Glossary

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

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10K

Pure gold is so soft it is rarely used in jewelry. Jewelers deal with various gold alloys, collectively called karat gold. Karat (K) tells the number of parts, by weight, of gold in 24 parts of alloy. The higher the percentage of pure gold, the higher the karat. Pure gold is 24K

10K Gold Fill

Gold fill is a thin sheet of karat gold (10K, 12K and 14K) which is fused to a thicker sheet made out of base metals of different alloys such as brass or bronze.

10K Gold Over Silver

A plating of karat gold (10K, 12K, 14K and 18K) over a piece of sterling silver jewelry. May also be called vermeil.

10K Gold Plate

A thin layer of karat gold (10K, 12K, 14K, 18K, 20K, 22K and 24K), electroplated or otherwise applied as a coating to another metal. Also called gold electroplate.

14K

Pure gold is so soft it is rarely used in jewelry. Jewelers deal with various gold alloys, collectively called karat gold. Karat (K) tells the number of parts, by weight, of gold in 24 parts of alloy. The higher the percentage of pure gold, the higher the karat. Pure gold is 24K.

14K Gold Fill

Gold fill is a thin sheet of karat gold (10K, 12K and 14K) which is fused to a thicker sheet made out of base metals of different alloys such as brass or bronze.

14K Gold over Resin

It is a karat gold (10K, 14K or 18K) with a copper-plated resin core. This core gives the jewelry a lightweight durability and also makes it resistant to denting.

14K Gold Over Silver

A plating of karat gold (10K, 12K, 14K and 18K) over a piece of sterling silver jewelry. May also be called vermeil.

14K Gold Plate

A thin layer of karat gold (10K, 12K, 14K, 18K, 20K, 22K and 24K), electroplated or otherwise applied as a coating to another metal. Also called gold electroplate.

18K

Pure gold is so soft it is rarely used in jewelry. Jewelers deal with various gold alloys, collectively called karat gold. Karat (K) tells the number of parts, by weight, of gold in 24 parts of alloy. The higher the percentage of pure gold, the higher the karat. Pure gold is 24K.

18K Gold over Resin

It is a karat gold (10K, 14K or 18K) with a copper-plated resin core. This core gives the jewelry a lightweight durability and also makes it resistant to denting

18K Gold Over Silver

A plating of karat gold (10K, 12K, 14K and 18K) over a piece of sterling silver jewelry. May also be called vermeil.

18K Gold Plate

A thin layer of karat gold (10K, 12K, 14K, 18K, 20K, 22K and 24K), electroplated or otherwise applied as a coating to another metal. Also called gold electroplate.

A

Agate

Agate is a variety of quartz. In appearance, agate is often banded. The concentric bands may be oval, rounded, elliptical, or totally irregular in shape, and may be multiple shades or colors. The individual bands or layers give this gemstone its uniqueness and character.

Alexandrite

Alexandrite has the unique ability to change its color from green to red depending on the light source.

Alloy

An alloy is a mixture of metals used in making jewelry. Most metals used in jewelry are alloys, including 10K, 14K and even 22K gold and sterling silver. Mixing metals, or creating an alloy, takes a soft metal (like gold or silver) and makes them stronger and more durable.

Amethyst

Amethyst ranges in color from soft lilac to intense purple or violet. Amethyst is a very popular gemstone and is the traditional birthstone for February.

Aquamarine

Aquamarine is a blue variety of beryl. Its name is derived from two Latin roots meaning water of the sea. Most aquamarines today have undergone heat treatment to improve color. Irradiation can create deeper blues, but the color can fade quickly when exposed to sunlight.

Asscher

The Asscher cut is similar to a square emerald cut, usually with larger step facets, a higher crown, and a smaller table.

B

Baguette

Long and rectangular in shape, baguette cut gemstones are a popular choice for accent stones in jewelry.

Baroque

A term used for irregularly-shaped cuts, tumble-polished stones, or free-form shaped gemstones.

Barrel

A faceted or cabochon gemstone cut in a long rectangular shape with wider sides, resembling a barrel. Usually found in men's designs.

Birthstone

Birthstones are gemstones associated with a specific month, and are typically given as gifts during a birth month.

Blue Topaz

Blue topaz is available in many shades, ranging from icy blue to sky blue to deep blue. The blue color is often enhanced through heat treatment and irradiation. Blue topaz is the traditional birthstone for December.

Blue Zircon

A classic gemstone, zircon is available in a wide range of colors. It has a great brilliance and intensive fire.

Brass

Both cost-effective and fashionable, brass has been used to create jewelry since ancient times. Brass is mainly a mixture of copper and zinc and radiates a lovely warm reddish-copper glow.Briolette

The briolette cut is a pear or teardrop-shaped stone with 84 triangular shaped facets covering its entire surface.

