Glossary of Jewelry and Gemstone Terms

Here are some terms to help you as you learn more about gemstones and jewelry.


Agate: A variety of chalcedony quartz with variegated color, opaque to semi-translucent. Most often used in ornamental carvings and less expensive jewelery. May be quite valuable when used for cameos if the workmanship is very fine or theme is historically relevant.

Aigrette: A jeweled hair ornament usually in a spray-like pattern to simulate feathers. Aigrettes were in and out of popularity from the 17th to the 20th century.

Alexandrite: A variety of chrysoberyl, extremely rare in finer qualities, with gems of Russian origin commanding the highest premium. Ideal color change is a red hue under incandescent light and green in daylight. Brazil and Sri Lanka are also sources.

Almandite/Almandine: A common species of the garnet family, usually seen with an orangey brown color, and always inexpensive.

Amber: Fossilized tree resin from an extinct variety of pine tree. It is very light in weight, warm to the touch, brittle and electrified when rubbed. Color ranges from pale yellow to brownish orange to red hues, with the reds being the most valuable. Captured insects increase the value. Very popular in the late Victorian era to the 1920s.

Amethyst: A variety of quartz that is transparent purple, ranging from pale to vivid. Sourced mostly in Brazil, Uruguay and Mexico, although it occurs in many other areas. Believed by early peoples to prevent intoxication. Durable, affordable and enjoys popularity in all jewelery eras to the present.

Antique: An article of jewelery that is at least 100 years old.

Appraisal: A written report, performed by an expert not associated with the sale of an item, describing the item (s) and valuing it for the purpose requested.

Aquamarine: The light blue and sometime greenish blue variety of beryl, with vivid sky blue hues being the most valuable. It is not unusual in larger sizes and enjoyed a great deal of popularity during the Retro era (1940 to 1950). Frequently seen in estate jewelery showcases.

Arabesque: A form of decoration with intricately laced motifs, popular as Moorish decoration. Moorish motifs are often seen in jewelery designs from 1840 to 1850 when France was at war with Algiers.

Art Nouveau: Predominantly 1890 to 1910. France, Spain, England and the US are noted countries of origin. The end of the 19th century was a time of great change as the reserved Victorian era gave way to a bold new lifestyle that was reflected in jewelery design. Featuring “whiplash” lines, highly stylized floral motifs, beautiful women and fantasy creations inspired by nature, Art Nouveau jewelery is the most sought-after by collectors and is the least often seen.

Art Deco: Predominantly 1910 to 1930 in all industrialized nations. Drama, glamour and decadence aptly describe Art Deco, the era that emerged after World War I. A time when movie stars wore jewelery to personify their celebrity, this was the heyday of heiress and Hollywood glamor. Pieces used sharp lines and striking color combinations with platinum starring as the precious metal of choice with the extravagant use of diamonds and gems through bold, geometric designs.

Assembled Stone: Layers of stone or synthetic material “sandwiched” together to imitate a gemstone. Garnet and glass doublets are assembled stones and frequently seen in antique jewelery.

Asterism: An optical effect sometimes seen in phenomenal gemstones like star sapphires. A six-ray star should be visible over the dome of a cabochon-cut gemstone when minute needle-inclusions are arranged just so. The star is visible under a spotlight. All six rays must be strong and well oriented over the top of the gem to be classed as fine quality.

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Baguette: A diamond cutting style that may be rectangular or tapered, usually seen as accent or shoulder stones. Susceptible to chipping on corners. First seen in jewelery in the early 1920s.

Bangle: A non-flexible bracelet that may be hinged or continuous. Cuff bangle bracelets are open at the wrist underside or shaped like a long tapered sleeve cuff.

Baroque: A natural freeform shape. Some cultured pearls and gold nuggets are baroque shapes.

Belcher link: Simple round link common in Georgian and Victorian chains.

Beryl: A species of gemstone of which emerald, aquamarine, morganite (light pink) and heliodor (light yellow or golden) are varieties.

Black Opal: A variety of precious opal with a black or semi-black body color and spectral colors caused by the break-up of white light. The most famous source, although it is now somewhat depleted, is Lightning Ridge, Australia.

Blister Pearl: An assembled cultured pearl that forms in the mollusc attached to the inside shell and is cut away during harvest with this shell intact.

