Glossary Of Jewellery Terms


Abrasives
Harsh materials used in various sizes of grit to wear away the surfaces of softer materials; in jewellery often pumice or corundum applied as a paste or mounted on papers and cloths to smooth the surface of metals prior to polishing.

Acrylic
Thermoplastic; widely available in a variety of colours, shapes and forms that may be transparent, translucent or opaque; also know as Perspex, Plexiglas and Lucite - trade names

Agate
Quartz; Chalcedony; a none-precious stone; commonly used in jewellery; can be easily cut polished and dyed; naturally occurs in a wide range of colours red-cornelian/carnelian, black-onyx, green-moss agate etc; often occurs banded, speckled or variegated

Aigrette
Plume or spray of feathers or jewels worn as a hair or head ornament

Albert bar
T bar which fastens an Albert chain to a waistcoat button hole.

Albert chain
Gold or silver chain used to hold a pocket watch at one end, usually fixed to a waistcoat button hole at the centre by a T bar and anchored into a waistcoat pocket at the other end by a fob; the links of the chain are often graduated in size; named after Queen Victoria’s husband Albert the Prince Consort

Albert clip
Swivel clip which fastens a pocket watch to the end on an Albert chain

Alloy
A mixture of two or more metal elements into a combined metal; e.g. bronze is an alloy of copper and tin; modern alloys may include non-metal elements such as silica and carbon.

Amber
Fossilised tree resin; usually translucent yellow sometimes ranging to a dark reddish orange; easily carved and polished; traditionally used in jewellery and pipe-stems

Amethyst
Quartz; a very popular and widely used purple gemstone; Quartz is one of the earth’s most abundant minerals; rock crystal is the clearest form, iron impurities turn it purple – amethyst, or yellow – citrine; in folk law amethyst was believed to prevent drunkenness; birthstone for February

Anklet
Ankle jewellery

Antimony
Metal element; symbol Sb; bluish-white; used in trace amounts as part of the pewter alloy where it increases hardness and mechanical strength and reduces thermal shrinkage

Anodising
Colouring the surface of metal by applying an electrical current; in aluminium an anodic film of aluminium oxide is applied which is then colour dyed and sealed; the oxides of refractive metals like titanium, niobium and tantalum change colour and can be fixed by heating at anodising at different electrical frequencies

Aquamarine
Beryl; light blue gemstone; birthstone for March; sailors believed it would protect them on water; in folk law it was believed to protect against gossip;

Art Deco
Streamlined geometric style of decorative art characteristic of the 1920s and 30s

Articulated
Jointed segments; flexible jewellery with moving parts; bracelets or necklaces with connected links

Art Nouveau
Free-formed style of decorative art dating from the 1890s based on graphic abstractions of animal and plant forms

Arts and Crafts Movement
Late 19th century style of decorative art based on the aesthetics of craftsmanship; simplicity of form and the marks of making were emphasised as decoration

Austrian Lead Crystal
Glass; rhinestone; a highly refractive glass with more than 10% lead oxide content

Assay
Prove; examination and analysis of metals to determine their composition and compliance with standards of content and quality; in jewellery the testing procedure before hallmarking

Aurora Borealis
Iridescent surface treatment of rhinestones creating a multi-tone colour shift like the Northern lights

Azurite
Blue mineral of copper carbonate; decoratively banded in varying tones of blue; often found with malachite [green] in copper rich areas

Baguette
Stone-cut in the simple shape of a long rectangle

Bakelite
Cresol-formaldehyde; an organic plastic; resistant to heat, electricity and corrosion; used in various colours for a wide range of products including jewellery; invented by L H Baekeland [1863-1944]

Bangle
Rigid hoop worn on the wrist; can be hinged open or simply slip over the hand in one piece

Bar Brooch
Linear or rectangular brooch worn horizontally; bar pin [USA]

Baroque Gemstone
Irregular shaped rounded polished gemstone, such as emerald

Baroque Pearl
Irregular shaped pearl

Bas-relief
Slightly raised; low-relief form

Base Metal
Non-precious metal

Berlin Ironwork
19th century cast iron jewellery in the ornate style of the Royal Berlin Foundry; mourning jewellery

Beryl
Group of gemstones including emerald and aquamarine; Moh’s hardness scale 7.5

Bezel-setting
Method of setting stones into individual metal flanges or bezels; the bezel is burnished over the edges of the stone to hold it in place; same as collet setting

Bib Necklace
Necklace made from joined components in the form of a bib

Bismuth
Metal element; symbol Bi; pinkish white; relatively non-toxic; low melting 271’C; used in trace amounts as part of the pewter alloy where it aids malleability and reduces thermal shrinkage; often used as a substitute for lead

