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Abalone is a mollusk whose shell is iridescent on the inside; abalone is a source of mother of pearl, which is used in jewelry making.


Alpaca is also known as German Silver or Nickel silver is an alloy metal consisting of approx 60% copper, 20% nickel, 20% zinc, and 5% tin. It’s usually used as a silver substitute.


An amulet is a pendant or charm worn in the hope of protecting the wearer from evil or illness or to bring the wearer good luck.

Art Deco

Art Deco was popular from the 1925-1939. The art deco style was characterized by angular geometric shapes, zigzags, bold colors, molded or faceted Czech glass beads, plastics such as celluloid and bakelite. This era began to use colored stones more. Jade, onyx and sometimes coral was set in geometric shapes. The art deco period began with very light designs but as the period progressed designs become bolder and more blocky.

Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau was popular from 1895 until World War I. Art Nouveau style was characterized by curves and naturalistic designs. It was especially focused on depicting long - haired, sensual women, flower styles, sensual curves, and naturalistic.

Arts and Crafts

Arts and Crafts movement that began in the late 1800s as a rebellion against the mass - produced, machine made that were common in the late Victorian era. The designers felt that their work should look handmade, so jewelry of this era will often have tiny hammer marks on it. Gold was used but silver was more common because it was used to emphasize the craftsmanship of the piece rather than the value of the metal. Cabochon stones such as mother of pearl, agate, amber were quite popular.

Aurora Borealis or AB

Aurora Borealis are faceted glass beads that have an added iridescent coating. The coating is used on beads and rhinestones and produces a multi color light reflection. The Aurora borealis means "northern lights". The iridescent surface occurs when a very thin layer of metallic atoms are deposited on the lower surface of the stone. The process was invented by the Swarovski Co & Christian Dior in 1955.

Amethyst (February birthstone)

Amethyst, according to Greek mythology, was created by the god Dionysus, master of revelry and drunkenness, as he wept over the statue of a fair maiden. Legend has it that Dionysus was in a terrible mood and vowed to have his vicious tigers attack the next mortal who crossed his path. As fate would have it, a fair maiden by the name of Amethyst was strolling in the wood. As the tigers rushed forward to attack the maiden, the chaste goddess Artemis took pity on the lady and transformed her into a figure of pure quartz.

Dionysus, mortified by his actions, wept over Amethyst, turning the crystal to the color of deep wine, creating the first amethyst. For the Greeks, this crystal would come to serve as a protection against intoxication. The word amethustos means not drunken, and the Greeks would carve goblets and vessels from the stone to prevent inebriety.

Like a beautiful wine, prized amethyst is the color of deep purple, but can be found in shades of light lavender, violet, and lilac. The stone has been used by cultures for centuries, most notably by the Greeks and people of Central and South America, who used it to carve one of the legendary crystal skulls. The skull supposedly has mystical powers, most likely due to the chemical principals of the crystal. Amethyst is a form of quartz, composed of silicon dioxide, iron, and aluminum. Like all quartz, it is piezoelectric, creating an electric charge when rubbed or heated. Although its mystic qualities may be hocus pocus, this wine colored stone is certainly enchanting.

Aquamarine (March birthstone)

Aquamarine, whose Latin meaning is sea water, reflects the most delicate tones of the most soothing sea. Gazing into the swirling depths of this stone, men caught glimpses of the future, eternal youth, and eternal happiness. Yet despite its delicate appearance, it is plenty tough, with a score of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs Scale. A variation of beryl, which is the same mineral that makes up emerald, aquamarine, or beryllium aluminum silicate, has been valued throughout the ages. It was known to the ancients as the sailor’s gem, a gift from the sea, and would protect those who set sail on the treacherous oceans. The Romans believed that an aquamarine engraved with a frog would allow the owner to make peace with his enemies. The stone reached enormous popularity in the 1300’s, not because of its remarkable beauty, but because of its rumored ability to act as an antidote to any poison. Although this tradition faded away, aquamarines still evoke images of ancient seas and eternal love.

Atomic Movement

Atomic Watches are the most accurate timekeepers in the world. Each watch synchronizes with the National Institute of Science and Technology’s atomic clock several times daily via radio signal. As a result, the watch will only lose a second once in every one million years. It adjusts automatically to time zones, leap years, and daylight savings time. Most atomic watches use quartz movements to keep time between synchronizations.

Automatic Movement

Automatic Movement watches operate using the same principal as mechanical watches. The chief difference is that one does not need to wind an automatic watch; the motion of the wearer’s arm ensures that the spring is wound. The watch contains a semicircular rotor attached to a ratcheted winding mechanism that swings back and forth as the watch moves. As a result, the watch never needs a battery. Self-winding mechanisms were invented in 1770 when days Abraham-Louis Perrelet created a movement for pocket watches. When wristwatches became popular after World War I, John Harwood created a bumper watch. This watch included a rotor that did not rotate fully, but bumped back and forth to create the necessary ratcheting motion. With the perfection of the mechanism, today’s automatic watches will run for two days with a fully wound spring. The watch may need to be occasionally reset to maintain accuracy, or one can purchase a watch winder that will keep the watch’s spring wound when not being worn.


Alexandrite has a colorful story. On April 17, 1834, Tsar Alexander II came of age and became the ruler of Russia. On that same day in an emerald mine in the Urals, a miraculous stone was discovered. The green stone was originally thought to be an emerald, until it was illuminated under incandescent light and turned a deep shade of red. The new stone was called alexandrite after the new tsar. Alexandrite became the nation stone of tsarist Russia, whose colors were red and green, and was very popular in jewelry stores in St. Petersburg and Moscow. The gem did not become popular in America until Tiffany’s master gemologist George Kunz released a collection of jewelry using the stone. Alexandrite is composed of chrysoberyl containing chromium, which gives the gem its ability to change color. With a hardness of 8.5 on the Mohs scale, it is ideal for jewelry. It is quite a rare gem and a wonderful addition to any gem lover’s collection.



Bakelite was patented in 1909 and is also called catalin. It is a synthetic material which was extensively used in jewelry during the 1930s Depression. It can be molded or carved and multi colors can be inlaid together. Moldings are smooth, retain their shape and are resistant to heat, scratches, and destructive solvents. The "retro" appeal of old Bakelite products has made them collectible.


Baguette is a stone (usually a diamond) that has been cut into a long, rectangular shape. Baguette means "stick" or "rod" in French.


Baroque is an irregular, rounded stone, glass or bead. Imitation pearls with an uneven shape are also referred to as baroque.

Base metal or Pot metal or White metal

Base metals are common metals such as iron, nickel, lead, zinc, zamak, iron, steel, aluminium, tin, tungsten and copper. It does not contain a precious metal such as gold or silver.

Bezel Setting

Bezel Setting is the method of setting a stone in which the stone is held in place by a narrow band of metal around the outer edge of the stone.


Birthstones have their roots in ancient astrology, and there have been many birthstone lists used over the years. This is one of the more common lists. January – Garnet; February – Amethyst; March – Aquamarine; April – Diamond; May – Emerald; June – Pearl; July – Ruby; August – Peridot; September – Sapphire; October – Opal; November – Citrine or Topaz; December – Turquoise, Tanzanite or Zircon.


A Victorian chain of which the links are rectangular folded pieces of metal, made in gold, gold fill, and sterling silver. Book chains often had large locket attached and they were usually elaborately engraved.


Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc which has a nice yellow color.


Britannia also known as pewter, is somewhat of a dull silver-colored alloy. It's a malleable metal alloy, traditionally 85–99% tin, with the remainder consisting of copper, antimony, bismuth and sometimes, less commonly today, lead.

