Alloy - This is a mixture of
2 or more metals, for example 9ct gold is an alloy because
the gold has been mixed with other metals to enhance its
strength and durability.
Amber - This is the fossilized
and hardened resin of trees. Mostly golden yellow through
to golden orange in colour, it often contains tiny air-bubbles
or other particles of foreign matter trapped when it was
Amethyst - This gemstone is
found in various shades of purple and is the most valued
member of the quartz family of stones. It is the birthstone
for February and is said to bring luck and to guard against
Aquamarine - This gemstone
is found in various shades of blue, from light blue through
to blue-green. It is this sea water colour that gives it
its name. It is the birthstone for March.
Baguette Cut - A rectangular
style of step cut used for gemstones.
Bail - The attachment at the
top of a pendant which allows it to hang from a chain.
Also known as a pendant runner.
Band - A type of ring which
is an equal width all the way round. They are traditionally
used for wedding rings.
Bangle - A rigid bracelet
that is slipped over the hand or clasped in place on the
wrist. They can be plain precious metal, be decorated with
patterns, or be set with gemstones. Click
here to see our range of bangles.
Bar Setting - In this style
of setting precious metal bars hold the gemstone in place
by the girdle.
Bar and Ring Clasp - This
type of clasp has a bar which is inserted into a large
ring on the other end of the necklace or bracelet. It is
also known as a “toggle clasp”.
Bevelled - The name given
to an angled section on the surface of an item of jewellery,
such as a ring.
Bezel - Used to mount settings
to ring shanks.
Bezel Setting - A precious
metal disc used to encircle the girdle of a gemstone, or
the edge of a coin, holding it in place securely on the
Birthstone - Each month has
a particular gemstone associated with it. Each stone is
thought to be lucky for the person born in that month.
The birthstones are:
February = Amethyst
March = Aquamarine
April = Diamond
May = Emerald
June = Pearl
July = Ruby
August = Peridot
September = Sapphire
October = Opal
November = Topaz
December = Turquoise
Body Jewellery - Conventionally
used to describe jewellery for pierced parts of the body
other than the ears as well as new fashionable items such
as toe rings.
Bolt Ring - A circular clasp
frequently used for fastening necklaces and bracelets.
Box Clasp - A hollow, box-like
clasp with a groove into which a metal tongue is inserted
and clicked securely into place.
Box Setting - In this setting
the gemstone is enclosed in a “box”, the edges of which
are pressed down onto the girdle of the stone to hold it
securely in place. The surface of the setting is smooth
and less likely to be caught and snagged.
Bracelet - An item of jewellery
worn on the wrist. They can be of plain precious metal,
decorated designs of precious metal or set with stones.
Common types of bracelets are: chain-link bracelets such
as curb and figaro; rope bracelets; herringbone bracelets;
charm bracelets; gate bracelets; fancy-link bracelets;
and tennis bracelets.Click
here to see our range of bracelets.
Brilliance - This is the sparkle
that is seen in a gemstone when it is held up to the light.
It is caused by the reflection of “white”light back from
a gemstone, both from its surface and from within. The
more “white” light reflected back, the greater the brilliance.
The brilliance of a gemstone is influenced by its cut,
its proportions, its polish, its transparency and its physical
and chemical make-up.
Brilliant Cut - This round
cut is the most common and popular style of cut for diamonds,
and many other gemstones. This is because it has been designed
with 57 carefully proportioned facets to maximise the amount
of light reflected and refracted by the gemstone. Below
is a diagram showing a brilliant cut diamond and its facets:
Brooch - A brooch (also called
a pin) is an ornament that can be pinned to a garment. Click
here to see our range of brooches.
Brushed Finish - A textured
finish on jewellery, where a series of tiny parallel lines
are scratched on the surface of the metal.
Butterflies - Also known as
a scroll, these attachments slide onto the post of an earring
to hold it securely in place in the earlobe.
