A Jour – Open setting that leaves the pavilion facets open to the light
Agate – A variety of chalcedony found in all colors; used extensively in Scottish jewelry
Aigrette – Jeweled ornament in the shape of a feather or supporting a feather, worn in the hair or on a cap, popular in the middle of the eighteenth century and the early twentieth century
Akoya pearls – Pearls from the Akoya saltwater oyster which is the mainstay of the Japanese pearl industry. Now also farmed by China and other countries.
Alloy – An alloy is a combination of two or more metals. Common alloys used in jewellry in the United States are: 10KT Gold (41.66% gold with varying amounts of other metals such as silver depending on colour and other characteristics wanted), 14KT Gold (58.33% gold); 18KT Gold (75% gold), Platinum (95% platinum); Sterling Silver (92.5% silver).
Aluminum – A silver white metal that is lightweight and malleable
Amazonite – An opaque form of feldspar
Amber – The fossilized resin of prehistoric pine trees which ranges in color from golden to orange-red
Amethyst – A variety of quartz found in deep purple to a bluish-violet color
Annealing – The process of heating metal and then cooling it to render the metal more pliable
Aquamarine – A form of beryl found in pale green blue to clear blue colors
Arabesque – A form of decoration characterized by flowing lines, scrollwork, leaves, branches, floral forms, symmetrical in form
Art Nouveau – A period of design between the 1890’s and 1910; the jewelry is characterized by flowing lines, unusual interpretations of nature, the use of women with long flowing hair and the utilization of unusual materials
Assay – An assay is a test of the purity of an alloy.
Assay Hallmark – Hallmark showing the office which assayed the metal used in a piece of jewelry (United Kingdom)
Baguette – Gemstone cut in the shape of a narrow rectangle
Bakelite – Trade name for the first synthesized plastic, phenol formaldehyde resin invented by Dr. Leo Backeland
Bandeau – Head ornament in the form of a narrow band worn low, encircling the forehead
Bandelettes – Decorated ribbons worn in the hair
Bangle – Non-flexible bracelet
Baroque – Irregular shaped stone or pearl
Basse-taille – French for ‘shallow cut’, enameling technique worked in a chased relief metal and overlaid with translucent enamel
Berlin Iron – Cast iron jewelry worked into delicate openwork patterns, and made in Berlin during the first half of the nineteenth century
Bezel Setting – A method of setting gemstones in which the stone is held in the mounting by a narrow band of metal surrounding the girdle (outside perimeter) of the stone.
Bijouterie – Art of working in gold and enamel
Biwa Pearl – Cultured freshwater pearls grown in Lake Biwa in Japan.
Black Pearl – A natural coloured dark pearl grown in the black-lipped oyster. The colour is black, light black/silvery or a dark grey, although other very dark colours such as the rarer peacock green are also referred to as black pearls. Natural colour black pearls are rare and most of the cheaper black pearls, especially freshwater, are dyed.
Blister Pearl – Irregularly shaped and hollow pearl cut from the shell of the oyster
Bog-oak – Fossilized oak from peat bogs in Ireland, popular during the Victorian Era
Bolt ring – A finding that is a hollow or partially hollow connecting ring which is drawn back on an internal spring
Borax – A flux used in soldering
Brass – An alloy of copper and zinc
Briolette – A teardrop shaped stone faceted with triangular or rectangular facets, sometimes pierced at the top, also known as ‘drop-cut’
Bronze – An alloy of approximately 8 parts copper to 1 part tin
Buff top cabochon – Style of stone cutting where the top of the gemstone is a dome (en cabochon) and the pavilion is faceted
Bulla – Two concave plates that form a hollow receptacle, a form used in ancient jewelry
Butterflies – Also known as a scroll. It is the fitting that attaches to the post of an earring to hold it in your ear.
