Jewelry Glossary

10 Karat White Gold

10 Karat gold (10K) is 10 parts pure gold and 14 parts other metal alloys. White gold is created by combining pure gold with a copper, zinc and nickel (or palladium) alloy.

10 Karat Yellow Gold

10 Karat gold (10K) is 10 parts pure gold and 14 parts other metal alloys. By combining with copper and silver, yellow gold retains a rich yellow color while increasing its durability.

14 Karat White Gold

14 Karat gold (14K) is 14 parts pure gold and 10 parts other metal alloys. White gold is created by combining pure gold with a copper, zinc and nickel (or palladium) alloy.

14 Karat Yellow Gold

14 Karat gold is 14 parts pure gold and 10 parts other metal alloys. By combining with copper and silver, yellow gold retains a rich yellow color while increasing its durability.

18 Karat White Gold

18 Karat gold (18K) is 18 parts pure gold and 6 parts other metal alloys. White gold is created by combining pure gold with a copper, zinc and nickel (or palladium) alloy.

18 Karat Yellow Gold

18 Karat gold (18K) is 18 parts pure gold and 6 parts other metal alloys. By combining with copper and silver, yellow gold retains a rich yellow color while increasing its durability.


A type of chalcedony quartz that tends to have a dark outer shell but, when cross-sectioned, exhibits richly colored, irregular banding or ribbon formation. Agate is found primarily in South America and the western U.S., but is most often processed in Germany. Distinctive types of agate include Moss Agate, known for its mossy green striping, and Iris Agate, with its lustrous, iridescent sheen. The porous stone has a soft, waxy, translucent appearance and a moderate 6.5 to 7 rating on the Mohs Scale. Agates are subject to cracking or scratching if handled roughly. The agate is said to bring good luck, prevent bad storms, build self confidence, and for lucky ladies, to secure the love of princes.

AGS: The American Gem Society (AGS) is one of the world's premier diamond grading laboratories. A trade association composed of retail jewelers, independent appraisers, and other members of the jewelry industry, AGS is credited with developing the first scientific system to evaluate diamond cut. AGS Laboratories is one of the leading suppliers of diamond certifications because they include an evaluation of diamond Cut, which is currently not included by other major gemological laboratory. AGS grades and certifies Reeds' Ideal Cut diamonds.

Akoya Cultured Pearl:

A cultured pearl grown in the saltwater Akoya oyster and farmed in Japan and sometimes China. Akoya pearls are known for their luster, white or cream hue (often with rose, silver, or cream overtones), large size, smoothness, and round shape. Because of their fine quality, Akoya pearls are often used in premier pearl jewelry.


A very rare and pricey gemstone that has the ability to change color. Depending on various lighting conditions, the gem can appear red or purple indoors while it seems to be green outside. Alexandrite is a form of chrysoberyl and has a hardness of 8 on the Mohs Hardness Sale, making it extremely durable in jewelry. Alexandrite is one of June's alternative birthstones.


A blending of two or more metals. Alloys are frequently used in jewelry to enhance a metal quality, such as improving strength, changing color, or reducing cost. For example, 24 karat gold or pure gold, is often too soft for diamond jewelry. Mixing gold with other metals such as copper or nickel can improve durability for daily wear.


An iridescent light to blue green variety of feldspar, often mottled or striated, and named for the Amazon River (although it isn't found there). Found in limited amounts around the world, the highest quality deposits are located near Pike's Peak in Colorado. Amazonite has a soft rating of 5 to 6 on the Mohs Scale and is easily fractured if treated roughly. The gemstone is said to aid in building new business, inspire hope and self confidence, and for some fortunate parents, motivate lazy teenagers.


A quartz gemstone that ranges in color from clear purple to bluish violet. Amethyst is February's birthstone and is said to bring the wearer luck, constancy and protect against magic. Amethyst rates 7 on the Mohs hardness scale making it an excellent gemstone for everyday wear.


A variety of quartz where yellow or orange citrine and purple amethyst occur together in bi-color crystals. Ametrine is primarily mined in Brazil although Russia is known for producing synthetic equivalents. The gem is characterized by its glassy luster, lack of cleavage, and hardiness of 7 on the Mohs Scale. Ametrine is said to bring mental and physical clarity and harmony, bolster the immune system, and enhance intuition and creativity.


A type of jewelry worn around the ankle

Anniversary Band:

A ring consisting of three or more gemstones, usually diamonds, placed either in a channel or a prong setting. The anniversary band is a traditional gift given to celebrate milestones in a marriage, such as the tenth anniversary. If the ring consists of three stone, these stones are said to symbolize past, present, and future. Other bands may contain additional stones that partially or completely encircle the ring.

Antique Cut: A type of Gemstone Cut where a small table area is surrounded by symmetrical facets.


A written, detailed evaluation of a particular item's value by an individual with the qualifications necessary to make a valid assessment. In jewelry, an appraisal is often used to assess replacement value for insurance purposes. As "Fair Market Value" fluctuates, it's generally suggested that appraisals be keep up to date.


A bluish, semi- precious gemstone from the beryl family. The name translates to "water of the sea" because of its color, which can actually range from very pale blue to a blue-green teal. The most prized color is a deep blue aqua. With a 7 to 8 rating on the Mohs Hardness Scale, the gem is very hardy. As March's birthstone, the aquamarine is said to bring courage and happiness to the wearer, reduce anxiety, and acts as a talisman to protect sailors. Asscher Gemstone Shape: A square cut gemstone shape with distinct shaving of each corner creating an octagonal appearance. The cut stimulates internal refraction and creates a shimmering "hall of mirrors" effect. Exclusively patented by the Asscher family, genuine stones are marked with unique, microscopic identification numbers along with the family insignia on the stone's girdle.