Cabachon - A smooth and dome
Carat - This is often abbreviated
as “ct” and has two separate meanings:
- It is the unit of weight measurement for gemstones,
whereby one carat is equal to one-fifth of a gram. A
carat is divided into points, and there are 100 points
in a carat, so 25 points is equal to ¼ carat.
It is one of the four characteristics that influence
the value of a diamond.
- It is the term used to describe the purity of gold
alloy used in an item of jewellery. With pure gold being
rated as 24 carat, the most common standards of gold
alloy used in jewellery are:
- 9ct gold, which 37.5% pure gold (or 375 parts
pure gold and 625 parts other metals).
- 14ct gold, which is 58.5% pure gold (or 585 parts
pure gold to 415 parts other metals).
- 18ct gold, which is 75% pure gold (or 750 parts
pure gold and 250 parts other metals).
- 22ct gold, which is 91.6% pure gold (or 916
parts pure gold and 84 parts other metals).
The carat of gold used in an item of jewellery is illustrated
in its hallmark.
Chain - A length of connected
loops, links, rings or beads used to create a necklet or
bracelet. There are various types of chain, with the most
popular being: the curb link, flat round or oval links;
the belcher link, round or oval links that don't lie flat;
the figaro link, a series of alternating short and long
links in different combinations; the box link, solid square
links; the snake chain; and the rope chain.
Chandelier Earring -
A style of earring that hangs down from the ear lobe and
dangles like a chandelier. Click
here to see our range of chandelier earrings.
Channel Setting - This is
where the stones are held side-by-side between two strips
of precious metal. Channel set gemstones sit flush with
the mounting so are less likely to be caught and snagged.
Charm Bracelet - A bracelet
which has, or can have, small charms attached to its links. Click
here to see our range of charm bracelets.
Chevron Setting - In this
style of setting, “V” shaped claws hold the gemstone in
place. It is used at the points of marquise cut gemstones.
Clarity - One of the four
characteristics that influence the value of a diamond.
A diamond's clarity is determined by the degree to which
it is free from naturally occurring inclusions, or “nature's
fingerprints”. The number, type, colour, size and position
of these “birthmarks” can affect the value. However, many
of these inclusions are actually invisible to the naked
eye and require magnification under an eyeglass before
they can be seen. The fewer the inclusions, the rarer the
diamond and thus the more valuable it is.
Clasp - Any type of attachment
that is used to join one end of a piece of jewellery to
the other, usually bracelets and necklets. The most commonly
used clasps in jewellery are: the bolt ring; the lobster
claw; the box clasp; the bar and ring clasp; and the fold-over
Claw - A precious metal prong
used to hold a gemstone in place.
Claw Setting - A series of
precious metal prongs, or “claws”, designed to hold a gemstone
securely in place whilst allowing maximum light to reach
Clip-on Earrings - Earrings
that are designed for people who do not have their ears
pierced. The earring is held in-place on the lobe by a
Cluster Ring - A ring which
has a collection, or “cluster”, of gemstones arranged in
a decorative design. Common cluster patterns are the “daisy
cluster”, which resembles the flower of a daisy, and the “boat
cluster”, which resembles the shape of a boat as viewed
Creole Earring - A hoop style
earring, often elongated, for pierced ears. They are frequently
highly decorated and have a secure bar and clip fastener
Cross - A pendant in the shape
of a cross. It can be plain or patterned metal, or set
Crown - The upper part of
a faceted gemstone above the girdle.
Cubic Zirconia - A hard and
relatively inexpensive stone, created in laboratories and
often cut to resemble a diamond. Although most commonly
colourless, it is available in different colours such as
pink and purple.
Cut - One of the four characteristics
that determine the value of a diamond, and the only one
that can actually be influenced by man.