Bronze

Both cost-effective and fashionable, bronze has been used to create jewelry since ancient times. Brass is mainly a mixture of copper and tin and radiates a lovely warm brownish-copper glow.

C

Cabochon

A cabochon is a polished gemstone without any facets.

Carbon Fiber

Lightweight and durable, carbon fiber consists of thin, strong crystalline filaments of carbon, used as a strengthening material, especially in resins and ceramics.

Citrine

Citrine is a clear yellow form of quartz. A counterpart to amethyst, citrine is quartz mixed with iron, and it is most commonly mined in Brazil.

Crystal

Crystal cut to be used in jewelry is most often-manmade

Cubic Zirconia

Cubic zirconia (also called CZ) is a synthetic crystalline substance used as an affordable alternative to diamonds and gemstones. Cubic zirconia is not a mineral

Cultured Freshwater

Freshwater pearls are cultivated in farms located in freshwater rivers, lakes or ponds. China and the U.S. are the largest producers of cultured freshwater pearls, and the process is still performed mostly by hand.

Cushion Cut

The cushion cut gemstone combines a square cut with rounded corners, much like a pillow.

D

Diamond

The diamond is named from the Greek "adamas", meaning invincible. A diamond is a transparent crystal of tetrahedrally bonded carbon atoms, and is the hardest material known to man. Famed not only for its exceptional hardness, the diamond is also prized for its high refractive index and high dispersion of visible light - the ability to split white light into its component colors.

Diamond Clarity

It is very common for diamonds to be formed with slight imperfections. These are known as "inclusions" and can come in many forms, including tiny white points, dark dots, or feathery cracks. The fewer inclusions, the more the stone is worth. A diamond's clarity ranking is determined by the number, size, type, and placement of the inclusions.

Diamond Color

Most diamonds appear colorless but actually have slight tones of yellow or brown. The closer the stone comes to colorless, the more valuable it is. Diamonds are graded on a color scale ranging from D (colorless) to Z (heavily tinted).

Diamond Total Weight (CT. T.W.)

Carat is the term used to describe the weight of any gemstone, including diamonds. Although the definition of a carat has changed over time, since 1913 the international standard has been 200 milligrams, or 1/5 of a gram. Often, jewelers describe carats in 1/8 increments.

In jewelry pieces with more than one diamond, the carats may be described in terms of total carat weight (T.W.). This is the combined total weight of all the stones in the piece.

Drusy

Drusy gemstones are tiny crystals of minerals formed within or even on the surface of another mineral. Drusy will have a natural surface texture much like fine sugar crystals.

Dyed Cultured Freshwater

Cultured freshwater pearls, made colorful by immersion in vibrantly hued dyes.

E

Emerald Cut

Emerald cut gemstones are shaped like a rectangle from the top, with trimmed corners. The shape was originally developed for the cutting of emeralds.

Emerald

Emerald is one of the most valuable gems on the market today. Part of the beryl group, emeralds can range from medium green to dark green. Inclusions are tolerated in emeralds, as they are considered part of the character of the stone. Emerald is also the traditional birthstone for those born in May.

F

Faceted

A gemstone cut with many layers designed to catch and reflect light.

G

Garnet

Garnet comes in a variety of colors, including many shades of red, from very pale to rosy or purplish, to brick or deep red-black. It can be found in larger cut sizes, and usually has good clarity. Garnet occurs naturally in most other colors except blue. Garnet is also the traditional birthstone for January. It has a Mohs hardness rating of 7, a respectable hardness that allows it to wear well in jewelry.

Glass

Glass is fashioned from a mixture of sodium silicate, calcium silicate and silicon dioxide. Colored glass is made by adding specific metal ions or minerals to the molten glass while it is being formulated. Metals are transition elements and show characteristic colored compounds. Glass can be used to create look-alike, or simulated, gemstones for jewelry, taking on the color of any genuine translucent or transparent stone.

Gold

A precious metal, gold is the go-to choice in jewelry. Since pure gold is very soft, it is mixed (or alloyed) with other metals, usually copper or silver, to make it stronger. The quality of this alloy is expressed in karats (abbreviated as K or KT). Pure gold is 24K

Gold-Tone

Gold Tone is jewelry that is electro-plated with gold and has no measurable karat weight, or is gold colored. Provides an expensive look with a fraction of the cost of real gold.

Gun Metal Tone

Gun Metal Tone is a layer of silvery-grey powder coating applied to a base metal, generally silver, brass or bronze, giving the piece the look of silvery-blue-black steel.

H

Heart

Unique and unmistakable, a heart-shaped gemstone is symmetrically cut to look like a heart. Heart shaped stones are very popular in solitaire pendants as well as rings.

Hematite

Hematite is an iron oxide. It is always opaque and is usually a rich grey-black. It often has a metallic luster. Hematite is most commonly cut into shapes or beads to show off its beauty.

