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Jewelry Terms That Will Boost Your Knowledge (Part I)
Have you ever had that awkward feeling of talking about coincidental jewelry topics with your BFFs and not understanding some parts of the conversation? Like for example, you could not figure out the difference between “karat” and “carat”, although uttering these two words sounded exactly the same? Or, maybe you did not have the slightest idea of what the word “girdle” means, while one of your friends was describing her mesmerizing diamond engagement ring she got proposed with? Find out the meaning of these jewelry terms and many others in this super-interesting Kobelli article that promises to take your jewelry knowledge to a whole new level. Are we ready?
Alloy – a metal blend of two or more metals that is generally used to enhance the strength and durability grades of the piece.
Anklet – type of short chain that looks similar to a bracelet, but it is slightly longer. As the name implies, the anklet is worn around the ankle.
Art Deco – jewelry pieces in Art Deco style feature abstract designs with geometric patterns and captivating colors. The Art Deco style was in its full blossom during the 1920s-1930s, when it introduced a new era in jewelry craftsmanship. Experts say that it was influenced by the ancient Egyptian and Mediterranean cultures.
Art Nouveau – jewelry pieces in Art Nouveau style feature nature-inspired motifs and free-flowing lines. Art Nouveau jewelry first appeared in France, during the period between the late 19th and the early 20th century. More precisely, from 1890 to 1914.
Bail – a necklace component whose function is to attach the pendant. It is the part where the pendant or the stone hangs from the chain.
Bangle – type of bracelet that can be designed with or without a clasp. Bangles usually slip over the wrist and they can be made out of metal, plastic or wood.
Bezel – type of setting for a precious stone whose function is to hold the gem securely in place. The bezel is a metal rim that surrounds the stone all the way around. Its biggest advantage is providing security without blocking the light nor the brilliance.
Box Chain – type of chain that features small, interlocking boxes in a square form. It is considered the strongest chain that can be mostly seen in men’s jewelry.
Brushed Finish – also called “satin finish”, this type of finish features visible parallel lines on the metal’s surface. Brushed-finished jewelry promotes a so-called “matte look” rather than “shiny look”. Again, the brushed finish is usually applied to the manufacture of jewelry for men.
Cable chain – type of chain that features oval or round links. It is the most common chain used in jewelry.
Cabochon – a precious stone (usually a gemstone) that is shaped, polished, but not faceted. The most popular shapes for cabochon gems are round, cushion and oval. The authenticity of cabochons is that they display the gem’s unusual characteristics instead of hiding them, like for example, the “star” or the “cat’s eye” effect, as the most common ones.
Carat – the official unit of weight for all types of precious stones. One “carat” is equivalent to 200 milligrams.
Cat’s Eye – an optical property, also known as “chatoyancy”. Its visual appearance looks like a bright slight that “divides” the gem in two halves. The “cat’s eye” effect is a result of the interference between the gem’s inclusions and light itself. At some gemstones, this is a highly desirable property that brings them more value.
Channel – type of setting that is used to hold multiple stones at once and not one stone individually. The stones are framed side by side in a so-called “grooved channel” with no visible metal between them. Channel-set stones never take the central position on the band; they are always used as side stones, because it is the only position that the setting allows.
Claddagh – a one-of-a-kind design that was invented three centuries ago in Irish jewelry craftsmanship and it was exclusively applied to statement-making rings. Claddagh rings feature two hands holding a crowned heart. The hands symbolize “friendship”, the heart symbolizes “love” and the crown stands for “loyalty”.
Clasp – a type of adjustable hook that is used to connect two ends of a bracelet or a necklace. The simplest form in which it appears in jewelry is the “spring ring clasp”.
Clutch – a jewelry component that is used to secure the piece, like for example, an earring.
Cocktail Ring – a very ornate, oversized ring that is embellished with exquisite precious stones. Cocktail rings first appeared in the late 1940s and are representing one of the trends in modern jewelry.
Comfort-Fit Ring – a ring whose design features a round, interior finish that offers maximum comfort to the wearer.
Crown – the top portion (top half) of a faceted stone.
Culet – the point at the bottom of the stone. It can also be a small facet placed at the bottom of the stone’s pavilion.
Cushion – type of diamond shape that looks like a pillow. It can feature square or curved sides.
Dangle Earrings – type of earrings whose design makes them to hang below the earlobe. They are also known as “drop earrings”.
Demi-Hoop Earrings – type of earrings with a “half-hoop” design. They feature only half a hoop (circle).
Diamond Accent – a small diamond placed in a side or halo position. Its size is usually less than 0.25 carats.
Dichroism – an optical property visible in double-refractive gemstones. Dichroism makes the gem display two or more different colors when viewed from different angles.
Emerald – it can refer to a type of gemstone and a type of cut. The emerald gemstone features a rich, green color that is very desirable for the making of vintage-inspired jewelry. The gemstone in emerald cut, on the flip side, displays a large, open table that gives it an utterly elegant appeal. This cut was initially applied to emerald gems, which it the reason for its eponymous name.
Eternity Ring – a type of ring that is covered with precious stones all along its surface.
Eye-Clean- a property of the stone that features no visible inclusions (imperfections) to the naked eye.
Facet – a plane surface (flat or curved) applied to the stone’s exterior. Facets are crucial components of a precious stone, because their shape, size and arrangement determine the grades of fire and brilliance of the entire piece.
Fancy Cut – any shape of a diamond, except for the traditional, round cut. Some of the most popular fancy cuts are oval, marquise, pear, princess and cushion.
Finish – the degree of polish.
Fire – also known as “dispersion”. It refers to the flashes or rainbow colors that are radiated by a precious stone, mostly diamonds.
Foxtail Chain – type of chain that features three rows of links braided together.
Full Cut – a diamond in round shape that has 57 to 58 facets.
Gallery – the underpart of a ring that faces the finger.
Girdle – the part of a precious stone that divides the crown (the upper part) with the pavilion (the bottom part). The girdle can appear in three forms: rough, polished or faceted. The faceted girdle is beneficial in giving the stone a better level of transparency, which is a very desirable property for high-quality diamonds.
Greek-Key Design – intricate motifs that look like interlocking rectangles. As the name implies, this jewelry design originates from ancient Greece.
Halo – a group of small diamonds surrounding the center stone.
Head – it refers to the part where the prongs are placed to hold the stone securely in place.
High Polish – an exceptional grade of polish that is commercially described as “mirror-like”.
Hue – a color characteristic that refers to the color’s appearance. In other words, it is the very first, basic color the viewer sees when looking at the stone.
Inclusion – an internal property of a precious stone. Generally, inclusions are the fundamental reason for the optical properties of the gem and they are of a great importance in determining if a gem is mined or a man-made one. Some inclusions are visible to the naked eye, while others not.
Karat – the official unit for measuring gold’s finesse. For example, 100% pure gold is labeled “24K”. Since pure gold is too soft to be worked with, it is alloyed with other types of metals that bring into existence other gold labels, such as “18K”, “14K”, “10K”, etc.
Lab-Created – a description of the stone that is made in a laboratory with the use of special techniques and equipment. Lab-created stones share the same properties as their mined counterparts, with the only difference that they come at significantly lower prices.
Lapidary – it can refer to the technique of cutting gems and to the person who does that. A lapidary is described as an artisan who creates decorative, engraved items out of different type of gemstones. Cabochons, cameos and intricate faceted designs are the most common works of a lapidary.
Leverback Earrings – type of earrings whose hook matches with a clasp on the earlobe’s back side.
Written by: Liljana Tomova
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