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Welcome to Amazing Adornments Glossary of Jewelry Terms - Page One

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This is a work in progress!  Thank you for your patience.

 Last update: 01/04/2012 02:14:22 AM

Here is what we hope you will find a glossary of jewelry plus accessory terms and definitions to help research your jewels, compacts, cufflinks etc. We will add as many terms as we can, however this is not intended to be an all inclusive list. In the near future we hope and do intend to provide several image link examples to this jewelry dictionary!

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AB: See Aurora Borealis.

Abalone: A mollusk that gives us mother of pearl from the scrapings of the inside shell which is pearlescent. It can be sliced thin, and used as inlay on a variety of jewelry, furniture, etc.

Acroite: A type of tourmaline colorless and extremely rare.
Acrostic Jewelry: Popular during the Victorian Era this jewelry had hidden messages. Colors of the stones could spell words. See Regard.
Acrylic: Is a type of thermoplastic. Most common are Lucite and Plexiglass. Acrylic can be opaque or translucent and it comes in many colors.
Adamantine: Inflexible. Like a diamond in hardness and luster.

Adularia: A translucent white and blue moonstone popular in Art Nouveau jewelry.

African Emerald: A green fluorspar mined in South Africa. It is not an Emerald.
African Jade: A large green grossular garnet mined in South Africa. It  is not jade.
Agate: A type or chalcedony quartz that forms in concentric layers. Found in a variety of colors and very common in jewelry.
Alabaster:  A form of mineral gypsum that can be used for beads.
Alexandrite: A gemstone named after Alexander tsar of Russia. Rare and very old, [discovered in 1830] it is known for the way it appears to change colors under different sources of light.  Some say it is the rarest gemstone of them all. It is a chrysoberyl that is also made up of chronium.
Alloy: Combination of two or more metals. Some found  in jewelry are sterling mixed with copper. Others include; pot metal, pewter,  bronze.
Almandine: Is an iron aluminum silicate. It is the most common of the Garnets. Typically red to brown.
Alpaca: An alloy of copper, zinc and nickel  that is used as a silver substitute. Also called "nickel silver".
Aluminum: A lightweight metal used in alloys and found in Bauxite.
Amber: A fossil resin from conifer trees, that is translucent, hard and yellow brown in color. Amber can be other colors such as off-white, blue and black. Color depends on the depth of the water into which the tree fell into the sea during the Glacier Age. It is flammable and it produces static electricity.
American Ruby: Is actually a garnet and less expensive than a ruby.
Amethyst: Is a quartz that comes in a color range from light purple to deep violet. The deeper the color, the more valuable. February birthstone. 
Ametrine: A combination of citrine and amethyst. This quartz appears purple and orange.
Amorphous: A gem that does not have a consistent internal structure. Examples include amber, jet and ivory.
Amphibole: A rock forming mineral composed of magnesium-iron silicates with traces of other elements. 
Amulet: A charm worn for good luck or to ward off evil.
Angelskin Coral: A pale pink coral. One of the most expensive. 
Anklet: Jewelry worn around the ankle.
Annulus: A flattened ring. Usually seen in a compact.
Anodized: A process for coloring metal with an oxide finish using and electric current. 
Antique Jewelry: Jewelry that is over 100 years old.
Antiqued: Process of changing a piece of jewelry to make it look old.
Antiquing: Process of darkening the recessed areas of silver or gold to enhance engraving.
Apple Juice: A golden yellow translucent plastic.
Appliqué: A separately made ornamental object applied to a piece of jewelry.
Aqua Aura:  Iridescent bluish to clear stone that is made by coating clear quartz with a fine layer of gold, aluminum or copper.
Aquamarine: A light sky blue to sea green gem that is a member of the Beryl family that also includes emeralds.
Aqua Regia: A substance used to test platinum and gold . One of few substances that can dissolve both it consists of hydrochloric acid and nitric acid.
Arcade Setting: A style of setting where a stone is held in a metal ring  by several metal claws.
Arkansas Stone:  Used to smooth metal in the jewelry making process.
Art Deco: A style that originated in Paris, France in the 1910s that incorporated geometric shapes bold colors and angles.  The name derives from the 1925 Paris Exposition.  Its popularity waned in the 1930s. An amalgamation of many styles including; Cubism, Modernism, Constructivist, Bauhaus, Futurism and Art Nouveau.


Duette From Coro

Art Moderne: A style that evolved from Art Deco. While Deco was delicate Moderne was blocky. Also known as Modernism. 
Art Nouveau: An international style of art that incorporates curvy lines, florals, plus natural themes and colors. Popular from the late 19th Century to the early 20th Century. This movement in art was seen as a rejection of the embellished style of the prior eras. A short lived period of artistic discontent and change. Replaced by Art Deco.
Unger Brothers Art Nouveau Pin in Sterling
Articulated: Flexible jewelry constructed with hinges.
Arts and Crafts: A design movement that rejected the opulence of the Victorian designs in favor of good craftsmanship, simplicity and good design.  Began in the late 1800s.
Assay: A test to determine the purity of an alloy.
Asscher Cut: A cut of diamond popular in Art Deco jewelry. It was the forerunner to  the emerald cut. Invented by Joseph Asscher, diamond cutter from Amsterdam.
Asterism: A star shaped light that reflects from some gemstones.
ATW: Approximate Total Weight, measured in carats, of a gemstone.
Aurora Borealis: Means Northern Lights. AB rhinestones have a special finish that is iridescent. A thin layer of metallic atoms are deposited at the lower levels of the stone causes the stone to show several colors. This process was developed in 1955 by Daniel Swarovski and Christian Dior.
Austrian Crystal: Lead crystal cut to precise angles at the Swarovski factory in Wattens in the Austrian Tyrols. Known for their quality.  These days not all Austrian crystal is made by Swarovski.
Aventurine: Is a quartz that shimmers The shimmer is caused by tiny mica or metallic particles in the stone. Also called Goldstone. Ranges in color from yellow to light green.
Aventurine Feldspar: A metallic looking gemstone that is also called Sunstone. It ranges in color from gold-ish orange to red-brown. 
Aventurine Glass: Invented in Venice Italy in 1700 this is a glass that shimmers because of tiny flecks of copper imbedded within.
Aventurine Quartz: A type of quartz that has inclusions of mica  or  iron.
Awabi Pearl: The Japanese name for pearls found in Abalone Mollusks.
Axinite: Is a dichroic, boro-silicate of aluminum and calcium, stone that is lustrous and has translucent as well as transparent varieties.
Axis of Symmetry: Also known as the rotational axis. It  is when an imaginary line passes through an object in such a way that part of the figure on one side of the line is a mirror image of the part on the other side of the line. When two planes of symmetry intersect, they form a straight line. This line is an axis of symmetry. Jewelers use this to grade stones. 
Azurite: A copper based blue mineral. It is often used in jewelry. Azurite is hydrated copper carbonate.