M

Marquise Cut

The marquise cut gemstone is a football-shaped, modified brilliant-cut. The marquise cut maximizes the perceived size of the gemstone.

Mixed

A cut that mixes patterns and cuts from a two or more traditionally shaped cuts.

Morganite

Morganite is a form of beryl named after American banker and collector J.P. Morgan. It ranges in color from soft pink to violet. Morganite is commonly heat-treated to remove any unwanted yellow tones and to produce the more desired pure pink color.

Mother-of-Pearl

Mother-of-pearl is an organic gemstone made from the iridescent internal layer of mollusk shells. It is composed of nacre, the same material as pearls. Mother of pearl is used in all types of jewelry from watch faces to fashion jewelry.

Mystic Fire™

Mystic Fire is a colorless topaz that is enhanced after it is cut with a patented azotic coating on its underside, producing a permanent and stable blue-green appearance with an iridescent rainbow of pronounced color accents, especially in natural sunlight. Mystic Fire topaz is not found in nature.

O

Onyx

Onyx is part of the chalcedony family of colored quartz, which includes agate, cornelian and jasper. The striking black and often-occurring crisp lines within onyx make it especially popular for jewelry. Because the lines can form in many different ways, each piece of onyx has a unique appearance. In some cases, you cannot see the lines in onyx at all. Onyx is opaque, meaning no light shines through it, and is usually smooth-cut into a cabochon.

Opal

There is no other gemstone that looks remotely like iridescent opal. The shifting colors seen in opal, called "fire," are the result of microscopic spherical structures within the stone, which reflect different wavelengths of light, creating the colorful shimmering effect.

Oval

The oval shape presents with an elliptical shape when viewed from the top, and can be described as a hybrid between round and marquise shapes. This cut also gives the illusion that the stone is larger.

P

Palladium Plate

Palladium is lustrous silver-white metal that is 15 times rarer than platinum. Palladium plate is palladium over sterling silver or other base metal.

Pear Cut

A pear cut gemstone is as a hybrid between an oval cut and a marquise cut with a tapered point on one end.

Pearl

Pearls are the products of bivalve mollusks – usually oysters and mussels. Pearls are a build-up of nacre, or calcium carbonate, that form concentrically around a seeded irritant. Most pearls harvested today are seeded or cultured pearls.

Peridot

Peridot is also often called chrysolite or olivine, which is the proper name for the mineral. Its color is its most important quality, and can range from yellow green to a striking chartreuse. Peridot is the traditional birthstone for August.

Pink Sapphire

A variety of corundum, pink sapphire is a very hard gemstone that ranges in color from soft to deep pink. Sapphire is available in most every color of the rainbow. Sapphire is the traditional birthstone for September.

Platinaire®

Platinaire® is a patented premium luxury metal alloy of silver and platinum that consists of 97.5% pure precious metal (92.5% silver and 5% platinum by volume). It offers the durability and look of 14K white gold at a fraction of the price. More durable than silver, Platinaire® is hypoallergenic, environmentally responsible and nearly impervious to tarnish.

Platinum Plate

The most precious metal commonly found in jewelry is the silvery-white metal platinum. It is a relative newcomer to jewelry, having become popular in the past 200 years or so. Platinum plate is platinum over sterling silver or other base metal.

Princess

A squared and stepped shape, this cut is the second most popular cut, right behind the round brilliant cut.

Q

Quartz

Quartz is one of the most common crystal minerals on Earth, and offers an amazing variety used in jewelry. Gemstone quartz is known by many names, including agate, amethyst, bloodstone, carnelian, citrine, jasper, rose quartz, and smoky quartz.

R

Radiant Cut

The radiant cut is a combination of a princess and a cushion cut. Created by Henry Grossbard in 1977, a square or an octagon gem gets its four corners cropped in a straight line, instead of rounding them off as in a cushion cut.

Rectangle Cut

Rectangle cut gemstones are shaped like a rectangle from the top, and are finished with trimmed corners.

Resin

Resin jewelry is made from liquid plastic that turns solid when a hardener is added. It is typically made from something called "casting resin". Casting resin is a solution of two liquid chemicals that, when combined, create a hard and durable plastic. Resin molds are used to make watch bands, beads, bezels and pendants. Because resin is a plastic, it is not unbreakable. Resin is also easy to scratch.

Rhodolite

Derived from the Greek words "rhodon" and "lithos," meaning rose-colored stone, rhodolite is a type of garnet that varies in color from red-violet to raspberry-color to a rich pink-red. Rhodolite garnet is a combination of almandine and pyrope garnet varieties.

Round Cut

Round is the most widely used gemstone cut. It is generally faceted to catch and reflect light.

