Jewelry Glossary

ALLOY: Combination of metals fused together. A base metal mixed with a precious ore to make it workable, to harden it, or to change its color.

AURORA BOREALIS (AB) – A name for faceted glass beads that have an added iridescent coating.

AUSTRIAN CRYSTAL – An imitation, diamond look-alike. 32% lead oxide crystal made in Austria. May be colored

BAGUETTE: A narrow, rectangular-cut stone.

BAIL – A metal triangle used to attach a bead or pendant to a necklace.

BAROQUE – An imitation pearl with an uneven shape or surface.

BEZEL: A setting for a stone that has a collar instead of prongs to secure the stone

BLUE TOPAZ: A topaz that is light brown or colorless when mined, but turns a vivid blue when exposed to heat. Blue topaz is an alternate birthstone for December

BIB – Multiple strands of stones, each shorter than the one below, nested together in one necklace.

BRASS: An alloy made up of roughly half copper and half zinc which has a nice yellow color.

BRILLIANT CUT : The standard round brilliant cut consists of a total of 58 facets: 1 table, 8 bezel facets, 8 star facets and 16 upper-girdle facets on the crown; 8 pavilion facets, 16 lower-girdle facets, and usually a culet on the pavilion, or base. Although the brilliant style was devised to give maximum brilliance and fire, many stones cut in this fashion do not have ideal proportions or angles for that purpose. Modifications of the round brilliant include such fancy shapes as the marquise, half moon, pear shape and many others. See also “Round Cut”. BRIOLETTE:A pear-shaped stone that is faceted and drilled to hang like a bead.

BROOCH: A large pin; an ornamental piece of jewelry with a pin and clasp to be attached to clothing. It’s from the French word “broche” which means “to pierce,” or an object/weapon made for piercing.

BRONZE: A very dense and heavy alloy of 60% copper and 40% tin. It has a dull brown color and is not favored for jewelry because of its weight.

BRUSHED FINISH: Brushed finish, also known as “satin” finish, is a texturing technique that can be used on metals where a series of tiny parallel lines are scratched onto the surface with a wire brush or polishing tool. The finish is semi-matte and may or may not show brushstrokes.

CABOCHON (pronounced cab-oh-shawn): A dome-shaped stone without facets

CAMEO – A gemstone carved with a design that is usually two colors. The carving is raised above a contrasting colored background. Usually on a brooch showing a head in profile.

CARAT – The unit of weight (not a unit of size!) for a diamond or other stone. Equal to 200 milligrams or 1/5 of a gram. One carat is equal to 100 points. So 75 points weighs .75 carats. One carat of a dense stone will be smaller than one carat of a lighter stone. For example, a one carat sapphire is smaller than a one carat diamond.

CASTING: Method of shaping metal by melting and then pouring into hollow mold. The casted piece is slightly more porous, with a rough surface that requires additional polishing and finishing.

CHANNEL SETTING: Stone setting method that fits stones of uniform size into a channel to form a continuous strip.

CHATON CUT: Round crystal jewelry stone shape with 12 facets on the pointed back.

CRYSTAL: There are two basic kinds of crystal – rock crystal and man-made. Rock crystal is the common name for the silicate mineral, quartz, which is a semi- precious stone that occurs in nature. Man-made crystal is produced from a mixture of quartz and, soda, potash, and lead oxide. Swarovski is a man-made crystal. Oddly enough, rock crystal has nowhere near the color or brilliance of manufactured crystal.

CHOKER – A 14″-15″ necklace that should nestle around the base of the neck.

CLARITY – Relative freedom from internal inclusions or surface blemishes.

CROWN – The upper portion of a gem or stone.

CRYSTALS – Man-made stones. The finest crystals are made in Austria. Austrian crystals are cut with facets like gemstones, but usually have a foil back to give the stone luster. Most often they are not used in an open setting.