Bloodstone
Green chalcedony with blood-like flecks of red jasper

Bog Oak
Hardened semi-fossilised black oak found preserved in peat bogs; can be easily carved into jewellery

Borax
sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate; usually white crystalline powder; substance used as a flux in melting and soldering gold and silver

Bracelet
Flexible wrist jewellery; not rigid or solid; made from chain or articulated links

Brass
Alloy of copper and zinc

Brilliant
Stone-cut; round with a deep pointed back; 59 facets including table, girdle and culet; thirty three on the crown [top], one on the girdle [edge], twenty five on the pavilion [bottom]; regarded as the optimum cut for diamonds

Briolette
Stone cut of even sized triangular or rectangular facets; often flat backed, droplet or barrel shaped

Bristol-diamonds
Quartz; rock crystal; cut to imitate diamonds; originally from near Bristol

Britannia Silver
Alloy of silver and copper; 950 parts per 1000 95% silver; softer and purer than sterling silver; originally introduced to separate the production of silver objects and tableware [Britannia] from the production of coin [sterling]

Bronze
Alloy of copper and tin

Brooch
Jewellery that pins onto garments; originally an ornamental clasp or form of fastening; pin [USA]

Bugle bead
Tubular bead of faceted metal or glass

Burnishing
Smoothing the surface of metal using a tool made of either polished stone or hard metal

Butterfly
Earring post back in a scroll shape resembling a butterfly

Cabochon
Domed, smooth cut and polished stone; rounded on top and flat backed; not faceted

Cairngorm stone
Quartz; yellowish-brown citrine found in the Cairngorm Mountains; used in Celtic jewellery

Calibre’
Small pieces of stone individually cut to fit into intricate patterns of metal settings

Cameo
Stone or shell cut to a raise a positive, low relief image; accentuated by cutting through to expose different coloured layers; often portraiture or classical subject matter

Carat
Unit of weight used in measuring gemstones; metric carat = 200mg; traditional method of describing the fineness of gold; 24 carat = fine [100% gold], 18 carat = 18 parts in 24 = 18/24 [75% gold]; derived from carob; the dried carob beans was considered a constant and used as an early weight for small items and substances

Casting
Process of forming metal by melting and pouring into pre-shaped moulds

Cellulose acetate
Organic plastic used in the manufacture of coloured spectacle frames and jewellery

Chain mail
Metal mesh; made from small interlinked rings

Chalcedony
Quartz; most commonly bluish white mineral of microcrystalline silica; slightly translucent; often banded, variegated or speckled; found in sedimentary rocks; relatively porous stone receptive to coloured dyes; can be easily cut and polished for setting into jewellery; agates, cornelian and onyx are forms of chalcedony.

Channel-setting
Method of setting a row of stones into metal pre-formed into a channel; usually square or baguette stones; the raised edge of the channel is burnished over the stones to hold them in place

Chasing
Decorative method of modelling bas-relief form and detail by hammering a variety of specially shaped metal punches into the front surface of metal – see repousse’

Chatelaine
Ladies’ brooch or hook worn on a belt from which useful housekeeping items could be hung, such as scissors, pen-knife, sewing implements, keys, note book, watch, purse, etc; later evolved into a form of jewellery and sometimes simplified to a pair of brooches connected by a safety chain

Charm bracelet
Bracelet fitted with an eclectic series of small ornaments or lucky charms

Chaton
Stone with a pointed back; simplified brilliant cut; mainly a costume jewellery term for rhinestones

Choker
Close fitting necklace worn high on the neck; often on a ribbon

Citrine
Quartz; translucent golden yellow; stone of the mind; merchant’s stone; in folklore believed to protect the wearer from snakebite; birthstone for November

Clarity
Measure of how free gemstones are from inclusions or flaws; mainly used in assessing and describing diamonds; FI = flawless, IF = internally flawless, VVS1 + VVS2 = very-very slightly included, VS1 + VS2 = very slightly included, S1+S2 = slightly included [visible with the naked eye] I1+ I2 = Imperfect [obvious inclusions]

Clasp
jewellery fastener, connector or closure

Claw-setting
Method of setting single stones into a crown-like cup which is edged by a row claws [prongs]; the claws are folded over the edges of the stone to hold it in place; [prong-setting USA]

Cloisonne’
Method of enamelling; small cells made of intricate metal wires into which different colours of enamel are applied

Cluster-setting
Style of jewellery where small stone settings are grouped closely together in a flower-like cluster; usually rings

Cold Enamel
Special epoxy resin used to replicate glass or vitreous enamel

Collet-setting
Method of setting stones into individual metal collets [collars]; the collet is burnished over the edges of the stone to hold it in place; same as bezel setting

Colour
Richness or purity of gemstone colours; usually referred to in diamonds; most diamonds have a slight tinge of yellow or grey; D=pure colourless, E+F=colourless, G-J = near colourless, K-M = faint yellow, N-R = very light yellow, S-Z = light yellow; colourless stones are the rarest and most expensive, light yellow are the least rare and least expensive; fancy coloured diamonds like vivid canary-yellow, blue, green, pink and purple are also rare and expensive; one of “the four Cs”

Coral
Rocklike substance from the skeletons of polyps, marine invertebrates; can be relatively easily carved for jewellery; most commonly white; red, pink, orange, blue and black are rarer and more valuable; use and export of coral is now restricted in many countries.