Cabochon – Stone with a smooth carved surface, domed and unfaceted with a flat base
Calibre-cut – Small stones cut in usually rectangular shapes and faceted in a step cut to fit exactly into a setting or against another stone
Calipers – Instrument for fine measuring of both the outside and inside surfaces of a stone
Cameo – A style of carving in which the design motif is left and the surrounding surface is cut away, leaving the design in relief, usually into a hard stone or shell
Cannetille – A type of gold or silver filigree of fine twisted wires forming a coiled spiral, used in early nineteenth century jewelry (Georgian period)
Carat – A unit of weight measurement for precious stones. It is important not to confuse this with the other karat (American spelling) or carat, which is a measure of the purity of gold. ‘Carat’ is abbreviated to “ct.” One carat is equal to 1/5 of a gram (200 milligrams). Stones are measured to the nearest hundredth of a carat. There are a hundred points in a carat, so that a .10 carat stone can also be described as a 10 point stone. Smaller stones are most often referred to by point designations. An average one-carat round diamond usually measures approximately 6.5mm in diameter. This relationship of weight and size, however, is different for each type of cut and differs for other gems. Rubies and sapphires, for example, are both heavier than diamonds, so a one carat ruby or sapphire is smaller in size than a one carat diamond.
Carbuncle – A garnet cut en cabochon
Casting – Process of forming an object by pouring a molten or liquid substance into a mould until it solidifies and takes on the impression of the mould
Catalin – Trade name for an early phenol plastic
Chalcedony – A quartz, greyish-blue in color
Champlevé – French term for ‘raised field’, Technique of enameling in which enamel is placed in stamped or cut recesses of a metal form
Chandelier earrings – These closely resemble mini chandeliers. They are also known as shoulder dusters.
Channel – A setting in which several stones are held in by two parallel gold or other precious metal borders and in which there is no metal between the individual stones, giving the appearance that they are floating within the setting. This is a popular modern style setting for eternity rings.
Chasing – Working a design into a metal from the front using a hammer and/or punches
Chatelaine – A girdle or belt from which various implements are suspended
Chatoyancy – From the French words chat (cat) and oeil (eye) and describes the optical effect whereby a strip of light is reflected within the stone and glints back and forth, resembling the feline eye. It is most prominent in chrysoberyl, but is also found in a few other gemstones including tourmaline.
Choker – A necklace approximately 15 inches long
Chrysoberyl – A semi-precious stone of transparent golden yellow, green yellow or brown
Citrine – A variety of quartz found in a range of colors from light yellow to red-orange to almost brown
Clasps – Bracelets & Necklaces – There are a wide variety of necklace and bracelet Clasps all with their own special names, selected for quality of appearance, weight and balance of the jewellery: Bolt Ring – The basic type of fastening for a necklace or bracelet consisting of a hollow loop with an internal spring operated catch, which is retracted then released when attached to a link at the other end of the chain. Padlock – Looking just like a traditional padlock (but without a key), this fastening clicks into place and is commonly used on gate bracelets. Jump Ring – This is a fixed ring used to connect components in a finished article, or at the end of items such as necklets and to which bolt rings may be attached. Pearl Fastener (Barrel) – Pearls are traditionally fastened by means of a clasp, one side of which screws into the barrel of the other. Pearl Fastener (Barrel) – Pearls are traditionally fastened by means of a clasp, one side of which screws into the barrel of the other. Pearl Fastener (Barrel) – Pearls are traditionally fastened by means of a clasp, one side of which screws into the barrel of the other. Trigger – Also known as a karab or lobster claw clasp (one look at it shows why!), this is related to a bolt ring as it has a trigger which lifts a bar, allowing a jump ring or other loop to be inserted. It operates like a mountaineer’s karabiner. This is a popular fastening for heavier chains. A Squared lobster claw clasp is similar but with parallel side edges. Magnetic – A recent innovation using powerful mini magnets. Other, more obscure, clasps include the Box and the Ladder.