An optical phenomenon displayed by certain gemstones such as rubies or sapphires that reflects the shape of a star on the surface of a cabochon cut from the stone. The stars may have four, six, or twelve rays. Baguette or Baguette Setting: A type of gemstone cut, shape, or setting consisting of a single, rectangular gemstone, primarily diamonds, sapphires or rubies.

Band Detailing:

Adding features or decorative elements to a ring or band. Engraving is a type of band detailing. RELATED TERMS: See Engraving and Milgrain


A type of rigid bracelet that slides over the hand, generally without opening or expanding. Bangle styles include cuff, expansion and hinged. RELATED TERMS: See Cuff Bar Setting: A type of ring setting where gemstones are positioned in a row, while being separated and attached by a shared bar.

Baroque Pearl:

An asymmetrical or unevenly shaped pearl

Barrel Clasp:

A type of jewelry fastener that resembles two halves of a barrel. The halves screw into each other to form a secure connection. Base Metal: A non-porous metal that is the primary metal in an alloy. A base metal oxidizes when heated and can be melded or plated.

Basket Setting:

An elaborate type of setting where the metal sides are pierced to create a lacey or basket-like appearance.


A gemstone or ornament with a hole drilled through the center, designed for stringing on a chain.

Bead Chain:

A type of chain style where round beads are linked in a continuous strand. Spacer beads of different shape or design may be interwoven to enhance uniqueness. This style of chain maybe be single or multi-strand.

Bezel Setting:

A type of setting where a gemstone is set flush with or slightly below a protective, encircling metal band. This style of setting is often used to shield gemstones from scratching or chipping.

Bike Link Chain:

A type of chain style resembling a bicycle chain where square shaped metal links are connected with a bar


A type of quartz with a smoky, lemon to brown color generally used in accent beads. Also referred to as Bio Lemon Black Star Sapphire: A black sapphire formed from corundum with Titanium and Iron impurities. An extremely hard gemstone, the sapphire scores a 9 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, and sports a 6 or 12 ray stars radiating from the center of a cabochon cut stone. Star sapphires are also known as the Stones of Destiny with the star-shaped rays said to represent destiny, faith and hope.


See Hematite. Blue Star Sapphire A blue sapphire formed from corundum and rating a hardy 9 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. A cabochon cut blue sapphire display a 3 ray, 6 point star. Value is impacted by the color, visibility, and intensity of the star. The famed 182-carat Star of Bombay is an example of a premier blue star sapphire.

Blue Topaz:

A topaz ranging in color from pale to bright blue. Because naturally blue topaz is very rare, light colored topaz is often irradiated and heat treated to produce the coveted blue color. Topaz rates an 8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale and is December's birthstone.

Box Chain:

A chain style where links resemble small overlapping boxes

Box clasp:

A type of jewelry fastener where one end is composed of a "V" shaped tab and the other end resembles a box. The "V" tab end is inserted into the Box end then clicks into a locked position. Pressing the sides of the tab releases the connection. Bracelet: A type of jewelry that goes around the wrist or a watchband

Bracelet Type:

There are several, general styles of bracelets with each style being defined by a set of common features. Bracelet Type differences may include how the bracelet attaches to the wrist, whether the bracelet is formed from a single solid piece or a collection of links, or differences in decorative elements. RELATED TERMS: See Bangle, Cuff, I.D., Line, Link, Omega, Strand, 'S' Tennis, Tennis and Toggle Bracelets

Bridal Set:

An engagement ring and wedding band designed to match and fit together. RELATED TERMS: See Trio Set

Brilliant Cut:

A gemstone cutting style that maximizes brilliance by improving the optical effect, especially for diamonds. The cutting style was developed in 1910 and requires that a stone be cut with a round girdle, 32 facets plus the table on the crown or upper part of the diamond, and 24 facets plus, sometimes a culet (point) on the pavilion or lower part of the stone The final shape resembles a cone and magnifies the light reflected from the top of the diamond. The term "Brilliant" refers only to diamonds while other stones are labeled "Brilliant Cut" followed by the name of the gemstone, i.e. Brilliant Cut Citrine.

Briolette Cut: or Shape:

A type of Gemstone Cut where a slender, pear-shaped stone is covered with facets and resembles a tear drop.

Button Shape:

A type of pearl shape where a symmetrically formed pearl is flattened on the bottom and rounded on the top, resembling a halved circle. Button shaped pearls are frequently used in earrings as the flat side more easily attaches to a setting. Bypass shank A ring mounting design in which the two sides of the band do not meet in a straight line, but overlap or crisscross each other. "C" The chemical symbol for a diamond

Cable Chain:

A type of chain style where identically sized oval, metal links alternate with matching links placed at a 180 degree angle. The appearance of the chain resembles anchor chains used in shipping.


A gemstone that is shaped and polished, rather than being cut and faceted. A cabochon is most commonly oval with a convex top and a flat bottom which allows the gem to be easily set. The process is usually used for opaque, semi-opaque, or fragile gemstones that may be difficult to facet.


A gemstone that is cut to an industry standard size in order to fit most manufactured jewelry mountings. Loose gemstones frequently must be set in custom mountings because they are too wide, too narrow, or too deep to fit pre-manufactured mountings.