Brilliant Cut: The most ideal cut for a gemstone – usually a diamond – that shows off its depth, beauty, and light reflection to maximum potential.

Briolette: A diamond or gemstone without a table or culet, elongated in shape and faceted around its circumference.

Brogden, John: A London jeweller and goldsmith (1842 to 1885) whose work was mainly in antique and revival styles. Signed pieces by John Brogden are highly collectible and valuable, often surpassing the intrinsic content of the article.

Buff Top: Stone cut with cabochon crown and faceted pavilion.

Burma Ruby: A variety of corundum found in Burma (Myanmar) known for its vivid pinkish-red hue and strong fluorescence in ultraviolet light. Rubies from this source carry a certain prestige. Sometimes termed ‘pigeon’s blood’ for its unique shade of red.

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Cabochon: From the French word “caboche,” meaning head. A gemstone cut with a smooth surface, highly polished and no facets. Usually cut from a translucent or opaque gemstone (jadeite, moonstone) or sometimes heavily included transparent gems (emerald, amethyst).

Cairngorm: Old Scottish word for smoky quartz, a transparent brown to yellowish brown gemstone. Inexpensive.

Calibre Cut: A style of precise cutting for small gemstones in a given shape so they may be set in a snugly fitting pattern.

Cameo: A gemstone or shell having layers of different colors carved to show in relief the design and background in contrasting colors. Hard stone cameos are usually chalcedony (agate) and date to ancient times. Most often seen are shell. All are valued according to the quality of the carving and sometimes the subject matter if an historical or mythical theme is pictured.

Cannetille: a type of metal decoration in the form of coiled thin wires and small beads to form a filigree-like pattern, and named after a form of embroidery. Most popular in the late Georgian era.

Carat: A unit of weight for a diamond or other gemstone: 200 milligrams or one fifth of a gram. Also a unit of proportion of gold in an alloy equal to 1/24 part pure gold, pure gold being 24 carats.

Carbuncle: An older term for a red garnet that is cut en cabochon.

Carnelian: Opaque reddish variety of chalcedony quartz.

Cartouche: Shield or scroll or rectangular pendants with hieroglyphic inscription in Egyptian aged or reproduction jewelery.

Cat’s-Eye: General term for several varieties of gemstones that when cut en cabochon exhibit a band of light resembling an eye effect under a single source of light. The most prized variety is chrysoberyl cat’s-eye with its milk and honey quality, although other extremely rare varieties are known in emerald and collector stones.

Chalcedony: Cryptocrystalline variety of quartz that produces many ornamental gemstones in a wide range of colors. Often dyed to simulate other opaque gemstones.

Channel Setting: A thin row of precious metal is used to secure diamonds or gemstones in a continuous line.

Chasing: A form of elaborate relief engraving done since antiquity.

Chatelaine: An ornamental clasp from which household implements, such as keys, notepad, pencil, scent holders and needle and thread are dangled as charms. Some were very elaborate, gem-set and in gold-filled or carat gold.

Chatoyancy: The effect in certain translucent stones when cut en cabochon that exhibit a streak of light which moves as the gem is moved. Caused by minute fibrous inclusions.

Chrysoberyl: A species of gemstone that is characteristically transparent yellow to yellowish-green or bluish-green. Other varieties are alexandrite, which changes from red to green under artificial to daylight conditions, and chrysoberyl cat’s-eye. Rare, very hard and durable.

Chrysoprase: The apple green variety of chalcedony, sometime mistaken for jadeite.

Citrine: From the French word for lemon, the transparent yellow variety of quartz. Sometimes misnamed “topaz-quartz.”

Clarity: A diamond (and sometimes gemstone) classification referring to a diamond’s purity and rated by the GIA scale that begins at Internally Flawless (no visible imperfections under 10x magnification to Imperfect 3 (hazardous inclusions visible to the naked eye).

Cleavage: The property of many crystalline gemstones to split readily in one or more directions along certain planes when subjected to a blow.

Coral: A calcareous marine organism that is fashioned into an opaque gem that ranges in colors of white, pink, orange, red and black. Frequently seen carved, cabochon cut and as beads in antique and period jewelery. Tends to be a bit porous.

Corundum: Gemstone species of good hardness and durability of which the red variety is ruby and all other colors are sapphire. Most varieties are named for their color, such as pink or yellow sapphire, with the exception of padparadscha, which is an orange-pink hue.