Blue topaz

Blue Topaz has a chemical formulation of Al2(SiO4)F1.1(OH)0.9. Never has a stone suffered from such confusion as topaz. The name itself is a mystery. Some concede that the name came from the Indian Sanskrit tapas, meaning fire. Others believe the word is of Greek origin, coming from the name of the island Topazo where peridot was mined. Another possible origin is the Greek topazos which means shine. Whatever origin is correct, they all evoke beautiful images of this stunning gem. A silicate mineral of fluorine and aluminum, it comes in many colors, perhaps the most alluring to be blue. Blue topaz has three variants, Sky, Swiss, and London Topaz, ranging from the faintest azure to darkest navy. All forms are quite hard with a Mohs score of eight, and have been thought to possess mystical powers which could protect, heal, or enlighten the wearer.



Cabochon is a stone with a rounded surface, rather than with facets. Most often seen with opal, jade, turquoise, and faux gems.


Carat is abbreviated "ct." and spelled with a "c" is a measure of weight used for gemstones. A stone that is .15 carat can be called either 5 points, or 1/5 of a carat. The relationship of weight and size is different for each family of stones.


Cameo is a style of carving in which the design motif is left and the surrounding surface is cut away leaving the design in relief. Often made of shell, hard stone, glass, and more recently plastics.


Cast is a manufacturing process by which a liquid material is usually poured into a mold, which contains a hollow cavity of the desired shape, and then allowed to solidify. The solidified part is also known as a casting, which is ejected or broken out of the mold to complete the process.


Celluloid is derived from cellulose which is a natural plant fiber. It was first synthesized around 1870. Celluloid items for were often set with pave rhinestones. Celluloid is easily molded and shaped, and it was first widely used as an ivory replacement.

Channel Set

Channel Set is a gem setting technique in which a number of square or rectangular stones are set side by side in a grooved channel. The stones are not secured individually, so there is no metal visible between the stones. Used mostly on round or baguette.


A chatelaine is a set of implements worn at the waist which then carries various items such as needle cases, pencil, scissors, dangling from chains attached to it.

Cháton Setting

A cháton setting (also called coronet or arcade setting) is one in which the stone is held in by many metal claws around a metal ring.

Claw Setting

A claw setting is one in which a series of metal prongs (called claws) holds a stone securely in a setting. The claws grips the stone just above the girdle of the stone with no metal directly under the stone. It’s an open setting. This setting lets light in under the stone, so this type of setting is usually used for transparent, faceted stones. The modern-day claw setting became popular in the 1800's.


Cloisonné is a method of applying enamel to metal in which the design is first outlined on the metal surface using a metal wire. The space between the wires is filled with enamel and then fired to a glassy sheen.

Closed Setting

The back of the stone is not exposed, meaning the metal is not cut away behind the stone.

Cluster Setting

A cluster setting is one in which small stones or pearls are set around a larger stone.

Coin Silver

Coin Silver is a silver colored metal that is a mixture of 80% silver and 20% copper. A lot of European silver pieces are coin silver and are marked 800.


Coral comes in colors ranging from vivid reds to palest pinks. During the mid - Victorian large brooches of coral finely carved in high - relief florals or faces were very popular.

Crimp Bead

Small, soft metal beads that are squeezed shut to secure loops of threading material fasteners onto clasps.


Crystal is a solid material whose constituents, such as atoms, molecules or ions, are arranged in a highly ordered microscopic structure, forming a crystal lattice that extends in all directions. In addition, macroscopic single crystals are usually identifiable by their geometrical shape, consisting of flat faces with specific, characteristic orientations. Examples of large crystals include snowflakes, diamonds, and table salt.


Carat Total Weight is the accumulation of weight value of all stones in a setting. For example, a ring with 4 stones that are 1-carat each would be written as 4-carats total weight.

Cubic Zirconium

Also known as Cubic zirconia or CZ is a lab produced gemstone that resembles a diamond.

Citrine (November birthstone)

Citrine reflects nature’s sweetest and sunniest shades. Its tones capture every color of the sun, from the soft, pale sunrise, to a midday gleam, to a fiery sunset. The gem’s name comes from the French citron, meaning lemon, and the stone certainly captures this citrusy flavor. As sweet and lovely as honey, citrine has been prized as a healing stone which evokes joy and jubilation. This stone makes the perfect gift for the sunshine in your life.


Chrysoprase is also known as Australian Jade or the Victory Stone and is an apple green variety of chalcedony that contains nickel. According to legend, Alexander the Great wore a chrysoprase into every battle, which was the key to his incredible military conquests. The young commander, who was undefeated on the battlefield, was only overcome by death after a snake bit the stone and it was lost in a river. With a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, chrysoprase is great for jewelry. Perhaps it will lead to some conquests of your own.


Chronograph is a watch that includes a stopwatch. The stopwatch is usually operated by buttons on the side of the watch that start, stop, and reset the timer.

Ceramic watch

Ceramic watches are an advent of new technology, researchers have been able to create highly durable, scratch-resistant, remarkably light ceramics that are perfect for watches. These new ceramics are b enough to be used in bulletproof body armor. The ceramic can be formed into thin, smooth pieces that are both light and comfortable for the wearer.


Dead Stone

A foil - backed rhinestone that has lost its original shininess, usually after water has damaged the foil.

Demi Parure

A matching set of jewelry consisting of two pieces - a necklace and earrings, and/or a pin.


A Faceted, glittery glass bead; rhinestone.

Dog Collar

A wide choker necklace worn tight around the neck above the collarbone just like a dog's collar. Very popular in Edwardian times.


Doublet is a type of gem composed in two sections. It is sometimes used to imitate other, more expensive gems.


A combination of two clips on a pin back. Duette was a registered design by Coro, but is now used generically for this design.


DiamondAura® is Stauer's exclusive laboratory created substitute for a naturally mined diamond. The physical characteristics of DiamondAura®, such as a hardness of 8.5 on the Moh’s Scale, a dispersion (fire) of .066 that exceeds a diamond, and a high refractive index (brilliance) of 2.176, establishes it as true “perfection from the laboratory”. And like a mined diamond, DiamondAura® will also cut glass. It is a beautiful diamond simulation that is durable, inexpensive and visually indistinguishable from a mined diamond except by an experienced technician utilizing the proper equipment.

Technically, DiamondAura® is an oxide of the metallic element zirconium and the finished simulated diamond is approximately 87.5% zirconium oxide and 12.5% yttrium oxide. To produce DiamondAura®, our extremely modern laboratory must heat the rare mineral baddeleyite (ZrO2) to nearly 5,000 degrees F in some very expensive equipment, which causes the mineral to become isometric. A substantial number of other scientific laboratory procedures are then necessary to finally produce the gorgeous simulated diamond known as DiamondAura®. The finished product is clear in color, unlike most mined diamonds that contain impurities and inclusions.

As with any jewelry, oils from the skin and dirt need to be removed frequently. DiamondAura® can be cleaned with warm, soapy water and a soft cosmetic brush (like the type used to apply eye shadow). An ultrasonic jewelry cleaner may also be used and will not damage the stone. When using soaps or detergents, the stone should be thoroughly wiped dry to prevent a film from forming that will dull its brilliance.

• More Fire than a Mined Diamond
• Will Cut Glass
• High Refractive Index
• 8.5 Hardness on the Mohs scale

Diamond (April birthstone)

Diamonds are known as The King of Gems and needs no introduction. They are the most famous and desirable jewels. With a 10 on the Mohs scale, diamond is the hardest natural substance on earth. As the 6th century Indian text Ratnapariksa says, “the diamond scratches all and is not scratched by any.” What is most remarkable is that diamond is made of pure carbon, the same material that makes up charcoal or pencil lead. It is the crystalline structure that gives the gem its incredible strength.

Most diamonds are formed in the oldest nuclear portions of continents in rocks more than 1.5 billion years old. A diamond is by far the oldest thing that most people will ever own. Diamonds were first discovered in India, where their name in Sanskrit, vajra, meant thunderbolt. Indian royals valued the stone for its brilliance and rainbow dispersion, and believed those that carried one of the stones would lead a charmed life. Diamonds did not become widely used in Europe until the 13th century, and were reserved for the top echelon of society. King Louis IX of France passed a law that allowed only the king to wear diamonds.