Claw – 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 is 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 1800s.
Cloisonné – Technique of enameling in which enamels are contained in cells of metal
Collet – Round band of metal encircling a gemstone to hold it in place
Collier – A wide necklace encircling the neck from throat to chin
Coral -The skeleton of small marine animals, found in colors ranging from white to pink to red
Coronet setting -A coronet setting (also called châton or arcade setting) is one in which the stone is held in by many metal claws around a metal ring.
Creole earrings -A hoop earring broader at the bottom than at the top, popular in the 1850’s
Cross facet -Small triangular facets above and below the girdle of a brilliant cut stone
Crown – The top half of a gemstone. This usually consists of a larger flat facet (called the Table) and smaller facets on the shoulders.
Culet – The Culet is a small facet on the very point of the Pavillion (the underside of a cut gemstone) to flatten the otherwise sharp point. This is partly to remove a feature that would have a tendency to scratch and also remove what would be a vulnerable point for the stone.
Cushion – This can be a type of diamond cut incorporating both a round and square shape (therefore resembling a cushion). It also refers to a style of signet ring stamping, which is also cushion-like, being square with rounded corners.
Cut steel – Faceted studs riveted into arranged holes to created a pavé effect
Cuts (for gemstones) – Asscher- A square emerald cut developed in 1902 Baguette – A diamond cut, usually rectangular, but can also be tapered. Baguette – A diamond cut, usually rectangular, but can also be tapered. Brilliant – A 58 facet Round cut diamond. One of the most popular cuts today. Cabochon – A cabochon is a stone that has a rounded, domed surface with no facets. Emerald – A rectangular cut often used for emeralds (hence the name) but also for diamonds and other stones. Marquise – A fancy “boat shaped” diamond cut. Oval, but with pointy ends. Oval – Guess what shape? Princess – A square-cut diamond equivalent to a brilliant cut. Also called a Quadrillion or Squarillion cut. Radiant – A cross between a square emerald cut and a brilliant cut.
Decoration Etched – This is a very faintly carved surface decoration, which can also be created using acids or lasers.
Demi-parure – A small matching set of jewelry consisting usually of a brooch and earrings, or a necklace and bracelet, etc.
Diadems – A semi circular band worn around the head and usually jeweled and three dimensional
Dog collar – A wide collar of fabric, gemstones and or pearls worn high and tight on the neck
Double clip – Type of brooch consisting of two halves joined together on a frame which can be detached and worn singly
Doublet – A stone consisting of two separate layers
Dwt – Abbreviation for pennyweight
Edema collarettes – “Dog collar” meant for daytime wear which is usually made of a soft material laced to a series of jeweled bars
Electroplating – A method in which an electric current deposits a layer of metal on an object (i.e.: gold over a base metal)
Embossing – A stamping technique in which a pattern (for example a scroll pattern similar to an engraved effect) is pressed onto a plain area of metal to leave the pattern in relief, i.e. standing proud above the plain background rather than cut in as in the case of engraving.
Emerald cut – Rectangular shaped stone with mitered corners which is elongated and octagonal
Enamel – Enamel is produced by fusing coloured powdered glass paste to metal (usually silver, copper or gold) to produce a glass-like, decorative surface. The colour of the enamel and its transparency depends on the metal oxides in the glass and the temperature at which the glass melts. In some cases, the enamel may be translucent showing the textures of any engraving on the metal underneath, which produces guilloche (pronounced ghee-yosh) enamel.
Engine Turning – Another engraving technique that can be applied to plain metal, and is frequently used on powder compacts, cigarette lighters and larger pieces. Geometric, criss-cross designs are generally favoured.
Engrave – This is gouging out a design in metal with graver’s tools, or embellishing metal or other material with patterns using a drill. This was fashionable in mid-Victorian jewellery. The resulting depressions were often filled with coloured enamel. Engraving is also used for inscriptions. Chasing is where the surface of the metal is moved, but not actually carved out.
