Jewellery Glossary

Watch Glossary James Samson

If you're often stuck with the terminology of Jewellery, then glossary will help you to find the answer to all your Jewel related questions!



Akoya Pearls

Pearls from the Akoya saltwater oyster which is the mainstay of the Japanese pearl industry. Now also farmed by China and other countries.


A chain with a T-bar fitting. Originally attached to a pocket watch, frequently with a decorative medallion or other ornament attached to one end. Due to the decrease in waistcoat wearing, ladies recycled their husband's or father's chains and wore these as fashionable necklets.


A combination of two or more metals.


An organic gemstone, which originates from the fossilized resin of pine trees. Amber ranges from golden yellow to golden orange, however green to black are also found. Amber may also contain insects, moss, lichen and pine needles.

American Cut

The American Cut follows the proportions and facet angles calculated mathematically by Marcel Tolkowsky and is considered by many to constitute the ideal cut.


A form of quartz that is an elegant purple in colour but can also incorporate pale lavender and deep red flashes. Ancient Greeks believed an amethyst could protect its wearer from intoxication.


Fossil Ammonites are around 150 million years old. They can be set to make fascinating and unusual jewellery. The fossilised coiled ammonite shells are found in Dorset and Somerset (light coloured) and North Yorkshire (Dark Coloured).

Andralok (Earrings)

A patented pierced earring fitting with a hinge half way along the earring stem. After inserting the stem, the hinged section drops down behind your ear to hold the earring in place.

Andraslide (Earrings)

A patented earring fitting for un-pierced ears. A U-shaped spring fits under the ear lobe and round the back of the ear to hold the earring in place. Claimed to be more comfortable than traditional clips as it does not grip so tightly, is lighter and not so bulky on the ear.


An appraisal is the decision method applied to the grading and certification of a diamond, precious metal or other gemstone. A gemmologist or jeweller will examine the piece in question and give a formal or informal professional opinion on the grading and criteria of the diamond or jewellery piece.


A transparent light blue or sea green coloured stone that is usually faceted when set in jewellery. Aqua belonds to the beryl family.


A test of the purity of an alloy. A tiny piece of metal is scraped from the piece and the percentage of gold, platinum or silver is determined. Official assay offices in London, Birmingham, Sheffield and Edinburgh determine whether a piece qualifies for an appropriate hallmark.

Asscher Cut

In 1902 Joseph Asscher upheld his father's reputation for skill and innovation by designing the original Asscher cut. This emblematic cut was the first signature cut to be patented. The Asscher Diamond Company held its exclusive patent until the Second World War and saw strong sales internationally.



Baguette Cut

A diamond cut into an elongated, rectangular shape, as opposed to the more iconic round, princess and cushion diamond shapes.


A bail is a component of certain types of jewellery, mostly necklaces, used to attach a pendant. The bail is normally placed in the centre of the necklace where the pendant hangs.


A circular band worn as a type of ornamental jewellery around a finger; it is the most common current meaning of the word ring. Other types of metal bands worn as ornaments are also called rings, such as arm rings, often more commonly called bangles or torques and neck rings, also called a torque or a collar.


An elegant bracelet-like item, usually made from stiff metal or wood, and can be simple or ornate. Bangles are designed to be worn around the wrist, and are usually devoid of a fastening.

Bar Setting

In a bar setting, individual metal bars are set perpendicular to the ring, separating the gemstones. The metal is then moulded around a gem to lock it in place.

Baroque pearls

Irregular shaped pearls of all shapes and sizes, neither round nor symmetrical.

Barrel Clasp

A type of fastener usually seen on necklaces or bracelets. Each end of a barrel clasp is attached to one end of a chain, rope, thread, or other material and fits together to complete a connection, securing the jewellery. Barrel clasps either screw together on tiny threads or they lock together using magnets.

Bead Setting

Bead setting is a generic term for setting a stone directly into metal using gravers, also called burins, which are essentially tiny chisels. A hole is drilled directly into the metal surface, and then a ball burr is used to make a depression to fit the exact size of the stone.


Small smooth objects that are designed to be threaded together to create jewellery items, especially necklaces and bracelets. Beads may be made from a range of materials, including glass, ceramic and plastic.

Belcher Chains

Typically, belcher chains have round links and are wider than they are thick. Their simple style makes them ideal for wearing with elaborate pendants.

Bezel Facets

The facet located on the crown, or top portion, of a diamond. Jewellers call this the 'kite' facet because of its shape.

Bezel Setting

The earliest technique of attaching stones to jewellery. A bezel is a strip of metal bent into the shape and size of the stone and then soldered to surround the gem. Then the stone is inserted into the bezel, holding it in place. This method is more often used for cabochon or faceted stones.

Birthstone Jewellery

Jewellery that features a gemstone symbolising the month in which the wearer was born.