Culet: The small, flat facet at the base of the pavilion in a faceted gemstone or diamond. May be closed (no culet) or open (small or large culet). Old mine-cut and old European-cut diamonds often have large culets.

Cultured Pearl: A pearl produced by the insertion of a mother-of-pearl nucleus into certain molluscs.

Curb Chain: A type of chain in which the links are oval and twisted so that they lie flat.

Cushion Cut: A style of cutting where the outline is basically square but with rounded corners.

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Demantoid: A vivid, lime-green gemstone, exceedingly rare in sizes above one carat, originally found in Russia in the 1850s. A collector’s gemstone, famous for its unique “horsetail” inclusion.

Die Stamping (or Die Struck): The process of making a complete relief pattern on metal by pressure in a die made from a master model. Many early filigree mountings in the late 1880s to 1930s were die-struck manufacture and were incredibly durable despite their fragile appearance. Most of these particular vintage mountings were in 14-carat or 18-carat white gold and some were platinum.

Doublet: A composite gemstone of either simulated materials or natural gemstones. Most often seen are opal doublets and triplets that have a layer of quartz, opal and chalcedony base or garnet and glass doublets. A good gemstone stimulant often used in antique jewelery. Easily detected with low magnification.

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Edwardian Era: 1905 to 1920, England, France and US origins. The Edwardian era had its origins in the last years of the 19th century when younger generations challenged Victorian ideals. Dramatically influenced by advances in technology and new fashions, the jewelery took on a very different look from Victorian styles. An innovative era, Edwardian pieces are ultra-feminine and dainty, may feature fine lacy patterns in platinum or millegraining, and showcase gemstones. Renowned for its fine quality of gems and incredible construction, French Edwardian jewelery is in a class by itself.

Egyptian Revival Jewelery: 1859 to 1930s. Jewelery designed on Egyptian themes but made with current technology, coinciding with the opening of the Suez Canal and King Tut’s tomb in the 1920s. Very valuable and collectible when authenticated.

Emerald: The transparent bluish-green and most highly prized variety of beryl. Flawless stones are extremely rare. Most emeralds today are found in Colombia, Brazil and East Africa.

Enamel: A pigment of a vitreous nature fired onto a variety of objects, silver and gold jewelery. A delicate finish and difficult to repair.

Engine Turning: Machine engraving to produce brilliance, often in a pinwheel like pattern under transparent enameling.

Eternity Ring: A ladies’ ring with diamonds or gemstones set all around the shank. Now usually referred to as an anniversary ring (also known as a guard ring when no stones are set).

Etruscan Revival Jewelery: Victorian jewelery, usually with a degree of manufacturing copying the archaeological jewelery that was unearthed at Pompeii. Ancient technique of granulation was rediscovered at this time by an Italian goldsmith known as Castellani, and kept secret again until the early 20th century.

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Fabergé: Peter Carl Fabergé (1846 to 1920). The Russian renowned for his artistic and imaginative creations in gold, enameling and gemstones. Best known for his jeweled eggs made as Easter gifts from the Tsar to the Tsarina during the 1880s, in addition to commissions to other royal courts.

Fair Market Value: A phrase that has both generic meaning and legal meaning. As a generic term, it refers to the selling price of an item, in its condition, between a buyer and seller, neither of whom has an advantage over the other, and neither of whom is pressured to make the deal. The term is also used by many state courts to value jewelry in an action for divorce and by the Internal Revenue Service to value jewelry for purposes of estate tax, casualty loss, or distribution of assets. Fair Market Value is always lower than retail replacement cost value, and generally higher than cash value.

Fancy Color Diamond: Diamonds grow in nature in two categories of color. The first is called the colorless to light yellow group, and it contains most of the diamonds bought by the public. The second group is called the fancy color or natural fancy color group. It contains diamonds of much deeper and richer colors, and is divided into sub-groups, based on the color. Fancy yellow, fancy brown, fancy orange, fancy pink, fancy blue, fancy green, fancy purpose and fancy red. Each of these sub-groups is further divided into additional colors, which modify the principal color. Examples:  Fancy orangey yellow, fancy grayish yellow, fancy brownish pink, fancy purplish pink. Each of these is further divided into the intensity (brightness to dullness) of its color. Example:  Fancy light yellow, fancy yellow, fancy deep yellow, fancy intense yellow and the rarest, fancy vivid yellow. Such diamonds are then analyzed based on their external shape, their cut, their clarity, and of course their carat weight.