Etching – Removal of part of a metal surface by acid for a decorative effect
Eternity ring – An eternity ring is a narrow ring with a line of diamonds or other gemstones running all the way round. The unbroken circle symbolising eternity. A husband often gives it to his wife after a number of years of marriage or the birth of a child to show that the commitment made at their wedding is as strong as ever.
Etui – Small cylindrical case that hangs from a chatelaine
Facet – A flat cut or polished face on a gemstone.
Faceted – A faceted stone has small, flat-cut surfaces that make a sparkling effect on transparent stones. Facets act as both mirrors and windows. Reflecting light and channelling light into a stone where it refracts and re-emerges.
Faience – Glazed porcelain or earthenware
Fastenings – Earrings – There are a wide variety of earring fittings: Andralok – A patented pierced earring fitting with a hinge half way along the earring stem. After inserting the stem, the hinged section drops down behind your ear to hold the earring in place. Andraslide – A patented earring fitting for un-pierced ears. A U-shaped spring fits under the ear lobe and round the back of the ear to hold the earring in place. Claimed to be more comfortable than traditional clips as it does not grip so tightly, is lighter and not so bulky on the ear. Clip – A traditional hinged earring fitting for un-pierced ears. Continental – See Lever back. Hook fitting – Usually for drop earrings and also called a hook wire or safety wire fitting, these earring fittings hook through the ear and hang down behind the lobe. They have the advantage of not requiring butterflies, which can be fiddly or easy to lose, but are usually larger and more expensive. Safety wire fittings also have a snap shut closure for extra security. Lever back – Usually for drop earrings, this is a type of hook fastening for pierced ears that utilizes a hinged “lever” on the main part of the earring to close the gap to the end of the hook. Also called “Continental” due to its popularity in Europe. Post and Butterfly – For stud or drop earrings and occasionally also called a “French Fitting”, this is the commonest form of earring fastening for pierced ears using a ‘post’ attached to the earring, which connects with a separate scroll shaped device (butterfly) to hold the earring in place.
Faux – A term meaning imitation. For example, “faux pearls” is often used to describe simulated pearls.
Fede ring – A ring with two hands clasped together first
Ferronnière – Narrow band with a center jewel worn encircling the forehead
Festoon – Design motif of a garland or string of flowers, leaves and ribbons
Fibula – Archaeological term for brooch
Filigree – Wire twisted into patterns, usually gold or silver, may be soldered to a sheet of metal or twisted to form an openwork pattern
Fineness – Fineness is the proportion of silver or gold in a metal alloy. Fineness is usually expressed in parts per thousand. For example, the fineness of sterling silver is 925.
Flux – Material used in soldering
Fob – A small charm, amulet or trinket that hangs on a watch chain or chatelaine
Foiling – A technique used to enhance the color of a gemstone, a thin sheet of metal is applied to the base of a stone which is in a closed setting
Freshwater pearl – Pearls found in river mussels
Freshwater pearls – Pearls predominantly flesh-nucleated typically in mussels in several countries around the world, notably China, Japan and the USA.
Gallery – A strip on metal with a pattern usually refers to the sides of a ring
Garnet – A semi-precious stone found in many colors. The Bohemian type is blood red, the almandine variety ranges from deep red to deep purple, hessonite garnets are brown orange, and demantoid garnets are found in several shades of green
Gerlots – Small long pendant beads
German silver – A misnomer for an alloy of copper, zinc and nickel
Gilding – A process of covering substances such as silver, base metal, wood with a thin layer of gold or an alloy
Gimmel ring – A ring formed of two or more linked hoops, which fit together in a manner that make them appear as one ring
Gipsy – A setting with a recessed stone, also known as a star setting.
