Jewellery Terms

Jewellery Terms

Bail – the hook or prongs at the top of a pendant, enabling it to hang from a chain or jump ring.

Bezel setting – the band of metal in which a stone is set in for jewelry.

Box setting – the metal shape in which a stone is set in, with edges to hold the stone in its place.

Brilliant cut – gemstones with 58 facets: 1 table, 8 bezel, 8 star, 16 upper-girdles on the crown, 8 pavilion, 16 lower-girdles and a culet on the base.

Briolette – pear-shaped stone that is faceted.

Brushed finished – thin, parallel lines are etched onto a surface as texture giving it a satin finish.

Cabochon (cab-oh-shawn) – dome-shaped stone without facets.

Channel setting – stones set in a continuous strip of metal.

Carat – unit of weight for precious gems.

Cubic Zirconia – mass-produced, man-made gems that look like diamonds, but not as hard.

Culet – the pointed bottom (pavilion) of a cut stone.

Diamond cut – brilliant cut for coloured gemstones.

Facet – a polished surface on a stone.

Findings – construction components used in jewelry making (clasps, etc).

Finish – the polish or texture applied to a metal (example: high polish, matte, brushed).

Fire – reflections of different colours in gems (example: diamond) as a result of dispersion.

Foil – a reflective coating on the back of rhinestones to increase brilliance and colour. Foiling on gemstones was until the 19th century.

Rhinestone(see paste also) a diamond stimulant made from rock crystal, glass or acrylic usually with a foil coating.

Gilding – an object decorated with a thin layer of gold.

Gold-plated – base metal bonded with at least 0.0025mm of gold. Heavy use of gold-plated jewelry will eventually wear off.

Girandole – jewelry that has 3 dangling, pear-shaped pendants.

Inlay – technique in which a surface is cut away for embedding a stone or substance in the hollowed area, making it level with the rest of the surface.

Jump ring – a C-shaped ring used to link pendants together that is usually not soldered closed.

Karat – measurement of the fineness of gold. The 24k pure gold is too soft for heavy wearing jewelry, so 14k is standard in the U.S. (14 parts gold, 10 parts base metal). Rings are usually 10k gold for durability.

Oxidation – a chemical process which tarnishes metals (example: silver) due to sulfur or oxygen.

Paste – a glass-based substance with high lead content used to simulate gemstones. It is more brilliant than rhinestones.


Tennis – type of bracelet made of identical gemstones linked together in a flexible chain.



Choker – about 14 inches long.

Matinee – about 30 to 35 inches long.

Opera – about 48 to 90 inches long.

Torsade – necklace formed by many strands of beads.



Box – clasp with a box and tongue (folded springy metal lever).

Hook and eye – a clasp with a figure 8 loop and a hook.

Lobster – clasp shaped like a lobster claw with spring-based opening that is ideal for securing heavy jewelry.

Magnetic clasp – uses two strong magnets to close. Not recommended for pregnant women or people with pacemakers.

S-Hook, S-Clasp – loop shaped like an S to join two ends.

Spring ring – circular clasp with a spring to close it.

Toggle – clasp with a ring and T-shaped bar to fit into each other.

Tube-bar, Slide-lock – clasp made of two metal tubes that fit into each other via a slit in one of them.



French wire – an earring hook made of a single, curved wire.

Screw back – Tightens against the earlobe by means of a screw with a round end.



Shank – the part that encircles the finger.

Shoulder – the part between the shank and centre of the setting.

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