Cornelian
Quartz; agate; chalcedony; usually translucent red; sometimes called carnelian

Coronet
Small or light weight crown formerly worn as a symbol of nobility

Corrosion
Gradual attack on metal which chemically erodes and discolours the surface when exposed to moisture, mild acidity, salts etc

Corundum
Group of gemstones including ruby and sapphire; Moh’s hardness scale 9

Costume Jewellery
Imitation of fine jewellery; also used as a synonym for fashion jewellery

Crimp bead
Small metal bead which is crimped [squashed] to close the loose ends of threads in bead-stringing

Crown
Top facets of a stone

Crystal
Glass; rhinestone; lead crystal; a highly refractive glass with more than 10% lead oxide content; imitation rock crystal

Cubic Zirconium /Cubic Zirconia / Cubic Ziconite
Synthetic zircon with a cubic crystal formation; widely used as a synthetic diamond; the lustre is very close to that of a true diamond; very difficult to identify the difference with the naked eye; light coloured gemstones can also be replicated; also known as “American diamonds” and Diamonique a trade name of QVC; most commonly referred to as CZs

Cuff
Wide bangle

Culet
Small bottom facet at the back point of a brilliant cut stone, parallel to the table [top] facet; flat back or base of a gemstone; prevents chipping at the point where the pavilion [back] facets meet

Cultured Pearl
Pearl formed using a cultivation technique by inserting a core bead into a natural shellfish; cultured pearls have been produced in China for several centuries.

Cushion cut
Stone cut; square shaped with rounded edges and corners

Cut
Shape proportion and finish of a gemstone; angles and relationships between the facets of a gemstone and how they affect the play of light [fire] within the stone; one of “the four Cs”

Cut Steel
Faceted shiny steel bead and studs cut as components for jewellery; first developed in the early years of steel production in the European industrial revolution; sometimes seen in early Victorian jewellery

Damascene
Decorative metal inlay where a soft metal [often gold or silver] is struck into an engraved recess in a hard metal [often steel]; used as a method of decorating armour; also know as Toledo work and Kuftgari

Demi-Parure
Partial set of matching jewellery; usually just two matching items – say matching earrings and necklace; parure being a full set of four or five items

Diadem
Decorative head jewellery, delicate form of coronet or tiara

Diamante’
Glass; rhinestone; crystal; lead crystal; paste; faceted imitation diamond usually with a reflective metal foil on the back to reflect light and increase the lustre of the stone

Diamond
Precious gemstone; carbon naturally crystallised under enormous pressure and heat; graded under a system known as “the four Cs” – colour – clarity – cut – carat; hardest of all minerals – Moh’s hardness scale 10; birthstone for April

Dispersion
Stone’s ability to refract light into spectral colours; fire; sparkle

Duette
Pair of brooches that can be worn together or joined as one

Earring
Any ear ornament; not necessarily ring shaped

Ear-wire
The part of the earring that passes through a piercing in the earlobe

Eighteen Carat Gold
Metal alloy of gold with silver and copper; 18/24; eighteen parts gold in twenty four; 75% gold

Electroplating
Depositing a thin layer of metal onto another metal by electrolysis; usually a layer of precious metal onto a base metal; most fashion or costume jewellery is electroplated; see hard gold plating

Embossing
Metalworking technique where low relief form is raised up from the reverse side

Emerald
Beryl; velvety green precious gemstone; stone of the goddess Venus; believed to preserve love; birthstone for May

Emerald-cut
Rectangular shaped stone cut with the corners clipped off

Enamel
Vitreous enamel – glass fused at high temperature onto metal or other surfaces
Cold enamel – special epoxy resins used to replicate vitreous enamel

Engraving
Decorative metalwork technique of making lines or textures on metal using sharp steel tools called gravers, burins, scorpers and spits

En Tremblant
Jewellery stones or components set on springs which tremble as the wearer moves

Epoxy Resin
Polymerising plastic; usually mixed in two parts resin and hardener; used in structural plastics like fibre glass and carbon fibre used in car bodies and crash helmets, for surface coatings like cold enamelling in jewellery, for casting, encapsulating and embedding components and as a strong adhesive e.g. epoxy resin adhesives are used to fix the heat reflecting tiles on the NASA space shuttles.