Girandole – A shape that consists of three pear-shaped stones or pearls hanging from a large stone or decorative motif such as a bow
Girdle – The widest part of a gemstone which divides the crown from the pavilion
Gold filled – Though we don’t use this technique, it is useful to be aware of it. 14k Gold Fill is not the same as gold plated. There is around 100 times more gold in gold fill than there is on plated wire. Gold filled looks like and usually wears as well as karat gold. Often referred to in the UK as rolled gold, Gold Fill is very hard wearing and unlike gold plating is unlikely to wear off, even with use. Gold-filled pieces must be at least 1/20 by weight in gold to be classified as gold-filled.
Grain – Unit of weight; for diamonds and pearls a grain is 0.25 of a carat, 480 grains to the Troy ounce. A Troy grain is equal to an Avoirdupois grain.
Grain – A small spherical bead of metal
Granulation – The process of decorating a metal surface with tiny grains of metal
Graver Tool – A tool similar to a chisel used for engraving metal
Green gold – Gold which contains a high proportion of silver
Grey gold – Gold which contains a high proportion of iron
Grisaille – A form of enamel painted in monochromatic colors
Guilloché enamel – This is when transparent or at the very least translucent enamel is applied to metal which has detailed engraving on it. Pronounced ‘ghee-yosh’.
Gypsy setting – A setting in which the stone is sunk into the surrounding metal leaving the top of the stone almost level with the top of the metal surface
Hallmark (European) – This is a stamped mark applied to items of jewellery and silverware by the Assay Offices of Britain as a guarantee of authenticity. The mark consists of four components:The sponsor (or manufacturer) mark; the standard mark, which denotes the precious metal content of the item; the Assay Office Mark (Assay Offices are found in London, Birmingham, Sheffield and Edinburgh) and the date letter which shows the year in which the article was hallmarked.
Handkerchief ring – Small ring worn on the little finger and connected by a chain to a larger ring in which a handkerchief was held
Hematite – An opaque mineral of iron oxide, ranging in color from deep grey to black metallic
Horn – A substance often used as a substitute for tortoiseshell which is from cow horns
Inclusion – A particle of foreign matter contained within a gemstone. It can take, for example, the form of an air bubble or a foreign object. Some inclusions decrease the value of a stone, but some, such as needles in rutilated quartz and ‘spangles’ in amber, are prized.
Ingot – A precious metal formed into a bar or brick by pouring molten metal into a mold
Inlaid – This is when a space is routed out of the metal and a contrasting material is fitted into that space.
Inlay – Materials such as stones, gems, woods and metals are inserted and cemented into the surface of another material and ground down to create a smooth surface
Intaglio – Italian for carving. An Intaglio is a carved gem from which the design is engraved or carved into the object so that it sits below the surface plane of the material. The opposite to a cameo which is carved in relief. Intaglio is used for signet rings and seals, to make a raised impression in the hot wax.
Ion Plating – a physical vapor deposition (PVD) process that is sometimes called ion assisted deposition (IAD) or ion vapor deposition (IVD) and is a version of vacuum deposition. Ion plating utilizes concurrent or periodic bombardment of the substrate and depositing film by atomic-sized energetic particlesA
Invisible Setting – A channel setting using calibrated stones without any metal showing from the top
Irridescence – This is an optical phenomenon in which the hue on the surface of the stone changes according to the angle from which the surface is viewed. A similar phenomenon may be seen on the surface of soap bubbles and on butterfly wings. The word is derived in part from the Greek word iris, meaning ‘rainbow’, from the goddess Iris, the personification of the rainbow in Greek mythology.
Ivory – African ivory is from the tusk of a male or female elephant whereas Indian ivory is from the male only
Jabot pin – A jeweled tie pin popular in the 1920’s and 1930’s
Jet – Fossilized coal, often known as Whitby jet for the area of England where much of it came from or black jet
Karat – In order not to confuse karat with “carat”, Americans changed the spelling. Carat is a measure of the weight of gemstones, whereas karat is a measure of the purity of gold. The ratio of gold to other metals is measured in 24 parts, called karats – hence 24 karat gold is pure gold, while, for example, 14 karat gold is 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metal.