COPPER: A common, reddish-brown metallic element, Copper is the only metal which occurs abundantly in large masses as opposed to small veins or nuggets that must be mined out of other rocks. It is also found in various ores such as chalcopyrite, chalcocite, cuprite, and malachite. When alloyed with tin it forms bronze, and when alloyed with zinc it forms brass. Copper is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity and is widely used for electrical wiring as well as water piping and corrosion-resistant parts. When in moist conditions, a greenish layer forms on the outside. It has been extracted and used for thousands of years.

CORAL: Coral is a form of calcium carbonate, (like aragonite or marble), secreted in long chains by coral polyps who live in colonies under the ocean. Coral can be found all over the world, but the bulk of coral used in jewelry making has always come from the waters off Sardinia and the coast of Sicily in the Mediterranean. Coral comes in colors from vivid orange, red, and white, to salmon and pale pink (called angelskin coral). In jewelry making coral is either carved into beads,cameos, and other forms, or is left in its natural branch-like form and just polished. During the mid-Victorian era large cameo brooches of coral finely carved in high-relief floral sprays or faces were popular. It used to be thought that coral protected the wearer, so it was a traditional gift to children. Since it is composed of calcium carbonate, real coral will effervesce if touched with acid (like lemon juice). Imitation coral is made from glass, porcelain, or plastic and will not effervesce when touched with acid.

CUBIC ZIRCONIA – A man-made crystal grown under tremendous heat. CZs are created using zirconium oxide melted at a constant temperature of more than 5000 degrees F. When cooled, this material forms a crystallized, diamond-hard, diamond-brilliant, cubic material. This material is then cut and polished to the exact specifications of gem quality diamonds. Developed by the Russians for their laser programs. Cubic zirconia reflects light like a diamond, and has a hardness very close to that of a diamond. While CZs will cut glass, only a diamond will scratch a CZ. The quality of the cut and size of the stone determine the value of the CZ. CZs weigh about 60% more than diamonds.

CUT – The cut determines the brilliance of a stone. If properly cut, the stone reflects light from one facet to another, to be dispersed through the top of the stone. Also called “make.” Often, cut is used in describing the shape of the stone.

ENAMEL – A powdered glass coloring which is applied to a metal and heated to bond it together.

ENHANCER – A pendant attachment which opens to allow the pendant to be placed on pearls, beads or a chain.

ELECTRO-PLATING: the process of applying a metal (most often gold) to adhere to the surface of another metal using electrical current.

EMERALD CUT: A form of “step cutting.” It usually is rectangular, but sometimes is square, in which case it is known as a square emerald cut. It has rows (steps) of elongated facets on the crown and pavilion, parallel to the girdle, with sets on each of four sides and at the corners. The number of rows, or steps, may vary, although the usual number is three on the crown and three on the pavilion. The emerald cut is seldom used for diamonds in the intermediate color grades since it tends to emphasize color. It is excellent, however, for colorless stones and when it is desirable to emphasize the color of fancy colors.

ETERNITY RING – A type of ring set with a row of gemstones around the band. The stones are all of the same size and cut. The stones may be individually set in prongs or channel set. Also called an Anniversary band.

EURO-WIRES – A closure for pierced earrings. A curved wire passes through the ear and attaches to the backside of the earring.

FACET – One of the small, flat surfaces of a cut stone. Facets are of many shapes and sizes, depending on the cut of the stone.

FAUX – Imitation, false, fake. Sometimes abbreviate with f. as in f. pearl.

FILIGREE – A type of decoration in metal that is made with twisted or braided gold or silver wire. This forms an intricate, delicate design.

FLORENTINE – Lines are cut into the surface of a piece, close together and evenly spaced to produce a tree’s bark-like texture. A brushed or striated appearance.

FRENCH CLIP – A pierced earring that has an open clip to secure the earring rather than a detached earring back.

FRENCH SCREWBACK – For non-pierced ears. A small clamp holds the earring to the ear with a screw that can be tightened.

FRESHWATER PEARL – Irregularly shaped pearls grown in mollusks found in lakes and rivers.