Ruby

Ruby is the red variety of corundum and is one of the most prized of the colored gems. All other varieties of corundum are considered to be sapphire. Rubies range in color from pinkish to orangey and purplish and brownish red, with experts believing that a mid- to deep-toned hue is most favorable. Corundum is the second hardest substance on the Mohs scale, and it is this combination of excellent hardness and rich color that make ruby so valuable. Ruby is the traditional birthstone for May.

S

Sapphire

Sapphire has a Mohs hardness of 9, second only to diamond. It is one of the most valuable and wearable of all gemstones. Well known for its brilliance and rich blue color, sapphire actually occurs in a wide range of fancy colors, including white, pink, yellow and green. Sapphire includes gems of every color of corundum, except for red, which is classified as ruby. Sapphire is the traditional birthstone for September.

Siladium

Siladium is similar to Stainless Steel. It polishes to a bright white luster, and is strong and durable. It is usually found in class rings.

Silver Plate

Silver Plate is a layer of silver applied to a base metal, usually by electroplating. This thin layer will wear over time, especially with regular wear or use.

Simulated Pearl

A simulated pearl is a fake made to look like more expensive pearls. Simulated pearls are often made of glass, ceramic, shell or plastic.

Sodalite

Discovered in 1806, sodalite did not become an important ornamental gemstone stone until 1891 when large deposits of gem-quality material were found. Sodalite is a blue stone interspersed with white calcite. It comes in a very narrow range of colors from dark blue to a violet blue, often with white, yellow or red veining. It is sometimes confused with lapis lazuli, as it also has small specks of pyrite in it.

Spinel

Known as the "great imposter," for a long time, spinel was mistaken for ruby, and several of the "rubies" in the Queen of England's crown jewels are actually spinels. Spinel can be found in a range of shades, including white, pink, purple, orange, blue and combinations thereof.

Square Cut

A squared and stepped shape, this cut is the second most popular cut, right behind the round brilliant cut. Stainless Steel – Stainless steel is a silvery-white color with a mirror finish that retains its shine and color very well and resists tarnishing. The most popular uses for stainless steel in jewelry are watches, bracelets, rings, earring posts and body jewelry since it is easy to clean, keeps a mirror shine and is strong enough for daily wear.

Sterling Silver

Silver is much more plentiful than gold

T

Tanzanite

Tanzanite was discovered in Tanzania in 1967, and is one of the most recent additions to the gem world. Tanzanite gained almost immediate popularity both for its scarcity and its rich, blue-violet color. Tanzanite is noted for its trichroism, an optical phenomenon - appearing three colors (blue, violet and burgundy/brown) depending on each stone's crystal orientation. Tanzanite may also change appearance when viewed under alternate lighting.

Teardrop Cut

A teardrop cut gemstone is as a hybrid between an oval cut and a marquise cut with a tapered point on one end.

Titanium

Titanium is versatile, lightweight and strong, with a silvery-white metallic color. This metal is as strong as steel but is 45% lighter in weight, and is similar to platinum in its resistance to tarnishing. Titanium's strength, durability, and lustrous beauty make it an ideal choice for jewelry, especially for rings and bracelets that are subject to daily wear.

Topaz

A hard gemstone, topaz is found in a wide range of colors including clear, brown, yellow, orange, red, pink and blue.

Trillion

Trillion cut gemstones are triangular in shape. The edges may be slightly rounded or cropped straight in triangular step cuts along its three sides.

Turquoise

Turquoise, the blue cousin to lapis lazuli, has been known and valued for thousands of years. Though the most valued of turquoise has a sky blue color, it can also be found in various shades of green to yellowish grey. The blue color is created from traces of copper, while the green shades are created from traces of iron or chromium.

V

Vermeil

Vermeil is a combination of sterling silver, gold, and other precious metals, commonly used as a component in jewelry. Usually, vermeil jewelry is a sterling silver item coated with 14 carat (58%) gold. To be considered vermeil, the gold must be at least 10 carat (42%) and be at least 2.5 micrometers in thickness. Gold vermeil is considered the finest of all gold-plated jewelry.

W

White Sapphire

Sapphire has a Mohs hardness of 9, second only to diamond. It is one of the most valuable and wearable of all gemstones. Well known for its brilliance and rich blue color, sapphire actually occurs in a wide range of fancy colors, including white, pink, yellow and green. Sapphire includes gems of every color of corundum, except for red, which is classified as ruby. Sapphire is the traditional birthstone for September.

White Spinel

Known as the "great imposter," for a long time, spinel was mistaken for ruby, and several of the "rubies" in the Queen of England's crown jewels are actually spinels. Spinel can be found in a range of shades, including white, pink, purple, orange, blue and combinations thereof.

White Topaz

A hard gemstone, topaz is found in a wide range of colors including clear, brown, yellow, orange, red, pink and blue.

Z

Zircon

A classic gemstone, zircon is available in a wide range of colors. It has a great brilliance and intensive fire.