Erinoid
Early form of plastic made from casein, a milk protein; easily dyed in bright colours; used in the production of buttons, imitation tortoishell and ivory; a registered trade name; also known as Galalith

Essence d’orient
Pearl coating; fish-silver; nacre; traditionally made from ground fish scales and cellulose acetate into which beads are dipped to make faux pearls

Estate jewellery
Second hand; dead people’s jewellery which may be collectable

Eternity Ring
Band ring with stones set all the way round; usually diamonds but also coloured gemstones, emeralds sapphires and rubies. The endless band symbolises eternal love

Eutectic soldering
Soldering technique using fluxes to reduce the surface melting temperature of metals allowing them to fuse together at temperature lower than their normal melting point; traditionally used for filigree and granulation work

Facet
Each cut and polished face of a stone; little face

Faience
Vitreous ceramic; a clay body which contains glazes and fluxes so that it takes on a semi glazed appearance after only one firing; used to make coloured beads and small inlays in Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman jewellery.

Fancy cut
Any shaped gemstone cut other than round brilliant cut

Fashion Jewellery
Jewellery worn for its fashion or design content; usually of no significant material value

Faux
Imitation; false

Fibula
Brooch worn high on the chest [collar bone] usually as a clasp

Filigree
Decorative metalwork technique where twisted fine wires are fused or soldered into intricate lacy patterns; see eutectic soldering

Fire
Stone’s ability to refract light into spectral colours; dispersion; sparkle

Fittings and Findings
The functional components of jewellery, like; clasps, hinges, pins, earring posts etc

Flux
Substance used for improving the flow of molten metals and solders; in gold and silver jewellery borax is used as a flux for solders and to reduce surface oxidation; in costume jewellery zinc chloride is used as a flux for tin based alloys and solders.

Fob
A counter weight to anchor the end of an Albert chain into a waistcoat pocket; sometimes used as an ornament on charm bracelets

Foil
Reflective coating at the back of rhinestones [sometimes gemstones]; reflects light and enhances sparkle

Four Cs
Cut – carat - colour - clarity

Fourteen Carat Gold
Metal alloy of gold with silver and copper; 14/24; fourteen parts gold in twenty four; 58.3% gold

French Jet
Black glass; imitation jet

Fruit salad
Jewellery set with moulded shapes of multi-coloured glass

Galalith
Milk stone; an early form of plastic made from casein, a milk protein; porous, so easy to dye in bright colours; used in the production of buttons, imitation tortoishell and ivory; a registered trade name; also known as Erinoid; in folklore garnets are believed to give protection and symbolise constancy

Garnet
Gemstone; usually dark red in colour; group name for the silicate minerals almandine, pyrope, spessartine, grossular andradite and uvarovite; named after the Latin for pomegranate – granatum; birthstone for January; believed to protect the wearer and bring constancy in love

Gilding
Gold plating – see electroplating

Gilding metal
Alloy of copper similar to brass but containing less zinc

Girandole
Chandelier like jewellery with pendants or jewelled drops; mainly earrings and brooches

Girdle
Facet or facets of a stone running around the edge, circumference or widest lateral dimension; below the crown and above the pavilion

Gold
Metal element; Symbol Au; yellow; heavy/dense; one of the precious metals; tarnish resistant; can be brightly polished; mainly used in jewellery and coin where it is often alloyed with copper and silver to form carat golds

Goldsmith
Person accomplished in the traditional craft skills of making precious objects in either gold or silver

Gold solder
Metal alloy; gold, silver, copper and zinc; zinc is added to lower the melting point of gold enabling it to be used as a solder for fusing items of gold together under heat

Graduated necklace
Beads, links or components decreasing in width from front to back

Grain setting
Stone setting technique where stones are flush with the surface of the metal in which they are mounted; each stone is held in place by about four small balls of metal rolled onto the edge of the stone [like a small prong or claw]; technique used in pave’ setting

Granulation
Decorative metalworking technique where very tiny metal balls are soldered or fused by heat into patterns on a metal background; see eutectic soldering

Green Gold
Alloy of gold and silver; the silver lightens the gold to a softer lemon-yellow colour; also known as lemon gold

Gypsy setting
Stones set from behind

Haematite
Iron ore; red or metallic dark grey

Hairwork
Mourning jewellery made from or containing hair of the deceased

Half eternity ring
Band ring with stones set half the way round; usually diamonds but also coloured gemstones, emeralds sapphires and rubies.