Keshi pearls – These are small flat roundish natural pearls formed naturally in the soft cavities left after a pearl has been removed or ejected by the mollusc. They are 100% nacre and have a very good lustre.
Knotting – Small knots tied between each pearl in a strand to prevent them rubbing together and to avoid the loss of pearls if the necklace breaks. Recommended for larger pearl necklaces.
Lace Brooch – Small brooch usually set with diamonds, worn in the later 19th Century
Lapidary – A craftsperson who cuts, facets, engraves and polishes gemstones
Lavaliere – A chain from which an ornament or gemstone hangs in the center
Locket – A jewel which opens on a hinge
Lost Wax Method – The method of casting metal that uses a rubber mold, which is filled with wax to form a pattern from which a plaster mold is made. The plaster is heated and the wax melts away or is “lost”
Loupe – A magnifying lens used by jewellers to closely study a gemstone or a hallmark. Gemologists generally use a 10x hand held loupe while jewellers working at the bench often use a 5x eyepiece.
Lustre – The appearance/shininess of a pearl’s surface judged by its ability to reflect light. One of the most important factors in judging and pricing pearls.
Mabe pearls – Formed when a half-bead is cemented to the mollusc’s inner shell. The mollusc covers the half bead with nacre and when the shell is cut off, the bead is exposed at the back. The bead is removed, the pearl cleaned (to prevent deterioration) and the remaining hole filled with paste, wax or sometimes with another bead and then covered with a mother-of-pearl backing. Mabe pearls must only be used in closed-back settings. Also referred to as a half-pearl or cultured blister pearl.
Mallorca – A well-known type of imitation pearls from the Spanish island of the same name. Also known as Majorcan pearls, they are quite popular in the USA. Many people believe them to be real pearls when, in fact, they are high quality imitations.
Mantle – The part of a mollusc’s soft tissue that secretes nacre. This tissue is also used to nucleate and stimulate pearl formation in freshwater pearls.
Marcasite – An iron ore material, pyrite, that is facetted into rose cuts and set into silver or pewter jewelry
Marquise Cut – A stone cut in an oval with pointed ends or a boat-shaped stone
Mélange – Term for mixed diamond sizes weighing more than carat
Mélée – Classification used in the sorting of diamonds weighing less than carat
Mellon Bead – A hollow and ribbed bead popular in the Etruscan period and in the 1930’s
Memento Mori – Jewel that is a reminder of death
Memorial jewel – Jewel that is made in memory of a loved one, often containing hair from that person and frequently decorated with enamel
Micro Mosaic – Mosaic of very small colored glass pieces (tessarae) inlaid in glass or hardstone
Mikimoto pearls – A leading brand of pearls founded by Kokichi Mikimoto, the Japanese man credited as the creator of cultured pearls.
Milanese Chain – Chain consisting of interwoven rows of small links forming a mesh
Millefiori – Glass ornamentation made from canes of colored glass that are layered, and sliced to form patterns, flowers or mosaic effects
Millegrain (“thousand grains”) – A decorating style creating a fine bead like effect around the edge of a metal collet; popular in the Edwardian and Belle Époque periods
Mississippi River Pearls – Irregularly shaped pearls, usually elongated.
Mizpah Ring – A broad gold ring engraved with the word MIZPAH, meaning “I will watch over thee”, popular during the Victorian period
Mother-of-Pearl – The smooth, hard pearly lining on the interior of oyster and mollusc shells, famous for buttons and small decorative objects. It is the same substance as nacre which forms pearls.
Nacre (NAY-ker) – The pearly substance secreted by the mantle of certain molluscs to form a pearl.
Navette – An oval stone which is pointed at both ends.