An engraving method where a raised image (or bas relief) contrasts against the background, often highlighting color differences. This technique is often used on softer gemstones such as onyx or shell. Carat Weight The actual weight of a single gemstone. The weight of a one carat diamond equates to 200 mg or 0.2 grams. Carat weight is often expressed as a decimal or as points. A one carat diamond is the same as 1ct. or 100 points; a 1/2 carat diamond could also be called .5ct. or a 50 point diamond. To make things complicated, gemstones have different densities. Meaning, a one carat diamond and a one carat amethyst are not exactly the same size. RELATED TERMS: See Total Carat Weight and Total Gem Weight. See our Education section regarding the "4 C's" for detailed information regarding Carat Weight.


A type of red, orange, or brown chalcedony quartz that is sometimes variegated or striated and has a rating of 6 to 7 on the Mohs Scale. Carnelian is often confused with Sard, a harder and darker mineral that is also a chalcedony quartz. Carnelian has historically been used to carve cameos, has been found in Egyptian tombs, and is said to be one of the stones in Aaron's breastplate. An alternate birthstone for July, the gem is purported to protect against evil, treat infertility, and incite passion.

Cats Eye:

A cabochon cut gemstone that displays Chatoyancy, a luminous, single line down the center of a gemstone, resembling a cat's eye.


A ring setting that utilizes arches to support and showcase a center stone. Solitaire engagement rings frequently use a cathedral mounting.

Center (CTR):

The weight of the center or primary stone in a piece of jewelry containing more than one stone Ceramic: Often referenced as a type of metal used in jewelry, ceramic is actually a non-metal that is often alloyed with other metals, such as tungsten carbide, in jewelry to improve qualities such as malleability. Ceramic is generally composed of heated and molded clay that is easily colored, etched, or embellished by artisans.

Ceylon cut:

A cut with numerous facets, formed to obtain maximum weight and therefore is not always symmetrical. Ceylon cut stones are often re-cut.

Ceylon Sapphire:

See Sri Lankan Sapphire.

Chain Style:

There are several, general styles of chains with each style being defined by a set of common features. RELATED TERMS: See Link, Bead, Figaro, Wheat, Curb, Perfectina, Rolo, Espiga, Raso, Singapore, Mariner, Cable, Bike Link, Open Link, Omega, Rope, Snake and Box Chains


A subgroup of quartz composed of silica with minute crystals of quartz and moganite that is translucent or milky in appearance. Found worldwide and in a huge range of color, specific varieties of chalcedony gemstones are identified and named according to their color. Notable examples include agate, bloodstone, onyx, carnelian, jasper, and tiger's eye. The term "chalcedony" when it is applied to a specific gem, implies the light blue variety. Chalcedony is said to improve vitality and health, promote generosity, and alleviate sadness or bad dreams.

Chandelier Earrings:

A type of earring that resembles a chandelier. Chandelier earrings are generally oversized with multiple, dangling layers that progressively expand as the earring drops. This type of earring is often worn for dressy affairs.

Channel Setting:

A type of setting where rows of gemstones are held in place by two pieces of metal on either side, producing an interior "channel" where the stones are secure, but not touched by metal.

Charm Bracelet:

A bracelet with open links that are used to attach "charms". Charms are molded or engraved figures that are meant to represent special events, hobbies, or passions that are significant to the wearer. Charm bracelets may be added to over the course of an individual's lifetime.


a company known for cultivating lab-produced gemstones by recreating a gem's natural environment and speeding up crystal growth by controlling factors such as temperature and chemical interaction. Chatham produces genuine, quality gemstones that are identical physically, chemically, and visually to those produced by nature.


A single streak of light, generally seen in a cabochon that resembles the slit in a cat's eye. This effect, most common to chrysoberyl, is caused by the reflection of light by parallel fibers or channels in the stone.

Chevron Style:

A "V" or inverted "V" shaped pattern seen primarily in rings and necklaces


A snug-fitting necklace, usually 16" in length or shorter, depending on neck size. Citrine A variety of quartz ranging in color from light yellow to bright orange. Citrine is a semi-precious gemstone rating a sturdy 7 on the Mohs Hardiness Scale. One of November's birthstones, it is purported to bring the wearer self confidence and light-heartedness.


An industry term describing the number and density of inclusions and blemishes within a diamond or gemstone. See our Education section regarding the 4 C's for detailed information.

Clasp style:

Bracelets and necklaces are fastened on the arm or neck by various types of connectors or clasps. RELATED TERMS: See Barrel, Box, Lobster, Safety and Toggle clasps.


The tendency for a mineral to split along a plane or smooth surface Cluster: A grouping of tightly placed gemstones

Cocktail Ring:

A dramatic, over-sized ring also known as a dinner ring that is generally set with a combination of small diamonds or other gemstones positioned at varying heights. Cocktail rings may be either costume or fine jewelry and are often worn on either the index or middle finger. Color: An industry measurement of color or tinting within a diamond or gemstone. See our Education section regarding the "4 C's" for detailed information.


A treatment process that alters a gemstone's color. Heat, irradiation, dying, bleaching and oiling are among possible treatments that enhance gemstone color.

Comfort Fit:

Where the inside (or shank) of a ring is slightly rounded to create a more comfortable fit on the finger


The part of a cut gemstone lying between the girdle and the table facet. This equates to the area above the maximum diameter (the girdle) of the stone and below the flat surface area at the very top (table facet).


A style of bracelet that is both wide and solid and generally has minimal decoration. A gap in the back allows the bracelet to slide over the wrist.