Baffa Diamond: Is not a diamond but rather rock crystal.

Baguette: French for rod or stick. A stone most usually a diamond that is cut into a narrow rectangular shape.

Bail: A jewelry finding that is usually triangular and attaches a piece of jewelry to a cord or a chain.
Bakelite: A trade name for a dense synthetic resin [plastic] that can be molded, extruded or carved. It is made from carbolic acid and formaldehyde. Jewelry made from bakelite is molded and has no seams. This plastic was developed by L.H. Baekeland, a Belgian chemist, in 1909. A thermoset plastic. 

Bakelite Scotty Dog with Glass Eye

Balls: Similar to beads except they have one hole that usually attaches to a post. Found mostly in Body Jewelry.
Band: A ring made from a flat strip of metal. A wedding ring is a band.
Banded Agate: An Agate with several distinct layers of color.
Bangle: A stiff bracelet solid or hinged. If is solid it must be slipped over the hand.

Diamonbar Sterling and Crystal Bangle

Bar and Ring Clasp: A jewelry closure. Also known as a toggle clasp. A bar is inserted into a ring to secure the jewelry. 

Barbells: Body jewelry that has two round balls at either end of a pipe, resembling a "barbell".
Baroque: A term that refers to irregularly-shaped stones or pearls.
Baroque Pearls: Irregularly shaped pearls that can be natural or man-made.

Kenneth Jay Lane Choker
Bar Pin: A long and narrow pin. Also known as a bar brooch.
Barrel Clasp: A closure that looks like a barrel. One end screws into the other end to secure the jewelry. 
Barrette: An adornment worn in the hair. It is clipped into the hair.

Taxco Mexican Sterling Barrette

Basalt: A dark glassy fine grained volcanic rock.
Base Metal: Non-precious metals such as steel, zinc, lead, tin and copper. Used as the core for plating.
Basket Setting: A lacy looking setting that has holes in the side and is similar to the basket weave.
Basse-Taille: A technique where the underlying metal is carved in low relief and translucent enamels are applied allowing the carved design to remain visible through the enameling. 
Baton: A diamond or stone that has been cut in a long rectangular shape.
Bauhaus: An art movement that began in Germany around 1919. The movement was concerned with simplicity, form and the belief that science and technology could lead to personal freedom and prosperity.  Art Deco is a design style within Bauhaus.
Bauxite: The principal ore in aluminum. It  a sedimentary rock produced by chemical weathering typically under tropical to subtropical climate conditions. It is naturally occurring.  
Bayadère: A multi-strand pearl necklace with twisted strands.
Beads: Beads are small objects, usually circular, that have a hole on either side allowing a string to pass through. Beads can be made of several materials including; glass, ceramic, stone, plastic, seed and wood.
Belle Epoque: French for "Beautiful Time" it was the period of 1901-1910 during the reign of Edward VII of England. This period is known as the "Edwardian" period.
Belly Chain: Body jewelry that is worn around the waist.
Belly Ring: Body jewelry pierced or clip-on that is worn in the belly button.
Beryl: A hard mineral that comes in a variety of colors. Gemstones included in this family are; emeralds and aquamarine.
Beveled: A type of surface cut that is at an angle less than 90 degrees.
Bezel: Also known as the crown, the bezel is the part of the stone that extends beyond the top of the setting.
Bezel Setting: A type  of setting where the stone is held in place by a metal  band on the outside of the stone. 
Swarovski and Sterling Anklet with Bezel Set Dangles
Bib Necklace: A short necklace with multiple dangles.
Birthstone: A gemstone used to represent a particular month.  See Chart
Black Hills Gold: Gold jewelry made in the Black Hills area of South Dakota, USA.  It is usually yellow gold, pink gold and green gold in a grape and vine motif. This jewelry is usually 10 Karat gold.
Black Moonstone: A black moonstone is actually a labradorite [a type of plagioclase feldspar]- a grayish mineral that shows flashes of color, usually green, blue or red after being polished.
Black Onyx: An onyx with a dark opaque body.
Black Opal: An opal with a dark gray body that is highly coveted. They are very brilliant and show many colors.
Black Pearl: Also known as Tahitian pearls they have a dark nacre. They come in a variety of colors including eggplant, peacock green and deep brown. The peacock green is the most sought after.
Bleaching: A process of removing a gemstones color.
Blemish: A flaw on the surface of a stone.
Blister Pearl: Most often used for earrings a blister pearl forms attached to the shell of the mollusk and has to be cut off, leaving it domed with a flat side.
Bloodstone: A form of chalcedony that is green with red highlights, soft and porous.  
Blue Diamond: Are rare, expensive fancy diamonds that are blue.
Blue Gold: Gold with a bluish tinge.
Blue Topaz: A topaz that was mined brown or colorless then exposed to heat which turns it blue.
Bodkin: A hairpin, from the Renaissance Era, that was heavily jeweled.
Body Jewelry: Jewelry worn on or in a part of the body usually through piercing.
Bog -Oak: Used in inexpensive Victorian jewelry, Bog-Oak is a white Oak that has been darkened and preserved by being buried in a bog. It is lightweight.

