Jewelry Dictionary








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Jewelry Dictionary

Your authoritative online jewelry dictionary. Our dictionary contains a definition, pronunciation guide when needed, and a link to a sample product.

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ACRYLIC: (Ah-crill-ick) A clear plastic material that can be molded into jewelry.

ALGERIAN LOVE KNOT NECKLACE: The jewelry worn in the 2006 James Bond film, Casino Royale. The character of Vesper Lynd, played by Eva Green, wears this unique design throughout the movie. The shape is said to symbolize joy, wealth, and health. The original jewelry was created by Sophie Harley Designs, and the sterling silver and gold plated faux versions offered by are not manufactured, distributed or authorized by Sophie Harley Designs. Additionally, is not affiliated in any way with Sophie Harley or Sophie Harley Designs.

ALLOY: A fusion of two or more elements, where at least one component must be a metal. Most often used to describe the composition of the metal in a piece of jewelry.

AMETHYST::A quartz gemstone that is characterized by a rich purple or violet hue. Amethysts are the traditional February birthstone, and are said to represent sincerity, balance, and peace of mind.

ANTIQUE JEWELRY: Authentic jewelry from past decades, and/or jewelry styled to represent fashions of the past such as ART DECO or VICTORIAN. See also VINTAGE JEWELRY.

ART DECO: Originally a French jewelry style in the 1910s and 1920s, exemplified by distinct geometric lines and angles.

ART NOUVEAU: (new-voh) Turn-of-the century jewelry style featuring curved pieces and enamel accents.

ANNIVERSARY BAND: A ring which features gems going partially or completely around the circumference. A traditional anniversary gift, it usually matches the wedding ring set. ETERNITY BANDS are often used as anniversary bands. See also WEDDING RING SET.

ASSCHER CUT: (Ash-err) A STEP CUT stone with cut corners that form 8 total edges. Made popular by recent celebrities, this cut adds a distinctive and classy touch to jewelry.


BAGUETTE: (Bag-ette) A small, rectangular stone that is often used as an accent or border on ENGAGEMENT RINGS. Similar to an EMERALD CUT but smaller and usually more narrow.

BANGLE BRACELETS: A bracelet that forms a continuous circle with no clasps or openings. Usually stiff, this bracelet must slide over the hand to be worn.

BEZEL SETTING: (Behz-uhle) Stones are set inside a tube of metal, which holds them secure without inserting metal between them. Since the metal edges fold over the stones to hold them in place, it can make stones look slightly smaller.

BLING: An expression popularized by the hip-hop culture, used to describe sparkly jewelry, accessories and/or gemstones.

BOHEMIAN: A style of jewelry and clothing exemplified by flowing lines, natural materials, and funky details. Bright colors, layers, and casual pieces are hallmarks of the Boho style.

BOX CHAIN: Square metal links are connected to form a smooth, even chain. Often used for men's jewelry.

BRIDAL JEWELRY: The jewelry that a bride selects for herself, her bridal party (including bridesmaids, the matron or maid of honor, the flower girl, and the mother of the bride/groom), and occasionally her groom to wear during the wedding ceremony and following reception. Bridal jewelry includes the traditional engagement and wedding rings, as well as hair jewelry, necklaces, earrings, rings, and bracelets. When bridal jewelry includes accessories for the groom, best man, father of the bride/groom, ushers, and groomsmen, items such as tie pins, cufflinks, and traditional wedding bands may be used.

BRILLIANT CUT: A round cut stone with 58 total facets, this is the traditional cut for diamond SOLITAIRE pendants and rings.

BRIOLETTE:(Bree-o-let) A cut of stone featuring triangular facets in a teardrop shape.

BROOCH: A large decorative pin that is worn on clothing or in the hair.


The 4 Cs: Standardized form of grading diamonds, based on the qualities of Carat, Clarity, Color, and Cut.

CABOCHON: (Cab-ah-shon)A stone that is polished and has no facets on the top. This smooth finish highlights stones that have a natural gloss without the need for light reflecting facets.

CARAT: A unit of weight used for gemstones. Diamond carats are determined by weight, whereas cubic zirconia (CZ) carat weights are actually based on dimensions. A 5 carat CZ, for example, is the same width and length as a 5 carat diamond, but weighs much more. One of the 4 Cs used to grade diamonds.

CHANDELIER EARRINGS:Grandiose dangle earrings that feature tiers of gemstones and/or detailing, for a glamorous evening look.

CHANNEL SETTING: Stones are TENSION SET between two bands of metal, with no prongs or dividers. Sometimes the metal bands will have slight grooves on the inside, which the stones fit into for extra security.