Biwa Pearl

Cultured freshwater pearls grown in Lake Biwa in Japan.


Little marks, bumps, scars or irregularities on a pearl's or gem's surface that give a pearl strand its personality, although heavy marking will lower its value.

Blister Pearls

In reality, a natural pearl which occurs when a parasite intrudes through the outer shell of a mollusc. The mollusc secretes nacre over the irritant, cementing it to the shell itself. Blister pearls are usually irregular in shape.

Body Jewellery

Conventionally used to describe jewellery for pierced parts of the body other than the ears as well as new fashionable items such as toe rings.

Bolt Ring (Fastening)

The basic type of fastening for a necklace or bracelet consisting of a hollow loop with an internal spring operated catch, which is retracted then released when attached to a link at the other end of the chain.

Box Chain

A box chain is made up of square links, individually resembling a box, connected to create a smooth chain.

Box Clasp

A popular clasp for multi-strand bracelets necklaces, particularly pearls consisting of a box, tongue, snag, and trigger. Although there are several variations to the clasp, all of them work on the same principal.


Like bangles, bracelets are worn around the wrist but may often be more flexible in shape and be fastened with a clasp or hook.

Break Facets or Girdle Facets

The 32 triangular facets adjoining the girdle of a round brilliant-cut stone, featuring 16 above the girdle and 16 below the girdle.

Bridal Sets

An engagement ring and a wedding band designed to match and sit seamlessly alongside one another. Some brides may choose to have their bridal set soldered together into one ring after their wedding.


The term brilliance refers to the amount of light returned to the eye from the interior of a gem and is mainly a function of refractive index, proportions and transparency. The amount of brilliance, or 'fire' exhibited in a stone is dependent on the grade of cut.

Brilliant Cut

The style of cutting a gemstone, usually a diamond, with many facets of different shapes and sizes so as to increase its brilliance by minimizing the amount of light that escapes at the bottom of the stone. It consists of 32 facets above the girdle and 24 below.


The last part of cutting and polishing the diamond; the brillianteer adds twenty-four facets (usually triangular) to the crown and sixteen facets to the pavilion.


A faceted tear-drop shaped stone. If it is unfaceted it is a drop.


Usually a piece of flat material shaped into an attractive design. It may be painted or feature a precious gemstone and is pinned on the breast.


Often visible damage to a diamond consisting of surface crumbling, often accompanied by tiny, root like feathers.

Brushed Finish

A brushed finish, also known as a 'satin' finish, is a texturing technique used with precious metals in jewellery where a series of tiny parallel lines are scratched on the surface with a fine wire brush.


The first step in cutting a diamond; which involves the shaping of the girdle, giving the stone its basic shape.

Burned Facet

A facet may appear whitish, or burnt, as a result of the cutter polishing the facet "against the grain", this is known as a burned facet.


It is the fitting that attaches to the post of an earring to hold it in your ear. Also known as a scroll.

Byzantine Chain

A chain with close-fitting links, creating an intricate design that forms a tube.



Cable Chain

A cable chain consists of interconnected round links of the same size.

Cabochon Cut

A stone cut with a domed top and a flat bottom. These are usually round or oval.


A style of carving in which the design motif is left and the surrounding surface is cut away, leaving the design in relief. Cameos are still made today in Italy.

Canary Diamond

Canary diamonds are golden yellow in colour with fluorescence occurring in yellow, golden and orange colours; also known as fancy yellow.


A broad range of diamond colour grades that show a distinct yellow tint face up (except for small stones in the top part of the range).

Carat (Diamond)

The unit of weight by which a diamond is measured. The higher the carat weight, the more expensive a diamond is likely to be.

Carat (Gold)

Indicates the purity of gold. 24 carat gold is pure gold (100%).

Cathedral Setting

A cathedral setting has a split band forming an upper and lower segment with a distinctive arch between them. The lower ring band encircles the finger, while the upper portion of the band arches up to embrace the central mounting and focal diamond or gemstone, which is frequently in a classic tiffany (six prong) setting.


A cavity is a type of inclusion consisting of a relatively wide or deep opening in a diamond.

Centre Stone

The central, dominant stone in a piece of jewellery set with multiple stones.


A non-metallic material used in the creation of jewellery. Ceramic jewellery may be painted or pressed into distinctive designs to create earrings, rings and pendants.


The term used to denote that a precious metal or gemstone has been verified by an expert as to its authenticity.


In jewellery, chains involve a number of connected loops, links, rings, or beads ordered one after the other.

Champagne Diamond

A trade term describing a light yellow diamond with green or brown overtone lacking the intensity of colour to be classified as a 'Fancy' colour Diamond.

Chandelier Earrings

These closely resemble mini chandeliers. They are also known as shoulder dusters.