Navette Cut – A gemstone shaped like a boat or oval with pointed ends
Negligee – A long necklace that usually terminates in irregular length with tassels or drops
Nickel – A metal that was frequently used in fashion jewellery and occasionally as an alloy in gold jewellery. However, some people have an allergy or skin reaction to nickel which results in a rash, particularly if worn as pierced jewellery such as earrings. Recent European legislation (the Nickel Directive) strictly defines the amount of nickel that jewellery can contain, to ensure that it remains far below the level at which such skin reactions could become likely.
Niello – An inlay technique in which the grooves made in silver or gold are made black in color by the use of a composition of metal sulfides
Non-nucleated pearls – Typically refers to freshwater pearls whereby mantle tissue from another mollusc is inserted to stimulate pearl growth. Refers to tissue-nucleated pearls.
Nucleated pearls – A nucleus is inserted into a mollusc to speed up the pearl growth. Acting as the irritant, the nuclei is covered by nacre.
Opal – A semi-precious stone with a rainbow-like iridescence which are categorized as three types: opalescent precious opals, yellow-red fire opals and the common opal
Opalescence – Opalescence is a type of dichroism where a gem appears yellowish-red in transmitted light and blue in the scattered light perpendicular to the transmitted light. The phenomenon is named after the appearance of opals. This effect can be seen in nature in the way the sky is blue in the daytime and yellowish-red at sunset.
Orient – The pearly lustre seen on pearls or mother-of-pearl shells. Also known as irridescence.
Oriental pearls – Natural pearls found in the waters of the Persian Gulf. Due to pollution, production is almost non-existent nowadays.
Ounce & Troy Ounce – Pre metric measures are still used in many areas of gold and silversmithing. The Troy ounce (about 10% heavier than an Imperial or avoirdupois ounce) was and is used for precious metals. 1ozt is 480 grains. A grain being the weight of a grain of barley taken from the middle of the ear. Simple.
Paillons – Small pieces of metallic foil which are placed underneath enamel work to provide a glow, popular with a number of Arts and Crafts movement jewelers
Palladium – A white precious metal belonging to the platinum group, it weighs a little more than half as much as platinum and sells for half the price
Pampilles – A cascade of pendant stones; popular in Georgian jewelry and meant to look like rain drops
Parure – A suite of matching jewelry usually four or more pieces, a necklace, bracelets, earrings and belt or brooch
Passamenterie – Jewelry inspired by furniture trimmings such as cording
Paste – A high content leaded glass which is faceted to imitate diamonds or backed with colored foils to imitate other gemstones. Also known as strass after Frederic Strass who invented this method in the 18th Century
Patina – Patina is the natural effect of use and age on a surface. Tiny, almost imperceptible scratches eventually merge to form a new lustrous finish. A rich patina on fine sterling silver and gold enhances its beauty over time.
Pavé Setting – A stone setting technique whereby the entire surface of a jewel is covered or paved with closely set stones
Pavilion – The pavilion is the top section of a gemstone above its widest point (the girdle).
Pearl Necklace Lengths – Collar – 12 to 13 inches, Choker – 14 to 16 inches, Princess -17 to 19 inches, Matinee – 20 to 24 inches, Opera – 28 to 34 inches, Rope – 45 inches plus
Pearlescent – A word that describes the appearance of a gemstone or a finish e.g. a knife handle that reflects light in a pearl-like way, but which is not necessarily a pearl. A pearlescent look generally has an illusory depth to it, seemingly of different layers of semi-transparent white and off-white coatings. The appearance of Mother of Pearl is also described as pearlescent.