Cubic Zirconia:

A man-made jewel that closely resembles a diamond. Cubic Zirconia is formed in the lab from zirconium dioxide and is hard, flawless, generally colorless, and inexpensive alternatives to diamonds.


A small facet at the bottom of some cut gemstones.

Cultured Pearl:

A pearl created when an irritant is introduced inside a mollusk by man. The coating or nacre the mollusk secrets around the intrusion to protect itself create a "cultured" pearl. The type of mollusk and the water it is in can affect the developing pearl's color which can range from white, cream, golden, pink, silver green, blue to black. RELATED TERMS: See Salt Water, Simulated South Sea and Tahitian Cultured Pearls

Curb Chain:

A type of chain style where matching oval, metal links are connected, twisted, and flattened Curb chain jewelry is popular with both men and women because it is strong, flexible, and generally easy to repair.


A gemstone shaped as a square or short rectangle with rounded edges


The act of cutting and/or the resultant quality produced by cutting a rough stone in a specific manner in order to create and enhance the natural beauty of a jewelry quality gemstone. Type of cut, shape proportions, symmetry, and outer marks all affect the quality of the finished gemstone. See the Cut page under our 4 C's section for a more detailed explanation. The term "cut" also refers to the fashioning of a gem. . There are numerous types of cuts. RELATED TERMS: See Antique, Briolette, Eight-cut, Fantasy, Pear Shaped, Marquise, Radiant, Rose Scissors, Ceylon, Emerald, Single, and Table Cuts.


A general term referring to any earring that hangs or dangles from the ear.


A highly valued, and sought-after gemstone composed of pure carbon. Color ranges from pure colorless to brown or black. Diamonds are the hardest natural substance on earth and rate a 10 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. As April's birthstone, diamonds are purported to provide protection, strength and to help the wearer obtain his dreams or fulfill his destiny. See the REEDs Education section regarding the 4 C's for more information about diamonds. Diamond Council of America (DCA): A non-profit organization formed in 1944 whose purpose is to train, educate and certify jewelry professionals in regards to diamonds and gems. The DCA represents over 5000 jewelry stores and is a leading supplier of diamonds and gemstones.

Diamond Grading:

A process where industry experts rate or grades diamonds based on the Four C's: cutclarity, color and carat weight. RELATED TERMS: See Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat Weight Dispersion: The separation of white light into the various colors that make up the light spectrum. Optimal cutting of gemstones produces this property, allowing white light to be converted into the colors of the rainbow. The effect is seen as multi-colored flashes through a diamond's table or as internal fire in well cut gemstones.


A method of improving gemstone durability or enhancing the visual impact by sandwiching a more valuable gemstone with either colored glass or a stone of lesser value. A thin layer of the valuable gemstone is adhered to the top and sometimes the bottom while the glass or lesser stone provides the necessary bulk beneath.

Earring Back Design:

The type of attachment used to connect the front part of an earring with the back. RELATED TERMS: See Hinged, Lever Back, Omega Back, Screw Back, Friction Post. Earring Design: Popular design patterns utilized by earring manufacturers. RELATED TERMS: See Chandelier, Dangle, Hoop, J-Hoop, Jacket, and Stud Earrings.


A type of Gemstone Cut that has eight upper facets and eight lower facets along with a table, totaling 17 facets. This type of cut is utilized when diamonds are too small for full cuts.


Probably the most expensive gemstone, this member of the beryl family can be valued higher than diamonds. Ranging in color from pure green to blue-green, the more vivid the tone, hue, and color consistancy, the better the stone. Emeralds are the rare exception to the rule that inclusions are bad. In fact, gemologists use these flaws, known as "jardin" or garden, as evidence of the gem's authenticity. The gem's center should be as flawless as possible, however. Many stones are treated to mask the natural imperfections. Emeralds rate a solid 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs Scale, making them an excellent choice for jewelry. As May's birthstone, the emerald is said to offer the wearer protection from evil spirits, provide the gift of eloquence, and arouse both the intellect and the heart.

Emerald Cut or Shape:

A type of Gemstone Cut with a square, rectangular or octagonal shape and step cut facets that create a sort of mirror effect. This type of cut is often used with high quality emeralds and long diamonds because the cut may amplify the appearance of scratches or inclusions in poorer quality stones.


The art of cutting decorative lines in metal, wood, or other materials

Espiga Chain:

A type of chain style also known as Spiga or Wheat Chain. Espiga is the Spanish word for wheat. Espiga chains are formed by the braiding of four metal strands into a wheat pattern.

Eternity Band:

A form of anniversary ring where a continuous row of gemstones, usually diamonds, encircle the entire band.

Eye Loupe:

A hand-held, magnifying lens used by jewelry experts to examine gemstones. The lens generally provides 10x magnification, but magnification can be higher.

Facet: A flat, polished surface cut into a gemstone. Gemstones are faceted in order to improve refraction and reflection which enhance both sparkle and brilliance.

Fancy Color Diamond:

A natural diamond whose color falls outside what is considered to be normal range, which includes white, light yellow, and brown.

Fantasy Cut or Shape:

A type of Gemstone Cut where the gemstone is formed in recognizable, popular shapes such as hearts, flowers, animals, etc. A Fantasy Cut gemstone is rarely faceted.

Figaro Chain:

A type of chain style where metal links are connected in a repeating pattern. Examples would be alternating long rectangular links with smaller round ones or having a single rectangular link followed by three shorter ones.


Small jewelry parts that have been pre-manufactured. Examples include settings and clasps.


A general term relating to gemstone imperfection. A flaw may include anything that negatively impacts the physical or optical nature of the gemstone under 10x magnification. Examples include feathering, internal crystals, stains, clouds, as well as cutting or polishing errors.