GARNET: A family of stones having many varieties differing in color and in their constituents, but all are silicates with the same isometric crystallization and conforming to the same general chemical formula. Garnet is a very commonly found in gneiss and mica slate. The name is derived from its resemblance in color and shape to the seeds of the pomegranate. The most common color of garnets range from light red to violet or plum-red, but can also be white, green, yellow, brown, and black varieties. Known varieties of garnet include Andradite, Tsavorite, Grossularite, Essonite, Pyrope, Almandine, Spessartite, Melanite, Allochroite, Ouvarovite, Demantoid, and Rhodalite. (See individual listings). Garnets have a hardness that varies between 6-8 on the Mohs scale. It is believed that the wearer of garnets was kept in good health and protected while traveling. Garnets are worn to signify truth and faith. Red garnet is the birthstone for January.

GIRDLE – The edge around a stone that separates the crown and pavilion.

GLASS PEARL – A man-made pearl that is made of glass and is coated with nacre, the same material that coats a genuine pearl. Glass pearls have a substantial feel and weight, and are cool to the touch, much like genuine pearls. Landau glass pearls are the finest man-made pearls.

GOLD – A precious metal, often mixed with other metals to give it strength and lessen the price. Yellow gold has alloys of copper, silver, and zinc. White gold has alloys of nickel copper and zinc. Pure gold is 24 karats and is too soft for use in most jewelry. Also see karats.

GOLD FILLED – Covered with layers of 14K or 18K gold joined to a base metal and rolled to the desired thickness. Usually abbreviated g.f. Lower in gold content than 10K.

GOLD PLATED OR GOLD TONE – Base metal covered with a thin layer of gold. The gold is plated onto the metal through electrolysis.

Gold Washed: Products that have an extremely thin layer of gold, (less than .175 microns thick), applied by either dipping or burnishing the metal, but not plating it. This will wear away more quickly than pieces that are gold-plated, gold-filled, or gold electroplated.

GRADUATED – A necklace where the stones taper downward in size from the large pearls in the center.

INLAY: A decorative technique in which part of the surface of a piece of jewelry, furniture, or ceramic is cut away and stone, mother of pearl, or some other substance is imbedded into the hollowed-out area so that it is level with the surface of the piece.

INTAGLIO – A design engraved into a stone. The background is the highest area, with the design carved into it. It is the opposite of a cameo.

IRIDESCENT: A display of lustrous rainbow-like colors. The colors seen in an oil slick or mother of pearl are good examples of iridescence

IVORY: A hard, smooth yellowish-white substance made from the tusks of elephants and walruses. There are different laws for different types of ivory depnding on whether the animal us endangered or not. Estate African elephant ivroy can be sold within the US, but Asian elephant ivory cannot be bought, traded, sold, imported or exported in the US.

JACKET – A decorative addition to be worn with a stud earring. The jacket has a hole that the post of the stud is inserted into to hold both securely.

JADE: An opaque semiprecious gemstone which is usually found in shades of green, but can be also be found in lavender and rose shades.It’s a traditional stone in China where it has been mined since 6000 BCE.

JADEITE: A hard, translucent variety of jade which is rarer than the other varieties of nephrite and comes in a variety of colors such as orange, pink, yellow, brown, blue, violet, and black.

JASPER: is an opaque, impure, cryptocrystalline variety of quartz that may be red, yellow, or brown. It breaks with a smooth surface and can be highly polished like marble. Varieties of jasper include Fancy Jasper, Picture Jasper, Poppy Jasper, Red Jasper, and Striped (or Banded) Jasper.

JET: (also called “black amber”): A stone of petrified coal. A dense black variety of lignite (fossilized coal) that can be highly polished and is often made into mourning jewelry, Zuni inlay, toys, buttons, etc.

KARAT – The measure of fineness of gold. 24K is pure gold and is far too soft for use in most jewelry. Other metals are added for strength — most commonly, silver, copper, nickel and zinc. 14K and 18K are most often used for jewelry. Using 24K as a basis, the karats signify what proportion of pure gold to alloy is in the piece. 18K has 18 parts gold and 6 parts other alloys. 18/24=75% Thus, 18k gold is approximately 75% gold. 18K has a darker color than 14K, which has zinc added for strength. 14K is approximately 60% pure gold (14/24). 9K has the same properties as 14K, but with additional metals added. It is approximately 40% pure gold. All gold is stamped with the number of karats. Europeans sometimes stamp with 420 (14K) or 750 (18K).