Antique Bog Oak Pin with Shamrocks in Sterling

Bohemian Diamond: Really a rock crystal rather than a diamond.
Bohemian Garnet: A pyrope garnet very deep red in color that was used in many pieces of Victorian jewelry. They are said to have curative powers. Named for the region in which it was found.
Victorian Rose Cut Bohemian Garnet Bar Pin
Bohemian Ruby: It is not a ruby but rather a pyrope garnet - deep red in color.
Bolo: A necktie often made of leather that is adorned and fastened with a decorative slide.
Bolt Ring: Used to attach two links of a bracelet or necklace. Also known as a Spring Ring it was invented in the 1900s.
Bombé: A domed shaped seen in earrings and rings in the 1940s and 1950s.
Bonding: A process of applying a colorless bonding agent into or on a gemstone to make the stone more robust.
Bone: Hard tissue from an animal. It is porous with grain lines that run in one direction. White or off- white in color and it is brittle. 
Book Chain: A metal chain, dating back to the Victorian Era, with rectangular links folded to resemble a book. 


Gold- filled Book Chain Necklace
Bort: An industrial grade diamond.
Botanical Gems: Are minerals that form from plant material. Amber is a botanical gem.
Bouton Pearl: See Blister Pearl
Bracelet: A form of jewelry worn wrapped around the wrist.

De Lizza and Elster Juliana 5 Link Bracelet

Brass: An alloy of copper and zinc.
Brilliance: Is the amount of sparkle caused by light reflecting off the facets of a gemstone.
Brilliant Cut: Introduced in the 1600s, the brilliant cut has 56 facets to maximize the amount of light reflected from the stone.
Bridge Jewelry: Jewelry that falls between fine and costume such as sterling silver jewelry.
Briolette: A pear shaped cut often used for pendants.
Brooch: A brooch is an ornamental item of jewelry that is  pinned to a garment.
Jomaz Rhinestone and Enamel Peacock Brooch
Bronze: A dense alloy containing at least 60% copper and other metals. 
Brushed Finish: A finish that is produced by rubbing the surface of metal with a stiff metal brush. This finish ads texture and makes the surface of the metal less reflective.  Other finishes.

Brushed Gold- tone Metal at the Center 

Bruting: The first step in cutting a diamond. Gives the gem it's basic shape.
Bubbles: Tear shaped gases that are captured in a glass stone.
Burnish Setting: A setting where the stone is set flush with the setting without prongs to hold it. 
Bugle Bead: A long and thin glass bead that is tubular.
Bulla: A Roman pendant worn around the neck that contained a good luck charm.  It was usually round and worn by the Roman youth until adulthood.
Buttercup Setting: A six prong setting that is deep and flared resembling a buttercup. 
Butterfly Clutch: Slides onto the back of an earring post securing it on the ear.
Butterfly Wing Jewelry: Jewelry made from real butterfly wings, usually includes a painted picture.
Button Earring: An earring that does not dangle.
Byzantine Chain: An intricate chain where two pairs of ovals are linked and then parted allowing a larger oval link to be attached.


"C" Clasp: Dating to the before the 1900s this type of catch had a pin rod that was slipped under a lip that looked like the letter "C."  There are a few types of these catches. The open "C" catch had no mechanism to lock the rod in place. The rod extended beyond the clasp so that the wearer could use the extra [extended portion] pin rod to secure the pin to their clothing.
Cable Chain: The most common chain it is a series of same sized round links. 
Cabochon: A rounded domed stone without facets. From the French "caboche" meaning small dome.

Cairngorm: Used in traditional Celtic jewelry it is a yellowish brown smoky quartz. Almost extinct.
Calar: To pierce or cut a piece of metal creating a design.
Calcite: Calcium Carbonate is a mineral that is variable in color and form. It has a white streak and is brittle. It is translucent to transparent.  It is found in abundance  in limestone and marbles.
Calibre-Cut: Small stones that usually have step-cut facets. They are usually rectangular in shape.
California Ruby: Is not a ruby. It is a pyrope garnet.
Calsilica: This is a newly found multi-layered stone used for beads and carvings. Often called rainbow calsilica it is comprised of calcium and silica.
Cameo: A method of carving in which the stone around a design is carved leaving a relief design above the surface. The background is usually in a contrasting color. Cameos are usually carved from shell,  coral and other hard stones. Imitation cameos can be found in plastic.
Vintage Three Graces Shell Cameo
Cameo Habille: From the French meaning "dressed cameo" a cameo habille is a cameo in which the subject of the cameo is wearing a small piece of jewelry like a diamond chip. 

