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Jewelry Terms

Diamond Cut

In talking about the cut of a diamond, we are referring to the proportions of the diamond as opposed to its shape (round, marquise, pear, princess, etc.). The cut has the greatest influence on the fire and brilliance of a diamond. A well cut stone with the correct angles and number of facets will reflect and refract light back out the top of the diamond for maximum brilliance. A stone that is cut too deep or too shallow may appear lifeless or dark when compared to a correctly cut stone.


To reduce cost and weight, either each link or the inside of the item (such as in a woven or mesh style) is hollow.


Indicates that the chain links or interior are not hollow. The term does not refer to the metal purity--all Viridian Gold chains are "solid gold" or "solid platinum", which indicates that no metal is used except the gold or platinum.

Satin Finished

The gold will have a hazy or glazed look to it. Almost like when you breath onto a piece of glass or a mirror, a kind of foggy look.


Similar to Matte finish, a brushed finish is composed of tiny striations, or scratches, in the finish as made by a metal brush. If the striations are very fine, the finish is similar to matte. The terms are often used interchangeably.

Diamond cut

The surface of the metal is cut into highly polished facets which reflect light at different angles, creating a sparkling diamond-like effect.

Die Struck

A die is a hard-steel tool upon which an image has been formed. It is machine-pressed with great force ("struck") onto a precious metal blank, creating a sharp, dimensional design which is polished and further formed into the jewelry piece.


The design or text formed in the metal is raised above its surface, the opposite of engraving.


The process of fusing colored glass or other very hard compounds onto the metal to provide color that is not usually found in alloys of the base metal.


The design or text is cut into the metal, thus being formed below its surface--the opposite of embossing.


Intricate patterns of open work in the metal which are formed by fused gold wire or by cutting through the metal.


A cross-hatched engraved design, more coarse than a brushed or matte finish


Random indentations in the metal either formed by the mold in which the piece was formed, or by actual hammering.

Highly Polished

All jewelry is polished to some extent in order to remove the rough surfaces which are formed in the manufacturing process. This is a labor-intensive step and is often compromised in lower-quality jewelry, especially on the underside of the crown of rings and the backs of pins and brooches. Highly polished metal has a mirror-like finish.


A non-reflective surface--the metal has been polished, but not to a mirror-like finish. The effect is often achieved by abrading the surface with fine materials after polishing. Similar to Brushed finish, though not as coarse--the terms are often used interchangeably.


A sheet of woven fine, precious metal or steel wire.


The metal is formed with a texture resembling a string of tiny beads which outlines a design detail or border.


The metal has a softer shine than a highly polished metal, but not as dull as a matte finish


A variety of chalcedony found in all colors; used extensively in Scottish jewelry


Jeweled ornament in the shape of a feather or supporting a feather, worn in the hair or on a cap, popular in the middle of the eighteenth century and the early twentieth century

A Jour

Open setting that leaves the pavilion facets open to the light


A mixture of two or more metals


A silver white metal that is lightweight and malleable


An opaque form of feldspar


The fossilized resin of prehistoric pine trees which ranges in color from golden to orange-red


A variety of quartz found in deep purple to a bluish-violet color


The process of heating metal and then cooling it to render the metal more pliable


A form of beryl found in pale green blue to clear blue colors


A form of decoration characterized by flowing lines, scrollwork, leaves, branches, floral forms, symmetrical in form

Art Nouveau

A period of design between the 1890’s and 1910; the jewelry is characterized by flowing lines, unusual interpretations of nature, the use of women with long flowing hair and the utilization of unusual materials


Process of determining the proportions of precious metal contained in a piece of gold or silver

Assay Hallmark

Hallmark showing the office which assayed the metal used in a piece of jewelry (English)


Gemstone cut in the shape of a narrow rectangle


Trade name for the first synthesized plastic, phenol formaldehyde resin invented by Dr. Leo Backeland


Head ornament in the form of a narrow band worn low, encircling the forehead


Decorated ribbons worn in the hair


Non-flexible bracelet


Irregular shaped stone or pearl


French for ‘shallow cut’, enameling technique worked in a chased relief metal and overlaid with translucent enamel

Berlin Iron

Cast iron jewelry worked into delicate openwork patterns, and made in Berlin during the first half of the nineteenth century


