Whether you’re a first-time buyer or an experienced jewelry collector, it’s essential to be familiar with the language. Here is a comprehensive guide to some of the most common terms used in the jewelry industry. By understanding these terms, you’ll be able to communicate better with jewelers and make more informed decisions when purchasing jewelry. Let’s get started!
Abalone: A type of shellfish, the abalone is often used in jewelry making. The iridescent inner layer of the shell is especially popular for use in earrings, pendants, and other pieces.
Bail: A small metal component attaches the jewelry piece to the necklace, bracelet, or another item.
Bezel: A type of setting where the gemstone is held in place by a metal rim encircles it.
Cabochon: A type of gemstone that has been polished but not faceted. Cabochons are often used in rings, pendants, and earrings.
Carat: The unit of measurement for diamonds and other gemstones. One carat equals 0.20 grams.
Chain: A type of jewelry consisting of a series of interconnected links.
Clasp: A device used to fasten a piece of jewelry, such as a necklace or bracelet.
Collier: Another term for a necklace.
Cubic Zirconia: A man-made stone often used as a diamond simulant. Cubic zirconia is less expensive than diamonds and has a similar appearance.
Damascus: Refers to a type of steel often used in jewelry making. Damascus steel has a unique pattern created by the way the steel is forged.
Enamel: A material applied to the metal to add color or decoration. Enamel can be transparent, opaque, or somewhere in between.
Facet: A flat, polished surface on a gemstone. Diamonds have many facets, which are cut precisely to maximize the stone’s brilliance.
Filigree: A type of jewelry that features intricate designs made from thin pieces of metal. Filigree is often used in rings, earrings, and pendants.
Finish: Refers to how the surface of a piece of jewelry is treated. Common finishes include polished, matte, and brushed.
Gauge: The thickness of a piece of wire or metal. Gauge is typically measured in inches or millimeters.
Garnet: A type of gemstone that comes in various colors, including red, orange, and yellow. Garnets are often used in rings and other pieces of jewelry.
Gold-filled: A type of jewelry with a layer of gold bonded to another metal. Gold-filled jewelry is more affordable than solid gold and has a similar appearance.
Hypo-allergic metal: This refers to a type of metal that is less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Hypo-allergenic metals are often used in jewelry for people with allergies.
Inclusions: Refers to the imperfections that can be found in a gemstone. Inclusions may be visible to the naked eye or require a microscope.
Inlay: A type of decoration in which a design is set into the surface of the metal. Inlays can be made from various materials, including gems, wood, and pearls.
Lacquer: A type of material applied to the metal to protect it from tarnishing. Lacquer can also be used to add color or decoration.
Lapidary: The art of cutting and polishing gemstones. A lapidary typically has a lot of experience and training to produce high-quality results.
Lead glass: A type of glass that contains a high amount of lead. Lead glass is often used in the making of fake gemstones.
Lariat: A type of necklace that does not have a clasp and must be tied to be worn.
Link: A small metal component that connects the links in a chain.
Loupe: A small magnifying glass used to examine gems and other small objects.
Marcasite: A type of gemstone that is made from iron sulfide. Marcasite is often used in jewelry as a diamond simulant.
Marquise: A type of gemstone cut that is shaped like an oval with pointed ends.
Pendant: A type of jewelry that hangs from a chain, cord, or another item. Pendants can be made from various materials, including metals, gemstones, and glass.
Prong: A small metal component used to hold a gemstone in place. Prongs are typically found in rings and pendants.
Rhinestone: A type of man-made stone that is used as a diamond simulant. Rhinestones are less expensive than diamonds and have a similar appearance.
Ring Size: The measurement of the inside diameter of a ring. Ring size is typically measured in inches or millimeters.
Setting: The way in which a gemstone is held in place. Standard settings include prong, bezel, and channel.
Shank: The portion of a ring that goes around the finger.
Solitaire: A type of jewelry that features a single gemstone. Solitaire rings are the most popular type of engagement ring.
Spinel: A gemstone that comes in a wide range of colors. Spinel is often used as a diamond simulant.
Stone: A general term that can refer to diamonds, gemstones, or other objects.
Tension: A type of setting in which the gemstone is held in place by the tension of the metal. Tension settings are typically found in rings.
White Gold: An alloy of gold and silver with white color. White gold is often used in jewelry because it does not tarnish.
Yellow Gold: An alloy of gold and copper with a yellow color. Yellow gold is the most popular type of gold for jewelry.
Zircon: A gemstone that comes in a wide range of colors. Zircon is often used as a diamond simulant.
There are many different terms associated with jewelry. It is essential to be familiar with these terms to make informed decisions when purchasing or caring for your jewelry. If you think we missed any of the common terms, let us know.