Filigree: A type of fine wire decoration with intricate patterns, usually twisted and fairly delicate unless made in platinum.

Fire Opal: Bright orange variety of precious opal with no play of color. Principally found in Mexico.

Florentine Finish: A style of jewelery finish of finely etched parallel lines intersecting at 90 degrees.

Fob: A small ornament suspended from a watch chain, usually set with carved chalcedony family crest or seal.

Foil: A thin, colored metallic sheet inserted beneath pale gemstones to enhance the color. Very common form of gemstone enhancement in Georgian jewelery. Does not necessarily devalue an article of antique jewelery and in some case authenticates it.

Fluorescence: Varying color effects produced when materials are subjected to ultraviolet light.

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Gallery: In a ring, the area below the setting. May be pierced, carved or scroll patterned.

Garnet: A group of minerals that includes six main varieties of gemstones, closely related chemically and optically, and occurring in every color except blue: pyrope (red), almandite (slightly purplish-red), demantoid and tsavorite (green), spessartite (orange) and hessonite (yellow).

Georgian Era: 1720 to 1820 in England and France. Four King Georges ruled England between 1720 and 1820 and gave their name to this era of exquisite design, great opulence and brazen ornamentation. Valuable pieces from the Georgian era are characterized by lightweight, ornate, frequently pale gemstones, silver and high carat gold and closed-back settings. If diamonds are used in the design, they are crudely cut.

Girandole: Brooch or earrings with swinging pear-shape drops.

Girdle: Outermost diameter of a gemstone or diamond. In diamond cutting, its thickness is an indication of the cutting quality.

Gold Filled: A very thin layer of carat gold bonded to a base metal. Can be very long-wearing and often seen in antique and period jewelery. Still in use today.

Granulation: Minute gold spheres chemically bonded to a gold surface by a fusion method and not necessarily soldering. Documented in use as early as the 3rd century BC, the technique was perfected by the ancient Etruscans and revived by Victorian master jewellers Guiliano and Castellani. The method was kept secret until patented in 1933.

Green Gold: An alloy of gold made with varying percentages of silver, zinc and cadmium.

Grossularite: A translucent green garnet that resembles fine jade. One of the world’s most precious gemstones.

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Hair Jewelery: Articles of jewelery made of or embellished with human hair. Hair was use in several styles. It was woven as a background and set under a crystal to be seen front of pendants or brooches or in a hidden compartment on the reverse. It was also plaited or braided into necklaces, bracelets or watch chains. This custom first began as mourning jewelery and later evolved into a token of sentiment or affection for a living person.

Half-Pearls: Parts of pearls and seed pearls that were popular in making designs of flowers and scrolls starting about 1890, sometimes mingled with colored gemstones. Popular for many decades and not always an aid for circa dating.

Hallmark: All precious metal jewelery (gold, silver and platinum) must be marked with a “quality” or “fineness” mark and registered with the manufacturer’s hallmark. The mark or marks stamped on some articles attest to their carat, maker, country and sometimes year made. Silver hallmarks date back as early as the 13th century.

Harlequin Opal: Refers to a rare patchwork-like pattern or fine play of color in an opal. All spectral colors are seen.

Heat Treatment: A form of gemstone enhancement done for centuries on many well-known gemstones, most particularly sapphire. A stable enhancement, usually done at source.

Hessonite: A popular bright golden or burnished garnet.

Hope Diamond: The world’s most famous diamond, a fancy sapphire blue color, weighing 45.52 carats. In the permanent display in the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, DC.

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Imperial Jade: The rarest color of the mineral jadeite, found primarily in the Mogok River valley in Myanamar, formerly Burma. The color is a deep emerald green, semi-transparent, evenly distributed across the top of the stone, and with no veining or inclusions of any type. The term is frequently misused to represent jade of lesser quality.

Inclusion: A naturally occurring imperfection that may be gaseous, solid or liquid and that is enclosed in a natural mineral. Some inclusions are a detriment to a diamond or gemstone’s value, such as the imperfect clarity grade in diamonds, but the presence of a horsetail inclusion, for example, adds to the value of a demantoid garnet. The study of gemstone inclusions is a science in itself.