The value of a diamond is based on the Four C’s: cut, color, clarity, and carat. Diamonds should be cut in such a manner that will emphasize its brilliance and fire. Although diamonds are usually thought of as completely colorless, they come in almost every color, including blue, yellow, and even black. This range of colors is due to the chemical composition of the stones.

Natural diamonds are pure carbon, but may contain impurities, such as nitrogen, which creates yellow diamonds, or boron, which creates blue gems. The most valuable diamonds are described as flawless, and have no inclusions that change their color or affect their brilliance. Carat describes the size of a diamond. One carat is equal to 200 milligrams.


Edwardian era

The Edwardian period during the reign of Edward VII of England from 1901 – 1910. The style actually began during the final years of Victoria, and continued until shortly before World War. Jewelry was characterized by delicate filigree in white gold and platinum, with diamonds and pearls predominating, and colored stones used less frequently, producing a light, monochromatic look. Delicate bows, swags, and garland effects were used in necklaces, and brooches.


Electroplated is a process in which one metal is coated with another metal using electricity. In jewelry, inexpensive metals are frequently electroplated with more expensive metals, like gold [gold plating], copper [electrocoppering], rhodium [rhodanizing], chromium [chromium plating], or silver [silver plating]. The thickness of the metal coat varies. Electrogilded coating is the thinnest [less than 0.000007 inches thick]; gold - cased metals have a coating thicker that 0.000007 inches.


Engraving is a is the practice of incising a design onto a hard, usually flat surface, by cutting grooves into it. Using a graver's tools; embellishing metal or other material with patterns using a stamping tool or drill. This was a popular technique in mid mid-Victorian jewelry. The resulting depressions were often filled with colored enamel.


Enamel is produced by fusing colored powdered glass to metal to produce a vitreous or glass - like, decorative surface. Translucent enamel with fancy engraving on the metal underneath was popular during the Victorian era.

European Cut

European Cut is the style of diamond cutting popular from approximately 1890 to the 1930s. The European cut has a round girdle made possible by the introduction of the power bruiting machine. The most advanced pre-Tolkowsky cut (old European).


A wire finding with a loop at one end. used for linking beads or beaded links together.

Emerald (May birthstone)

They say geniuses pick green, and there is no more stunning green than that of an Emerald. From Cleopatra’s jewels, to the halls of Incan palaces, emeralds have held a place in history. They represent life, joy, wisdom, and even love, for the Romans dedicated the stone to the goddess Venus. According to ancient medicine, the stone could provide clarity of thought or even reveal a lover’s fidelity. The breath-taking, yet soothing hue comes from the composition of the gem, which is a compound called beryllium alumino silicate. This formula can contain chromium or vanadium to produce the magnificent green shade. It is a relatively hard stone with a score of 7 to 8 on the Mohs Scale. Color is the most important factor for an emerald, and the stones are cut to show off the gem’s wonderful tone.



A Faceted cut has many facets or planes. Gemstones commonly have facets cut into them in order to improve their appearance by allowing them to reflect light.


Faux is a French word for "false". The adjective has been adopted into the English language to describe an imitation. When manufacturing faux objects or materials, an attempt is often made to create products which will resemble the imitated items as closely as possible. However, some products are intentionally made to look "faux", for example, faux furs made for prospective buyers who want their fur to be recognizable as imitation due to controversy over the use and manufacture of real animal furs.


Filigree is a technique used to produce fine intricate patterns in metal. Often used for metal beads, clasps, and bead caps.


All types of fasteners, and construction components used in jewelry making.

Florentine Finish

Finish has a brushed or striated appearance.


A method of coating the back of a stone with silver, gold, or colored foil. This enhances the brilliancy of the stone, by reflecting back as much light as possible to enhance their sparkle and reflective properties.

French Jet

French jet is black glass designed to imitate real jet. Jet is a precursor to coal, and is considered to be a minor gemstone. French jet was frequently carved. French jet is heavier than real jet, and can feel cold to the touch compared to real jet. The adjective "jet-black", meaning as dark a black as possible, derives from this material.

Freshwater Pearl

Freshwater Pearls were discovered by explorers that first came to the New World searching for a route to the riches of India, and troves of gold to supplement the treasures of Europe. Although the English and French never discovered the El Dorado of their dreams, they soon found that America had riches that were completely unexpected. The rivers of Ohio, Mississippi, and Tennessee were full of pearls, earning America the title of Land of the Pearls. The explorers began shipping the gems back to Europe in mass quantities satisfying the cravings of their monarchs. American freshwater pearls could be found in royal jewels across the continent.



Gemstones or gem (also called a fine gem, jewel, or a precious or semi-precious stone) is a piece of mineral crystal, which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewelry or other adornments. Gemstones include diamond, emerald chalcedony, agate, heliotrope; onyx, plasma; tourmaline, chrysolite; sapphire, ruby, synthetic ruby; spinel, spinelle; oriental topaz; turquoise, zircon, cubic zirconia; jacinth, hyacinth, carbuncle, amethyst; alexandrite, cat's eye, bloodstone, hematite, jasper, moonstone, sunstone.


Genuine is a common word when describing costume jewelry amethyst, diamond, garnet, emerald, ruby, sapphire. These words should not be interpreted to mean the precious stones with these names. The terms are used only to describe the color of the non - precious stones. If the genuine stone is meant, it is usually indicated with the word genuine in the description. This general rule also applies to words for metals, such as gold, silver, copper, and pewter. When used to describe costume jewelry, they mean gold - tone, pewter colored, etc.

German Silver

German silver is also known as nickel silver. It is an alloy consisting of approx 60% copper, 20% nickel, 20% zinc, and sometimes about 5 %. There is no silver at all in German silver.

Green Amethyst

Green Amethyst is also known as prasiolite and is a relatively rare stone. Ranging from the palest sea foam to the boldest hunter green, it reflects some of nature’s most beautiful hues. Like all amethyst, it is breathtaking and eye-catching.

Garnet (January birthstone)

In Ancient Greece, the pomegranate was a gift of love and eternity. This may not seem to be the most romantic of gifts, but this tradition inspired the Greeks to name a truly beautiful gem. The name garnet comes from the Greek granatum, meaning seed, as the stones are reminiscent of the pomegranate seeds. While the fruit has fallen out of fashion as a token of devotion, the stone has remained a popular symbol of love.

Comprised of silicate minerals, the stone is most often seen in a bold red that rivals any ruby. Light not only reflects off of the gem, but seems to come from within the stone due to its high refractive index. This attribute is most famously recorded in the Bible, when Noah uses a garnet lantern to light the ark.

Reaching the peak of its popularity during the Victorian Age, garnets are often found in antique settings reminiscent of this era. Many of these fine stones originated in Bohemia, where mines have produced some of the finest quality garnets. Bohemian settings reflect the garnet’s ancient roots, as the gems are arranged in a cluster that mimics the pomegranate. Garnets are tradition gifts for departing lovers, ensuring a safe return.


Gold is the most prized of all metals. It has been a symbol of power and divinity throughout history. The Incans believe it was the sweat of the sun and its name in Latin, aurum, means glowing dawn. Gold was one of the first metals used by man, for it was easily spotted gleaming in riverbeds or in veins of rock. Gold objects dating from 4400 BC were found in a Thracian archeological site in Bulgaria. Since that time gold has been used in everything from jewelry to currency, from architecture to even food.

The Ancient Egyptians filled their tombs with gold ornaments, and the Ancient Greeks would tell stories of incredible gold objects, such as Jason’s golden fleece. The quest for gold was one of the most important incentives for Europeans to explore the New World. During America’s Gilded Age, gold was the ultimate symbol of wealth and success.

The physical properties of gold make it a particularly unique metal. As one of the few metals found in nature in its pure or native state, it resists corrosion and is the only naturally yellow metal. It is highly reflective, an excellent conductor, and incredibly dense. Both ductile and malleable, a single ounce of gold can be drawn into a wire 50 miles long, or beaten into a sheet 96.9 square feet.