Antique 14k Cameo Habille

Camphor Glass: Popular in the mid-nineteenth century it is a cloudy white glass that is blown or pressed.
Canary Diamond: A diamond that has a deep yellow color.
Cannetille: A filigree type of design using coiled and twisted gold wire.
Cape Amethyst: A translucent gemstone that has a color range from light to medium purple with white bands or milky quartz.  
Cape Ruby: Is actually a pyrope garnet and not a ruby.
Carat: [ct.] The standard of  measure of weight for a gemstone introduced in 1907. One carat weighs 0.2 gram -1/5 of a gram or 0.0007 ounce.  The relationship between size and weight varies among gemstones because gemstones have different specific gravity. For example a one carat ruby will be smaller than a one carat diamond.
Carbon: The sixth most common element in the universe it is a nonmetallic, tetravalent element, carbon has several allotropic forms such as diamonds and graphite, the hardest  and one of the softest elements. Carbon is easily bonded to other materials as well as itself.  
Carbon Spots: A diamond is carbon that has been compressed. Carbon spots are black deposits or inclusions that can be seen inside the stone.
Carbonado: A type of black opaque diamond not used for jewelry that is usually found in irregular fragments. It is used for drill bits and it is very rare.
Carbuncle: A garnet cabochon.
Carnelian: A translucent orange/reddish type of Chalcedony. An A-grade agate, it was once and still is thought to have healing powers.  Deposits of this gemstone are found in Australia Brazil, India, Russia, Madagascar, South Africa, Uruguay and the U.S.A. 
Carry All: A type of hard case compact that was popular in the 1950s and the 1060s.  They usually had compartments for lipstick, powder and such.
Casein: A plastic made from milk proteins and formaldehyde. Develpoped by German Scientist Dr. Adolph Spitteler. Trade name: Galalith. Material was used for jewerly during the Art Deco era, especailly in Europe. 
Casting: Shaping or founding of metal by pouring into a mold. There are different forms of casting such as lost wax process, centrifugal [also known as investment] casting, and sand casting.
Catalin: A plastic that allows for a wide range of color [unlike Bakelite] that became popular in the Art Deco Period.
Cathedral Setting: A type of ring setting that arches like a cathedral when viewed from the side.
Cat's Eye: A prominent streak of light along a cabochon that is said to look like a pupil. Gems such as chalcedony and chrysoberyl that reflect light.
Celluloid: A plastic invented in 1869, made from cellulose , a natural plant fiber. Highly flammable and can be damaged by moisture. It was developed to replace ivory being used for billiard balls. Used for jewelry and hair combs.
Celluloid Sail Fish
Cellulose Acetate: Plastic made from cellulose fiber that has been treated with acetic acid. Replaced celluloid in jewelry making as cellulose acetate is not flammable.  Available in a wide range of colors.
Celtic Jewelry: Jewelry made by the Celts in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Brittany using gold, bronze and silver. The Celts also used stones such as Amethyst. The oldest example goes back to  700 A.D. 
Celtic Revival: Jewelry made in the nineteenth century imitating jewelry made in early Ireland.
Center Stone: Usually the prominent stone in a ring setting.
Centrifugal Casting: A method of casting jewelry using tubes and centrifugal force to force molten metal into molds.
Certification: A blueprint of sorts that describes the characteristics and quality rating of a stone.
CFW: An abbreviation for Cultured Fresh Water Pearls.
Chain: A strand of linked loops, beads or rings that are used for necklaces and bracelets that includes Rope, Cuban, Figaro to name a few.
Chalcedony: A family of minerals including agate, onyx, carnelian, cat's eye, and jasper that  have a milky to gray/blue or waxy luster.  It is translucent and porous. When chalcedony is variegated, has spots or is arranged in different layers of color it is known as agate. When it can, because of thickness, or by arrangement of the layers, be used to carve cameos it is known as onyx.
Champagne Diamond: A pinkish brown diamond mostly mined in Australia. The color comes from their low nitrogen content.
Champlevé: Method of applying enamel to metal in which engraved grooves are filled with enamel and then polished.
Chandelier Earrings: A type of earring whereby a drop is suspended from a finding that looks like a chandelier. 
Channel Set: A jewelry setting in which the stone sits in a metal channel or groove and is held in place by the thin rim of the setting. Most channel set stones are rounds or baguettes. Contrast with prong set jewelry.
Chaplet: A wreath or garland worn on the head and usually made out of gemstones and sometimes pearls or metal with repoussé decoration.
Charm: Small ornaments or baubles  worn on bracelet, earring or necklace.
Charm Bracelet: A chain bracelet with charms/ornaments attached.

Gerad Yosca Oriental Themed Charm bracelet

Charm Ring: A ring with a charm attached to the band.
Charoite: A silicate found in Russia it is purple in color and rare.
Chasing: A way to decorate metal by making indentations with a hammer and a punch. It is similar to engraving or embossing and it is the opposite of repoussé.
Chatham Synthetic Ruby: Introduced in 1959 by Carroll Chatham these are laboratory created rubies.
Chatelaine: A chatelaine has a decorative hook that is attached to waistband and from which hangs chains meant to hold items such as keys, scissors along with other household items.  The chatelaine was both decorative and utilitarian. Chatelaine is French for "Lady of the House".
Chaton: A cone [pointy at the bottom] shaped rhinestone with a foil backing.
Chaton Setting: See Arcade Setting.
Chatoyancy: A stone that changes luster in different lighting much like a cat's eye effect.  They are usually cut in cabochon shapes to enhance luster.
Chevron Setting: From the heraldic inverted "V", a chevron setting has lines that resemble a shallow inverted "V".  
Chinese Opal: A misnomer that is sometimes applied t o moonstone, white chalcedony and pearl opal.
Choker: A type of necklace that fits closely on the neck like a collar. A choker is usually 14 to 16 inches in length.