Indicolite: The blue variety of tourmaline.

Insurance Document: A written report provided by the seller, containing description and valuation of the sold item. Jewelry should always be valued at its selling price, except under the unusual circumstance of an annual sale, where the price is deeply discounted, but would not be discounted again until the next sale.

Intaglio: A cameo carved in reverse relief.

Irradiation: The process of exposing diamonds or gemstones to a radioactive substance that alters the color. Blue topaz is routinely irradiated to enhance the color, and some fancy color diamonds are irradiated, especially those from the 1960s.

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Jade: A name that was for many years applied to two distinct minerals, jadeite and nephrite, with different chemical compositions. Jadeite occurs in a wide range of opaque colors, transparent emerald-like greens being the most valuable.

Jasper: A variety of chalcedony quartz. Similar to agate.

Jet: A compact velvety-black variety of lignite or coal. The principal source is Whitby, England. Most often seen in mourning jewelery of the mid to late 19th century.

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Koh-I-Noor: Persian for “Mountain of Light,” one of the world’s most famous diamonds, weighing 186 carats until recut in 1852 to 108.93 carats. Dating back 5,000 years, it was found in India, and is presently in the English Crown Jewels.

Kunzite: The pink variety of spodumene, named after pioneering gemologist George F. Kunz of Tiffany fame. May fade if exposed to long periods of sunlight.

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Labradorite: A variety of feldspar with a flashing display of spectral colors, suggestive of the northern lights, sometimes called spectrolite. Found mostly in Karelia, Finland.

Lalique, René: the leading French designer of Art Nouveau jewelery and later glassware. Owning a piece of René Lalique jewelery is like owning a Rembrandt painting. Very valuable, even though jewelery articles are not always set with traditionally valuable gemstones.

Lapis Lazuli: A deep blue opaque gemstone, often flecked with pyrite (“fools gold”) and white calcite. In jewelery use since ancient times.

Lavalier: A delicately constructed necklace of usually several linked components forming a trellis-like pattern, set with smaller assorted gemstones and pearls. The name is thought to have originated from Louise La Vallière, a mistress of Louis XIV. Very popular necklace style from the 1880s to 1920s.

Lorgnette: A pair of ladies’ vintage collapsible eyeglasses.

Lozenge: Cutting style shaped like a baseball diamond.

Lustre: In cultured pearls, this refers to the degree of mirror-like finish in the nacre.

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Mabe Pearl: An assembled cultured pearl, first produced in 1896 by Kokichi Mikimoto by inserting an irritant in the mollusc and later removing the nucleus and replacing it with a half-sphere of mother-of-pearl.

Marquise: A modified version of the round brilliant cut, navette (boat) shape with 58 facets.

Masonic Jewelery: Various articles of jewelery decorated with the insignia of the Freemasons.

Mêlée: In the classification of diamonds according to size, mêlée refers to small diamonds usually under 1/4 carat.

Micro-Mosaic: Minute pieces of glass (‘tessarae’) forming a picture in mid to late Victorian jewelery. Mostly originating from Italy. Highly collectible.

Millegraining: A setting style most popular in Edwardian jewelery where pavé set diamonds are surrounded by a minute row of beaded (grain-like) patterning.

Moonstone: A variety of orthoclase feldspar that is transparent to translucent. Cut en cabochon its displays a floating blue sheen. A favourite choice of Art Nouveau jewellers.

Morganite: the pink variety of beryl named for J.P. Morgan, a famous financier who was an avid gemstone collector.

Mourning Jewelery: Articles of jewelery worn in memory of a deceased person. Mostly black motifs and often with woven hair into patterns or locks of hair in hidden compartments. Popular for approximately 150 years in one form or another, although most originate from when Queen Victoria was in mourning for Prince Albert.

Muff Chain: A very long chain in gold or silver to hold a hand-warming muff. Popular in England in the 18th century and later. Few survive intact as many were shortened for use as neck chains.

Mutton Fat Jadeite: Mottled jadeite in pale yellowish or greenish grey colors, with a greasy lustre. More in use for ornaments than jewelery.

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Nacre: A crystalline substance that coats the mantle or nucleus within the oyster to form a pearl.