Channel Setting

A setting in which several stones are held in by two parallel gold or other precious metal borders and in which there is no metal between the individual stones, giving the appearance that they are floating within the setting. This is a popular modern style setting for eternity rings.

Charm Bracelets

A bracelet adorned with tiny ornaments or keepsakes in various shapes, which the wearer may be able to add or remove.


Very small accessories or ornaments that may be added to a bracelet or necklace. Charms may be purely decorative or of personal significance to the owner.


A three-faceted shield-shaped rose cut with a flat, un-faceted base.


A shallow break on a diamond which extends from a facet junction or girdle edge, classified as larger or deeper than a nick.


A choker is a type of necklace that fits tightly around the neck. Chokers are from 14" to 16" in length.

Clarity (Diamond)

Denotes the visibility, size and frequency of a diamond's inner flaws. The clearer the diamond, the higher its value.


A clasp is a fastener which can open and close, attaching two things together e.g. the two ends of a necklace, or bracelet.

Claw Setting

A style of setting a gemstone in which a series of metal prongs (called claws) holds a stone securely in a place.

Cleavage Crack

A break parallel to a cleavage plane; characterised by a two-dimensional nature; intersections with facets are usually straight lines.

Clip (Earrings)

A traditional hinged earring fitting for un-pierced ears. Also refers to the typical fitting on bars for holding neckties in place.

Cluster Setting

A traditional jewellery setting in which one large diamond is surrounded by several smaller stones - usually diamonds or pearls - along its circumference.


A metal known for its hardness and durability, often alloyed with platinum to create jewellery. A popular alternative to gold for men's wedding bands.

Colour (Diamond)

Diamonds can range in colour from light yellow to colourless. Colourless diamonds are the most highly prized since they refract more light and have greater sparkle.

Coronet setting

A coronet setting is one in which the stone is held in by many metal claws around a metal ring. Is also known as a Châton or Arcade setting.


Crystalline aluminium oxide, second hardest on Mohs Scale after diamond, and one of the most popular and valuable gems. Red corundum is known as Ruby; all other colours are known as Sapphire.

Couples Jewellery

Personalised jewellery worn by couples to reflect their love for one another. These items may be engraved with names or significant dates.

Creole Earrings

Hooped earrings made from precious metal, which are usually round or oval-shaped and may have a slightly twisted appearance.


Amongst the oldest and most universal symbols. A gold cross on a gold necklace is frequently given as a bridesmaid's present, and of course a cross is an ideal gift for confirmations or baptisms.


The upper part of a cut gemstone. The part of a brilliant cut above the girdle, which usually protrudes above the setting.


A pendant shaped like a cross, sometimes signifying religious affiliation. Crucifixes are usually worn on chains around the neck and may be jewelled.


Transparent glass material that may be used as beads or in a setting. Crystal jewellery may be colourless or coloured.

Cubic Zirconia (CZ)

A man-made gemstone developed in 1977 and designed to resemble a diamond. The synthesized material is hard, optically flawless and usually colourless, but may be made in a variety of different colours.


A popular men's jewellery item with the purpose of fastening the cuffs on a long-sleeved shirt. Cufflinks come in pairs and may be classic or novelty shaped. Cufflinks were first worn in the 1800s.


A small facet on the very point of the Pavillion (the underside of a cut gemstone) to flatten the otherwise sharp point. This is partly to remove a feature that would have a tendency to scratch and also remove what would be a vulnerable point for the stone.

Cultured Pearls

Pearls are produced by oysters. Cultured pearls are still authentic pearls, however humans assist in the process by implanting the 'irritant' (a 'Mother-of-Pearl') into the oyster causing the pearl sac to form and eventually a pearl is created.

Curb Chains

A versatile chain style in which the links interlock when laid flat. Usually available in a variety of widths, and suitable for use with a range of pendant shapes.

Cushion Cut

This can be a type of diamond cut incorporating both a round and square shape (therefore resembling a cushion). It also refers to a style of signet ring stamping, which is also cushion-like, being square with rounded corners.

Cut (Diamond)

The final form into which a rough gemstone is shaped. An ideal cut diamond has more brilliance (sparkle) and is more highly valued.




Diamanté stones are highly reflective glass made to imitate gemstones. The originals were colourless quartz obtained from the River Rhine, which were cut in an attempt to resemble diamonds. The finest diamanté today is made of highly reflective lead glass, which is facetted and polished. Also known as Rhinestones.


The most precious gemstone of the world. The name diamond was derived from an ancient Greek word, 'adamas' which means 'invincible'. Diamond belongs to the class of native metals and is a member of the group of Carbon.

Drop Earrings

Drop earrings have a classical appeal in all the ages. From the name we can easily guess that drop earrings are earrings, which drop down from the earlobe.