Hallmark
Official mark struck into jewellery and precious metal objects in the UK, showing; at which assay office it was tested; the fineness of silver, gold or platinum; the maker or sponsor’s mark; the year it was marked

Hard Gold Plating
Depositing thin layers of metal including a final layer of gold onto another metal by electrolysis; usually three layers - copper to level the metal surface and make it electrolytically active - nickel to make the surface bright hard and tarnish resistant – gold finishing layer for colour; hard gold refers to the hardness of the nickel under layer, nowadays nickel is considered allergenic and substituted for palladium; most fashion or costume jewellery is electroplated in at least three layers of metals

Imperial Jade
Translucent emerald green jadeite; most highly prized in ancient Chinese culture

Inlay
Decorative technique where a material is set level by embedding or inserting into another contrasting material

Intaglio
Motif cut as a negative impression in a gemstone or glass so that it leaves a positive form when pressed into sealing wax

Invisible setting
Groups of specially cut stones [usually square] set onto wire frames from the back so that no metal mounts show between the stones at the front

Iridescent
Reflecting a play of rainbow colours

Ivory
Tusks or teeth of elephant, mammoth, boar, hippopotamus, walrus, narwhal and sperm whale; ivory is easily carved into delicate and intricate designs; decorative objects have been carved in ivory throughout the worlds diverse cultures; most varieties of ivory are now internationally restricted and the animals protected to prevent exploitation

Jade
Nephrite and Jadeite; mainly tones of translucent green; not distinguished as two separately minerals until 1863 when the French mineralogist Damour discovered that they had different chemical compositions

Jadeite
Jade; sodium aluminium silicate; varying tones of translucent green through to white, yellow and brown, more rarely orange or lilac; carved in ancient China and Central America into jewellery, ritual and decorative objects

Japan
Black oxide or patina formed as a decorative finish on metal

Jasper
Quartz; similar to Chalcedony; occurs in a wide range of colours and patterns

Jet
Fossilised wood; opaque black

Labradorite
Feldspar; translucent blue-grey gemstone with a blue iridescent sheen; same mineral as moonstone but darker and more opaque; found in Labrador [Canada]; also known as spectrolite [Finland]

Lapis Lazuli
Blue stone; dark opaque blue, sometimes with bands or speckles of white calcite and brassy flecks of pyrite; revered by Ancient Egyptians and used in their jewellery

Lariat
Long necklace; usually long enough to reach the navel or loop over the head and neck three times, needing no clasp; also necklace with sliding end loop, like a lasso; also shoe-string tie

Lavalliere
Jewelled necklace with a single pendant; loosely tied bow

Lemon Gold
Alloy of gold and silver; the silver lightens the gold to a softer lemon-yellow colour; same as “green” gold

Line bracelet
Line of evenly spaced evenly sized and matched stones each set into individual links of an articulated bracelet, usually diamonds of 20 points and over: also tennis bracelet USA

Locket
Opening pendant originally containing a lock of hair but nowadays a photograph or small item

Loupe
Jeweller’s magnifying lens

Lucite
Acrylic; Polymethyl methacrylate; clear, translucent or opaque plastic; Dupont registered trade name

Malachite
Green mineral of copper carbonate; decoratively banded in varying tones of green; often found with azurite [blue] in copper rich areas

Marcasite
Iron Pyrites; metallic grey gemstone; usually small faceted and flat backed

Marquise
Eye or boat shaped stone cut; pointed oval; also known as navette

Mazak
Metal alloy of magnesium, aluminium, zinc, and copper [kupfer]; acronym and UK trade name; UK version of Zamak an American alloy licensed to Morris Ashby in the 1930s, the acronym word order changed to take his initials as the first two letters, used in the production of costume jewellery, toys and small metal objects; low melting temperature; usually cast molten into steel dies; can be electroplated; also called zamac, zinc alloy, kirksite, pot metal, white metal and [in the derogatory] monkey metal

Millefiori
Decorative glass; thousand flowers; made from bundles of coloured can glass fused together to form a floral cross section; used in jewellery beads and mosaics.

Moh’s hardness scale
Measure for the comparative hardness of gemstones; 1 = softest 10 = hardest [diamond]

Moonstone
Feldspar gemstone; translucent white with a blue sheen

Mother of pearl
Lustrous internal surface of various seashells; used in jewellery and buttons; used as core beads for cultured pearls; Nacre

Mounting
Preparing the metal settings for gemstones; may include the entire metalwork or goldsmithing of a jewellery item; also know as diamond mounting

Mourning jewellery
Jewellery worn in mourning or commemorating the deceased; popular in the 19th century; usually black; often set with jet or containing a lock of hair

Murano beads
Glass beads made on the Venetian island of Murano; often colourful using millefiori

Nacre
Aragonite; layers of calcium carbonate from which pearls are built up; also used to describe mother of pearl [the internal pearlised part of aquatic mollusc shells; also a synonym for fish-silver the material used for coating imitation pearls