About 78% of gold yearly is used in jewelry and is categorized based on its purity or karat. A karat is 1/24 part by weight; 24 karat gold is completely pure. As gold is a very soft metal, most gold used in jewelry is less than 24 karats. The color of gold can be changed based on the metals with which it is alloyed. The addition of copper creates rose gold, while white gold contains nickel or palladium, purple gold includes aluminum, and blue gold includes indium.

Gold Filled
Abbreviated g.f. = lower in gold content than 10 KT, usually 1/20 or 1/12 KT.In this technique a sheet of gold is mechanically applied to the surface. Victorian pieces are likely to be unmarked, but later pieces are marked with the fineness of the gold layer, and the part by weight of the gold. An older unmarked gold piece may often be identified by wear through to base metal. Watch for a darker, brassy colored material on the wear spots.

Gold plate
Gold plating of silver is used in the manufacture of jewelry. Like copper, silver atoms diffuse into the gold layer, causing slow gradual fading of its color and eventually causing tarnishing of the surface. This process may take months and even years, depending on the thickness of the gold layer. A barrier metal layer is used to counter this effect. Copper, which also migrates into gold, does so more slowly than silver. The copper is usually further plated with nickel. A gold-plated silver article is usually a silver substrate with layers of copper, nickel, and gold deposited on top of it.

Gold Tone

A shiny or metallic silvertone object can be painted with transparent yellow to obtain goldtone.

Gold Washed

Gold washed describes products that have an extremely thin electroplating of gold [less than .175 microns thick]. This will wear away more quickly than gold plate, gold-filled, or gold electroplate.


Gunmetal, also known as red brass in the United States, is a type of bronze – an alloy of copper (88%), tin (10%), and zinc (2%). Originally used chiefly for making guns, gunmetal was eventually superseded by steel. Gunmetal casts and machines well and is resistant to corrosion from steam and salt water.



Hallmark is an official mark made in metal that indicates the fineness of the metal and the manufacturer's mark. For example, a hallmark of 925 indicates 925 parts of gold per 1000 weight. Other hallmarks indicate the maker of the piece and sometimes the year of manufacture.


The popularity of mining for double-terminated quartz in the Herkimer County outcroppings is what led to the name, Herkimer diamonds. are clear, lustrous, doubly terminated crystals of quartz they are not true diamonds. These brilliant stones have a hardness of 7. Herkimer is a generic name for a double-terminated quartz crystal discovered within exposed outcrops of dolostone rocks in and around Herkimer County, New York and the Mohawk River Valley. Because the first discovery sites were in the village of Middleville and in the city of Little Falls, respectively, the crystal is also known as a Middleville diamond or a Little Falls diamond.

Hearts and Arrows

Hearts and Arrows are are precision-cuts that enhance the natural brilliance of diamonds. When observed through the top, or crown, of the diamond, the viewer can see eight arrow-shaped cuts. Through the bottom, or pavilion, one can see eight heart-shaped cuts.



Inlay is a piece of material often stone or glass that is partially embedded in another A material, usually metal, is used so that the two materials make a level surface.


Intaglio is design carved down into a gemstone. Some of the most commonly found Victorian intaglios are carved in Carnelian, an orange - brown variety of quartz. Intaglio is a method of decoration in which a design is cut into the surface. Signet rings are frequently decorated with intaglio, as are seals.


Iridescence (also known as goniochromism) is the property of certain surfaces that appear to change colour as the angle of view or the angle of illumination changes. An Iridescence object displays many lustrous, changing colors caused by the reflection of light from the jewel.

Irradiated Diamonds

Irradiated Diamonds are diamonds that have been exposed to radiation. Being irradiated changes the crystal structure of the mineral by moving electrons. Irradiation techniques bombard the crystal with high - energy radiation producing a stone with very little radioactivity and a change of color. This permanently changes the diamond's color. The irradiated stones take on a greenish or an aquamarine hue. Irradiations of diamonds was first done in 1904 by Sir William Crookes.


The Vikings were master mariners. Marauding throughout Europe, they were the scourge of the Dark Ages. Yet without any modern technology like GPS, how did they find their way far out at sea? They brought sunglasses — well sort of. Using thin lenses of the gem Iolite , they were able to locate the sun and determine their direction. The Vikings were able to use iolite due to its pleochrosim. This property causes the gem to be different colors depending on the direction from which it is viewed, from rich violet, colorless, and honey yellow. Iolite gets its name from the Greek word ios, meaning violet. While a nice pair of iolite shades might break the bank, iolite jewelry is both affordable and beautiful.



Japanning is a finish in jewelry is when metal is finished with a lustrous, black lacquer. Black is common enough that japanning is often assumed to be synonymous with black japanning. The European technique uses varnishes that have a resin base, similar to shellac, applied in heat-dried layers which are then polished, to give a smooth glossy finish. It can also come in reds, greens and blues.


Jet became popular for mourning jewelry after Queen Victoria’s husband, Albert died in 1861. Produced mainly in Whitby England. It is hard, lightweight lustrous black and it is frequently cabochon cut. Jet is a type of lignite, a precursor to coal, and is considered to be a minor gemstone. Jet is not considered a true mineral, but rather a mineraloid as it has an organic origin, being derived from decaying wood under extreme pressure.

The English noun "jet" derives from the French word for the same material: jaiet. Jet is either black or dark brown, but may contain pyrite inclusions, which are of brassy color and metallic lustre. The adjective "jet-black", meaning as dark a black as possible, derives from this material.

Jump Ring

Jump rings are small wire rings, not soldered shut, used to link elements of jewelry. They are made by wrapping wire round a mandrel to make a coil and then cutting the coil with wire cutters to make individual rings.

Jewel Bearing

Watchmakers are constantly refining their craft in order to create the most accurate and efficient movements. One technique that they employ involves the use of jewel bearings. This mechanism involves the rotation of a metal spindle in a jewel-lined pivot hole. As the spindle turns, it precesses in the hole cut through the gem. These bearings, which were patented in 1704 in England by Nicolas Fatio de Duillier and Peter and Jacob Debaufre, have many advantages. They are light and highly accurate due to the temperature stability, high hardness, and low friction of the jewel. Initially, sapphire, ruby, and garnet were used in these bearings, but with the invention of synthetic stones, most jewel bearings today use synthetic sapphire. Many Stauer watches employ jewel bearings.



Karat (abbreviated Kt) is a measure of the fineness of gold. 24 karat gold is pure gold. 18 karat gold is 18/24 gold (about 75% gold). 14 karat gold is 14/24 gold (about 58% gold). 12 karat gold is exactly 50% gold. 10 karat gold is 10/24 gold (only about 43.5% gold).



Lapidary is an artist or artisan who forms stone, minerals, or gemstones into decorative items such as cabochons, engraved gems, including cameos, and faceted designs. The primary techniques employed are cutting, grinding, and polishing.


Lavalier is a pendant with a dangling stone that hangs from a necklace. A lavalier can be recognized most for its drop (that usually consist of a stone and or a chandelier type of drop) which is attached to the chain and not attached by a bail. Lavaliers were named for the infamous Duchess Louise de La Valliere a French woman who was a mistress of the French King Louis, dating 1644 – 1710.

Living Jewelry

Jewelry materials derived from living organisms: pearl, mother of pearl, coral.


Lucite is a transparent thermoplastic often used in sheet form as a lightweight or shatter-resistant alternative to glass. It became popular in the 1940s.


Luster is the way light interacts with the surface of a crystal, rock, or mineral. The word traces its origins back to the latin lux, meaning "light", and generally implies radiance, gloss, or brilliance.The luster depends on the nature of the stone's surface reflectivity.

Lab-created Gemstones

Our exclusive lab-created gemstones DiamondAura® and Scienza® have the same chemical and physical properties as their natural counterparts such as diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds. In the lab, scientists subject corundum, which makes up natural rubies and sapphires, and beryl, which makes up natural emerald, to the intense pressure and heat which creates gemstones in nature. The chief difference between natural stones and these lab created gems is that those made in the lab have far fewer inclusions or imperfections than natural jewels. As a result, they have superior color and beauty than the flawed stones made by nature. And of course, they can be yours for a far less daunting price.