Florentine Finish:

A type of metal finish achieved by etching or engraving parallel lines into the metal's surface in order to reduce shine.

Four Cs:

An industry term that lumps the four values used to rate diamond quality: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. See the 4 C's page in our Education Section for a detailed explanation of each of the "C's".

Fracture Filling:

A process where gemstone fractures are filled with a clear substance to prevent the fracture from worsening or the stone from breaking. Often used in emeralds which are subject to fracture, the process is not permanent but can last for generations. Well done fillings are not visible to the naked eye.

Freshwater Cultured Pearl:

Man assisted pearls formed in freshwater mussels by inserting mantle tissue inside a mussel. Freshwater pearls have a less rounded shape, a wider range of color, and are a good value compared to salt water pearls.

Friction Post:

A type of pierced earring mounting that utilizes friction to lock the post onto the backing after the post is pushed through the earlobe. Friction posts are the most common form of earring mounting.


The Gemological Institute of America is the world's premier authority on gemology. As an impartial, independent, nonprofit organization, GIA provides education, research, and laboratory services including diamond grading.

GIA Inscription:

Verification that a diamond has been evaluated and graded by the Gemological Institute of America. GIA laser inscribes a unique identifying number on a diamond's girdle that matches the number on the diamond's GIA Grading Report. The inscription is very small and can only be seen under magnification.


A mineral found in almost every color, except blue. Deep, vivid red is the most common color of this group of semi-precious gems. Garnet crystals are usually round and have a 7 to 7.5 rating on the Mohs Hardness Scale. As January's birthstone, the garnet is said to bring commitment, love, and devotion to the wearer.


A naturally occurring mineral that is valued for its beauty and rarity. Examples include diamond, ruby, emerald, and sapphire.

Gemstone Shape:

The form a gemstone takes after cutting. RELATED TERMS: Asscher, Baguette, Bead, Briolette, Cushion, Emerald, Half Moon, Heart, Kite, Marquise, Oval, Pear, Princess, Round, Trillion.


The widest section of a cut gemstone where the crown and pavilion meet.


A naturally occurring, precious, yellow metal that is highly valued and often used in jewelry. RELATED TERMS: See Karat, Yellow Gold, White Gold, Rose Gold, Gold Filled, Gold Plate


A type of metal obtained by bonding a layer of gold with a second, less expensive metal by using heat and pressure. The Federal Trade Commission requires the weight of gold to be 1/20 of the total weight or better and at least 10 karat to achieve a gold-filled classification. The term "Rolled Gold Plate" or R.G.P. is used when the method is applied to gold of lesser carat and carat weight. Gold-filled jewelry has a much thicker layer of gold than does gold plate jewelry.

Gold Plate:

A type of metal obtained by depositing a thin layer of gold onto the surface of a second, less expensive metal using chemicals or electrolysis. Also known as gold flash, gold finish or gold tone.

Graduated Multiple Length:

A necklace consisting of several chains in varying lengths Half Bezel Setting A type of setting where a gemstone is set flush with or slightly below a protective, partially encircling metal band on two sides. This style of setting is often used to shield gemstones from scratching or chipping.

Half Moon Gemstone Shape:

A type of gemstone shape where a gem has a straight edge on one side and a curved, crescent arc on the other, resembling a half moon. Half moon gemstones are frequently used as accent stones set against a larger, center stone.


A gemstone's ability to resist scratching. The Mohs Scale rates the hardness of types of gemstones on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the hardest. See Mohs Hardness Scale

Heart Shape:

A gemstone cut in a heart shape

Heat Treated:

An industry common practice where gems are heated to enhance color or clarity.


A very common mineral formed from iron ore. Also known as the Bloodstone, color ranges from black to brown to bright red and includes a rusty red streak. Hematite's signature red color contains the pigment "red ochre" used in cave paintings and is believed to be responsible for the planet Mar's distinctive red hue. Although harder than iron with a Mohs rating of 5.5 to 6.5, the gem is sometimes brittle. Hematite's mysticism is linked to blood. The stone is found in tombs and was worn as a symbol of mourning but is also thought to aid healing and improve courage and optimism.

Hinged Earrings:

A type of earring which attaches to the ear through a loop or post that has a hinge, usually at the bottom or back of the earring, and is easy to open and remove. Generally used for non-pierced ears, this form of earring is also known as a clip earring. Hoop Earrings A general term for an earring that forms a rounded loop as it extends from the front of the earlobe to the back.

ID Bracelet:

Also known as an identification bracelet, this type of jewelry most commonly is a silver or gold chain style bracelet with a centered, in-line, solid plate of metal where the owner's name, nickname, or initials are engraved. Bracelets vary in the style of script, quality of metal used, and the type of band. Specialized ID bracelets include Medical Alert bracelets and children's ID bracelets. In the case of Medical Alerts, medical conditions or allergy information is engraved in case the wearer is unable to communicate with emergency personal. In the case of Children's ID bracelets, contact information such as parent names, phone number, and address may be engraved alongside the child's name. This type of bracelet is usually composed of colorful Velcro instead of precious metals.


Insurance Replacement Estimate. An estimate of jewelry value used by insurers.


A man-made substitute for a valuable gem or metal that lacks the natural crystal or chemical composition of the original.


An industry term describing a double ring, often decorated with gems, that provide space for a primary ring, usually a solitaire, in its center. See Ring Guard.