Jewellery items worn in the ears and fastened through piercings in the earlobe or upper ear. Several types of earrings exist, including studs, drop earrings and hooped earrings.


A stamping technique in which a pattern is pressed onto a plain area of metal. This pattern stands proud above the plain background rather than cut in as in the case of engraving.


A precious stone characterised by a deep green colour. Popularly featured on rings and pendants, and said to have been collected by Cleopatra.

Emerald Cut

The style of cutting a gemstone, usually a diamond or emerald, so that the shape or table of the stone are square or rectangular, with chamfered corners and the sides are step cut.


Produced by fusing coloured powdered glass paste to metal (usually silver, copper or gold) to produce a glass-like, decorative surface. The colour of the enamel and its transparency depends on the metal oxides in the glass and the temperature at which the glass melts. In some cases, the enamel may be translucent showing the textures of any engraving on the metal underneath, which produces guilloche (pronounced ghee-yosh) enamel.

Engagement Rings

A ring, often featuring diamonds, worn around the left-hand ring finger for the period between a couple's engagement and wedding, signifying love and lasting commitment.

Engine Turning

Another engraving technique that can be applied to plain metal, and is frequently used on powder compacts, cigarette lighters and larger pieces. Geometric, criss-cross designs are generally favoured.


A name, number or design etched into the surface of metal jewellery to represent a person or significant event.

Eternity Rings

A narrow ring with a thin setting of gemstones along its exterior, which is usually given or exchanged as a token of love between two people.

European Cut

Style of diamond cutting popular from approximately 1890 to the 1930s typified by a round girdle, a smaller table in relation to the diameter of the stone, and a large culet.




A flat cut or polished face on a gemstone.

Fancy Coloured Diamond

A Diamond that exhibits a strong colour, such as yellow, as opposed to an off coloured white Diamond. Fancy coloured Diamonds can be very expensive and are often highly prized by collectors.


A term meaning imitation. For example, "faux pearls" is often used to describe simulated pearls.


Gold or silver wire that have been twisted into patterns and soldered into place. Openwork filigree is not soldered onto a sheet of metal and is difficult to make. Imitation filigree is made of stamped metal.


The proportion of silver or gold in a metal alloy . Fineness is usually expressed in parts per thousand. For example, the fineness of sterling silver is 925.


Refers to the surface quality of a gemstone or piece of jewellery.

Flush Setting

A setting style in which the entire gemstone is sunk into the metal of the jewellery so that only the top is visible.

Four C's

Cut, Clarity, Colour and Carat (weight) are the 4 C's by which diamonds are categorised and graded.

Foxtail Chain

An intricate chain featuring three rows of links braded together.


Fractures are caused mainly by mechanical stresses like pressure or impact and may run in all directions within the diamond or gem.

French Wire

A curved wire which passes through the pierced earlobe and has a catch closure. Used mostly in dangling earrings.

Freshwater Pearls

Pearls predominantly flesh-nucleated typically in mussels in several countries around the world, notably China, Japan and the USA.




A semi-precious gemstone characterised by its deep red colour, but which also encompasses a range of other gemstones including almandine, andradite and Transvaal jade.


The Gemmological Association of Great Britain.


A precious or semi-precious stone that can be cut, polished and shaped to be set into jewellery. Highly prized gemstones include diamonds, emeralds and rubies.


The Gemmological Institute of America. The GIA was established in 1931 as a non-profit educational resource for the gem and jewellery industry.


A setting with a recessed stone, also known as a star setting.


The thin band that forms the widest circumference of a brilliant cut stone and that separates the crown above it from the pavilion below.

Glass Jewellery

Jewellery created from glass beads or figurines, usually made into pendants, bracelets and earrings or shaped into glass bangles.


The most malleable and ductile of all metals, it is unalterable by heat and moisture, and will never tarnish. Pure gold is too soft for practical use alone and so is alloyed with either silver, copper and/or zinc, in different quantities for hardness and durability., the purity expressed in carats:
9ct - Is 37.5% or 375 parts out of 1000 pure 24ct gold.
18ct - Is 75% or 750 parts out of 1000 pure 24ct gold.

Gold Earrings

Jewellery made from gold and worn through a piercing in the ear lobe or upper ear. Gold earrings may take the form of elegant studs, drop earrings or hoops.

Gold Plated

Jewellery that has a thin layer of gold applied to the surface of a base metal, so it has a gold exterior but is not made purely from gold.


A unit sometimes used to measure pearls - a metric or pearl grain is equal to 50 milligrams or 1/4 of a carat.

Green Gold

A coloured gold finish that has a slight green hue due to the addition of silver as an alloy.




The mark(s) stamped on some items of gold or silver that attests the purity of the metal, in compliance with legally established standards. The marks also include a date letter, a maker's mark and an assay mark to indicate the office, which carried out the assaying.