Lapis lazuli

Lapis lazuli has been a treasured stone since ancient times, sacred to the Egyptian, Babylonians, Sumerians and most ancient civilizations. Lapis Lazuli's name is derived from Persian Lazhuward for "Blue" and Arabic Lazaward for "Heaven" or "Sky". It is a deep blue stone, not a mineral, that is composed of primarily lazurite. The most prized stones also include golden flecks of pyrite that enhance the sparkle of the gem. Apart from being used in jewelry, Renaissance painters ground the stone into a powder to create a valuable pigment known as ultramarine. Today, lapis lazuli is a popular gem among all jewelry collectors.


Larimar, was discovered in 1974 when two men who were walking along a beach came across a beautiful light blue stone. Thinking that it had come from the ocean, the called it a sea stone. One of the men, Miguel Méndez, named the stone after his daughter Larissa and mar, the Spanish word for sea. News of this stone quickly spread. Some believed that it was evidence of the lost civilization that sank below the ocean and called it the Atlantis Stone.

In fact, larimar, which is a form of pectolite containing cobalt, was originally discovered by Father Miguel Fuertes Loren in the early 1900’s. His find went unnoted, and sixty years passed before the world knew of its existence. Larimar, which is one of the rarest stones on Earth, is only mined in the Barahina province of the Dominican Republic. It is prized for its rich sea blue color and is often paired with silver to make necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.


Mabe Pearl

Mabe pearls are large, hemispherical cultured pearls that grow attached to the inside shells of oysters and has one flattened side. Mabe pearls are used in earrings, pins, and rings.


Marquise is an oval stone which is pointed at both ends, a stone cut in an oval shape, pointed at both ends, with rounded sides.

Matinee Length

Matinee Length is a single strand that is from 22 to 23 inches (56 to 58 cm) long. There is a special vocabulary used to describe the length of pearl necklaces. While most other necklaces are simply referred to by their physical measurement, pearl necklaces are named by how low they hang when worn around the neck.


A melée is a small diamond, under .20 carat. Majority of the diamonds mined, cut and produced in the world are melée.

Memory Wire

Memory Wire is a shape-memory alloy is an alloy that "remembers" its original shape and that when deformed returns to its pre-deformed shape when heated.

Mexican Diamond

Mexican diamond is a misleading term for rock crystal,(quartz) and not a diamond at all.


Micromosai are pictures or decorations that are made out of extremely small pieces of stone, glass or other materials.


Millefiori means "thousand flowers" in Italian. It's a glasswork technique which produces distinctive decorative patterns on glassware.

Mine Cut

Mine Cut is a style of diamond cutting popular before 1890 or so, it features a cushion shaped outline, rather than the round outline of the modern cut.


Millimeters is a unit of length in the metric system, equal to one thousandth of a metre, which is the SI base unit of length.

Molded Cameo

Cameos that are made by the molding process and not by carving the material, usually made from plastic, glass, or porcelain that is formed in a mold. Often, two colors of material are used, one for the relief pattern and another for the background.

Montana Ruby

Is actually a pyrope garnet and not a ruby at all.

MOP the abbreviation for Mother of Pearl

Mother of Pearl is an organic-inorganic composite material produced by some molluscs as an inner shell layer; it is also what makes up the outer coating of pearls. It is strong, resilient, and iridescent.

Mourning Jewelry

Death came early and often in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Disease, childbirth, and the harsh environment all contributed to the high mortality rate. As a result, the specter of death was a persistent presence that permeated the lives of New Englanders. One way in which they coped with these constant losses was to memorialize their lost loved ones by wearing mourning jewelry.

Mourning Jewelry is often black, subdued jewelry that featured symmetrical, geometric shapes influenced by classical architecture, symbols such as funerary urns and plinths, and weeping women dressed in ancient Roman-style costume. Often these pieces incorporated the hair of the deceased into their designs.

Mystic Fire

Mystic Fire is also called mystic topaz or rainbow topaz which is topaz that has been color enhanced by coating it with a fine layer of metal atoms giving it the desired rainbow effect.

Murano Glass

Ask anyone where the finest glass in the world is made, and they will tell you Venice. Ask any Venetian where the finest glass in the world is made, and they will tell you Murano. Fearing that the fires from the glassmaking workshops would sweep through the wooden city and reduce it to rubble, the leaders of Venice required that all of the glass studios move to the nearby island of Murano.

Not only was the city now more safe from fire, but Venetian officials could better control the valuable industry with all the artisans on a single island. In such close quarters, the glassmakers became increasingly competitive, honing their skills and perfecting their art. As the years went by, new techniques emerged for better capturing the beauty of the glass.

Using styles such as avventuria, where metallic flecks are added to the glass, millefiori which gives the effect of a “thousand flowers” housed in the glass, and sommerso, a technique where many layers are dipped in molten glass, the Murano glassmakers became the most famous in the world.

The industry began to suffer as artisans, who were forbidden to leave the city, left Venice to found studios throughout Europe. However, glassmaking in Murano made a come back as prominent Italians went to great lengths to preserve the valuable tradition. Used in jewelry, sculpture, and even chandeliers and found in ever color, shape, and style imaginable, Murano glass rivals the finest gemstones in beauty.

Mechanical or Manual Movement

In 1524, Peter Henlein created the first spring-powered pocket watch. For the next 400 years, almost all watches operated on the same principal. Mechanical or Manual Movement watches store energy in a wound mainspring. A gear train transfers this energy to a balance wheel that oscillates at a constant rate, creating a ticking sound. The gear train also adds up the swings of the wheel to determine the units of time. An escapement keeps the balance wheel vibrating and allows the gears to move a set amount each swing of the wheel. The face or dial of the watch allows the time to be read by the wearer. With a single winding, a mechanical watch can run anywhere from 40 hours to 10 days, depending on the age and complexity of the movement.

Moon Phase Dial

Moon Phase Dial is a very common feature on many watches. Moon phase dial shows the phases of the moon with a moon face on a rotating disk.



Modified brilliants include the marquise or navette (French for "little boat", because it resembles the hull of a sailboat.)

Nickel silver

Nickel silver has a usual formulation of 60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc. Nickel silver is named for its silvery appearance, but it contains no elemental silver unless plated.


Oiling or Waxing

Oiling/Waxing gemstones containing natural fissures are sometimes filled with wax or oil to disguise them. This wax or oil is also colored to make the emerald appear of better color as well as clarity. Emerald and Turquoise are commonly treated in a similar manner.

Opal (October birthstone)

Opal has a unique history. Louis Leakey, the famed anthropologist who discovered the Australopithecus, Lucy, came across an interesting find in a cave in Kenya in 1939. Among the remains of a prehistoric dwelling, he found opal ornaments that dated to 4000 B.C. This gem has fascinated people for over 6000 years. Its name comes from the Greek opallios, or “color change,” and the Sanskrit upala, or precious stone.

The Romans considered it a queen of gems. Pliny the Elder praised it as possessing the best attributes of all the world’s gems, and Mark Antony once banished a senator for not selling him one of the beautiful stones. In the Middle Ages, opals were believed to promote good eyesight and help prevent blonde hair from losing its color.

Opals have been given as royal gifts throughout the ages. Napoleon gave his Empress Josephine an opal which he called the “Burning of Troy.” Queen Victoria loved to give opals as gifts to new brides, despite the superstition of the age that opals were bad luck. This belief came from the novel Anne of Geuerstein by Sir Walter Scott. In the book, Lady Hermoine is killed when a drop of holy water lands on her opal. Scott’s novel hurt the opal industry for some time.

In 1877, a major find in Australia popularized opal once again and introduced new shades of the lovely gem. The opal’s ability to reflect every color of the rainbow comes from its structure, which is composed of many small spheres of silica gel. Opals range in shades from dark black to brilliant white.