Trifari Gold Filled Rhinestone Ribbon Choker

Chrome: A hard and shiny gray metal that is resistant to corrosion.
Chrysoberyl: A hard mineral/gemstone that ranges in color from yellow to green and brown. Cat's eye and alexandrite are chrysoberyls.
Chrysolite: A golden yellow variety of peridot.  Also called precious olivine, it  is a mineral that can be found in the layer below the earth's crust .
Chrysoprase: A green variety of chalcedony that is valued as a gemstone. It is translucent and gets its green color from nickel.  Can range from apple colored to deep green. 6-7 on the Mohs scale.
Cinclear: Marking a piece of silver by using a implement called a "cincel". Much like a hammer, each cincel has a different edge and will create a variety of designs.
Cinnabar: A mineral. Mercury Sulfide, bright scarlet to brick red in color.
Cire Perdue: The lost wax process of casting. The original mold is cast in wax and coated with clay. When fired the wax melts out leaving a hollow mold that is filled with molten metal. 
Citrine: From the French for lemon "citron",  it is a semi- precious rare quartz that can range in color from light yellow, golden brown to orange.
Claddagh Ring: An Irish ring that depicts two hands clasped together and named after a fishing village where the maker of the first one, Richard Joyce,  lived at the time.
Clarity: The lack of internal flaws that a gemstone has. Clarity of a diamond is measured with a 10x loupe and graded on a scale from FL or flawless, meaning perfect to I3,  meaning having flaws or inclusions visible with the naked eye.
Clasp: A fastener  used to connect two ends of a bracelet, necklace anklet, watch or a pin to a garment. Popular types include: Spring ring, toggle, lobster claw, hook and eye, fold-over and barrel.
Claw: A prong made of metal that holds a stone in a setting.
Claw Setting: A jewelry setting in which a series of claws holds a stone in place.
Cleavage: The natural tendency of a stone to break according to it's crystal structure.
Cliché: A steel raised pattern of a design to be made eventually in silver.
Clip-on: Jewelry designed to be attached with a clip finding. When referring to earrings clip-on and clip-back are interchangeable. 
Clip-back Earring: An earring with a mechanism that opens on a hinge and is attached to the ear lobe when closed.
Schiaparelli Clip- back Earring
Clip-Mate: A design registered to Trifari for two clips on one pin back similar to the Coro Duettes. 
Cloisonné: A type of enameling [also known as cell enameling] in which the design is etched into the metal using a metal wire. The space between the wire is then filled with enamel and fired.
Closed Setting: A jewelry setting in which the stone is not exposed on the back.
Cloud: An inclusion seen as a milky area in a diamond.
Cluster: A jewelry setting where several small stones are grouped closely together.
Cluster Setting: A jewelry setting in which several smaller stones are set around a central stone.
Clutch: A finding that is slid along a rod to secure an earring or a stick pin.
Cocktail Ring: An oversized ring that is set with semi- precious or precious stones. These rings were popular during the 40s and 50s. 
Cognac Diamond: A diamond with low nitrogen content, giving it its brown color. Most are  mined in Western Australia.
Coin Silver: Silver alloy that is 80% silver and 20% copper. Silver marked "800" is coin silver. "800" can be found on some European jewelry and it indicates 800 parts out of 1000 to be silver.
Collar: A necklace that usually measures 12 to 13 inches long. Worn close to the neck, they were popular during the Victorian times.  
Collarette: A short necklace with flowing ornaments on the front. Also known as a "bib" necklace
Collet: The metal ring around a bezel set stone that holds the stone in place.
Color: In terms of diamonds color is one of the four "Cs" used to grade a diamond. The GIA scale goes from colorless to light fancy [yellowish in color] with colorless being the best.  The letters "D" to "Z" are used with "D" signifying colorless.
Colorado Ruby: Actually a pyrope garnet and not a ruby.
Comfort Back: A plastic of rubber pad that is placed on the clip of an earring to cushion the ear.
Commemorative Wares: Items that are made to pay tribute to historic events.
Compact: A portable cosmetics case that usually had a mirror and held powder for the face.
Elgin America Art Deco Guilloché Compact
Compass Ring: A ring that rotates and can be used for orienteering.
Composite Suite: An item of jewelry that can be disassembled into other items of jewelry.
Concave: The opposite of convex it means to curve inward.
Conch: A mollusk with a pearly shell that vary in color with pink being the most prized. Conch is made into cameos and beads.
Concha: A silver disc that is used to decorate a belt or bridle. From the Spanish word for "shell".
Confetti Lucite: Transparent plastic with glitter or other material embedded within it.
Contra Luz Opal: Transparent opals that are usually faceted and will show iridescence when light shines through the stone.
Copper: A reddish brown element that is common, soft and often used in jewelry making. Copper is the only metal to appear in large masses.
Coral: A marine organism that lives in colonies in the ocean. It ranges in color from vivid orange to pale pink. It also comes in red and black, and white. When used for jewelry it is often carved into beads or cameos. Imitation coral is made from glass, plastic or porcelain. Real coral is composed of calcium carbonate. This will cause a effervescing reaction if touched with nitric acid. Coral was thought to bring good luck to the wearer. 
Corallium Rubrum: Mediterranean red coral. Considered to be very valuable.
Cornelian: A translucent stone with a waxy luster that is a reddish form of chalcedony. Also called Carnelian or  Carneole.
Cornucopia: Used often in jewelry, the cornucopia is a symbol of plenty.
Coro Duettes: Patented jewelry sets made by the Coro company. Each has two pin clips that attaches to a base to be worn as one pin/clip  or removed from the base and worn as two separate pins/clips.      
Reverse of the Famous "Thorobreds" Duette and Earrings
Coronet: A small crown worn by a person that ranked lower than a sovereign in class.
Coronet Setting: A setting where a stone is held in place be several metal claws. Also called an arcade or  chaton setting.
Corundum: The crystalline form of aluminum oxide it is an extremely hard [second only to diamonds] rock forming mineral. This family includes sapphires and rubies. The stones color depends on the amount of metallic oxide present.
Costume Jewelry: Jewelry made from less expensive materials than gemstones and gold or silver. Some costume jewelry was made in sterling and some had a gold wash over sterling.
Cowrie Shell: A marine shell of the genus Cypraea. These brightly marked and polished shells are used in jewelry and some were used as currency in the South Pacific and Africa.
Cream Powder: Popular beginning in the 1950s this is face powder that is combined with oils.
Crepe Stone: Glass. Patented by Fowler Brothers, Providence, RI in 1883. This type of glass is black and has a crinkled design.
Crimp Beads: A crimp bead is used to finish and fasten an end of a cord or a chain.  They are soft metal beads that when squeezed will shut will fasten the ends of thread onto a clasp.
Crown: The upper part of a gemstone.
Crown Glass: Glass that contains no lead oxide. 
Crown Height: Is the measurement from the girdle to the table on a diamond or gemstone.
Crystal - Glass: Lead Crystal- Glass of high quality that contains at least 10% Lead Oxide. The process of making this lead crystal was invented in England by George Ravenscroft in 1676.  
Crystal-Natural: Rock Crystal- A solid whose atoms for a regular structure. Diamonds, quartz and emeralds are forms of  natural crystals.
Crystalline: A substance that is either composed of crystals or that resembles crystals in structure.
Crystallize: To cause a material to form crystals of to take on the structure of crystals.
Cuban Link Chain: A cable chain with oval links and a twisted rope pattern.
Cubic Zirconia: A clear and hard lab produced gemstone that resembles a diamond. Developed in 1977. 
Cuff Bracelet: A wide and stiff bangle bracelet.
Cuff Link: Closures for button holes of the cuffs on a long sleeve shirt. First worn in the 1800s. Cufflink types.
Baer & Wilde KUM- A- PART Art Deco Guilloché Cufflinks with Box
Culet: A tiny point at the bottom of a diamond or other gemstone that keeps the stone from fracturing. 
Cullinan Diamond: The largest diamond found so far in its rough form.  In 1905 it was mined at the Premier Mine in South Africa. It was cut into many stone by Joseph Asscher of Amsterdam and it is also called the "Star of Africa".
Cultured Pearl: Pearls that are produced by placing a small irritant into the opening of a mollusk or oyster. Natural process take over and the mollusk or oyster will begin to coat the irritant with nacre. This process was invented by Kokichi Mikimoto.  It can take between five and seven years to produce a cultured pearl.
Cupids Darts: Another name for rutilated quartz.
Curb Link Chain: A chain that consists of ovals shaped twisted links that are often diamond cut so that they will lie flat.
Cushion Cut: A stone that has been cut with a square shape with rounded edges, like a cushion. They usually have many facets similar to a brilliant cute stone.
Cut: One of the 4 "Cs" of diamond grading. The most popular cut is the round brilliant cut. The cut of the diamond will determine it's fire.
Cut Beads: Glass beads that have been faceted.
Cut Steel: Used to produced 18th Century jewels it is steel that has been cut with many facets and then riveted to a plate of steel or other metal.
Victorian Cut Steel Shoe Buckles
Cut Glass: Glass whose surface has been faceted or grooved or has depressions cut into it.