LALIQUE – Unpolished crystal, which is transparent glass made of lead. It was named after Rene Lalique, a French designer who specialized in crystal pieces.

LARIAT – A necklace fashioned like a lasso, forming a loop with a tassel hanging from it at the closure.

LEVER BACK – A pierced earring on a wire with a hinged closure.

LOBSTER CLAW – A sturdy clasp resembling the claw of a lobster.

LUSTER – Also referred to as brilliance. Luster is the surface shine that gives pearls their glow. The sharper the reflection of light in the pearl, the higher the luster.

MABE – A half-sphere or domed stone, usually a faux pearl, which is cultured against the inside shell of the oyster.

MARQUIS CUT: (pronounced Mar-KEYS): Faceted, elongated oval stone, which tapers to a point at both ends; named for the Marquise de Pompadour, Mistress of King Louis XV (sometimes also called “Navette cut”).

MATINEE LENGTH: A necklace which is 30 to 35 inches long.

MATTE: On jewelry with a matte finish the designer uses either a chemical process or an abrasive material to scratch the top layers of the piece, creating a dull and non-reflective surface. Also referred to as having a “brushed” or “satin” finish.

MINAUDIERE – A metal-based evening handbag covered in crystals. From the French word meaning “a coquettish air” or “to simper.”

MOONSTONE: A transparent, slightly iridescent, milky white variety of feldspar with white or light blue opalescent spots. Moonstone is considered a good luck stone, especially for lovers.

MOSAIC: A design created by pressing pieces of stone, glass, or ceramic tiles, (called tesserae), into mortar.

MOYHER-OF-PEARL: The pearlescent material on the inside of mollusk shells like abalone, oysters, and mussels. This material can be scraped off, sliced thin, and used as inlay on a variety of jewelry.

MOUNT: To place or fix a stone in a setting.

MOUNTING: A piece of metal that holds a gem in place.

NACRE: The shiny, iridescent substance secreted by a mollusk as a response to an irritant, like a piece of sand. Over time layers of nacre build up to become a pearl.

NAJA: (or “Najah”) (pronounced Na-Ha): From the Navajo word “Najahe”, meaning “crescent”: A crescent-shaped silver ornament believed to go back to Moorish designs that was originally a forehead pendant on horse bridles. It is now commonly found pendant from the bottom of a squash blossom necklace. (see also “Squash Blossom”)

OMEGA – A flexible, flat link chain that forms a solid surface.

OMEGA-BACK EARRING – A post pierced earring with an O shaped clip to hold the post in place. A.K.A. French back.

ONYX: A semi precious stone that is black or white in color lends itself to flat jewelry creation such as cameos, since it has a layered structure. Onyx belongs to the “chalcedony” family of minerals, which are somewhat porous stones. It has a hardness of between 6.5- 7 on the Mohs Scale.

OPAL: Opals, known for their iridescent, luminous qualities, are adored by many. Opals contain a large amount of water and need to be cared for properly since experts warn of potential cracking. This semi precious stone contains a wide-ranging mixture of colors that produce a fire-like quality, which are actually inclusions which can refract hues in a rainbow of colors. For more information about the history of opals, visit Fabulous Facets Gem History (use your browser’s “back” key to return here)

OPAQUE: (pronounced “oh payk”): Not transparent or translucent. An opaque stone will not allow any light to pass through it.

OPEN BACK SETTING: Setting in which the back of the stone can be seen; if a rhinestone, usually the crystal is unfoiled.

OPERA LENGTH: A necklace which is 48 to 90 inches long.

ORE: A metal bearing mineral from which metal can be profitably mined or extracted.

OVAL CUT: Faceted, elongated stone, round at both ends.

OXIDATION: A chemical process in which a metal, such as silver, is blackened or tarnishes, as a reaction to sulphur and oxygen.

OXIDE: A compound containing one oxygen atom per molecule.

OXIDIZE: The act of combining with oxygen molecules to make an oxide.Oxidized metal is rusted.