Opal Triplet

Opal Triplet consists of a relatively thin layer of precious opal, backed by a layer of dark-colored material, most commonly ironstone, dark or black common opal (potch), onyx, or obsidian. The third layer has a domed cap of clear quartz or plastic on the top.


An opaque substance transmits no light, and therefore reflects, scatters, or absorbs all of it. Both mirrors and carbon black are opaque.



Parure is a jewelry set consisting of three or more matching pieces. Three of either earrings, bracelet, and necklace, or pin/brooch. In Victorian times, a complete parure consisted of two matching bracelets, necklace, earrings and a brooch.


A term for imitation gemstones. Fine jewelry was often imitated in finely made copies to protect the wearer from theft, and these were referred to as paste. Paste is glass that is cut and faceted to imitate gemstones.


Patina is the change to the jewelry surface resulting from natural aging. It often appears as a dull, gray or black film or coating over metal. Tarnish is a surface phenomenon that is self-limiting, unlike rust. Only the top few layers of the metal react, and the layer of tarnish seals and protects the underlying layers from reacting.


Pavé is a group of very tightly set stones, as in a pavement; a gem setting technique in which the stones are set low and very closely spaced, so that the surface appears to be paved with gemstones.

Pearl (June birthstone)

Pearls are very unique and known as the Queen of Gems. Pearls were probably first discovered in the Persian Gulf and came to be some of the most valuable objects in history. Ranging in color from white to black, lavender to gold, they have been prized for centuries by men and women alike, from Elizabeth I to Elizabeth Taylor.

As some of the world’s rarest objects, pearls form in only one of every ten thousand to several million mollusks capable of forming the gem. Various shapes also occur in nature and are identified by their structure. Names include button, seed, round, rice, and drop pearls. Any mollusk can form a pearl, but most prized pearls come from certain species of saltwater oysters and freshwater clams.

Once a particle enters an oyster, the animal begins to create the pearl. The oyster coats the irritant with aragonite and conchiolin, which are collectively called nacre. This nacre creates the lustrous sheen and ethereal glow that is the trademark of the lovely gem.

Many cultures considered pearls to be pieces of the divine. Both the Hindu and Muslim religions value pearls as sacred object which symbolize purity natural perfection. According to Chinese legend, pearls were created and protected by dragons, and the Taoist lead Lao Tzu kept an enormous pearl in his home to give his family luck and good fortune. Peoples of the Mediterranean believed that pearls were created when rainbows met the earth.

The Romans were perhaps the most pearl crazed, using the gems for anything from jewelry to upholstery. The crazed Emperor Caligula was rumored to have given his horse a necklace of pearls after he mad the animal Consul of Rome. In the story of Antony and Cleopatra, the Egyptian queen believed that if she threw the most sumptuous party in history, she could convince the Romans that her country was far too wealthy to invade. As the Romans sat down to eat, Cleopatra promptly crushed a pearl on her empty plate and ate the gem. Antony was satisfied and did not attack Egypt.

Freshwater Pearl

Explorers first came to the New World searching for a route to the riches of India, and troves of gold to supplement the treasures of Europe. Although the English and French never discovered the El Dorado of their dreams, they soon found that America had riches that were completely unexpected. Enter the Freshwater Pearl.

The rivers of Ohio, Mississippi, and Tennessee were full of pearls, earning America the title of Land of the Pearls. The explorers began shipping the gems back to Europe in mass quantities satisfying the cravings of their monarchs. American freshwater pearls could be found in royal jewels across the continent.

Today, China is the current leader in freshwater pearl production, although many pearls still come from the US. Freshwater pearls are just as valued as their saltwater cousins, consisting of the same organic material often possessing interesting shapes and varied colors.

South Sea Pearl

Among some of the world’s largest pearls, South Sea Pearls can be found in the waters between northern Australia and southern China. In the clean, clear waters of this area lives the large Pinctada maxima, one of the largest oysters on earth. The size of the animal and the purity of its natural environment allow it to create some of the most beautiful and largest pearls known to man. Usually found in white, silver, and golden tones, this satiny gem is very rare and extremely valuable.


Abbreviation for cultured freshwater pearls.

Cultured Pearl vs. Natural Pearls
Culture pearls are identical to natural pearls in physical composition and appearance. The only difference between the two types is that a natural pearl forms when a particle enters the mollusk by chance, and a cultured pearl forms when the particle is placed in the shell by man. Cultured pearls are not imitation pearls because they are made of nacre. One can distinguish a true pearl from an imitation by rubbing the object against one’s teeth. Pearls feel gritty, whereas imitations will be smooth.

Due to the rarity and price of natural pearls, the majority of pearls on the market these days are cultured. The modern process of culturing was created by three Japanese men in the early 1900’s. Tokichi Nishikawa and Tatsuhei Mise simultaneously discovered the method of inserting a particle into the shell, but it was Kokichi Mikimoto who truly founded the industry by focusing on creating truly round pearls. The industry has spread to many nations, including China and Australia and now includes freshwater as well as saltwater pearls.

Mother-of-pearl and Abalone

The silky iridescence of pearls is attributed to the layers of nacre on the surface of the gem. This nacre comes from the interior of the mollusk shell. This material, also known as mother-of-pearl, is often used in jewelry. In fact, Japanese divers would often discard pearls in favor of the beautiful interior coating of the shells they collected. Polynesian children would use pearls as marbles while their parents adorned themselves with the shells.

Today, mother-of-pearl has a wide variety of uses as it can be found in all sorts of shapes, designs, and coatings. Abalone, which is composed of the same material as mother-of-pearl, comes from a particular sea snail known as an abalone.

Peridot (August birthstone)

Peridot (also known as the "evening emerald" and chrysolite) is a yellow-green semi-precious stone with an oily luster; peridot is a transparent, green form of olivine. Peridot exhibits double refraction; when you look through the stone, things appear double. For example, when looking into a faceted peridot gemstone, the number of bottom facets appears to be double the actual number of facets.

Robert Frost once wrote, “Nature’s first green is gold, her hardest hue to hold.” Frost believed “nothing gold can stay,” but the wonderful shade of Peridot is everlasting. Although the stone’s name comes from the word peritot, meaning gold, the gem is a beautiful, sparkling green. Peridot has been valued for centuries. From Cleopatra, who adorned her exquisite jewelry with the stone, to adventurous pirates, who believed the gem could protect their golden hordes.

The stone was originally mined on the island of Topazo in the Red Sea and transported to Egypt, were it was considered the “gem of the sun.” The soothing color arises from the metal within the magnesium iron silicate which makes up the gem. It is often found in volcanic areas, having exploded out of the earth with magma and lava. Peridot can also be found in large quantities in meteorites which hit the earth, making them the little green jewels from outer space.


Pewter items are described and marked as such if they contain at least 90% tin. Also, a somewhat dull silver - colored alloy of tin, antimony, and copper.


Plique-a-jour (French for "letting in daylight") is a vitreous enamelling technique where the enamel is applied in cells, similar to cloisonné, but with no backing in the final product, so light can shine through the transparent or translucent enamel. It is in effect a miniature version of stained-glass and is considered very challenging technically: high time consumption (up to 4 months per item), with a high failure rate.

Pot metal

Pot metal — also known as monkey metal, white metal, or die-cast zinc — is a colloquial term that refers to alloys of low-melting point metals that manufacturers use to make fast, inexpensive castings. The term "pot metal" came about due to the practice at automobile factories in the early 20th century of gathering up non-ferrous metal scraps from the manufacturing processes and melting them in one pot to form into cast products. A small amount of iron usually made it into the castings, but too much iron raised the melting point, so it was minimized.

Princess Length

Princess Length measures 17 to 19 inches or 43 to 48 cm in length, comes down to or just below the collarbone.

Pronged Set

Prong setting is the simplest and most common type of setting, largely because it uses the least amount of metal to hold the stone, thus showing it off to its best advantage. Generally it is simply some number of wires, called prongs, which are of a certain size and shape, arranged in a shape and size to hold the given stone, and fixed at the base.