Invisible Setting:

A type of setting where gemstones are tightly placed, side by side, and attached to metal below the gemstone's girdle. Because the metal can't be seen, the jewelry appears to be metal- free.


A unique, transparent mineral that when cut, can appear to be violet blue, yellowish gray or light blue depending on the angle. The deeper the shade of violet blue, the better is the cut. Iolite is often free of visible inclusions and rates a grade of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Also known as the Water Sapphire, it is sometimes used as a substitute for Tanzanite and Sapphire. Iolite is said to bring the wearer spiritual incite as well as the ability to see both sides of an issue.


An organic gem formed from dentin in teeth or tusks of mammals such as elephant, hippopotamus, narwhal, sea lion, wild boar and fossilized mammoth. Collection of ivory has led to the decimation of certain species, especially elephants. Importation and sale of ivory from elephants is illegal in the United States and elsewhere around the globe. Alternative sources of ivory, including a vegetable source called tagua, have started to appear. Ivory is very soft, rating a 2 to 3 on the Mohs scale, and is generally utilized in carvings or engravings.

J-Hoops Earrings:

A type of earring that resembles the letter "J" and partially loops the earlobe.


An elaborate or decorative jewelry setting that fits behind or around another piece of jewelry. Jackets are often used to embellish solitaire rings or simple stud earrings


One of two metamorphic rocks composed of different silicate minerals, Nephite or Jadeite. The two are quite similar in appearance but Jadite, because of its intensity of color, translucency, and rarity (only found in Myanmar), is more valuable and considered the imperial or "true" jade. Jade color ranges from its premier hue, emerald green, to mottled green, pink, yellow, black, and white. With a 6.5 to 7 Mohs scale rating, jade is of moderate hardiness. A suggested gift for the 12th, 30th, and 35th anniversaries, jade is said to promote healing and longevity, symbolize love and virtue, and bring about wealth and humility.


An opaque, fine-grained mineral considered to be either a chalcedony or a quartz, depending on the source. Jasper is found in all colors and is known for its streaks or bands which often form interesting patterns. With a rating of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs Scale, the stone is of moderate hardiness. There are many types of jasper including agate, Egyptian, riband, basanite and blood. A variety known as scenic jasper is so named because the streaks appear to form a scenic image. Jasper is also found in Petrified material. As an alternative birthstone for October, the gem is said to induce joy, protect, heal, promote sleep, and even to bring rain.

Journey Jewelry:

A style of jewelry containing as least four stones (usually diamonds) of different sizes, arranged in ascending order from smallest to largest. The largest and final stone should be of significant size. The original intent of the design was to signify the growth of love over time, following the course and highlights of a couple’s relationship. The intended meaning has grown to also include life changes, described as a roadmap of life, with the diamonds marking turning points or important steps along life’s path.

Karat (kt):

A measurement of the amount of pure gold in an alloy. Generally sold as 10k, 14k, 18k and 24k (pure gold), the amount of gold in jewelry can be calculated by dividing the karat number by 24. Most fine jewelry is sold formed from 14k or 18k gold because pure gold is so soft, it can be scratched with a fingernail.

Keishi Shape:

A type of pearl shape where a small, round pearl resembling a poppy seed is formed when an additional irritant is accidentally introduced in the process of cultivating pearls. These free form pearls may be referred to as "seed pearls".

Kite Gemstone Shape:

A gemstone shape resembling a traditional kite. The shape is sometimes referred to as a "diamond cut" because the top view resembles the side view of a diamond solitaire. Five matching kite shaped stones are often aligned to form "star" jewelry, where the triangular portions become the star's rays.


A variety of translucent feldspar which displays strong iridescent colors including vivid yellow, blue, aqua, red, green and orange when tilted to reflect light. Originally discovered in the Labrador Province of Canada, the stone is also found in Russia, India, and Madagascar. Labradorite is fairly soft, rating a 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale. The gemstone is thought to bring good luck, increase vitality and strength, and reduce stress.

Lapis Lazuli:

A blue composite mineral, often containing sulphur, calcite, and pyrite (fool's gold) that is usually striped or spotted. The purest blue specimens are more highly prized as are samples exhibiting veins of pyrite. A soft stone rating 5 to 6 on the Mohs Scale, gems may be adversely affected by hot temperatures or acids. As one of December's birthstones, Lapis is thought to promote creativity and awareness, act as a sleep aid and aphrodisiac, and counteract fear and jealousy.

Lever Back:

A type of earring mounting with a curved wire resembling a fish hook that bends and latches behind the ear. Lever backs are used for pieced ears, generally for dangle types of earrings. Line Bracelet: A type of bracelet consisting of a single row of diamonds or gemstones stretching the full length of the jewelry.

Link Chain:

Also referred to as a chain link, this type of metal jewelry consists of interlocking circles resembling a chain. Link Chain Bracelet: Also referred to as a chain link bracelet, this type of metal bracelet consists of interlocking circles resembling a chain.

Lobster clasp:

A type of clasp style resembling a lobster claw that opens and closes in a "pincher" movement.


A pendant, usually heart-shaped or oval, that may be opened to reveal a small, personal memento, such as a photograph or lock of hair. Lockets are usually attached to necklaces but may also be found on bracelets or brooches.


A small magnifying lens used by jewelers to inspect jewelry or gemstones for inclusions, blemishes, hallmarks, etc, generally at 10x magnification.

Mabe Pearl:

A type of pearl that is formed when an impurity is placed against the mollusk shell instead of within tissue. The resulting pearl is shaped like a hemisphere with one side being rounded and the other being flat. Naturally occurring mabe pearls are very rare and are generally cultured.