OXYGEN: A nonmetallic element that is normally a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that constitutes 28 percent of the Earth’s atmosphere. Oxygen combines with many other elements easily. These compounds are called oxides and make up about half the solid matter on Earth, making oxygen the most abundant element present in the Earth’s crust.

PALLADIUM: A charcoal gray form of platinum found in Russia, South Africa and North America. Palladium has many of the same properties as platinum, such as its resistance to corrosion and versatile applications in jewelry designs. Pieces made with Palladium bear the hallmarks of Pd950 or Pd500.

PASTE: In the context of jewelry, “paste” is a glass-based substance used to simulate gemstones. It has become a slang term for all fake gemstones; paste stones are lead crystals with a high lead content. Paste is more brilliant than glass rhinestones.

PARURE – A set of 3 or more matching pieces.

PAVILION – The bottom portion of a gem.

PILLBOX – A decorative box or shaped container. Usually metal-based, enameled or jeweled. Originally used to hold pills, but now primarily used as a table-top decoration or as a collectors’ item.

POST-BACKS – For pierced ears. A metal post which passes through the ear and fastens with a clutch back disk.

PRONG – Tips or clamps which hold a stone in place.

RAINBOW GREY – A color of gray man-made or genuine pearl that has iridescent tones of blue and purple. Also referred to as a Tahitian pearl.

RHINESTONE – A glass stone, facetted to imitate a diamond.

RHODIUM – A silver-white metallic element in the platinum family. More expensive than pure gold. Used to harden platinum alloys and to achieve the white gold look on jewelry.

RONDELLE – A thin, circular piece of metal or stone that is pierced and strung between beads on a necklace.

Rose Cut: A style of stone cutting that produces a gem with a flat, unfaceted base and a somewhat dome-shaped top that is covered with a varied number of triangular facets and terminates in a point.. This style of cut has been in use since the 16th century. It is an early style of cutting that is thought to have originated in India and to have been brought to Europe by the Venetians. The rose cut is now used primarily on small diamonds.

ROSE FINISH: Jewelry finished so that it has the look of Rose Gold, but no actual gold content.

ROSE GOLD: An alloy of gold mixed with copper, which gives it a red tint.

ROSE QUARTZ: A translucent milky pink variety of Quartz (see also “Quartz”).

ROUND CUT OR BRILLIANT CUT Cut: The most common style of cutting for both diamonds and colored stones. The standard round brilliant consists of a total of 58 facets: 1 table, 8 bezel facets, 8 star facets and 16 upper-girdle facets on the crown; and 8 pavilion facets, 16 lower-girdle facets, and usually a culet on the pavilion, or base. Although the brilliant style was devised to give maximum brilliancy and fire, many stones cut in this fashion do not have ideal proportions or angles for that purpose. Modifications of the round brilliant include such fancy shapes as the marquise, half moon, pear shape and many others.

RUBY: One of the four precious gemstones along with Diamonds, Emeralds and Sapphires. Ruby is a member of the corundum family whose color comes from chromium oxide in the stone. Although corundum can come in many colors, rubies are, by definition, red. Rubies have been synthesized since at least 1890 and can only be distinguished from natural rubies by trained gemologists. Rubies are extremely hard, a 9 on the Mohs scale, second only to diamonds. Fine rubies of good color can be more valuable than diamonds, For centuries, rubies have symbolized beauty, charity, love, passion, power, and royalty. In some countries, engagement rings are set with rubies instead of diamonds. The ruby is the birthstone for July. For more information about the history of rubies, visit Fabulous Facets Gem History (use your browser’s “back” key to return here).

SAFTEY CATCH: One of several means of securing a brooch to a garment. Before the invention of safety catches, the most common means of securing a brooch was a simple “C” catch with no locking mechanism. A safety catch has a swiveling head that locks the tip of the pin stem into the “C” catch.

SAND CASTING: For hundreds of years sand casting was the most popular of all casting methods. It still plays an important role in the production of large metal forms, (typically Iron, but also Bronze, Brass, Aluminum). Tempered sand is packed onto wood or metal pattern halves, removed from the pattern, and metal is poured into resultant cavities. Molds are broken to remove castings.