Natural Pearl: A pearl that is formed when a piece of silt or grain of sand works its way into the shell of a by-valve mollusc (oyster), and the mollusc secrete layers of nacre around it to protect its delicate tissues. Until the process of culturing and pearl farming was developed in the first 2 decades of the 20th century, all pearls throughout history are natural pearls. Naturals pearls found in the Persian Gulf, one of the primary sources, are termed “oriental pearls.” The natural pearl industry still exists, in Oman and Bahrain primarily, and also in other parts of the world. Necklaces of natural pearls and individual large natural pearls appear occasionally at auction as well as in the inventory of the finer estate and antique jewelry sellers around the globe. The proof positive identification of natural pearl is accomplished by X-Ray.

Niello: An inlay of black decoration on silver with a metallic look. An ancient technique, very popular in latter-day Indonesian silver jewelery.

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Octahedron: A crystal bounded by eight faces, like two pyramids joined at their bases. Diamond often crystallizes as an octahedron.

Old European Cut: Diamond cutting style, early round brilliant with 58 facets, in use mid 19th to early 20th century.

Old Mine Cut: A diamond cutting style which is an early version of the modern brilliant cut, with a squarish or rectangular girdle outline and high crown with deep proportions.

Onyx: A variety of chalcedony that is very porous and takes dye readily. Onyx may be dyed black, blue, red or green.

Opal: An opaque, translucent or transparent gemstone, always cut en cabochon and sometimes carved. White, grey, yellowish to black body color. In the finer qualities, opal displays all spectral colors in pin-fire, patchwork or flash patterns. Poor quality opal is called “potch.” Opal is principally found in Australia and Mexico.

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Padparadscha: A pinkish-orange variety of corundum from Sri Lanka. The name is taken from the Sinhalese word for “lotus-colored.”

Palladium: A rare metal of the platinum group, with similar properties but lighter in weight than platinum. Most often alloyed with silver or gold when used in jewelery.

Parure: A set of matched jewelery articles sometimes consisting of 10 matching pieces and components, usually gem-set and very elaborate. Modern term is “suite.” A demi-parure is a matching pair of earrings and brooch or pendant. Antique parures seldom survive as complete sets, and can be extremely valuable when they are complete.

Patina: A pleasing surface texture on silver and jewelery articles acquired over time. Polishing antique and period pieces removes the patina and may affect their value.

Pavé: Literally, setting stones in paving-like pattern. Gemstones are secured by minute beads or small claws en masse, usually with holes drilled through the setting.

Pavilion: The base portion of a gemstone or diamond.

Peridot: A gem variety of olivine that is yellowish-green. Slightly soft, its facets often appear worn away in older jewelery. Pronounced ‘pear-uh-doh.’ Has been found in meteorites.

Pi: A flat disc pierced in the centre, usually a jadeite variety, often carved. A symbol of eternity.

Plique-à-Jour: An enamelling technique resembling a stain glass window. Very delicate, a favourite of Art Nouveau jewellers and still in use.

Princess Cut: A modern diamond cutting style resembling the facet arrangement of a brilliant cut but with square corners and shallower crown.

Provenance: Relates to a particular history or source of a gemstone or jewelery article. For instance, the Hope Diamond has internationally recognized provenance. A jewelery article that once belonged to an historical figure or celebrity is much more valuable because of its provenance (such as jewelery that once belonged to the Duchess of Windsor or Jackie Kennedy Onassis). Jewelery is often valued higher if it carries the signature of a famous jewelery house or designer, and this is also its “provenance.”

Pyrope: The most popular and frequently seen variety of garnet. Transparent, dark red hue may be confused with a dark ruby.

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Quartz: One of the most diverse and plentiful gemstone species. Amethyst and citrine are the most common varieties. Quartz varieties are seen in all eras of collectible jewelery.

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Repoussé: A long-used jewelry-making technique of producing relief decoration from a metal plate by punching and hammering from the reverse to produce a pattern or design on the front.

Reproduction: An article of jewelery that is a similar or close copy of the original and not necessarily intended to deceive.

Rhodolite: A transparent, mauve-red variety of garnet that may resemble a violet ruby or a plum sapphire.

Rococco: Term used to describe a style featuring curved lines like foliage, shells scrolls and the like.