Diamanté - Diamanté stones
(or Rhinestones) are highly reflective glass made to imitate
gemstones. The originals were colourless quartz obtained
from the River Rhine, which were cut in an attempt to resemble
diamonds. The finest diamanté today is made of highly
reflective lead glass, which is facetted and polished. Click
here to see our range of diamante jewellery
Diamond - The most valuable
and treasured of all gemstones. Its name refers to its
hardness, nothing is comparable so it is virtually imperishable,
hence the saying “a diamond is forever”. Diamonds are the
birthstone for April. Only about 20% of all diamonds mined
are good enough to be used in jewellery. A diamond's value
is directly linked to its quality which is measured by
4 characteristics, its: carat; cut; colour; and clarity
(known as “the four C's”).
Diamond Cut - A pattern of
angled cuts on the surface of an item of jewellery which
gives it a decorative finish.
Dress Ring - A ring which
is worn purely as a fashion accessory. It can be either
plain or set with gemstones.
Drop Earring - A style of
earring that hangs below the earlobe.Click
here to see our range of drop earrings.
Earring - An item of jewellery
worn in, or on, the earlobe. Nowadays most earrings are
for pierced ears, however there are still clip-on and screw-back
earrings for those who do not have pierced ears. Earrings
come in a variety of different styles, including: studs;
drop earrings; chandelier earrings; stud earrings; hoops
earrings; creoles; and wedding bands. Click here to see
our range of earrings.
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 - A green gemstone
and the most precious of the beryl group. The emerald cut
is the most popular, and most practical, cut for showing
off the beauty of this gemstone, hence the name. The emerald
is the birthstone for May.
Emerald Cut - A type of cut,
octagonal in shape, with rows of step cuts along the edges
and at the corners. It is most frequently used on emeralds
Enamel - An opaque, glassy
material which is attached to the metal on an item of jewellery
to give it decoration.
Engagement Ring - A gemstone
set ring used to symbolise a strong commitment of love.
Diamonds are the most popular choice of gemstone because
of their value and traditional symbolism of lasting love,
with the solitaire design being the favourite choice. An
engagement ring is traditionally worn on the third finger
of the left hand, because it was believed that the vein
from this finger ran directly to the heart.
Engraving - Commonly
used for decoration and inscriptions on trophies or presentation
plaques. The recipient's name, date and further details
are engraved onto the surface. The technique can
be used to create intricate design motifs as well as inscriptions.
Eternity Ring - A gemstone
set ring often used to show a long-term commitment of love.
Although often bought as an accompaniment to the wedding
and engagement ring, it can be worn on its own as a dress
piece. Eternity rings come in several distinctive designs:
1) The full eternity, which has gemstones set around the
2) The half eternity, which has stone set on the upper half of the ring.
3) The wishbone, which has the stones arranged in a wishbone shape on the upper
half of the ring.
4) The shaped eternity, which is specially designed to comfortably fit next
to a solitaire ring.
5) The crossover eternity, which has two thin bands which cross over each other.
Usually only one of the bands is stone set.
Facet - One of the flat, polished
surfaces on a cut gemstone. They are cut to help enhance
the gemstone's reflection of light so that its brilliance
and beauty are increased.
Faceting - The cutting and
polishing of the surface of a gemstone into a distinctive,
and specifically proportioned, pattern of flat panels,
or “ facets”. This is done with the intention of increasing
the stone's reflection of light and its brilliance.
Fancy Cut - These are cuts
of gemstones which are unusual and decorative, for example
the heart cut and the half-moon cut.
Faux - A
term meaning imitation. For example, "faux pearls" is
often used to describe simulated pearls.
Filigree - The fine lace-like
decoration sometimes found on jewellery. It is created
from delicately arranged and intertwined precious metal
French Clip - An
alternative to a pierced earring, it incorporates a spring
clip (tension on the ear is provided by a spring-loaded
pad) and a pad-tipped screw, which adjusts the tension
of the spring clip.
Four C's - The factors that
influence the value of a diamond. They are: the carat;
the clarity; the colour; and the cut.
