th century and is considered an exercise in technical perfection. Swarovski is considered the finest crystal in the world and is characterized by razor-sharp facets, outstanding clarity, rich saturated colors and spectacular prismatic brilliance.
The ‘flecks’ in the iridescent colour display found in labradorite and moonstone.
This is a very small round pearl. These were strung on horsehair and used in intricately woven jewellery during the early-mid Victorian period and are still popular in fine jewellery today.
Sterling Silver", also known as "Standard Silver” and “as it is the standard for fine jewellery. Sterling silver is not pure silver. Rather it is an alloy comprising of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% of other metals usually copper, also it is known as "925 Silver". Sterling silver is one of the whitest metals - whiter than white gold or platinum. But it does need to be polished as it tarnishes. It is harder than pure silver.
Quartz occurs in both a crystalline and polycrystalline variety. Smoky quartz ranges in colour from yellow to deep brown and black.
Most often occurs in a wide range of deep reds, browns and black.
The use of stingray hide was implemented not recently but in ancient history. It has a long history of being used for many applications. In ancient times the Egyptians used the stingray hide for forging high fashioned armor & other items of immense ornamental value as they were convinced of its durability & were moved by its beauty.
The ancient pyramids attest to this fact and they have also been found in the ancient tombs of the Pharaohs. Japan too had a craze for the stingray skin as verified by their usage in armor & handles for Samurai swords by even the ancient samurais.
The stingray hide is popular since the 18th century in the epicenter of fashion i.e. France. The artisans of the 18th century created the stingray leather for no one else but Louis XV himself. The stingray skin has been incorporated in the sterling silver fashion field. The highest quality stingray from the seas of Southeast Asia is initially dyed to create a wide group of colors. The most striking tones available in the market are hematite, red, brown & black. Since the stingray hide has a natural coloring procedure, the true shades obtainable could vary sometimes.
Also known as cat's eye, is mesmerizing with its hypnotizing swirls of satiny browns and gold.
Topaz occurs in a range of colours: red, orange, yellow, brown and blue, and is sometimes colourless, but rarely green.
Available in almost any colour, but rarely colourless, tourmaline can be found in blue to deep brown, to yellow, pink, green and red hues. Tourmaline is also commonly bicoloured; watermelon tourmaline is pink at one end and green at the other. Some forms of tourmaline even appear to change colour when viewed from different angles. The red to pink colours of Tourmaline are sometimes known as Rubellite.
Translucent stones allow light to pass through them, but the light is scattered, so it is not possible to look directly through. Translucent stones include moonstones, opals and carnelian.
Transparent stones allow light to pass through them without scattering, so that it is possible to see right through them. Transparent stones include diamond, sapphire, emerald and ruby.
The colour of turquoise ranges from white, to sky blue, to a yellowish green. Turquoise is not a hard stone, and should therefore be well protected from scratches and chips. Hardness and depth of colour are the two factors in determining the value of turquoise; the most desirable is a strong sky to "robin's egg" blue.
Vermeil is a French word and pronounced: Vehr-May, Vermeil is Sterling Silver with a layer of gold on top. To be considered vermeil, the gold must be at least 10ct and be at least 1.5micrometres thick. Any other metal plated onto Sterling Silver cannot be called vermeil.Vermeil can be produced by fire gilding or electrolysis. Fire gilding is an antiquated process however and most vermeil these days is produced by way of electrolysis.
Gold is classified by carats that is a method of expressing the percentage of gold to other metals in a specific mixture. Pure gold is 24ct. 22ct gold contains 22 parts of gold to 2 parts of other metals - 18ct gold contains 18parts of gold to 6 parts of other metals - 14ct gold contains 14 parts to 10 parts of other metals - 9ct gold contains 9 parts of gold to 15 parts of other metals. As the natural colour of white gold is a greyish colour, almost all white gold jewellery is plated with a metal called Rhodium. Rhodium is used to brighten the colour of white gold. Rhodium is very white and very hard.
Gold is classified by carats (ct) is a method of expressing the percentage of gold to other metals in a specific mixture. Pure gold is 24ct. 22ct gold contains 22 parts of gold to 2 parts of other metals - 18ct gold contains 18parts of gold to 6 parts of other metals - 14ct gold contains 14 parts to 10 parts of other metals - 9ct gold contains 9 parts of gold to 15 parts of other metals.