Navette
Stone cut; pointed oval; marquise; means shuttle

Nephrite
Soft dark green to creamy white mineral; ranges from opaque to translucent green; easily carved; also formerly referred to as jade, but nowadays this term usually defines jadeite; believed in folklore to protect against kidney disease

Nickel
Metal element; symbol Ni; white; magnetic; ductile; widely used in alloys such as stainless steel and white gold; when alloyed with coloured metals like gold and copper it has an ability to whiten them; used in electroplating as a barrier layer to prevent corrosion and as a finishing layer for its hardness and brightness; restricted in jewellery as a potential allergen; widely used for silver coloured coin [alloyed with copper]

Niello
Decorative metalwork technique of applying a black inlay by melting a powder made from silver, copper, lead and sulphur; usually applied as a contrast to steel or silver

Nine Carat Gold
Metal alloy of gold with silver and copper; 9/24; nine parts gold in twenty four; 37.5% gold

Niobium
Metal element; symbol Nb; white; similar to tantalum; refractory metal; inert; highly resistant to corrosion; surface can be permanently coloured by applying heat or electrical current; used in jewellery

Onyx
Quartz; chalcedony; natural black onyx is rare, most black onyx used in jewellery is dyed agate; the Romans used a method of synthesising onyx by soaking agate in sugar syrup then heating it in sulphuric acid to carbonise the sugar, turning it black.

Opal
Gemstone; the only non-crystalline gemstone; iridescent and translucent white, blue/green or orange; thin slivers of opal are sometimes backed with lesser stones or plastics to form doublets -two layers, or sandwiched between clear stones to form triplets - three layers; stone of the gods; opals are believed to be unlucky, possibly because they can expand and contract if they absorb water, eventually working loose and falling out of their settings; in folklore they bring fortune for fidelity and misfortune for infidelity; birthstone for October

Opalescent
Like opal; milky iridescence

Osmium
Metal element; symbol Os; grey; heaviest [densest] known substance; sometimes used in jewellery and accessories for its dark metallic grey colour

Padparadscha
Corundum; precious gemstone; rare and expensive form of pinkish orange sapphire; meaning lotus colour in Sinhalese

Palladium
Metal element; symbol Pd; part of the platinum group of metals; grey-white; tarnish resistant; used in electroplating as a barrier layer to prevent corrosion

Parure
Suite of four or more pieces of matching jewellery; necklace, bracelet or bracelets, earrings, brooch, hair ornament

Paste
Glass; rhinestone; crystal; diamante; this name probably refers to the original process of making – pate-de-verre

Pate-de-verre
Glass; paste of finely ground glass mixed with water, pressed into moulds and kiln fired to form glass shapes and imitation jewellery stones

Patina
Aging or oxidisation of the surface of metals and other materials; can be synthesised to imitate aging

Pave’
Area of very closely set stones, [grain set] flush with the surface of the metal in which they are mounted; paved with stones

Pavilion
Lower portion or back facets of a gemstone; below the girdle

Pear
Stone cut; teardrop shaped

Pearl
Naturally occurring milky white concretion found in oysters, clams and other bivalve shellfish formed by the host to protect itself from small irritant foreign bodies; round pearls are mainly formed in or near to the gonads of the bivalve; in folklore believed to bring prosperity and success; birthstone for June

Pearl plate
Plate of holes in ascending sizes used to measure pearls and rhinestones pp1=0.8mm pp30=3.7mm

Pectoral
Brooch or ornament worn high on the chest or collar

Pendant
Hanging ornament; usually from a chain or necklace; also drops hanging from earrings or brooches

Peridot
Olivine; lime green gemstone; Christian symbol of purity and morality; birthstone for August

Perspex
Acrylic; Polymethyl methacrylate; clear, translucent or opaque plastic; ICI registered trade name

Pewter
Metal alloy; white; tin rich alloy with antimony, bismuth and copper; formerly contained lead, now banned in pewter; oxidises to bluish-grey

Pietra dura
Inlaid mosaic of small flat gemstones, similar to marquetry; usually forming a scene or picture

Pinchbeck
Metal; tarnish resistant alloy of copper similar to brass but containing less zinc; replicating gold; invented by an English watchmaker Christopher Pinchbeck 1670-1732; also know as gilding metal

Pitch
Black tar like substance; made from tree resins; sometimes the residue from refining tree resins or coal tar; used in jewellery making to support metal whilst it is being worked on, especially in chasing embossing and repousse’.