Damascening: A decorative design process first used in Damascus of inlaying soft metal such as gold or silver  into harder metal.

Damascene Sail Fish

Danalite: A mineral that occurs in octahedral crystals that is reddish in color. 
Dangle Earring: An earring that dangles below the ear lobe.
Dark Stone: A rhinestone that has turned black or dark gray in color.
Darya-I-Nur: A flawless, large, transparent pink diamond. It is from India originally but is now in Iran in the crown jewels.  
Dead Soft: Wire such as electrical copper wire that is easily bent.
Dead Stone: A rhinestone with foil backing that is damaged causing the clear stone to appear yellow, cloudy or dull.
Deco Style: A descriptive for jewelry or other items that incorporates design techniques used during the Deco period, while not actually being made during that time. 
Delft Jewelry: Jewelry that is made from tin glazed earthenware [Delft faience] that is usually set in silver and decorated with hand painted windmills and other Dutch landscapes. Usually these items are blue, however other colors have been produced.
Demantoid Garnet: A form of andradite they are rare, green, lustrous and valuable garnets that were popular in the 1800s.
Demilune: A stone shaped like a half-moon.
Demi-Parure: The term for two items of matching jewelry.
Schreiner Demi Parure of Brooch and Earrings
Dendritic: Having a branching pattern like a tree.
Dentelle: French for "lace", they are rhinestones cut with 32 or 64 facets.
Deposee: French for patent.
Diadem: A circular or semi- circular item of jewelry like a tiara that is worn on the head.
Diamanté: The term for a clear rhinestone that looks like a diamond.
Diamond: The name derives from the ancient Greek. Diamonds are a transparent crystal composed of carbon. They are the hardest known naturally occurring material. They are formed by long exposure to high temperature and pressure.  The caret weight measures the mass of a diamond. A diamonds value is based upon the "4 Cs" color, cut, clarity and caret weight.
Diamond Accent: Jewelry set with small diamonds with a combined caret weight of less than 1/4 of a caret.  
Diamond Cut: When speaking of diamond cut metal this means that the metal has been cut into a diamond shape. If speaking of gemstones diamond cut is the same as brilliant cut.
Diapering: A crisscross pattern of diamond shaped lines on  raised  dotted enamel.
Dichroism: The property of some crystals to exhibit more than one color especially when viewed from different angles. Some minerals such as rubies are naturally dichroic and the effect can also be artificially produced with a  metallic oxide coating.
Die Stamping: The process of  intaglio engraving. A sheet of metal is cut and shaped between two dies forming a relief. This process is also known as "machine stamping".
Dinner Ring: A cocktail ring.
Disc Earring: A stud earring that is round and flat and that attaches to the earlobe with a post and a clutch.
Dispersion: Also known as "fire", it is the colors or the prism of light that is emitted from a finished diamond or stone as it is turned.
Dog Collar: A short multi-strand choker worn close to the neck and usually 14" to 15" in length.
Dog Tag Jewelry: A type of necklace that is based upon the dog tags issued to soldiers, they are flat metal pendants on a ball chain.
Domed: Jewelry that is convex in shape.
Door Knocker Earrings: Earrings that have a section with a hinged bottom that hangs below the ear lobe.