Garnet - Garnets are most
frequently reddish brown in colour, butthe garnet is actually
part of a family of different coloured minerals with the
same chemical make-up. Garnets can be found in various
colours including: blood red; orange; dark red; pinkish
red; and green. Garnet is the birthstone for January.
Gate Bracelet - A bracelet
made up of a series of interlinked barred sections called “gates”.
The “gates” can be made up of any number of bars, but the
more bars, the wider the bracelet. Traditionally the gate
bracelet is fastened by a heart-shaped padlock which has
a safety chain running through it.
Gemstone - A natural gemstone
is a mineral or an organic object which can be cut, polished
or otherwise treated for use in jewellery. A precious gemstone,
such as diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald, possess brilliance,
beauty, durability and rarity. A semi-precious gemstone,
such as quartz and turquoise, possess one or two of these
Girdle - The narrow band around
the widest part of a polished or faceted gemstone. It separates
the crown and the pavilion.
Gold - A precious metal, yellow
in its natural state but its exact colour depends on the
amount and type of impurities. It is a very soft and malleable
metal and when used in jewellery it is alloyed with other
metals to increase its hardness and durability. It is also
alloyed into different colours, most notably white gold.
The gold used in jewellery is defined by the proportion
of pure gold to other metals and is expressed in terms
of its carat.
Hallmark - This is the authorised
stamp from an assay office which is found on items of gold,
silver and platinum. The hallmark indicates the authenticity
and standard of the precious metal and is awarded after
independent tests by the official assay offices at London,
Birmingham, Sheffield or Edinburgh.
Hardness - This is an important
quality of a gemstone because it influences how hard-wearing
it is. A gemstone's hardness is measured by how resistant
it is to being scratched. It is measured using the Mohs
scale of hardness, whereby one substance is harder than
another if it can scratch it.
Hoop Earring - A circular-
shaped earring made from precious metal wire or tubing. Click
here to see our range of hoop earrings.
Jump Ring - A circular ring,
with a split in it, used for joining two other links or
rings before being soldered or pressed shut. Commonly used
on the end of a necklet or bracelet for the clasp to clip
Lariat Necklace - An open-ended
necklace with no clasp. It is fastened by threading one
end of the necklace through the other. Lariat necklaces
frequently have beads or tassels at the end.
Links - The series of loops
that make up a chain or bracelet. They can be of different
designs, both plain and fancy.
Lobster Claw Clasp - A clasp,
resembling the claw of a lobster, which has a spring-loaded
Locket - A pendant, usually
heart-shaped or oval, which can be opened to store photos
or other trinkets.
Lustre - The shine or look
of a gemstone due to the reflection of #light off its surface.
Master Cut - A unique cut
produced exclusively for members of the Company of Master
Jewellers (CMJ).It features 16 more facets than the traditional
Marquise Cut - An oval cut
with tapered, pointed ends.
Matte Finish - A frosted,
non-shiny surface effect on jewellery.
Mother-of-Pearl - The inside
part of a mollusc's shell which has an iridescent quality
due to a coating of nacre.
Nacre - A substance secreted
by a mollusc to coat the inside of its shell and during
the formation of pearls. It has an iridescent quality which
makes pearls and mother-of-pearl so lustrous.
Natural - Something which
is found in nature rather than being artificial or man-made.
Necklace - A
piece of jewellery worn around the neck. Click
here to see our range of necklaces.
Necklace Set - A
necklace with matching earrings. Click
here to see our range of necklace sets.
Necklet - A short necklace
or chain - less than 18 inches in length.
Opal - A gemstone made of
hardened silica gel. It is the birthstone for October.
There are two types of opal:
1) Precious Opals – these
opals have a rainbow-like iridescence which changes as
the stone is angled under light, known as opalescence.
There are two groups of precious opals. The first are white,
or milky, opals which are the most commonly used for jewellery.