CHARM BRACELET CHARM NECKLACE: Jewelry featuring small dangling charms, which sometimes have symbolic or personal meaning. The charms can be mixed and matched to create a variety of looks.

CLARITY: An evaluation of the imperfections (or lack thereof) visible in a stone. Traditionally used to grade diamonds, this term also refers to the brilliance of any stone. One of the 4 Cs used to grade diamonds.

CLIP-ON EARRINGS: Earrings for non-pierced ears.

COCKTAIL RING: A large ring that often features high CARAT stones and/or elaborate detailing.Applies to any ring that is elegant and dramatic enough to be worn to a cocktail party.

COSTUME JEWELRY: Any jewelry made from faux gemstones instead of precious or semi-precious stones, and/or from materials other than gold, silver, or platinum.

CRYSTAL: A fine, high quality glass component that includes approximately 10% lead. The hallmark of crystal is its exceptional brilliance and light refraction.

CUBIC ZIRCONIA (CZ): An inexpensive, man made stone that is generally cut to resemble diamonds. They can be colored to resemble other precious and semi-precious stones, and are a staple of high quality COSTUME JEWELRY.


CZ JEWELRY: Simulated diamond jewelry; An inexpensive, sometimes man-made stone that is generally cut to resemble diamonds. They can be colored to resemble other precious and semi-precious stones, and are a staple of high quality COSTUME JEWELRY.

CUFF BRACELET: A type of bracelet which does not form a continuous circle - usually the two ends do not close completely. Made to be slipped on the side of the wrist instead of over the hand.

CUSHION CUT: A SQUARE CUT or EMERALD CUT stone with rounded edges. This classic cut is often found in ANTIQUE and VINTAGE JEWELRY.


DESIGNER KNOCKOFF JEWELRY: Another term for imitation jewelry, cubic zirconia or cz jewelry.

DIAMOND CUT: Small bright cuts made in metal, to give it the appearance of having diamonds set in the metal.

DIAMOND GRADE: An evaluation of a diamond's value, determined using the standardized system developed by the GIA. The grade is established by using the 4 Cs.


ELECTROPLATING: The process of applying a thin metal layer atop another metal, using a plating solution and electric current. This method is most often used to make jewelry more durable and shiny.

EMERALD CUT: Also known as a STEP CUT, this cut features a rectangular stone with cut corners. This classic cut is often found in ENGAGEMENT RINGS and WEDDING BANDS.

ENAMEL: Glass or colored material fused to the surface of metal for a decorative design.

ENGAGEMENT RING: The iconic piece of jewelry traditionally used when one proposes marriage to another. These rings usually feature a diamond SOLITAIRE, and are made to compliment the WEDDING BAND that is worn later.

ESTATE JEWELRY: Usually referring to antique jewelry, this term encompasses any jewelry that is being re-sold.

ETERNITY BAND: A ring with stones that extend all the way around the band. This style represents the concept of eternal love, with no beginning or end.


FACETS: (Rhymes with "assets") The small, flat polished surfaces on a gemstone. The number, shape, and placement of facets are what determine a stone's CUT.

FAKE DIAMONDS A synthetic diamond, usually a cubic zirconia.

FAKE ENGAGEMENT RINGS: Another term for cubic zirconia rings.

FAKE RINGS: Another term for cubic zirconia rings.

FAUX JEWELRY: (Rhymes with 'glow') A synthetic or fake version of something. When used in reference to jewelry, it generally means a RHINESTONE or CZ version of a gemstone.

FILIGREE: (Fill-a-gree) A delicate metal design that looks like lace, and is used to accentuate jewelry.

FLEUR DE LIS JEWELRY: (Flur-dah-lee) A stylized design of an iris flower. Originally used for European coat of arms, the fleur de lis has now become a symbol of Louisiana State and France.


GOLD:A metal frequently used to create jewelry, and measured according to carats. Also a HUE.

GOLD PLATED: A layer of gold, usually applied with ELECTROPLATING, that is placed over a base metal. This gives the jewelry the appearance and shine of gold, but at a lower price than jewelry that is completely gold.

GOTHIC JEWELRY Jewelry from the Gothic period or inspired by the punk look.

GRADUATED: For jewelry, this refers to stones which get progressively larger and/or smaller as they continue along the length of the bracelet or necklace.

GUARD BAND: Generally part of a WEDDING RING SET, this is a band which is worn in front of another ring (often the ENGAGEMENT RING) to keep it in place.


HEART CUT: A stone cut in the shape of a heart, often used for PROMISE RINGS and jewelry for young women.