SAPPHIRE: One of the four precious gemstones. The other three are diamonds, rubies, and emeralds. Sapphire is a member of the corundum family which come in a variety of colors from white to orange to green to pink. If a corundum gemstone is red, it is a ruby, but any other color are properly referred to as sapphires. Sapphires have been synthesized since the 1920’s. Ancient Persians believed the blueness of the sky was caused by the reflection from an enormous blue sapphire that the Earth rested on. Blue sapphire is the birthstone for September.

SCARAB – An Egyptian representation of a beetle carved in stone or gemstone. The bottom is flat with the beetle carved in the rounded upper part of the stone. The scarab is a symbol of immortality.

SCREW BACK: A type of earring attachment for non-pierced ears where the earring is tightened against the earlobe by means of a screw with a flat, round end.

SEED BEAD: Mass produced tiny glass or plastic beads made by slicing tubes into tiny, evenly spaced pieces. This makes them oblong in shape, rather than round, and flat on the ends. Seed beads can be strung together to make a necklace or bracelet, but are commonly used as spacers for larger beads. They can also be strung on a loom to make beaded bands and belts and curtains.

SEED PEARL: A very small pearl popular during the Victorian period as accents set into gold jewelry or woven into long, fringed necklaces called sautoirs; still very popular today, often incorporated into larger designs.

SEMI-PRECIOUS STONES: A stone that is less rare and less expensive than precious stones, but is still valued for its beauty. Examples are peridot and amethyst.Semiprecious: Any gemstones valued for their beauty but which are not one of the four “precious stones”, (emerald, diamond, ruby or sapphire). Some examples of semiprecious stones are amethyst, aventurine, carnelian, garnet, opal, peridot, rose quartz, etc.

SETTING: Setting refers to the mechanism by which a stone is held by precious metal into a mounting. Common settings include bezel, pave’, channel, and prong. Setting can also refer to the part of jewelry in which one or more stones are set.

SETTING: The part of the jewelry into which stones are set. Also refers to the mechanism used to hold the stones in place, such as the bezel, pave’, channel, and prong settings.

SHANK: The part of a ring that encircles the finger, does not include the setting.

SHOULDER: The part of a ring between the shank and the center of the setting.

HEPHERD’S HOOK – A pierced earring that features a long curved wire, shaped like the hook of a shepherd’s staff, which passes through the ear.

STAMPING: Using a punch or die to cut or emboss metal with a mark

STEP CUT: See “Emerald Cut”.

STERLING SILVER: A silver alloy made up of at least 92.5% pure silver. This is the standard fineness for silver, usually designated “.925”. The commonest British standard of silver purity, dating back to the currency in use in England in the 14th century, comprising 92.5% pure silver and the balance of copper and other traces. Now widely accepted as an international standard.

STRASS (or “Strasse”): A brilliant glass with high light refraction and exceptional iridescence, (essentially consisting of a complex borosilicate of lead and potassium), used to manufacture artificial gemstones. Named after its inventor, a German jeweler, F. Stras. See also “Paste” and “Rhinestone”.

SOLITAIRE – Any individual stone in a ring or necklace that is set by itself.

STATIONS – A repeated portion of a design or stone.

STUD – An earring that sits on the earlobe and typically doesn’t fall below the lobe.

SWAROVSKI CRYSTAL: Swarovski crystals are man-made gems manufactured in Austria. In 1892, Daniel Swarovski invented a machine for making precision-cut, beautiful, high quality lead glass crystals using quartz, sand, and minerals. The exact proportions of these raw materials has remained a company secret.

SYNTHETIC STONE: Synthetic stones are man made gemstones, usually produced in a laboratory, which imitate the characteristics of naturally occurring gems. Often they are difficult to distinguish from natural stones, and synthetic gems are almost always created with little or no imperfections.

SYNTHETIC: Gemstones produced in a laboratory rather than found in nature. Synthetic gemstones are not “fake”, since they have exactly the same chemical characteristics as the natural stone, but they are usually flawless and much cheaper than the real thing. The most common synthetic gems are emeralds, rubies, sapphires and opals.