The top part of a ring visible on top of the finger. This might be the gemstones and their setting in a lady's ring or the flat gold area of a man's signet ring. See also shank and shoulders.

Herringbone Chains

An attractive style of chain with a liquid effect. It is formed by v-shaped links that lie flat on a surface, which means it may also be engraved.

High-polish Finish

A piece of jewellery that has been polished to a mirror-like finish.

Hook Fitting (Earrings)

These earring fittings hook through the ear and hang down behind the lobe. They have the advantage of not requiring butterflies, which can be fiddly or easy to lose, but are usually larger and more expensive. Also called a hook wire or safety wire fitting. Safety wire fittings also have a snap shut closure for extra security.

Hoop Earrings

An item of jewellery usually made from metal or plastic, which is moulded into a hoop shape and fastened through an ear piercing. Like drop earrings, hoop earrings dangle below the earlobe.


The term used for the actual colour of the spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo or violet). The more pure a gemstone's hue, the more valuable.




A particle of foreign matter contained within a gemstone. It can take, for example, the form of an air bubble or a foreign object. Some inclusions decrease the value of a stone, but some, such as needles in rutilated quartz and 'spangles' in amber, are prized.

Initial Jewellery

Jewellery that has been engraved or shaped to form the wearer's initials. Initial jewellery is usually worn as a pendant on a necklace but may also take the form of rings and bracelets.


This is when a space is routed out of the metal and a contrasting material is fitted into that space.


Italian for carving. An Intaglio is a carved gem from which the design is engraved or carved into the object so that it sits below the surface plane of the material.



Jeweller's Loupe

Loupe is a French word for magnifying glass. It is a small magnifying lens used to examine gemstones. 10X magnification is the standard.

Jewellery Box

A decorative box or container designed for the storage of jewellery items. Some jewellery boxes may also play music when opened.

Jewellery Cleaner

A solution that usually incorporates water and a mild detergent, although many often contain small amounts of ammonia.

Jewellery Polishing Cloth

Cloth used to clean and polish jewellery safely.

Jewellery Sets

Items of jewellery designed to match one another and which are sold together. Jewellery sets usually include a necklace and earrings, but may also include a bracelet.

Jump Ring (Fastening)

This is a fixed ring used to connect components in a finished article, or at the end of items such as necklets and to which bolt rings may be attached.



Keeper ring

A keeper ring is a ring that is used alongside another, more valuable ring to keep it securely on the finger. One classic design for a keeper ring is a shot ring.

Keshi pearls

These are small flat roundish natural pearls formed naturally in the soft cavities left after a pearl has been removed or ejected by the mollusc. They are 100% nacre and have a very good lustre.


An attractive accessory attached to a key for ornamentation or easy identification. Keyrings are often made from metal but may also be made from plastic or wood.

Kimberley Process

Established in 2003 by the United Nations to prevent diamond sales from financing rebellious movements. The certification scheme aims at preventing "blood diamonds" from entering the mainstream rough diamond market. It was set up to assure consumers that by purchasing diamonds they were not financing war and human rights abuses.


Small knots tied between each pearl in a strand to prevent them rubbing together and to avoid the loss of pearls if the necklace breaks. Recommended for larger pearl necklaces.



Lap Setting

A gemstone which is set down into the bezel, with the top of the stone protruding upwards, to be cut back down into a domed shape which sits flush with the top of the bezel.

Lever Back (Earrings)

Type of hook fastening for pierced ears that utilises a hinged "lever" on the main part of the earring to close the gap to the end of the hook. Also called "Continental" due to its popularity in Europe.

Link Chains

An item of jewellery in which small strands or pieces of metal are linked together to form a chain, which is usually worn as a necklace or bracelet.

Lobster Claw Clasp

Interlocking catch with a spring mechanism and a safety lock.


A pendant that opens up, often holding tiny photographs or other sentimental keepsakes of personal significance to the wearer. Oval, heart and book shapes have always been popular.


An un-mounted, polished diamond.


Is the degree to which a diamond/gemstone/pearl reflects light.



Mabe pearls

Formed when a half-bead is cemented to the mollusc's inner shell. The mollusc covers the half bead with nacre and when the shell is cut off, the bead is exposed at the back. The bead is removed, the pearl cleaned to prevent deterioration and the remaining hole filled and then covered with a mother-of-pearl backing. Mabe pearls are only used in closed-back settings. Also referred to as a half-pearl or cultured blister pearl.

Magnetic (Fastening)

A recent innovation using powerful mini magnets.


Created from Iron sulfide, a chemical composition. Often confused with pyrite or fool's gold, a slightly denser form of iron sulfide that crystallizes in the isometric (cubic) system.

Marquise Cut

An oval-shaped stone with two pointed ends. It is also known as a navette, and may be described by some jewellers as "boat-shaped".