Platinum is a chemical element with symbol Pt and atomic number 78. It is a dense, malleable, ductile, highly unreactive, precious, gray-white transition metal. Its name is derived from the Spanish term platina, which is literally translated into "little silver".

Power Reserve Indicator

A Power Reserve Indicator is a complication of the watch, which is designed to show the amount of remaining stored energy. The power reserve indicator indicates the tension on the mainspring at any particular moment.


Quartz Movement

Quartz Movement are generally more accurate and less expensive than mechanical movements. As a piezoelectric material, quartz, or silicon dioxide, conducts a constant voltage or pulse when compressed. Quartz movement watches use this property to accurately keep time. A battery transmits energy to the quartz, which then creates a highly accurate, steady pulse. The pulse passes through a stepping motor that converts the electrical energy of the battery to mechanical energy that drives the watch mechanism. The first quartz clock was invented in 1927 at Bell Telephone Laboratories, and quartz watches gained popularity in the 1970’s.


Reconstituted Stone

Reconstituted Stones are made by using small chips, powder and ground up low grade stones, binding or fusing them with a plastic resin (epoxy) and compressing them into blocks. The blocks are then cut into beads, cabochons, and slabs. In some cases, the reconstituted stone is actually made from "real" turquoise, amber, lapis or similar stone, but often the reconstituted stones are lower grade rocks, like howlite, that have been dyed and compressed to look like the real gemstone.

Regards Ring

Regards Rings were populorized by the Victorians who loved romantic symbols such as rings or brooches set with Ruby, Emerald, Garnet, Amethyst, Ruby, Diamond, Sapphire so that the first letter of each gemstone spelled out R.E.G.A.R.D.S.


Rhodium is one of the rarest and most valuable precious metals. It is a noble metal, resistant to corrosion, found in platinum or nickel ores together with the other members of the platinum group metals. It was discovered in 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston in one such ore, and named for the rose color of one of its chlorine compounds, produced after it reacted with the powerful acid mixture aqua regia.


Rhodium-finish a thin plating of rhodium applied over white gold, silver or copper and its alloys to give a bright, shiny, long lasting metallic pinkish color.


The word "retro" derives from the Latin prefix retro, meaning "backwards, or in past times". The term retro has been in use since the 1970s to describe style that is consciously derivative or imitative of trends, fashions, or attitudes of the recent past, typically 15–20 years old.

Rock Crystal

Rock Crystal is a transparent, crystalline mineral. Rock crystal is the purest form of quartz and it's a semi-precious stone.

Rococo or "Late Baroque"

Rococo is an 18th-century artistic movement and style, affecting many aspects of the arts including painting, sculpture, architecture, interior design, decoration, literature, music, and theatre. It developed in the early 18th century in Paris, France as a reaction against the grandeur, symmetry, and strict regulations of the Baroque, especially of the Palace of Versailles.[1] Rococo artists and architects used a more jocular, florid, and graceful approach to the Baroque. Their style was ornate and used light colours, asymmetrical designs, curves, and gold. Unlike the political Baroque, the Rococo had playful and witty themes.

The word is seen as a combination of the French rocaille (stone) and coquilles (shell), due to reliance on these objects as decorative motifs. It’s a derivative of "rocaille" (a popular form of garden or interior ornamentation using shells and pebbles) and may describe the refined and fanciful style that became fashionable in parts of Europe in the 18th century.

Rolled Gold or Gold-filled jewelry

Rolled Gold is composed of a solid layer of gold, which must constitute at least 5% of the item's total weight, mechanically bonded to sterling silver or a base metal. The related terms "rolled gold plate" and "gold overlay" may be used if the layer of gold constitutes less than 5% of the item's weight. The two layers of metal are heated under pressure to fuse them together. The sheet is them rolled into a very thin sheet and then used to make jewelry.

Rope Necklace

A rope necklace is any necklace longer than 35” long.

Russian Gold

Russian Gold is put through an antiquing process to give it an aged appearance. The end result is a piece with great dimension and character. No one knows for sure where the name "Russian gold" came from, but it's possible that the finish is named for its resemblance to rose gold that has a distinctive, antique pinkish hue. This type of gold was very popular with Russian royalty in the early twentieth century.

Ruby (July birthstone)

Ruby is a pink to blood-red colored gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum (aluminium oxide). The red color is caused mainly by the presence of the element chromium. Its name comes from ruber, Latin for red. Ruby is considered one of the four precious stones, together with sapphire, emerald and diamond. It's the traditional birthstone for July and is always lighter red or pink than garnet. The world's most expensive ruby is the Sunrise Ruby.


Sapphire (September birthstone)

Sapphire is one of the three gem-varieties of corundum, the other two being Ruby (defined as corundum in a shade of red) and Padparadscha (a pinkish orange variety). Although blue is their most well-known Sapphire color, sapphires may also be colorless and they are found in many colors including shades of gray and black. The cost of natural sapphires varies depending on their color, clarity, size, cut, and overall quality – as well as their geographic origin.

Satin Finish

A finish between a matte finish and a brilliant one. Satin finished rings are smooth to the touch like polished finish rings. This type of finish is best for those who like the smoothness of a polished finish ring, but do not want the shininess of that finish.


A very long chain or beaded necklace, often terminating in tassels dangling from each end or sometimes a single, detachable pendant that was originally developed around the turn of the 19th century. It was inspired by military braids or chains and it's frequently looped around the neck and worn scarf-like over one shoulder or down the back. Sautoir experienced a revival in the early 1900s, and continued in popularity through the 1920s with "flapper" styled necklaces.

Scatter Pins

A woman's small decorative brooch often worn in groups of two or three.

Seed Pearl

Seed Pearl are tiny pearls (under 2mm) that occur commonly in all types of mollusks used for pearl cultivation, both ocean and freshwater.


The part of a ring that encircles the finger.


When a manufacturer's or designer's name or identifying mark is etched, carved, or stamped into the jewelry.

Signet Ring

Signet Rings are used as a means of identification for relatively important people as it was engraved with a symbol identifying a particular person or organization.

Silver Tone

Silver Tone or silver plated or coated, is not sterling silver. Silver-plated is either pure but usually sterling silver plated over a base metal.

Slide Bracelet

The Slide Bracelet was a fashion accessory formerly worn by many women in 19th century England. Before the creation of the wrist watch, Victorian women wore their time piece on a neck chain that stayed in place with a decorative station that supported the watch (just under it). With a variety of these "stations" to wear with different outfits, they needed some use for all that jewelry after the wrist watch came into fashion. The various pieces were lined up on a 6 or 7 inch double chain with little gold balls for spacing them called slide bracelets.

Snake Chain

Snake chain, also called a Brazilian chain, is a very tight-linked chain that has a round or square cross-section and has links that create a slight zigzag look.

Souvenir Jewelry

Souvenir Jewelry (from French, for a remembrance or memory), is made for tourists as a remembrance of their trip.

Split Ring

Split Ring, also known as a cotter ring or circle cotter, is shaped like a circle, hence the name. The open end of the wire is in the middle of the cotter so when it is installed the inner tab is first installed in the hole.

Star Setting

A setting in which a gem is set within an engraved star; the gem is secured by a small grain of metal soldered to the base of each ray of the star. Popular in the 1890s.


Striations are grooves, lines and scratches found naturally in some minerals. Generated from fault movements, glaciation or growth patterns.

Sterling Silver

Sterling Silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% by mass of silver and 7.5% by mass of other metals, usually copper. The sterling silver standard has a minimum millesimal fineness of 925.

South Sea Pearls

South Sea Pearls are among some of the world’s largest pearls. They can be found in the clean, clear waters between northern Australia and southern China. This area is where the large Pinctada maxima, one of the largest oysters on earth lives. The size of the animal and the purity of its natural environment allow it to create some of the most beautiful and largest pearls known to man. Usually found in white, silver, and golden tones, this satiny gem is very rare and extremely valuable.