The second are black opals, whose basic colour is dark
grey, dark blue, dark green or grey-black.. Dark black
opals are very rare.
2) Fire Opals – these are named after their orange
colour. They do not opalesce and are best when clear and transparent.
Organic - A material made
by or derived from a living organism.
Pavilion - The lower portion
of a faceted gemstone below the girdle.Pave Setting - This
is where the surface of an item of jewellery is encrusted
with gemstones, typically diamonds. It produces a pavement
of stones, hence the name.
Pear Cut - A teardrop shaped
cut, commonly used for pendants and drop earrings.
Pearl - These are organic
gemstones which grow within molluscs, particularly oysters
and mussels. The most valuable pearls are large, symmetrical,
naturally produced and have a shimmering iridescence. Pearls
vary in colour from white, through white with a hint of
colour (usually pink), to brown, grey and even black, depending
upon the mollusc and the water in which it lives. There
are several types of pearl:
1) Natural Pearls - occurring
naturally with no human interference.
2) Cultured Pearls - where a piece of mother-of
pearl or a small bead is inserted artificially into a mollusc to start the
process in a controlled way. Most pearls found in jewellery today are cultured
3) Freshwater Pearls - produced by molluscs living
in rivers and lakes. They are quite irregular and elongated in shape. They
are popular in jewellery because of their shape and excellent value.
4) Seed Pearls - tiny pearls used in smaller items
5) Blister pearls - this is where the pearl is
attached to the inside of the shell.
Pearl is the birthstone for June.
Pendant - A hanging ornament
on a chain. Click
here to see our range of pendants.
Pendant Sets - A pendant with
matching earrings. Click
here to see our range of pendant sets.
Peridot - A gemstone with
a distinctive green colouring. It is the birthstone for
Pierced Earrings - Earrings
designed for wear in ears that are pierced. A post or wire
is passed through the earlobe.
Platinum - Of the three precious
metals, platinum is the rarest and most valuable. It is
silvery-grey to white in colour and, unlike silver, it
does not tarnish when exposed to the atmosphere. It is
slightly more dense than gold and about twice as dense
as silver. To make it easier to use, the platinum used
in jewellery is an alloy containing 95% pure platinum and
5% other metals (or 950 parts platinum to 50 parts other
Point - A point is another
way of measuring a diamond's weight. A carat is equivalent
to 100 points, therefore half a carat is 50 points, a quarter
carat is 25 points and so on.
Polished - A smooth and glossy
effect on the surface of a gemstone or precious metal to
remove flaws and increase its shine.
Post - The pin-like part of
an earring that passes through the pierced earlobe. It
is usually held in place by a butterfly.
Precious metals - Also known
as “noble metals”, these are silver, gold and platinum.
Princess Cut - A square cut
gemstone. Relatively new in design and highly popular.
Reflection - When light bounces
back off the surface of something, such as a diamond. When
combined with refraction it produces a diamond's fire.
Refraction - When light is
bent as it enters a gemstone, such as a diamond. A stone's
cut and clarity can influence its refraction. When combined
with reflection it produces a diamond's fire.
Rhodium - A white metallic
element. A rhodium finish is usually applied to white gold
to give it greater and brighter whiteness.
Ring - A piece of jewellery
worn on the fingers or, sometimes, toes. They are used
for dress and fashion purposes or to show a commitment
of love. Some common gemstone set rings are: solitaire
rings; eternity rings; cluster rings; two-stone rings;
trilogy rings; and pave rings. Click
here to see our range rings.
Rope Chain - A style of chain
where the links are intertwined to make it look like a
length of rope.
Rose Gold - An alloy of gold
and copper, which gives the gold a reddish colour.
Ruby - A gemstone of the corundum
family, which can be any shade of red from pinkish to almost
brownish. Along with sapphire, it is the hardest gemstone
after diamond. It is the birthstone for July and has a
very regal history.