Moh's Scale

The Moh's scale of hardness is the most common method used to rank gemstones and minerals according to their hardness, 1 being the softest and 10 being the hardest. It was devised by German mineralogist Friedrich Moh in 1812.

Money Clips

An item used to store cash or cards. Often made from metal or leather, and worn by men as a lighter alternative to a wallet.

Mother of Pearl

The smooth and shiny coating found on the interior of an oyster shell. It is traditionally used to plate ornaments, jewellery and buttons.


The method in which a stone is secured in a jewellery piece, either by a close setting or an open setting, in contrast to the method of incrustation.




A chain worn around the neck, usually adorned with beads or a pendant. Necklaces may be short in length (a choker) or several inches long.


A hard, bright, silver-white metallic element of the iron group that is malleable, ductile, and resistant to corrosion.

Non-nucleated pearls

Typically refers to freshwater pearls whereby mantle tissue from another mollusc is inserted to stimulate pearl growth. Refers to tissue-nucleated pearls.

Nucleated pearls

A nucleus is inserted into a mollusc to speed up the pearl growth. Acting as the irritant, the nuclei is covered by nacre.




A semi-precious material with a banded, layered structure. It varies in colour but onyx stones used in jewellery are often black and white.


An iridescent, semi-precious stone that can express a range of colours in the spectrum but is usually a silver-grey.

Optical Property

A gemstone's ability to interact with light. Some optical properties are colour, dispersion and fluorescence.

Oriental pearls

Natural pearls found in the waters of the Persian Gulf. Due to pollution, production is almost non-existent nowadays.

Oval Cut

An elliptical shaped diamond or gemstone that is slightly oblong.



Padlock (Fastening)

Looking just like a traditional padlock (but without a key), this fastening clicks into place and is commonly used on gate bracelets.


A durable, light-grey metal which is related to platinum but is less shiny in appearance and often less expensive.


The natural effects of use and age on a surface. Tiny, almost imperceptible scratches eventually merge to form a new lustrous finish. A rich patina on fine sterling silver and gold enhances its beauty over time.


A style of setting in which many small gemstones are set very close together in a mass so as to cover the entire piece and to conceal the metal.


The top section of a gemstone above its widest point (the girdle).

Pear/Teardrop Cut

A style of cutting a gemstone into the shape of its name, with a point at the top, tapering out into a rounded bottom.


Organic gemstones grown naturally in oysters and some other molluscs. Cultured pearls, freshwater pearls and natural pearls are all used in jewellery. Amongst the oldest of gems, the pearl is unique as the only gem created by a living creature; it also requires no polishing to reveal its beauty.

Pearl Necklace

A chain adorned purely with beads made from pearls. A classic jewellery item for women that may be worn at a variety of different lengths.


A gemstone or other ornament that hangs from a chain and is worn as a necklace or earrings. Some pendants may be removed from a chain and replaced.


A semi-precious stone with a characteristic yellow-green colour. It is also known as "evening emerald" and has a lustrous finish.


A metal alloy composed of 90% tin. Pewter has a greyish colour but takes on a silvery appearance when polished.


A coating of precious metal over another metal base.


A strong precious metal that is white in colour and is often used in ring-making. Platinum does not oxidise or tarnish.

Platinum Plated

Items made from a base metal with a thin layer of platinum applied to the surface.


An effect where the properties of diffraction in a stone cause it to look a different colour depending on the angle you observe it from. Many stones are dichroic or trichroic.

Plique a Jour

Literally 'glimpse of day'. Transparent coloured enamel windows which allow the passage of light.


A unit of weight for a diamond or other gemstone. There are 100 points to every 1 carat.


The reduction of a rough or irregular surface to a smooth flatness or curvature.

Post And Butterfly (Earrings)

The most common form of earring fastening for pierced ears using a 'post' attached to the earring, which connects with a separate scroll shaped device (butterfly) to hold the earring in place. Also known as "French Fitting".

Precious Metals

Rare metals that occur naturally in the environment and have a high monetary value. They are often used in jewellery making and include gold, silver and platinum.

Princess Cut

A more recent adaptation of the barion is the princess cut, which often finds its way into solitaire engagement rings. Flattering to a hand with long fingers, it is often embellished with triangular gems at its sides.

Princess Cuts

A square-cut diamond equivalent to a brilliant cut. Also called a Quadrillion or Squarillion cut.

Princess Diamond

A square-shaped cut diamond, which may also be referred to as quadrillion cut. A popular alternative to round diamonds in engagement ring settings.

Prong Setting

The most popular style for engagement rings, prong settings consist of either 4 or 6 metal prongs that are formed around the stone and bent over the top to hold it in place.