Plating
Process of applying a thin coating of one metal onto another; see electroplating

Platinum
Metal element; symbol Pt; one of the precious metals; grey-white; heavy/dense; tarnish resistant; used in jewellery; previously known as platina

Plexiglas
Acrylic; Polymethyl methacrylate; clear, translucent or opaque plastic; Rhom and Hess registered trade name

Plique-a-jour / Plique-azure
Decorative jewellery enamelling technique where translucent enamels are fired into delicately pierced cells [open backed] so that light can pass through, like miniature stained glass widows

PNP
Palladium Nickel Plating; hard white plating containing nickel and palladium used in metal accessories like key-rings

Post
Straight ear-wire passing through a piercing in the earlobe; usually finished with clutch or butterfly back

Pot metal
Zinc casting alloy or tin casting alloy; also called white metal

Prong-setting
Method of setting single stones into a crown-like cup which is edged by a row claws [prongs]; the claws are folded over the edges of the stone to hold it in place; claw-setting

Red Gold
Metal alloy of gold and copper; pink coloured; same as rose gold

Regard ring
Ring set with a row of stones in order ruby-emerald-garnet-amethyst-ruby-diamond; spelling regard

Repousse’
Decorative method of modelling bas-relief form from the reverse side of a sheet of metal and then adding detail by hammering a variety of specially shaped metal punches into the front surface of metal; similar to combining the techniques of embossing and chasing; working alternately between the back and front of the metal

Resin
A variety of sticky substances obtainable from the sap of plants and trees [natural resins]; alternatively a variety of substances used in the production of polymerising plastics [synthetic resins]

Rhinestone
Glass; crystal; lead crystal; a highly refractive glass with more than 10% lead oxide content; faceted glass imitation stones cut to replicate diamonds and coloured gemstones; previously made of rock crystal from the Rhine valley; nowadays the same as crystal, diamante or paste

Rhodium
Metal element; symbol Rh; Silver coloured metal; part of the platinum group of metals; hardwearing and tarnish resistant; used in fine jewellery to plate white gold and in fashion jewellery for a durable silvery white finish; the most expensive of precious metals; forming rose coloured [rhod-] salts

Rock Crystal
Quartz; natural colourless transparent gemstone; previously used in to imitate diamonds

Roll catch
Safety clasp which rolls around the end of a brooch pin to prevent the brooch from accidentally unfastening

Rolled gold
Gold fused under heat and sandwiched onto a base metal sheet and then rolled into thinner sheets creating a coating of gold on base metal; used in jewellery and watches prior to the widespread use of electroplating

Rondelle
Decorative disc shaped bead; used as a contrasting spacer in strings of beads; often decorated with crystal rhinestones

Rose cut
Early type of stone faceting; flat backed stone with small triangular facets on the crown [upper part] only; traditionally used for small diamonds until the beginning of the 20th century

Rose Gold
Metal alloy of gold and copper; pink coloured

Ruby
Corundum; red precious gemstone; corundum gemstones occur in a spectrum of other colours which are all referred to as sapphire; rubies are considered a symbol of love; in folklore they represent contentment and peace; birthstone for July

Ruthenium
Metal element; symbol Ru; of the platinum group of metals; often oxidised in jewellery to give a stable dark grey [black] metallic plating finish

Safety chain
Chain which attaches to jewellery to prevent it from being lost if the clasp fails; in brooches a thin chain attached to a small secondary safety-pin; in a bracelet or bangle a short thin chain that connects both sides of the opening together, preventing the items from slipping easily over the hand

Safety clasp
Catch which rolls around the end of a brooch pin to prevent the brooch from accidentally unfastening

Sapphire
Corundum; precious gemstone; most commonly used to describe blue coloured corundum gemstones, but the name is used for all colours of corundum except red [see ruby]; stone of destiny; believed in folklore to give the wearer clarity in perception; birthstone of September

Sautoir
Long necklace or pendant; often a very long pearl necklace terminating in a pearl pendant or tassel

Scatter pins
Small brooches worn in a group

Seed Pearls
Tiny pearls; usually below 1.6mm in diameter [pearl plate 10] and usually set into jewellery in groups, strings or lines

Serpentine
Mineral occurs in a variety of flecked colours resembling snakeskin from which it gets its name; the translucent green form known as bowenite is carved extensively in China and confused with jade

Setting
The seat of a stone or the method of applying stones to jewellery; see bezel-setting – claw setting – pave setting

Sheffield plate
Silver fused under heat and sandwiched onto a base metal sheet and then rolled into thinner sheets creating a coating of silver on base metal; used in tableware and silversmithing prior to the widespread use of electroplating

Signet Ring
Seal Ring; usually gold with engraved coat of arms; sometimes set with an intaglio cut gemstone; formerly used to personalise wax seals on letters and documents, mainly worn by men

Silver
Metal element; symbol Ag; whitest metal; can be polished to a very shiny bright finish; used for thousands of years for making jewellery and decorative metal objects