HOOP EARRINGS: Earrings with metal formed into hoop shapes, which may form complete circles or extend only partially around.

HUE: The prominent color or colors within a stone or metal. For instance, ROSE GOLD has a pinkish hue, and canary gemstones have a yellow hue.


INFINITY RING: A ring which features the infinity symbol (like a figure 8 turned on its side), and/or an eternity ring with stones that extend across the entire band. Infinity rings symbolize love and friendship for all infinity, with no beginning or end.

INLAY: A method of setting stones into a grooved channel or outlined space, so that they lay flush with the surface of the metal.

IMITATION JEWELRY: Another word for costume jewelry or cz jewelry.


JOURNEY JEWELRY:Traditionally a necklace or bracelet which features a strand of graduated real or faux diamonds, which represent love growing with every step of the journey of life.



LARIAT: (Lair-e-ette) A necklace which features two open ends that are worn in the front. One end of the chain generally has a hoop or open charm through which the other end of the chain can be looped.

LAVALIERE: (Lav-ah-leer) A pendant on a necklace, usually with a 24 inch or longer chain.

LAYERED NECKLACES: Necklaces with multiple, varied length chains.

LEVERBACK: A type of earring backing with a thin lever that is snapped into place. These are one of the most secure types of earring backings, and are good for heavy and/or dangling earrings.

LOCKET: A charm or pendant which opens on a hinge, and can hold pictures or tiny mementos.

LOBSTER CLAW: A version of the SPRING RING clasp, this clasp features a sturdier and more oblong ring, which opens using a small internal spring.

LUCITE: (Loo-site) A strong, clear, moldable plastic material that was frequently used in jewelry from the 1940s.

LUSTER: The shine or finish of a stone.


MAGNETIC EARRINGS: Earrings which are attached to small magnets, and come with magnet backings to secure them on the ear. These are a popular option for non-pierced ears.

MARQUASITE (MARCASITE): (Mark-uh-site) A gray, metallic like gemstone that looks like antiqued silver. Often found in ESTATE JEWELRY and VINTAGE JEWELRY.

MARQUIS CUT: (Mark-key) A stone cut in an oval shape, with pointed ends.

MATINEE LENGTH: A strand of pearls, or a layered necklace, that measures approximately 22 inches long.

MOTHER OF PEARL: An iridescent material derived from the lining of a seashell.


NICKLE-FREE: Gold or sterling silver that is ALLOYED without using nickel, because some people have allergic reactions and/or skin irritation when wearing the metal.

NON PIERCED EARRINGS Clip on earrings; magnetics earrings or earrings for the non-pierced ear.


OVAL CUT: A stone that is cut similar to a BRILLIANT CUT stone, but in the shape of an oval.

OPERA LENGTH: A strand of pearls, or a layered necklace, which measures approximately 30 to 35 inches.



PATINA: (Pa-tee-na) A finish or film on the surface of metal, generally caused by oxidation. This usually refers to the greenish hue that brass will take on as it ages, but for jewelry, the term refers to the tone of any metal surface.

PAVE: (Pa-vay) A method of setting stones close to each other across an entire metal surface, so that it appears to be "paved" with gems. This popular setting gives a rich, textured look to jewelry.

PEAR CUT: A stone that is cut similarly to a BRILLIANT CUT stone, but with one rounded end and one pointed end. Often used in dangle drop earrings because they catch light and draw it to a focal point.

PERIOD JEWELRY: Any jewelry that exemplifies the style of a certain historic period, e.g., ART DECO jewelry or VICTORIAN jewelry.

PLATINUM: A precious metal used to create jewelry. Usually the highest quality metal available for jewelry, platinum is extremely strong and has a white HUE.

PLUS SIZE JEWELRY: When used in reference to women's jewelry, this term represents rings that are sizes 9 and above, bracelets that are 8 inches or longer, and necklaces that are 18 inches or longer.

PRECIOUS METALS: A group of metals that includes platinum, gold, and silver.

PRINCESS CUT: A stone that is cut in a popular style which features a multi-faceted square cut. This cut is designed to refract the maximum amount of light, and looks square when viewed from the top.

PRINCESS LENGTH: A strand of pearls, or a layered necklace, which measures approximately 18 inches.