Created by Henry Grossbard of the Radiant Cut Diamond Company, in 1977. Gemstones have a total of 70 facets, combining the shape of an emerald cut gem and the sparkle of a brilliant cut square or rectangular gem.


Fossilised tree sap used in making jewellery. Amber is one of the most common types of resin used in jewellery.

Rhodium Plated

Rhodium is a transition element, belonging to the platinum group of metals. Rhodium plating is silvery-white in colour and used to both harden the surface it covers, and to create a brighter, more polished look. Gemstones then show to their best effect and the claws holding the gems are firmer and less likely to damage. Rhodium plated jewellery is extremely hard wearing and tarnish resistant.

Ring Setting

Whether you're choosing a diamond solitaire or a ring with multiple diamonds, the ring setting is an integral part of the piece's design.

Ring Sizing

The process by which a finger is measured to determine what circumference or diameter of ring will fit it. Ring sizes are measured alphabetically in the UK, while in the US and Europe sizes are numerical.


A circular piece of jewellery worn on the finger by both men and women. Rings may be worn on any finger, but are commonly used to mark an engagement or marriage.

Rolled Gold

This is a traditional process invented in the 19th century in which a sheet of gold is laminated to a base metal (usually brass). The two layers of metal are heated under pressure to fuse them together. This is then rolled to make a thinner sheet, which can be used to make jewellery or other objects.

Rolo Chain

A rolo chain is made up of symmetrical links (usually round or oval) that are connected together.

Rope Chain

A rope chain consists of oval links that are linked so that they produce a woven rope arising from the resultant spiral effect.

Rose Gold

Produced by alloying gold with a mix of 90% copper and 10% silver. Can also be referred to as "pink gold".

Rough Diamond

Diamond as it is first found in the ground, before it has been cut and polished.

Rub-Over Setting

A style of setting a gemstone whereby metal is pushed over the girdle of the stone to secure it in place.


A precious stone identified by its iconic deep red colour, though some rubies may range in hue from pink to brown.



Safety Clasp

A secure type of closure on a piece of jewellery. The term safety catch is used for a variety of these closures.


Sandstone is a common type of grainy sedimentary rock that is made mostly of sand-sized grains (usually quartz) that are held together by silica, calcium carbonate, clay, or iron oxide.


A precious gemstone commonly known for its distinctive shades of blue colour but can be seen in shades of yellows, oranges and green. Belongs to the corundum family of gems and is popular in both everyday jewellery and engagement rings.

Satin Finish

Satin finish, also known as a brushed or matte finish, is a texturing technique used on jewellery metals where a series of tiny parallel lines are scratched on the surface with a wire brush.


Saturation is one of three characteristics used to describe the appearance of colour. Saturation (also known as intensity) refers to the brightness or vividness of a colour.

Screw Back

A screw back is an ear nut that screws onto a threaded earring post; usually used with diamond stud earrings.

Seed Pearl

A very small, round pearl, natural or cultured.

Semi Precious

A gemstone or gem is a piece of mineral, which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewellery or other adornments. The precious stones are diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald, with all other gemstones being semi-precious.


A semi-mount is a jewellery setting that has already been partially finished with accent gems and/or diamonds with the exception of the centre stone.


The method in which a stone or stones are secured in a piece of jewellery.

Shallow Cut

When the cut of a diamond is too shallow, light escapes through the pavilion before it can be reflected.


The part of a ring that encircles the finger, usually a plain band. See also shoulders and head.


The part of a ring connecting the band encircling the finger to the setting at the top. Often decorated or stone set to complement the main part of the ring. See also shank and head.

Signet Ring

A ring that was used as a means of identification, usually for rich or important people. The plain gold head or flat gemstone, such as onyx, cornelian or bloodstone was engraved with a symbol identifying the individual. This would usually be a coat of arms or initials. Some signet rings also had intaglio-carved seals, so that a relief impression could be made in hot sealing wax, for example to seal an envelope.


A shiny, grey-white metal commonly used in making jewellery and other precious keepsakes.

Silver Bracelet

A flexible item of jewellery made from silver links and designed to be worn around the wrist. Silver bracelets may be adorned with pendants or beads.

Silver Plated

Jewellery items made from a base metal, with a thin layer of silver applied to the surface through the process of electro-plating.

Single Cut

Invented in the late 14th century, the "old single cut" diamond has the addition of corner facets to create an octagonal girdle, an octagonal table, eight bezel or crown facets, and eight pavilion facets.

Snake Chain

Like the omega chain, the snake chain (also known as Brazilian chain) is also not made up of traditional linked rings. It is instead of made up of round wavy smooth metal plates joined so that it forms a flexible tube.

Snap-Lock Clasp

A type or closure for an earring which lifts up and down in order to secure or release the earring.


A technique used in making and repairing jewellery whereby two pieces of metal are joined by applying a molten metal which has a lower melting point than the two metals being joined.