Safety Chain - A fine chain
attached to a necklet, bracelet or brooch which provides
extra security in case the catch opens.
Sapphire - A gemstone from
the same corundum mineral family as the ruby, and the birthstone
for September. In fact, any gem quality corundum stone
that is not red is a sapphire. Although traditionally blue
in colour, sapphires can also be colourless or vary in
colour from yellow, through green, to pink.
Satin Finish - A textured
finish on the surface of precious metal which has a soft
lustre rather than a shine. It can be produced by brushing,
sandblasting or chemically altering the surface of
Scintillation - The mirror-like
reflections of light from the facets of a cut gemstone
as it is turned in the light.
Screw-back - A vice-like clamp
that is used to hold some non-pierced earrings in place
by means of a screw that can be tightened against the earlobe.
the precious metal.
Setting - The method of securing
a gemstone in a piece of jewellery. There are a variety
of different settings used to mount gemstones in pieces
of jewellery, some common ones are: the claw setting; the
bezel setting; the channel setting; the pave setting; the
bar setting; the chevron setting; the Tiffany setting;
the box setting; and the illusion setting. Below are examples
of some of these settings:
Shank - The round body of
a ring that encircles the finger.
Shoulders - The upper part
of a ring that joins the shank and the setting. They are
often decorated, set with gemstones, or have a v-like split
Silver - A precious metal
with a characteristic silver / white colour and a metallic
lustre. It is alloyed with other metals to form “Sterling
Silver” when used in jewellery because it is quite soft.
Simulated - Artificial gemstones
used to “simulate” natural gemstones. Gemstones in order
to make more affordable jewellery, for example simulated
Snake Chain - A chain composed
of a series of small linked cups.
Solitaire - A single gemstone,
usually a diamond, featured in a simple setting.
Step-Cut - A cut in which the facets are parallel to the
girdle of the gemstone.
Sterling Silver - A high quality
alloy of silver used in jewellery. It contains a minimum
of 92.5% pure silver (or 925 parts pure silver to 75 parts
Synthetic - A manmade gemstone
that has the same physical, opticalGemstone and chemical
properties of its natural counterpart. They are often very
bright in colour and very clear.
Table - The top horizontal
facet on the crown of a faceted gemstone.
Tennis Bracelet - A flexible
chain-like made up of evenly matched gemstones.
Tiffany Setting - A round
six-pronged claw setting. The claws are long and slender
and flare out from the base of the setting. It is a style
of setting made popular by the jewellers Tiffany & Co
of New York.
Topaz - Birthstone of the
month for November, and can be found in a range of colours
including yellow, pink, green and blue, as well as being
colourless. Colourless topaz can be easily heat-treated
and irradiated into a range of blues. Blue topaz and sky-blue
topaz are the most popular colours found in jewellery,
and are particularly attractive when set in white gold.
Trilogy Ring - A ring set
with three gemstones, either in a row or on a twist. The
stones represent the trilogy of the past, the present and
Turquoise - Birthstone of
the month for December. This semi-precious gemstone has
an intense colour varying from sky-blue to green.
Two-Stone Ring - A ring with
two individual gemstones set in it, usually on a twist,
Wedding Ring - A band of precious
metal, usually gold or platinum, used to symbolise the
union of two people in marriage. The band can be plain,
patterned, two coloured gold, diamond set, have bevelled
edges and even shaped to fit comfortably with an engagement
ring. There are several profiles of wedding ring available:
1) D-Shaped - This has a curved
outer surface of the ring and a flat inner surface.
2) Court - This has curved outer surface and a
curved inner surface. These are much thicker and heavier than their D-shaped
counterparts, and much more comfortable to wear because the inside of the ring
is not flat against the finger and so causes less irritation.
3) Flat - This has a flat outer and inner surface.
White Gold - An alloy of yellow
gold that has been bleached using silver, zinc or platinum
as a whitening agent. It is rhodium-plated to give extra
whiteness and shine.