Gemstone setting where a strip or wall of metal encircles the gemstone


Art of working in gold and enamel

Biwa Pearl

Freshwater cultured pearl from Japan

Blister Pearl

Irregularly shaped and hollow pearl cut from the shell of the oyster


Fossilized oak from peat bogs in Ireland, popular during the Victorian Era

Bolt ring

A finding that is a hollow or partially hollow connecting ring which is drawn back on an internal spring


A flux used in soldering


An alloy of copper and zinc

Brilliant cut

A cutting style most often used for diamonds, consisting of 58 facets, also known as ‘modern cut’ or ‘full cut’


A teardrop shaped stone faceted with triangular or rectangular facets, sometimes pierced at the top, also known as ‘drop-cut’


An alloy of approximately 8 parts copper to 1 part tin

Buff top cabochon

Style of stone cutting where the top of the gemstone is a dome (en cabochon) and the pavilion is faceted


Two concave plates that form a hollow receptacle, a form used in ancient jewelry


Stone with a smooth carved surface, domed and unfaceted with a flat base


Small stones cut in usually rectangular shapes and faceted in a step cut to fit exactly into a setting or against another stone


Instrument for fine measuring of both the outside and inside surfaces of a stone


A design cut in relief, usually into a hard stone or shell


A type of gold or silver filigree of fine twisted wires forming a coiled spiral, used in early nineteenth century jewelry (Georgian period)


Unit of weight used for precious stones


A garnet cut en cabochon


Process of forming an object by pouring a molten or liquid substance into a mould until it solidifies and takes on the impression of the mould


Trade name for an early phenol plastic


A quartz, greyish-blue in color


French term for ‘raised field’, Technique of enameling in which enamel is placed in stamped or cut recesses of a metal form

Channel setting

A row of stones of the same dimension, fitted into a metal channel


Working a design into a metal from the front using a hammer and/or punches


A girdle or belt from which various implements are suspended


A necklace approximately 15 inches long


A semi-precious stone of transparent golden yellow, green yellow or brown


A variety of quartz found in a range of colors from light yellow to red-orange to almost brown


Technique of enameling in which enamels are contained in cells of metal


Round band of metal encircling a gemstone to hold it in place


A wide necklace encircling the neck from throat to chin


The skeleton of small marine animals, found in colors ranging from white to pink to red

Creole earrings

A hoop earring broader at the bottom than at the top, popular in the 1850’s

Cross facet

Small triangular facets above and below the girdle of a brilliant cut stone


Part of a cut gemstone above the girdle

Cut steel

Faceted studs riveted into arranged holes to created a pavé effect


A small matching set of jewelry consisting usually of a brooch and earrings, or a necklace and bracelet, etc.


A semi circular band worn around the head and usually jeweled and three dimensional

Dog collar

A wide collar of fabric, gemstones and or pearls worn high and tight on the neck

Double clip

Type of brooch consisting of two halves joined together on a frame which can be detached and worn singly


A stone consisting of two separate layers


Abbreviation for pennyweight

Edema collarettes

“Dog collar” meant for daytime wear which is usually made of a soft material laced to a series of jeweled bars


A method in which an electric current deposits a layer of metal on an object (i.e.: gold over a base metal)

Emerald cut

Rectangular shaped stone with mitered corners which is elongated and octagonal


Process of fusing powdered colored glass to a surface by means of high heat


Decorated metal surface made by moving the surface of the object against the blade


A technique in which metal is cut away with a tool known as a “graver” to form a design, done by either hand or machine


Removal of part of a metal surface by acid for a decorative effect


Small cylindrical case that hangs from a chatelaine


A flat surface ground or cut and polished on the surface of a gemstone


Glazed porcelain or earthenware

Fede ring

A ring with two hands clasped together first


Narrow band with a center jewel worn encircling the forehead


Design motif of a garland or string of flowers, leaves and ribbons


Archaeological term for brooch


Wire twisted into patterns, usually gold or silver, may be soldered to a sheet of metal or twisted to form an openwork pattern


Material used in soldering


A small charm, amulet or trinket that hangs on a watch chain or chatelaine


A technique used to enhance the color of a gemstone, a thin sheet of metal is applied to the base of a stone which is in a closed setting