Spinel is a very hard (a hardness of 8), semi-precious stone composed of octahedral crystals. Spinel ranges in color from red to black to yellow, frequently resembling rubies. Iron and chrome are components of spinel, giving it its color. Spinel belongs to the feldspar species and is found in in Burma, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Some varieties include: Balas ruby (red spinel), Almandine spinel (purple-red), Rubicelle (orange), Sapphire spinel (blue), Ghanospinel (blue), Chlorspinel (green). Spinel is also laboratory synthesized.


Silver is one of the most desirable metals and has been prized since ancient times. We have used silver for decoration, currency, and even medicine. Silver compounds have a toxic effect on some bacteria. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, noted these healing effects and encouraged his patients to use silver. Wealthy Romans often fed their babies with silver utensils, hence the expression, “born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth.” As an incredibly shiny and reflective metal, silver is ideal for jewelry. The Romans called it argentum, or white shining, for it is the whitest of natural metals. It is both highly ductile and malleable, and harder than gold, although much more prevalent. Sterling silver, which is often used in jewelry, is composed of 7.5% copper and 92.5 % silver.

Synthetic Stone

Synthetic Stones are made in laboratories; these stones generally lack imperfections. It is very difficult to distinguish a synthetic stone from a natural stone.



Taxco is a town in the State of Guerrero in Mexico, that is famous for its silver jewelry production. Early Taxco jewelry is highly collectable. Pieces dating 1979 or later are distinguished by a registration mark of two letters followed by a series of numbers

Tiffany Setting or Tiffany Mount

Tiffany setting is a ring with a high, six-pronged solitaire diamond on a simple circular band. This design was introduced by Tiffany & Co. in 1886. This setting is inexpensive and easy to re-use, so most jewelers will accept returns of this setting and re-set the diamond in a different ring more to the bride-to-be's liking. The Tiffany mount can also show off the diamond and may maximize its radiance.


Torsade necklaces are made of many strands that are twisted together.


Tortoiseshell was a popular material for 19th century jewelry. The semitransparent mottled yellow and brown shell of certain turtles, typically used to make jewelry or ornaments. In 1973, the trade of tortoiseshell worldwide was banned under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). Today however, there are very close imitations of tortoise shell made from stained horn, plastic and other materials.


Translucent materials allow light to pass through them, but the light is diffused (scattered). Some translucent stones include moonstones, opals, and carnelian.


Transparent materials allow light to pass through them without scattering the light. Some translucent stones include diamond, zircon, emerald, rock crystal, and ruby.


A piece of jewelry that has a part or parts set on a spring. The spring set parts move as the wearer of the jewelry moves.


Triplet is a manufactured stone that is made by sandwiching three thin layers of stones together. For example, an opal triplet has a top, protective layer of clear quartz, a thin middle layer of opal, and backed by a layer of dark-colored material, most commonly ironstone, dark or black common opal (potch), onyx, or obsidian.

Tanzanite- (December birthstone)

Tanzanite was discovered in 1967 by Massai tribesmen on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. Little did they know, they had stumbled upon a beautiful gemstone which is a thousand times rarer than diamond. According to African legend, in a violent storm in the foothills around Kilimanjaro, a bolt of lightning struck the earth, setting the ground ablaze, and forming this breathtaking stone which resembles lightning in both its blue-violet color and incredible intensity. The truth behind tanzanite’s formation is equally amazing. According to geologists, the combination of zoisite and vanadium in the earth almost 600 million years ago led to the creation of this “geological phenomenon.” It is only found in this secluded region of Africa and deposits are depleting. Within the next few years, the stone will be gone. Like a bolt of lightning, tanzanite jewelry hit the market but will soon vanish.

Turquoise- (December birthstone)

Turquoise was considered lucky by nearly every culture that has encountered it. It was first used around 5500 BCE in Egypt, adorning the palaces of kings and the tombs of pharaohs. Tibetans once carried the stones with them everywhere to protect them and give them good fortune. The Aztecs and American Indians associated the stones with their gods and used them for jewelry and artwork. Turquoise did not become popular in Europe until the Renaissance, but mentions of the stone have been found in the works of influential Europeans, from Aristotle and Pliny to Marco Polo. The stone did not gain its modern name until it reached Europe, where it was bestowed with the French word for Turkish due to its eastern origins. These stones most likely originated in Persia, whose mines are famous for some of the world’s most beautiful turquoise. Stones vary in color from sky blue to yellowish, with the bold blue green hues being the most valued and recognizable. Chemically, turquoise is composed of hydrated copper and aluminum phosphate. Many stones also contain a “spider web” effect of black which is typical of American stones. But no matter where the stone comes from, this lucky gem is the perfect gift for a lucky lady.


Tourbillon was developed out of necessity for a more accurate watch. In the 18th century, gentlemen carried pocket watches with them in order to tell time. However, it was generally accepted that these watches were less accurate than their stationary counterparts. Many believed that gravity was the culprit. As the theory went, pocket watches were designed with their movements placed perpendicular to the face. When placed in one’s pocket, the movement was oriented parallel to the ground, and gravity forced the parts downward, causing inaccuracy. In 1795, a French watchmaker named Abraham-Louis Breguet came up with a solution to counteract this problem. His new Tourbillon, or “whirlwind,” movement rotated the entire escapement so as to average out the effect of gravity on all parts of the movement. Different tourbillon movements turned at different rate, but they were eventually standardized at one rotation per minute. It is unclear whether the 18th century theory was correct, but tourbillons have persisted and become an integral part of any watch aficionado’s collection.


Tourmaline is a stone of many colors. In fact, its name comes from the Sinhalese word turamali meaning multicolored stone. A legend says that, as the stone ascended to earth, it passed through a rainbow that formed its vibrant hues. It is rare to find a crystal of single color. Tourmaline, which is composed of aluminum boron silicate, is found in colors ranging from deep red to shining yellow. Perhaps its most whimsical shade is the watermelon tourmaline, which is colored light green and pink. Apart from being beautiful, tourmaline has a unique scientific property. When heated and cooled, the gem becomes electrified. The Dutch, who first brought this gem to Europe from Sri Lanka, used this property to electrically draw ash out of their household pipes. Hence tourmaline’s Dutch nickname, aschentrekker.



First discovered in the United States in the Unakas mountains of North Carolina from which it gets its name. Unakite is an altered granite composed of pink orthoclase feldspar, green epidote, and generally colorless quartz. It exists in various shades of green and pink and is usually mottled in appearance. A good quality unakite is considered a semiprecious stone. It is often used in jewelry as beads or cabochons and other lapidary work.



Vermeil is gold-plated silver. Less occasionally, gold-plated bronze is referred to as vermeil.

Victorian Era

Victorian is the designation given to the period from approximately 1837 when Victoria became Queen of England until 1901 when she died. This long period is divided into early (approx. 1840 - 1860), mid [approx. 1860 -1880] and late [approx. 1880 – 1900] since it covers a number of distinctive design trends.



Welding is a process that joins two pieces of metal using very high heat. Rolled gold is formed in this fashion.

White Gold

White Gold is gold that has been alloyed with a mix of nickel, zinc, copper, tin, and manganese (and sometimes palladium). White gold was originally developed to imitate platinum during World War II (during this time in the US, platinum was considered a strategic material and its use was prohibited for most non-military applications, like jewelry making). White gold jewelry is sometimes plated with rhodium.



Xenolith (also called an inclusion) is a fragment of foreign rock that is embedded inside an igneous rock.


Yellow Gold

Yellow Gold is gold that has been alloyed with a mix of 50% copper and 50% silver.


Zircon (December birthstone)

Zircon is a lustrous gemstone that comes in colors ranging from golden brown to red to violet to blue. Pure zircon is colorless, but most zircon stones are brown. Zircon stones can be heat-treated to become blue or colorless; sometimes, heat-treated stones revert to their original color. This stone embodies a strong healing energy and has an effective spiritual grounding vibration. They are known as a 'stone of virtue' as they help to balance the virtuous aspects within you.

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