A mineral formed from magnesium carbonate that is fairly brittle, with a hardness of 3.5 to 4.5 on the Mohs Scale. Color ranges from colorless, to white, to pale yellow, to light pink. The high magnesium component causes fluorescence under certain lighting conditions. Magnesite is said to bring inner peace, build strong bones and teeth, and enhance imagination.


A device jewelers use to measure ring size; a tapered cylinder with measuring marks.


Pyrite, a cubic crystallization of iron sulphite with a hardness of 6.5 Mohs scale and a specific gravity of 5.1, is known as Marcasite in the jewelry world. Marcasite is known for its bright metallic luster and only a few varieties are suitable for cutting for use in jewelry. In the 20th century, marcasite was a vital element of the Art Deco period and it re-emerged in style again in the mid-1980’s. In Jewelry, marcasite is most frequently used as accent stones in many different designs and styles.

Mariner Chain:

A type of chain style where interlocking, oval metal links are bisected by a bar in the center of each link Marquise (Marquis) or Navette Cut or Shape: A type of Gemstone Cut resembling an oval with points on both ends, similar to the shape of an American football. Legend has it the cut was created when Louis XIV, also known as the Marquise of Pompadour, requested a diamond in the shape of a mouth.

Matinee Length:

A necklace or strand of pearls measuring 20" to 24" in length.


An assemblage of small diamonds, all under 1/4 carat in size.

Metal Color:

A color of metal achieved by mixing gold or other metals with alloys. RELATED TERMS: See Yellow Gold, White Gold, Two-Tone, Rose Gold.

Metal Content and Gold Measure:

A measure of the amount of gold or other metal in a piece of jewelry that is formed from an alloy. RELATED TERMS: See Base Metal, Plated, Solid Metal.

Metal Finish:

The application of techniques to improve the finished appearance of jewelry. Examples are polishing or brushing to improve reflection and shine, texturing, or applying a satin or matte finish to dull color and luster. RELATED TERMS: See Florentine, Polished, Satin Finish.

Metal Type:

The type of metal used in a particular piece of jewelry. RELATED TERMS: See Ceramic, Gold, Overlay Vermeil, Platina 4, Platinum, Silver, Stainless Steel, Sterling Silver, Titanium.


A metal design consisting of a row of raised, tiny beads along the edge or border of a piece of jewelry, generally a ring.

Mixed Cut:

A type of gem cut that uses both brilliant and step facets. See our Education Section regarding Cut and the 4 C's.

Moh's Scale:

A system invented by Friedrich Mohs to measure and compare gemstone hardness and scratch resistance. The Mohs Scale is a jewelry industry standard method of measuring gemstone hardiness.


An iridescent feldspar mineral ranging from colorless to an array of hues including rainbow color and a milky, blue-white sheen. Moonstones are always cut as cabochons and rate a fairly fragile 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. As an alternative birthstone for June, the gem supposedly brings good luck, protects women and children, and enhances passion and crop performance. Legend has it that the moonstone was formed from moonlight and that it has the ability to foretell the future.

Mother of Pearl:

The hard, iridescent blend of minerals coating the inside shell of certain large mollusks. Mother of pearl is an organic, luminescent, somewhat fragile gem that should be worn with care. See Nacre.

Mother's Ring:

A custom ring set with a birthstone representing each child or grandchild of the wearer. Mother's rings were traditionally designed with gemstones aligned in a row, but have morphed to include cluster type settings. A mother's ring can be created for mothers or grandmothers.


A type of jewelry where multiple gemstones are clustered together, creating the illusion of one large, center stone.


An iridescent blend of minerals that is deposited around an irritant lodged inside certain mollusks, either by humans or by nature, which becomes a pearl. See Mother of Pearl.

Natural Pearl:

A pearl created by nature, without man's intervention. Natural pearls are formed when at irritant, such as a grain of sand, is introduced inside of a mollusk. The mollusk secrets a coating, called nacre, around the irritant to protect itself. The resulting pearl is both rare and difficult to find.

Necklace Accoutrement:

A type or style of necklace or decorative ornament. RELATED TERMS: See Pendant, Locket, Slide, Sticks.

Necklace Length:

How long a necklace is. RELATED TERMS: See Princess Length, Matinee Length, Opera Length and Graduated Multiples Length

Nick Setting:

A type of setting similar to a channel setting where gemstones are placed in a row with bands of metal on either side forming an interior "channel" of gemstones. The difference is that the gemstones are held in place by small prongs rising from the metal sides. This type of setting amplifies the appearance of a central gemstone.

Off Round Pearl:

A type of pearl that is not perfectly round

Oil Treated:

A method used to treat gemstone inclusions to prevent cracking and mask the defect. This type of treatment is frequently used on emeralds and opals.

Omega Back:

A type of earring backing that resembles the Greek letter Omega. Generally used with hoop earrings, an omega back uses a hinge design to snap over a post inserted through a pieced ear. The post is locked in place in an Omega-shaped enclosure.

Omega Bracelet:

A type of bracelet with closely fitting, rectangular links. The chain appears to be solid. Omega Chain Style A chain or necklace style where the links fit tightly together and resemble the Greek letter Omega.


A finely textured quartz mineral or chalcedony. Generally thought of as being solid black, onyx actually ranges in color from white to black and may display white band or ribbons. With a rating of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs Scale, it is an excellent stone for carving and is often used in cameos. As the Mystical birthstone for December, Onyx is a talisman against depression, improves happiness and instinct, and can help the wearer to change bad habits.