Coro White Enameled Door Knocker Style Earrings

Doublet: A stone manufactured in two layers to save expenses. The bottom layer is usually glass or non precious stone while the top is a precious or more expensive stone. 
Doubly Refractive Stone: When light passes through a doubly refractive stone it is split into two rays. Tourmaline is an example od such a stone.
Dress Clip: An article of jewelry that uses a hinge or prongs to fasten to clothing. This style of brooch was popular in the 30s and the 40s. 
Dress Set: A suite of gentleman's accessories that usually includes cufflinks, tie clips, shirt studs and maybe vest buttons.
Drop: An ornament that dangles from a piece of jewelry, usually tear drop in shape. 
Drop Cut: A pear shaped stone or  briolette with triangular facets at the top.
Drop Earring: Also known as a dangle or chandelier earring it is an earring that hangs below the earlobe.
Druse: A crust of crystals that line a rock or geode cavity.
Ductile: A ductile substance can be easily stretched into thin wire. Gold is the most ductile metal.
Duettes:  A design registered to Coro that consists of two pins or clips on one pin back. This term is now used to describe all such jewelry. Trifari made similar jewelry called Clip-mates.


Ear Cuff: A type of earring for non- pierced ears that pinch onto the ear lobe. They are usually wide cuff like earrings. Also known as "Huggies".
Earring Back: Also known as a clutch it is a piece of metal or plastic with a hole for an earring post to side through and that holds the earring on the ear lobe.
Ebonite: An early rubber produced by adding sulfur to vulcanized rubber. It is dark, moldable and hard. Also known as vulcanite.  It is sometimes confused with gutta percha. Combs and buttons are some of its uses.
Ebony: A dense, hard and dark wood used sometimes in jewelry.
Edwardian: Describes the period of the reign of King Edward VII in England. 1901-1910. Also known as Belle Époque. The jewelry of this period was delicate and utilized filigree, diamonds, pearls and bows.
Egyptian Revival: Jewelry that became popular in the 19th century after the discovery of several archeological finds in Egypt. The jewelry was made in the style of the ancient Egyptians.
Eilat Stone: A copper based green mineral that is only found in King Solomon's copper mines Israel.
Electroplate: A process whereby a less expensive metal is coated with a more expensive metal using electricity. Invented by Luigi Galvani.
Electrum: A naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver.
Elie Ruby: These are actually pyrope garnets and not rubies.
Emboss: A method of molding, carving or decorating a surface in relief.
Emerald: From the beryl family emeralds are hard green precious stones created when chromium combines with impurities. Inclusions are common in emeralds and some are oiled to lessen the flawed appearance.
Emerald Cut: A multi-faceted, rectangular cut for gemstones with shortened corners. This cut is usually used for diamonds and emeralds.
En Tremblant: A moving or trembling effect that can be found on a piece of jewelry usually achieved by placing and element on a coiled spring.
Enamel: A  powdery glass  substance, usually colored with metal oxides and sometimes applied as a paste  that is fused to metal with a high degree of heat.  The process, called firing is done in a kiln.  This is an old technique for decorating all types of items. Enamel is durable enough to be used in non decorative items such as ovens and street signs. There are several techniques including Champlevé and Cloisonné.
Matisse Renoir "Sari" Copper and Enamel Brooch
Engagement Ring: A ring usually set with a diamond, however other gemstones are used, given to a woman by a man to signify intent to marry.
Engrave: A method of decorating the surface of metal by cutting into the surface with a hard tool.
Enhanced: Modifying a stone's characteristics such as color, finish of strength to name a few. Most gemstones found today have been enhanced. Common enhancements include: oiling, bleaching and dyeing.
Estate Jewelry: Jewelry [usually fine] from the 50s to present day that was previously owned. Estate jewelry is also defined as any pre-owned jewelry that is not costume. This is NOT the same as jewelry purchased at an estate sale. 
Etched: Decoration that is carved into the surface of a metal. Can also be achieved by using chemicals.
Eternity Ring: A ring with gemstones set around its entire circumference.
Etruscan Jewelry: Jewelry made by the ancient Etruscans who lived in Northern Italy from the 8th Century B.C. Some techniques included: granulation and filigree.
Etruscan Revival: Jewelry inspired by the archeological finds at Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Etui: French for "case".  It is a small decorative case used to hold articles such as needles, pencils and other  items used in day to day life. Also called a "necessaire". A type of compact.
European Cut: An old gemstone cut with a small table and a heavy crown. It has a round girdle and was popular from the 1890s to the 1930s. This type of cut has less brilliance than the brilliant cut used today. 
European Wire: A curved wire for earrings that one passes through a hole in the ear lobe and clasps shut.
Excellent Condition: A term used by sellers/dealers of vintage, used, or estate jewelry to denote jewelry that shows normal wear consistent with age, no missing parts or stones and that if restorations were made they were done impeccably.  If stones are missing they are in a less noticeable place, such as near a clasp.  Please note that each dealer may use this term differently. This is our definition at Amazing Adornments.
Extender Chain: A chain, usually applied to a necklace, which increases the length of the item.
Eyepin: Used to construct jewelry items, it is a type of finding that is made of thin wire with a loop at one end. They come in several gauges and they are used for stringing and linking beads.


Facet: The flat surfaces of a cut stone or glass.