PROMISE RINGS: A pre-ENGAGEMENT RING which symbolizes the promise of ever lasting love. Promise rings look similar to engagement rings, but are usually on a smaller scale. A favorite among high school and college students! A promise ring symbolizes a commitment that one person makes to another. Traditionally, it is a precursor to an engagement between two people in a relationship who are not ready to marry but are serious about one another. However, promise rings can stand for all types of promises such as:
  • We are best friends
  • I will always be there for you
  • I will be faithful to you
  • I promise to abstain from a vice or bad habit
  • I will return to you
Promise rings or commitment rings can be given to a man or a woman. Single women can also wear promise rings to symbolize a promise to themselves. Women's promise rings are generally characterized by a single stone such as a faux diamond that is usually smaller and more simple than an engagement ring diamond. Men's promise rings are typically simple bands made of sterling silver, stainless steel or gold. A promise ring can be worn on either the right or left hand ring finger but is more commonly worn on the right to avoid confusion of being an engagement ring or wedding band. Emitations offers promise rings made of sterling silver that resembles platinum and cubic zirconia in place of diamonds. Trista's Princess Cut Promise Ring is available in pink, clear or canary and the most popular among our selection. We also feature a men's section of rings that can be used as promise rings.

PURITY RINGS: A ring which is worn to symbolize that the wearer will abstain from sexual intercourse until after marriage.



RETRO: Refers to a style or fashion that was popular in the past.

RHINESTONE JEWELRY: A "gem"made of glass with a foil backing to reflect the light. They are usually glued in place, but can also be set like traditional stones. Rhinestones are a staple of COSTUME JEWELRY and inexpensive pieces.

RHODIUM: (Row-dee-um) A member of the platinum group of metals, rhodium is often used to give a platinum type finish and durability to silver or gold. This metal top layer is usually applied using ELECTROPLATING.

RIGHT HAND RING: Similar to an ENGAGEMENT RING, but usually in more creative shapes and/or higher CARAT weights. These rings are designed to be worn on the right hand ring finger, as a symbol of a woman's independence.

ROPE CHAIN: Two twisted metal chains are looped together, to create a chain that resembles a length of rope.

ROPE LENGTH: A strand of pearls, or a layered necklace, which measures approximately 40 inches.

ROSE CUT: A stone cut which features a flat base and raised triangular FACETS, this cut has been in use since the 16-th century.

ROSE GOLD: A gold ALLOY that is made by combining yellow gold with copper, to achieve a rosy pink hue.



SATIN FINISH: A matte or dull finish to a metal, usually achieved by sanding or brushing the jewelry.

SHANK: The portion of a ring that wraps around your finger, upon which the gemstones are set.

SINGAPORE CHAIN: Twisted oval links are intertwined to create a chain with texture and sparkle. Also see TRIPLE SINGAPORE CHAIN.

SNAKE CHAIN: Round, wavy metal links are lined up side by side to create a jewelry chain that resembles a serpent.

SOLITAIRE: A pendant or ring with a single gemstone.

SPRING RING: The ring shaped clasp which opens using a small internal spring. This is the most common form of clasp used on lightweight necklaces and bracelets. When the ring is sturdier and oblong, it is considered a LOBSTER CLAW.

STACKABLE ETERNITY BANDS: rings without stones, or BANGLE BRACELETS that can be worn in pairs or "stacks" for a variety of looks.

STEP CUT: Also known as an EMERALD CUT, this cut features a rectangular stone with cut corners. This classic cut is often found in engagement and wedding bands.

STERLING SILVER JEWELRY: Jewelry containing an alloy of 92.5% pure silver, which is ALLOYED with other metals for strength and rigidity. The remaining 7.5% of the alloy is usually comprised of copper or nickel. Sterling silver jewelry is stamped ".925" to indicate the purity of the metal.

STUD EARRINGS: (STUDS) Earrings which feature a post backing adhered to a small gemstone or metal decoration.

SWAROVSKI: (Swar-off-ski) A world leader in high quality crystal products, particularly jewelry and home decor items.


TENNIS BRACELET: A thin, symmetrical bracelet which traditionally features one or more rows of real or FAUX diamonds.

TENSION SET: A method of stone setting in which stones are held in place using the tension formed when they are tightly wedged between two or more bands of metal.

THREE STONE RING: A traditional anniversary gift, the three stones in this style of ring represent the past, present, and future.

TIFFANY CHAIN: A delicate, traditional style of chain used for lightweight pendants.

TIFFANY SETTING: A SOLITAIRE stone with a four or six prong setting.

TOGGLE: A necklace or bracelet closure that features a metal bar that fits sideways into a metal circle.

TOTAL CARAT WEIGHT (TCW): The sum of the carat weights for all of the individual stones in a piece of jewelry.

TRILLION CUT: A stone that is cut in a triangle shape with rounded edges.

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