Pendaloque – A type of pear shaped or tear drop gemstone faceted as a brilliant cut and suspended from a smaller stone which is usually separated by a bow or other motif
Pietra Dura – Mosaic of semi-precious stones set into a floral pattern of black marble or onyx, also known as a hardstone mosaic
Pinchbeck – A gold simulant, invented circa 1720 by Christopher Pinchbeck, which is comprised of a mixture of copper and zinc
Piqué – Tortoiseshell or horn which is inlaid with mother-of-pearl, silver or gold
Planishing – A hammering process done to give a smoother finish to a piece of metal
Platinum – A non-corrosive silver white metal, which is heavy and has a high tensile strength
Pleochroic – An effect where the properties of diffraction in a stone cause it to look a different colour depending on the angle you observe it from. Many stones are dichroic or trichroic.
Plique à jour – Literally ‘glimpse of day’. An enameling technique in which the design is outlined in metal and filled with a transparent enamel, after firing the metal backing is removed creating a stained glass window effect. Popular with the Art Nouveau jewelers
Pomander – A pendant scent case
Posy Ring – A ring engraved with a verse
Regard Ring – A ring set with colored stones, the first letters of which spell the word “regard”, ruby, emerald, garnet, amethyst, ruby, diamond. Popular in the second half of the 19th century signifying friendship.
Repoussé – A raised high relief design on the front of a metal object made by hammering, embossing or punching the reverse side of the metal to form the design from the back side out
Rhinestone – Rock crystal which is faceted into beads, originally from the Rhine River
Rhodium plated – Rhodium is a transition element, belonging to the platinum group of metals. Rhodium plating is silvery-white in colour and used to both harden the surface it covers, and to create a brighter, more polished look to gold, especially white gold. Gemstones then show to their best effect and the claws holding the gems are firmer and less likely to damage. Rhodium plated jewellery is extremely hard wearing, tarnish resistant and will not be affected by body enzymes, perfumes and hair sprays, helping it to look good for years to come.
Rivière – Choker type necklace that is a continuous line of gemstones usually of graduated or equal size stones
Rolled Gold (see Gold Filled) – This is a traditional process invented in the 19th century in which a sheet of gold is laminated to a base metal (usually brass). The two layers of metal are heated under pressure to fuse them together. This is then rolled to make a thinner sheet, which can be used to make jewellery or other objects. Although not solid gold, this method produces items that wear well over time.
Rondelle – A pierced piece of metal or gemstone strung between the beads in a necklace
Sautoir – An extremely long neck chain, which falls below the waistline and terminates with a tassel or pendant. Popular in the early 20th century
Seal – Engraved (intaglio) of stone or metal used to create an impression on a substance such as wax or clay
Sévigné – A bodice ornament set with gemstones in a bowknot shape
Shagreen – The skin of a ray or shark from the waters around China, usually stained green or another color
Shank – Hoop part of a ring
Slide – A jeweled fastener, which slides onto a chain or fabric ribbon
Soldering – A method of joining metal parts or pieces together by melting another metal alloy with a lower melting temperature at the joining point
Stomacher – A very large bodice ornament, usually triangular, filling the area between the neckline and the waistline, also known as a corsage ornament
Strap Necklace – A mesh chain with pendants suspended by short, fine chain resembling a fringe; an Archaeological Revival style during the Victorian period
Strapwork – Decorative pattern in the form of interlaced and crossed straight bands resembling straps
Swag – A motif used on a piece of jewelry of festoons of foliage, fruit and flowers
Terminal – The decorated ends of a necklace or bangle usually with stylized heads of a ram, lion, dragon, etc.
Tiara – A head ornament worn in the crown position
Torsade – Twisted strands of pearls ending in a clasp
Trapeze Cut – A gemstone cut into an equilateral triangle with a flat top
Tremblant – Jewelry with a trembling effect when the wearer moved produced by elements set upon stiff wires that move (en tremblant)
Tubogas – Sometimes referred to as gas pipe, a flexible tubular chain
Tutti Frutti – Jewelry set with multi colored gems carved in shapes of leaves, flowers and berries and often in a basket design
Vermeil – Gold-plated or gilded silver
Whiplash Curve – Flowing lines that bend and twist as in Art Nouveau designs