Silversmith
Person accomplished in the traditional craft skills of making precious objects in silver; similar skills to goldsmith

Silver solder
Metal alloy; silver copper and zinc; zinc is added to lower the melting point of silver enabling it to be used as a solder for fusing items of silver together under heat

Solder
A fusible metal alloy when melted is capable of joining two pieces of metal together; solder is designed to melt at a lower temperature than the metals it is joining

Spinel
Gemstone; wide range of colours; red spinel was historically confused with ruby [corundum]; the famous “Black Princes Ruby” in the centre front of the British Imperial State Crown is in fact a spinel; Moh’s hardness scale 8

Spit setting
Stone setting technique where stones are slightly below the surface of the metal in which they are mounted; each stone is held in place by three or four small barbs of metal [spits]cut with a spit stick [engraving tool] from the surrounding edge and pushed over the edge of the stone [like a small prong or claw]

Spread
The relative appearance of the size or width of a gemstone compared to its carat weight; It is possible for two fancy cut stones of the same carat weight to have different dimensions, the one with the widest surface is said to have better spread; “flash for cash”

Sterling silver
Alloy of silver and copper; 925 parts per 1000 of silver 92.5%; originally introduced for use in coin as a more durable alloy and to prevent the common practice of coin clipping

Stick pin
Small metal brooch with a straight fixed pin; usually worn on a scarf, tie or lapel

Swarovski Crystal
Glass; rhinestone; lead crystal; a highly refractive glass with a very rich lead oxide content; regarded as a quality benchmark for imitation gemstones; registered trade name of the Daniel Swarovski Corporation

Table
The top facet of a gemstone; usually the largest facet

Tantalum
Metal element; symbol Ta; white; refractory metal; similar to niobium; highly resistant to corrosion; surface can be permanently coloured by applying heat or electrical current; used in jewellery

Tennis bracelet
Line of evenly spaced evenly sized and matched stones each set into individual links of an articulated bracelet, usually diamonds of 20 points and over: also line bracelet UK

Tiara
Coronet set with diamonds or precious stones: usually ¾ round and open at the back worn horizontally above the hairline

Tin
Metal element; symbol Sn; silvery white base metal; often used as a rustproof coating for steel; used as the main component for costume jewellery casting alloys

Tin Alloy
Alloy of tin, copper and other trace metals used in costume and fashion jewellery production; melts at a relatively low temperature [approx. 250’c] and can be cast into rubber moulds

Titanium
Metal element; symbol Ti; white; refractory metal; high strength to weight ratio; highly resistant to corrosion; surface can be permanently coloured by applying heat or electrical current; used in jewellery

Topaz
Silicate of aluminium and fluorine; gemstone; a wide range of colours mainly blue and deep yellow; in folklore believed to be soothing and promote truth; birthstone for December

Tortoiseshell
Shell of a tortoise or turtle; translucent mottled brown and dark yellow material; previously the horny plates of the hawksbill turtle, now a protected species; replicated in various plastics

Tourmaline
Borosilicate; coloured Gemstone; widest range of colours for any gemstone; mainly pink and green; both colours can occur banded together know as watermelon tourmaline

Translucent
Semi-clear material through which light can partially pass; imperfectly transparent

Transparent
Clear material through which light can pass perfectly; see-through

Trembler
Jewellery which has stones or components set on springs which tremble as the wearer moves

Turquoise
Gemstone; usually opaque light blue, sometimes with a slight green tinge; Ancient Egyptians mined turquoise in Sinai more than 6,000 years ago; it is also abundant in Central America where it has been used for jewellery, decorative and religious objects

Twenty two Carat Gold
Metal alloy of gold with silver and copper; 22/24; twenty two parts gold in twenty four; 91.6% gold

Twenty four Carat Gold
Pure gold; 24/24; twenty four parts gold in twenty four; 100% gold

Vermeil
Decorative metal finish; gold plating on sterling silver; also know as silver gilt

White Gold
Metal alloy containing gold and nickel or gold and palladium; the white coloured metal stains the gold a straw-white colour; usually plated with rhodium for durability and whiteness

White metal
Zinc casting alloy or tin casting alloy; also called pot metal

Zamak
Metal alloy or group of alloys of zinc, aluminium, magnesium and copper [kupfer]; acronym and trade name; used in the production of costume jewellery, toys and small metal objects; low melting temperature; usually cast molten into steel dies; can be electroplated; also called zamac, mazac, zinc alloy, kirksite, pot metal, white metal and [in the derogatory] monkey metal

Zircon
Gemstone; naturally occurs in a variety of colours; light blue is most commonly used as gem quality; clear zircon has been used to simulate diamond; Moh’s hardness scale 7-7.5; brittle and easily chipped