A luminous, iridescent, semi-precious gemstone that often exhibits multi-colored flashes of light when viewed from different angles. With a rating of 5.5 to 6.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, opals are somewhat fragile and should be treated with care. Natural opals contain water. Heat can lead to evaporation and cracking so opal jewelry is best stored in moist, absorbent cotton in a cool location. As October's birthstone, the Opal promotes faithfulness and inner beauty, improves vision, and allows the wearer to recall past lives.

Open Link Chain:

A type of chain style where interconnected metal links contain a gap or open area in the center of all or a portion of the links

Opera Length:

A necklace or strand of pearls measuring 28" to 30" in length.


Also known as pearlessence, the term refers to a pearl's iridescence or luster

Oval Shape:

A gemstone cut to resemble an elongated circle.

Overlay Vermeil:

A version of Gold Plate where gold is applied over a silver base.


A naturally white, durable, metallic element that is part of the platinum group. Palladium has a natural silvery luster, lightness, and strength, and is a wonderful alternative to more pricey platinum jewelry.

Pave Setting:

A style of setting where multiple, small gemstones are tightly clustered and adhered with beads of metal, giving the appearance of a "paved" surface.


The lower section of a cut gemstone that is below the girdle (widest area around a diamond) and above the culet (bottom facet). Pear-shaped Cut or Shape: A type of Gemstone Cut where the gemstone is cut with oval table facets above and below the girdle. The finished gemstone resembles a teardrop.


An organic gem formed when a mollusk secretes a protective calcium carbonate based substance around an irritant, placed naturally or by man, inside the shell. The building of this protective coating, called nacre, can take 7 to 8 years. Color ranges from white to black and includes shades of pink, green and blue. Water content and type of mollusk effect color. More valuable pearls are naturally produced, round, lustrous, and symmetrical. With a weak rating of 3 to 4 on the Mohs Scale, pearls must be treated kindly, avoiding contact with perfume, perspiration and hair spray, and removing jewelry for strenuous activity. As June's birthstone, pearls promote wisdom, wealth, good luck, and love; protect children; and improve Karma.

Pearl Shape:

The shape of a natural or cultured pearl. RELATED TERMS: See Baroque, Button, Keishi, Mobe, Off Round, Potato, Rice, Rondelle and Round Pearls


A decorative ornament that hangs from a necklace, earrings, or pin

Perfectina Chain:

A type of chain style where very small, circular metal links are tightly braided together


A yellow-green to olive green, semi-precious gemstone, also known as chrysolite, olivine, and the evening emerald. Peridot is usually transparent with few inclusions. With a rating of 6 to 7.5 on the Mohs Scale, the stone can burst under intense stress and is often protected by metal in jewelry. As August's birthstone, the peridot is said to drive away evil spirits, aid healing, and protect the wearer.

Plate (Plating, Plated):

The process of coating the surface of a less valuable hard metal with a thin layer of a valuable, softer metal to improve durability and resistance to corrosion. As an example, a piece of copper may be dipped in silver or gold and adhered via chemical reaction or electricity. The resulting metal takes on the appearance of the more valuable surface metal and is of much improved hardiness.

Platina 4:

A type of patented metal composed of four different precious metals: silver, palladium, platinum and gold along with a proprietary alloy. Platina 4 is hypoallergenic, re-size-able, can be polished and cleaned with ultrasonic cleaners or mild soap and water, is tarnish resistant, and more scratch resistant than 14-karat gold. The metal is noted for retaining its brilliant, white luster. Less expensive than gold, Platina 4 is very affordable for today’s consumer.


A lustrous, silver-white metallic element. A wonderful metal for jewelry, Platinum is strong, malleable, non-corrosive and doesn't tarnish.

Plumb Gold:

A term used in the past to validate that the amount of gold in an alloy is not rounded up but contains the precise amount of gold as claimed. An example would be that a piece of jewelry may be stamped 14kt but could actually be 13.85kt, whereas one stamped 14kp, meaning plumb, is truly 14 parts fine gold. A problem with the initial "kp" has occurred as some buyers mistakenly believe the mark stands for "gold plated".


An industry term referring to a unit of weight, generally in regards to diamond carat weight. One point equates to 0.01 or 1/100 carats.

Polished Finish:

A popular type of metal finish that creates a smooth surface and bright shine.


The metal stem or backing used to mount a pierced earring

Potato Shape:

A type of pearl shape where the pearl is irregular and oblong, similar to the shape of a potato

Precious Gemstone:

A gemstone that is extremely rare, possesses exceptional brilliance and color, and has a premium market value. Precious stones include diamond, emerald, sapphire, and ruby.

Princess Cut or Shape:

A type of Gemstone Cut into a square or rectangular shape with triangular or kite shaped facets and resembles an inverted pyramid.

Princess Length:

A necklace or strand of pearls measuring 18" in length.

Promise Ring:

A "pre-engagement" ring. In the past, men who were unable to marry for some reason, would give their girlfriends a promise ring as a token to pledge their commitment without actually becoming officially engaged. Generally, the ring was thought to “hold” the committed relationship until the man was either financially ready to support a family or in times of war, was safely back home. In modern times, a promise ring may be given when a relationship is serious, but there is still some question about taking the final step towards a lifelong vow. Generally, promise rings are simpler and less expensive than engagement rings. Often, they consist of small diamonds, and are frequently heart-shaped to signify love or are in a three-stone pattern to symbolize past, present, and future. Promise rings may be crafted in gold, but are most often silver or a lesser valued metal.


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