TABLE – The flat surface on the top of a faceted gem.

TANZANITE: A variety of zoisite named after its country of origin, Tanzania, where it was first discovered in 1967 and is still the only place where it can be found. Tanzanite is popular for its brilliance and is known for its varying shades of violet; from deep rich purple to lilac. The gem can be heated to achieve the most sought after shade, a vibrant blue violet. Good quality tanzanite is usually faceted, but the rare pieces that have flaws are simply made into cabochons.

TAPERED BAGUETTE: A small gemstone cut in a trapezoid shape with one end narrower than the opposite end.

TARNISH: A dulled luster or finish caused by a thin deposit of a dirt which discolors the surface of metal and is easily removed. Also a reaction between metals and other chemicals which discolors the surface, particularly silver which reacts with sulfur. The silver sulfide can be removed with a proprietary cleaning product and gentle abrasion. A thin deposit of a dirt which discolors the surface of metal and is easily removed. Also a reaction between metals and other chemicals which discolors the surface, particularly silver which reacts with sulfur (sulfur). The silver sulfide (sulfide) can be removed with a proprietary cleaning product and gentle abrasion.

TANZANITE: A beautiful violet colored crystal stone that derives its name from the gemstone discovered in Tanzania, Africa.This popular gemstone color works very well with a wide range of purples and blues.

TENNIS BRACELET: A bracelet made up of individually set gemstones of uniform size and color linked together like a chain so it is somewhat flexible

TIFFANY SETTING: A generally round, high, six-prong setting with long, slender prongs that flare out from the base introduced by Tiffany & Co. in 1886. It is most commonly used today for large stones such as a diamond solitaire.

TIN: A malleable, silvery metallic element which is not easily oxidized in the air, and so is used chiefly to coat iron to protect it from rusting. It is primarily extracted from the ore cassiterite where it is found as an oxide. Tin is malleable at ordinary temperatures, but brittle when heated and is a part of numerous alloys such as soft solder, pewter, type metal, and bronze. It is most commonly used in the form of tin foil with mercury to form the reflective surface of mirrors.

TOGGLE CLASP: A means of fastening two ends of a chain together consisting of a ring on one end and a short bar on the other. The bar is slid through the ring and sits across it so it does not slide or pull.

TOPAZ: A fluosilicate of aluminum that occurs in rhombohedral crystals and is used as a gemstone. Although it is a hard stone, topaz can be susceptible to breaking. According to some, the name is from Topazos, a small island in the Red Sea, where the Romans obtained a stone which they called by this name, but which is now called chrysolite. Topaz is sought after because it is lustrous, has double refraction and a strong hue. It may be found in many colors, such as blue, brown, clear, green, orange, pink, red, yellow, white. The most valuable topaz is “Imperial” topaz with a golden yellow to orange color. The most popular color is an enhanced blue treated with heat to develop it into a rich “Tiffany” blue color which resembles aquamarine, but is more affordable. Yellow quartz is sometimes called topaz, but is considered “false topaz”. True topaz is said to be the symbol of love and affection to act as a protector by making the wearer invisible in emergencies. Topaz is the birthstone for November. For more information about the history of diamonds, visit Fabulous Facets Gem History (use your browser’s “back” key to return here).

TOPAZ: Topaz is a stone which occurs in many colors, including blue, green, yellow, pink, brown and clear; it is often treated with heat to develop it into a rich “Tiffany” blue color. The most valuable topaz is “Imperial” topaz with a golden yellow to orange color. Although it is a hard stone, topaz can be susceptible to breaking. Topaz is sought after for many reasons, as it is lustrous, has double refraction and a strong hue.

t.w. – Total weight. The combined weight of 2 or more items. In a pair of earrings, t.w. refers to the combined weight of both earrings.

TWO-TONE – A piece of jewelry with more than one color or tone. Typically silver-tone and gold-tone.

VENETIAN GLASS – Italian glass from Venice, usually used for cabochons in a closed setting.

VERMEIL – Sterling silver base over which a layer of 14K to 18K gold has been plated.