Freshwater pearl

Pearls found in river mussels


A strip on metal with a pattern usually refers to the sides of a ring


A semi-precious stone found in many colors. The Bohemian type is blood red, the almandine variety ranges from deep red to deep purple, hessonite garnets are brown orange, and demantoid garnets are found in several shades of green

German silver

A misnomer for an alloy of copper, zinc and nickel


A process of covering substances such as silver, base metal, wood with a thin layer of gold or an alloy

Gimmel ring

A ring formed of two or more linked hoops, which fit together in a manner that make them appear as one ring

Gypsy setting

A setting in which the stone is sunk into the surrounding metal leaving the top of the stone almost level with the top of the metal surface


A shape that consists of three pear-shaped stones or pearls hanging from a large stone or decorative motif such as a bow


The widest part of a gemstone which divides the crown from the pavilion


Unit of weight; for diamonds and pearls a grain is 0.25 of a carat, 480 grains to the Troy ounce. A Troy grain is equal to an Avoirdupois grain.


A small spherical bead of metal


The process of decorating a metal surface with tiny grains of metal

Graver Tool

A tool similar to a chisel used for engraving metal

Green gold

Gold which contains a high proportion of silver


Small long pendant beads

Grey gold

Gold which contains a high proportion of iron


A form of enamel painted in monochromatic colors

Guilloché enamel

A form of enamel work acheived by working the metal on an engine turned lathe to form a pattern and then enameling over the pattern


Marks stamped on gold, silver or platinum by assay offices after the metal has been tested and determined to contain the proper amount of precious metals required by law

Handkerchief ring

Small ring worn on the little finger and connected by a chain to a larger ring in which a handkerchief was held


An opaque mineral of iron oxide, ranging in color from deep grey to black metallic


A substance often used as a substitute for tortoiseshell which is from cow horns


A precious metal formed into a bar or brick by pouring molten metal into a mold


Materials such as stones, gems, woods and metals are inserted and cemented into the surface of another material and ground down to create a smooth surface

Invisible Setting

A channel setting using calibrated stones without any metal showing from the top


The carving or engraving of a design into a gemstone which is the opposite of a cameo which is in high relief


African ivory is from the tusk of a male or female elephant whereas Indian ivory is from the male only

Jabot pin

A jeweled tie pin popular in the 1920’s and 1930’s


Fossilized coal, often known as Whitby jet for the area of England where much of it came from or black jet

Lace Brooch

Small brooch usually set with diamonds, worn in the later 19th Century


A craftsperson who cuts, facets, engraves and polishes gemstones


A chain from which an ornament or gemstone hangs in the center


A jewel which opens on a hinge

Lost Wax Method

The method of casting metal that uses a rubber mold, which is filled with wax to form a pattern from which a plaster mold is made. The plaster is heated and the wax melts away or is “lost”

Mabe Pearl

A cultured blister pearl


An iron ore material, pyrite, that is facetted into rose cuts and set into silver or pewter jewelry

Marquise Cut

A stone cut in an oval with pointed ends or a boat-shaped stone


Term for mixed diamond sizes weighing more than carat


Classification used in the sorting of diamonds weighing less than carat

Mellon Bead

A hollow and ribbed bead popular in the Etruscan period and in the 1930’s

Memento Mori

Jewel that is a reminder of death

Memorial jewel

Jewel that is made in memory of a loved one, often containing hair from that person and frequently decorated with enamel

Micro Mosaic

Mosaic of very small colored glass pieces (tessarae) inlaid in glass or hardstone

Milanese Chain

Chain consisting of interwoven rows of small links forming a mesh


Glass ornamentation made from canes of colored glass that are layered, and sliced to form patterns, flowers or mosaic effects


A decorating style creating a fine bead like effect around the edge of a metal collet; popular in the Edwardian and Belle Époque periods


The name for a woman’s small hard vanity case or handbag, usually metal or wood, which is held in the hand

Mississippi River Pearls

Irregularly shaped pearls, usually elongated.