False Topaz: A yellow quartz.
Family Jewel: An item of jewelry such as a Mothers Ring that is set with family members birthstones and sometimes names.
Fancy Cut: Also known as the "Fancy Shape" this is a cut of gemstone that is not the standard round cut.  Some fancy cuts include; pear, baguette, marquise, rivoli and oval to name a few.
Fancy Diamond:  Rare and valuable diamonds that are  blue, green red, yellow or purple.
Fancy Jasper: Also known as India Agate.  A gemstone that is opaque and varies on color sometimes within the same stone.
Fantasy Cut: Faceting stones using freeform angles.
Fashion Jewelry: Another name for costume jewelry.
Faux: French for fake/imitation.
Feather: An inclusion or internal flaw that may or may not affect the strength and value of a gemstone. Also called fissures.
Fede Ring: Dating from the Roman times these are rings that depict two hands clasped together. Also known as Faith Rings. 
Feitsui: The royal stone of China, it is a highly prized form of jade. 
Feldspar: A family of minerals that includes amazonite, moonstone and sunstone. 
Ferrer's Emerald: An imitation emerald made of glass.
Festoon: A necklace usually short in length that has dangles.
Fetish: A decoration often depicting an animal or a person and is associated with healing powers.  These are usually pendants, charms or an amulet.
Fibula: Used to fasten and secure clothing since the times of the ancient Romans and Greeks. This type of brooch/pin looks like a safety pin and is often referred to as a safety pin brooch. 
Figural: Jewelry that is designed to actually look like something such as a person, animal, flower, leaves and other objects such as baskets.
Filigree:  Made from thin wire that is twisted into patterns.  The wire is either soldered to a metal base or the wirework is left open without the metal backing. The wire is usually gold or silver.
Figaro Chain: A chain where the links alternate between on long one and three round ones.
Figogucci Chain: A type of mariner chain where the links are diamond cut and twisted so that they lie flat.
Fimo: Is a polymer made in Germany that is baked and often made into beads.
Findings: Are parts such as ear wires, clasps, head and eye pins, hooks and jump rings used to make jewelry.
Fineness: The proportion of silver or gold that can be found in a metal alloy.
Finial: An ornamental often sculptured knob that sits at the terminal end of object. 
Finish: Describes the polish or texture that is applied to metal. Some finishes include: satin, matte, semi-matte, antique, Japanned and burnished. For diamonds, the finish refers to the polish to the surface.
Fire: Refers to the streaks of color within a stone.
Fire Opal: A type of opal that is usually milky in appearance and that are fiery orange-red in color.
Fish Hook: A finding made to be used for earrings. It is shaped like a fishhook that is threaded through the hole in the earlobe of a pierced ear.  This is the earliest type of earring finding.
Fissure: A crack in the surface of a stone. 
Flapjack: A slim compact from the 1930s and 1940s.
Flaw: A crack, inclusion or other  imperfection in a gemstone.
Fleur De Lis: A motif often used in jewelry it is shaped like an Iris with three petals. It is French for "flower of the lily" and it is a heraldic symbol of the French kings.
Floater Necklace: A necklace where the beads seem to be floating on the neck due to the way the beads are strung far apart and on nearly invisible wire.
Florentine Finish: Also called the brushed finish, it is where parallel lines are engraved into the surface of the metal in one direction and then they are crossed with a lighter set of lines. The metals reflectivity is reduced by this process [it becomes less shiny].
Fluorescence: A property or effect seen in gem quality stones, such as diamonds, when they are exposed to ultra-violet light.
Fluorite: A soft mineral composed of calcium fluoride. It is found in many colors. 
Fob: A short ribbon or chain that is attached to a pocket watch. They are worn hanging from the pocket and often have a decorative medallion or an ornament attached to the other end.
Foil: A very thin piece of metal that is placed behind glass or a crystal to enhance the brilliance of the stone.
Foil Back: A stone that has a thin metallic backing that is made out of silver, gold or a colored foil. This process makes the stone more reflective of light. Seen in costume jewelry a lot and even diamonds before cuts such as the brilliant cut were developed.   Water will damage the foil causing the stone to go "dead" or loose its sparkle. Stones are rarely foiled these days.
Fold-over Clasp: Used on a necklace or bracelet to attach the two ends. It is a device that opens and closes on a hinge. One end is a box and the other is usually a V shaped tongue. When open there is a bar that the tongue slips over and then the box is snapped into place securing the tongue.  
Fool's Gold: Pyrite, a form of iron that looks like gold. Marcasites come from this shiny metallic mineral.
Forbidden Fruit: A type of jewelry usually pins made out of Lucite with imbedded rhinestones.  Often the pieces depict fruit. These pieces were most likely produced during the 1950s in Austria.

"Forbidden Fruit" Lime Pin of Lucite and Green Rhinestones

Fossil Ivory: The tusk of the extinct Woolly Mammoth.
Fossils: Mineralized remains of ancient plants and animals. 
Fossilized: Organic matter such as wood or bone that has become petrified over time. 
Four Cs: Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat Weight. This is a method used to determine a gemstones quality.
Fracture: A crack or a feather in a gemstone. 
French Ear -wire: An earring finding that resembles a fishhook. It closes with a catch and is often used for dangle type earrings.
French Enamel: Fine enamel work developed in France in which many layers of thin colored enamel is applied to metal. This technique was used by Fabergé.
French Ivory: Imitation ivory molded from plastic such as celluloid.
French Jet: Glass that is black in color and made to look like real jet. It is heavier than real jet and is sometimes carved.
Freshwater Pearl: Pearls that are shaped like a bumpy grain of rice. They are harvested from the freshwater mussel which is a mollusk. Several freshwater pearls can be produced at one time. They are produced in many countries and they are less valuable than an than an oyster pearl.
Frost Agate: An agate that has white markings resembling frost.
Fruit Salad: Costume jewelry that is set with colorful molded plastic or glass stones.

Trifari Wheel Barrel Clip with Fruit Salad Stones

Full Cut: A gemstone with 58 facets.

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