Solitaire Engagement Ring

A ring given to mark a period of engagement with a setting of a single gemstone. Solitaire engagement rings are often set with a lone diamond.


The fire and brilliance created by light passing through a diamond.


An inaccurate term used by some people in the jewellery industry to describe the appearance of certain inclusions in a diamond.

Spread Stone

A diamond that comes with a large table and thin crown height.

Spring Ring Clasp

A spring ring clasp is a type of clasp made in the shape of a ring. A segment of the ring can be withdrawn into the ring to allow connecting the clasp to a loop.

Square Emerald Cut

A form of step cutting with a square girdle outline but modified by corner facets.

Stainless Steel

A durable steel alloy often used to create durable watch casings or bracelets.

Step Cut

A way in which diamonds are cut. Step-cut diamonds feature rows of facets positioned in a step-like fashion. Most step-cut diamonds have four sides and a rectangular shape, such as emerald or baguette diamonds.

Sterling Silver

An alloy of silver, that when used for jewellery in the UK has a fineness of 0.925 parts silver and 0.075 copper.

Stud Earrings

Stud earrings, also called studs, are a small, simple style of earring for pierced ears. Studs contain a single stone (such as a pearl, gemstone or diamond) or metal ball on a straight post.

Swarovski Crystal

Fine-cut crystal from luxury brand Swarovski. Swarovski crystals, rhinestones and other glass items are highly valued and used in both jewellery and figurines.

Swiss Cut

Halfway between a brilliant and an eight cut, with 34 facets in total.


How well the diamonds facets are aligned and "pointed". GIA defines symmetry as "the exactness of shape and placement of facets".



Tennis bracelet

A simple, flexible, in-line diamond or other stone set (e.g. cubic zirconia) bracelet. The name was coined in the 1980s when the tennis player Chris Evert-Lloyd dropped her diamond bracelet at the US Open Tournament. She had to stop the match until she found it. Tennis bracelets have also been described as looking like a row of tennis balls!

Three Stone Diamonds

A setting that contains three diamonds, which may be all of the same size or of varying sizes. It is also known as a trilogy setting.


A light, strong, lustrous metal, which is often used in the manufacture of watch cases and bracelets. Titanium is used in jewellery as an alternative for those who may be sensitive to nickel.

Toggle Clasp

A clasp used to secure the ends of bracelets, necklaces and chains. They are made with a bar that slips through a round, square or triangle shape.

Tongue Clasp

A clasp in which a V-shaped wire fits into a small tube and locks into place. On broader necklaces, the snap is square.


A hard gemstone that may be yellow, brown, blue or pink in colour. Golden-yellow topaz, also known as imperial topaz is the most valuable.


Partially transparent - translucent materials allow light to pass through them, but the light is diffused (scattered). Translucent gemstones include opal, amber and moonstone.

Trigger (Fastening)

Related to a bolt ring as it has a trigger which lifts a bar, allowing a jump ring or other loop to be inserted. It operates like a mountaineer's karabiner. This is a popular fastening for heavier chains. Also known as a karab or lobster claw clasp. A Squared lobster claw clasp is similar but with parallel side edges.


A setting of three-stones, which may be all of the same type or size, or may vary. A trilogy setting is particularly popular on diamond rings and symbolizes the past, present and future.


A hard metal often used to make men's wedding rings. Jewellery is usually made from tungsten carbide rather than metallic tungsten.


A blue-green, semi-precious stone which is usually cabochon cut rather than faceted. Turquoises are historically associated with Turkey and Persia.



Ultrasonic Cleaner

A machine that cleans jewellery by using a fluid that is vibrated at 20,000 cycles per second.


Jewellery or watches that can be worn by both men and women.


Diamond that has been removed from setting/mount.


Raw diamond before polishing.




Sterling silver covered with a layer of gold by plating. Also known as gilded silver.



Wedding Bands

Plain wedding rings that are usually rounded on the outside. Wedding bands may be unadorned, carry an inscription or have a small gemstone setting.

Wedding Jewellery

Jewellery worn to mark a marriage or engagement (especially rings). Wedding jewellery may also refer to co-ordinating pieces that are worn by a bride on her wedding day.

Wedding Rings

Rings exchanged by a couple on their wedding day. Brides may have a bridal set, in which the engagement ring and wedding ring are designed to complement one another.

White Gold

An alloy of gold with a high percentage of other white metals to make it a pale gold colour. Usually is plated with rhodium for a bright white finish.





Yellow Gold

Gold mixed with an alloy of half silver and half copper. Yellow gold is one of the most recognisable forms of gold.




A strong material with a silvery-white appearance, which resembles titanium. Zirconium dioxide in its cubic form is known as cubic zirconia and is a popular diamond substitute.