Mizpah Ring

A broad gold ring engraved with the word MIZPAH, meaning “I will watch over thee”, popular during the Victorian period

Mother of Pearl

The smooth iridescent interior lining of the shells of certain mollusks

Navette Cut

A gemstone shaped like a boat or oval with pointed ends


A long necklace that usually terminates in irregular length with tassels or drops


An inlay technique in which the grooves made in silver or gold are made black in color by the use of a composition of metal sulfides


A semi-precious stone with a rainbow-like iridescence which are categorized as three types: opalescent precious opals, yellow-red fire opals and the common opal


The characteristic sheen of fine natural and cultured pearls


Small pieces of metallic foil which are placed underneath enamel work to provide a glow, popular with a number of Arts and Crafts movement jewelers


A white precious metal belonging to the platinum group, it weighs a little more than half as much as platinum and sells for half the price


A cascade of pendant stones; popular in Georgian jewelry and meant to look like rain drops


A suite of matching jewelry usually four or more pieces, a necklace, bracelets, earrings and belt or brooch


Jewelry inspired by furniture trimmings such as cording


A high content leaded glass which is faceted to imitate diamonds or backed with colored foils to imitate other gemstones. Also known as strass after Frederic Strass who invented this method in the 18th Century


Discoloration that forms on metals such as silver and bronze but often planned for in the artist’s design, can also be introduced artificially by use of chemicals

Pavé Setting

A stone setting technique whereby the entire surface of a jewel is covered or paved with closely set stones


The lower part of a cut gemstone below the girdle


A type of pear shaped or tear drop gemstone faceted as a brilliant cut and suspended from a smaller stone which is usually separated by a bow or other motif

Pietra Dura

Mosaic of semi-precious stones set into a floral pattern of black marble or onyx, also known as a hardstone mosaic


A gold simulant, invented circa 1720 by Christopher Pinchbeck, which is comprised of a mixture of copper and zinc


Tortoiseshell or horn which is inlaid with mother-of-pearl, silver or gold


A hammering process done to give a smoother finish to a piece of metal


A non-corrosive silver white metal, which is heavy and has a high tensile strength

Plique à jour

An enameling technique in which the design is outlined in metal and filled with a transparent enamel, after firing the metal backing is removed creating a stained glass window effect. Popular with the Art Nouveau jewelers


A pendant scent case

Posy Ring

A ring engraved with a verse

Regard Ring

A ring set with colored stones, the first letters of which spell the word “regard”, ruby, emerald, garnet, amethyst, ruby, diamond. Popular in the second half of the 19th century signifying friendship.


A raised high relief design on the front of a metal object made by hammering, embossing or punching the reverse side of the metal to form the design from the back side out


Rock crystal which is faceted into beads, originally from the Rhine River


Choker type necklace that is a continuous line of gemstones usually of graduated or equal size stones

Rolled Gold

Early 19th century type of goldplating


A pierced piece of metal or gemstone strung between the beads in a necklace


An extremely long neck chain, which falls below the waistline and terminates with a tassel or pendant. Popular in the early 20th century


Engraved (intaglio) of stone or metal used to create an impression on a substance such as wax or clay


A bodice ornament set with gemstones in a bowknot shape


The skin of a ray or shark from the waters around China, usually stained green or another color


Hoop part of a ring


A jeweled fastener, which slides onto a chain or fabric ribbon


A method of joining metal parts or pieces together by melting another metal alloy with a lower melting temperature at the joining point


A very large bodice ornament, usually triangular, filling the area between the neckline and the waistline, also known as a corsage ornament

Strap Necklace

A mesh chain with pendants suspended by short, fine chain resembling a fringe; an Archaeological Revival style during the Victorian period


Decorative pattern in the form of interlaced and crossed straight bands resembling straps


A motif used on a piece of jewelry of festoons of foliage, fruit and flowers


The decorated ends of a necklace or bangle usually with stylized heads of a ram, lion, dragon, etc.


A head ornament worn in the crown position


Twisted strands of pearls ending in a clasp

Trapeze Cut

A gemstone cut into an equilateral triangle with a flat top


Jewelry with a trembling effect when the wearer moved produced by elements set upon stiff wires that move (en tremblant)


Sometimes referred to as gas pipe, a flexible tubular chain

Tutti Frutti

Jewelry set with multi colored gems carved in shapes of leaves, flowers and berries and often in a basket design


Gold-plated or gilded silver

Whiplash Curve

Flowing lines that bend and twist as in Art Nouveau designs

comfort fit 

Comfort fit rings inside are curved, which allows the ring to slip on and off your finger more easily. A standard fit ring has a flatter interior and typically fits snugly around your finger. The ring will be flush against your skin.