Rose Cut: An old diamond or gemstone cutting style with a flat base and usually two horizontal rows of facets rising to a point. Sometimes called a Dutch rose cut, it may have as many as 24 facets. Most often seen as very small, but some rose-cut diamonds can be as much as several carats.

Rubellite: The transparent red variety of tourmaline.

Ruby: Transparent red variety of corundum, good hardness and durability. Rare in sizes above three carats. Set in jewelery for thousands of years.

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Sandblasting: A matte finish applied to gold and silver using a jet of sand compressed by steam.

Sapphire: variety of corundum that is most often seen in blue hues. Fancy sapphires occur in all colors.

Sard: A variety of chalcedony that is light orange to brown, opaque to semi-translucent. Seen often in hard-stone cameos.

Sautoir: A very long necklace, usually gold or silver links, sometimes with a tassel pendant or gem-set slide to shorten or double the length. Popular in the late 19th century, often a yard long.

Shank: Hoop portion of a ring.

Shell Cameo: A cameo carved in one of the 10 available varieties of mollusc shell. Most shell cameos are from Naples and Sardinia. Value depends on the quality of the carving, provenance, sometimes the subject matter, age and condition. Recent 20th century shell cameos are mass-produced and generally not very valuable.

Spessartite: A variety of garnet that varies in color from tangerine to cinnamon.

Spinel: a natural gemstone often mistaken for ruby in antique and period jewelery. Also occurs in blue.

Star Sapphire: Grey, blue and black corundum, cut en cabochon with minute inclusions of intersecting silk that reflect light in a six-ray star pattern.

Star Ruby: Red corundum, cut en cabochon with minute inclusions of intersecting silk that reflect light in a six ray star pattern. Rarer and more valuable than star sapphire.

Sunburst: A jewelled brooch representing the sun with up to 32 projecting rays, usually with a cluster of central gemstones. Sometimes referred to as ‘sun-in-splendour’ jewelery.

Swiss Cut: A modification of the round brilliant cut used for small stones. The facet arrangement is slightly different and has 32 facets.

Synthetic Gemstone: A man-made stone that has the same physical, optical, chemical and crystalline structure as its natural counterpart.

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Table Cut: A diamond cutting style that removes the natural points of an octahedron crystal leaving a flat, square or rectangular table at the top and a much smaller same shape culet at the base.

Tanzanite: The light brown variety of the gem species zoisite, heat-treated to arrive at purplish-blue hues. Rather soft, will show facet wear in a short time.

Topaz: A gem species that occurs in a wide range of colors. The most well-known are the precious topaz varieties in sherry-like hues. Pink topaz is the rarest. Blue topaz is irradiated to bright blue hues, although light blue hues do occur naturally.

Tourmaline: A gemstone species with the widest variety of hues and good durability. Most varieties are affordable and most are named according to their color (like pink tourmaline) but some varieties have specific names such as rubellite (ruby-like red hues), chrome (vivid, near-emerald green color), indicolite (sapphire-like blue hues) and the recently discovered paraiba (vivid greenish-blue hues). Sometimes seen in late 19th to early 20th century antique and period jewelery.

Tremblant: Jewelery, mostly brooches, incorporated with tiny springs to allow constant movement of tiny components.

Trinity Ring: A traditional three-stone ring of simple design, with gems of a similar size.

Triplet: A composite stone of three separate layers, like an opal triplet where the top layer is quartz, middle layer a thin section of opal and base that is usually black or white chalcedony, all cemented together. Not stable in moisture and will cloud over if wet.

Tsavorite: A green garnet discovered in the late 1960s named after the Tsavo region of Africa. Its color may resemble a sunlit meadow or the finest emerald. The increasing scarcity of fine emerald has made this new find quite a treasure.

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Uvarovite: An exceedingly rare variety of garnet that is emerald-green in color.

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Vermeil: Gilded silver, used in jewelery and ornaments.

Victorian Jewelery: Jewelery most often (but not exclusively) from England during Queen Victoria’s reign, from 1837 to 1901.

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Weckström, Björn: An internationally recognized jewelry designer from Finland, Weckström’s specialty is contemporary jewelery featuring abstract, sculptural designs. He is the primary designer behind the Lapponia Jewelry label.

Window: In colored gemstone cutting, this is a trade euphemism to mean a see-through effect through the pavilion. A cutting flaw, but not always avoidable in pale-colored gemstones.

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