Jewellery terms can be like a foreign language. Sometimes it can be hard to follow what a designer or maker is saying. In order for you to understand what on earth we are going on about, here is a list of a few of the more common terms...
ABRADED ~ A term to describe the wear on a gemstone, often meaning the facets have been worn away leaving a pitted, matte finish to the exposed portion of a stone.
BACK HOLE ~ The hole/holes in a mount, underneath a stone, to allow for light and/or cleaning.
BAROQUE ~ A term used to describe the organic/irregular shape of a pearl.
BASKET ~ The wire or frame work of a setting/head.
BEZEL ~ 1) A part of a setting/collet. There is often more than one bezel within a collet; typically one to support the gemstone and one to support the base of the collet (to sit on the skin of the wearer). Sometimes more bezels are added as a design feature.
2) A style of setting, in which a gemstone is held in place by a ‘tube’, with metal supporting every edge of the stone’s girdle. (Sometimes called a rub-over setting.)
CARAT ~ 1) A unit of weight for precious stones, sometimes abbreviated to ‘ct’. (One of the 4 c’s of diamond grading.) 1.00 carat is equivalent to 0.2 grams.
2) A measure of the purity of gold (pure gold being 24 carats).
CHENIER ~ A small piece of tube, often used on-end to give details to settings and shanks.
CLARITY ~ Used when describing the quality of diamonds in terms of the existence and visual appearance of internal characteristics. (One of the 4 c’s of diamond grading.) The size, position, number and characteristics of the inclusions determine the clarity grade of a diamond. The clarity of a diamond can affect the brilliance of the stone, as well as the stability of its structure.
CLAW ~ A stone setting style, in which a small wire holds a gemstone in place.
COLLET ~ A term to describe the whole setting that holds a single gemstone.
COLOUR (grade) ~ 1) The classification of body colour of coloured gemstones, expressed in terms of hue, tone and saturation.
2) The classification of body colour of cut diamonds. (One of the 4 c’s of diamond grading.) There are several colour grading scales used throughout the world. The G.I.A (Gemological Institute of America) categorise the grades from colourless (D) to yellow, brown or grey (Z), beyond this is termed Fancy.
CROWN ~ The upper portion of a gemstone that begins just above the girdle.
CUT ~ 1) In gemstone terms, a fashioned stone opposed to a rough or uncut stone.
2) The shape of a stone.
3) The proportions to which a gemstone is polished. (One of the 4 c’s of diamond grading.)
CULET ~ The point at the bottom of a gemstone. Sometimes (especially in antique stones) the culet is polished flat, to sit parallel to the table.
DAYLIGHT ~ The gap between two bezels in a stone setting (also called a gallery).
FACET ~ One of the polished planes of a cut gemstone. Different cuts of stones have different amounts of facets.
GALLERY ~ 1) The gap between two bezels in a stone setting (also called a daylight).
2) The detail underneath the setting/head.
GIRDLE ~ The widest point of the circumference of a gemstone. It is the perimeter of the stone which separates the gem’s crown from its pavilion.
GRUB SETTING ~ Also called a flush setting, in which a gemstone is set flat (flush) into a piece of metal.
HALLMARK ~ A mark stamped or lasered on to articles of gold, silver or platinum by the British Assay Offices. A hallmark will include the maker’s mark (the person/company who manufactured the article), the alloy purity (the carat of gold, standard of silver etc), the Assay Office mark (the location of the office) and the year of manufacture.
HEAD ~ The setting of a ring, holding more than one stone.
INCLUSION ~ Marks/imperfections within a diamond. Internal marks are called inclusions and surface defects are called blemishes.
KNIFE EDGE ~ A facetted metal bar or shank, with a triangular cross section, often used an illusion to make the body of metal look slimmer.
LOOP ~ The part of a pendant which allows the chain to slide through. Sometimes called a bail.
LUSTRE ~ The soft glow/sheen used to describe the surface of a pearl.
MILLGRAIN~ A finish given to a setting edge, which gives a beaded effect. More commonly seen in antique or vintage style jewellery.
MOUNT ~ 1) (noun) The metal body of a piece of jewellery.
2) (verb) The act of creating a metal body for a gemstone to be set in to.
PAVE ~ A setting style, in which the gemstones are seated in to a flat piece of metal and small beads are cut up around the stone to hold it in place. Used when small stones are to be set over a large area or when the design is such where the individual stones are to be ‘hidden’ within the mount to create a sparkly effect.
PAVALLION ~ The lower portion of a gemstone that begins just below the girdle.
POINT ~ Another unit to describe the weight of a gemstone. 1 carat is the equivalent to 100 points.
RUB-OVER ~ A setting style, in which a gemstone is held in place by a ‘tube’, with metal supporting every edge of the stone’s girdle. (Sometimes called a bezel setting.)
SETTING ~ 1) (noun) The metal which holds a gemstone in place.
2) (verb) The act of putting a gemstone in to a mount.
SHANK ~ The part of a ring that goes around the finger, excluding the settings/collets/head.
SHOULDER ~ The part of the shank which is connected to the setting/collet/head of a ring.
SPECTACLE SETTING ~ A setting style, in which a gemstone is only held around its girdle, with no further bezels/metal work.
STAMPED ~ The term used when an article is not hallmarked, instead stating an abbreviated metal standard/description (i.e PLAT, 18K). Often used in items of foreign manufacture.
TABLE ~ The largest facet of a cut stone; the flat surface on the top.
THREAD & GRAIN ~ A setting style, similar to pave, in which the gemstones are seated in to a flat piece of metal and small beads are cut up around the stone to hold it in place. Used when the stones are to be set in a continuous line, like an eternity ring.
There are obviously hundreds of other words and terms, but you should never be afraid to ask if you do not understand something. Our job as designer/makers is to guide you through your jewellery commission or repair, so it is important to us that you understand every aspect of the journey. If you have any jewellery questions, then why not get in touch, we are here to help.