Jewelry Basics Glossary

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M |

N | O | P | Q | R | S | T |

 

Amethyst

The traditional birthstone for February, the amethyst is purple in color.  It is a member of the quartz family and is not only attractive, it is affordable as well. The color should be even and the stone should be clear.

Aquamarine

A relatively hard crystal mineral, the aquamarine is also the birthstone of March.  It typically has few flaws and can be red, orange, yellow, or pink though most range in color from light blue to dark blue. 

 


Baguette Setting

A baguette setting is a setting of rectangular stones commonly found in a band. The baguettes can be tapered, meaning they are narrower at the bottom and get increasingly wider as they reach the top of the band. It is common for the baguette stones to surround a larger center stone.

Blemishes

Blemishes are scratches or marks on the external part of a gemstone. They are generally produced as a result of an amateur jeweler who has made a mistake when cutting the gemstone or as a result of poor handling. 

Blue Topaz

As the birthstone for December, blue topaz is rarely natural – it is golden brown to yellow in color – but it is produced by irradiating the crystals until they chang color.  Be sure that you’re not getting a type of quartz, which can come in nearly any color.

Brilliance

When a jeweler refers to a gemstone's brilliance they are talking about the sparkle in a stone. This characteristic is a result of the light reflecting with even distribution through the stone. A properly cut stone will exhibit greater brilliance.

 


Carat Weight

The measurement of weight of gems although it is oftentimes confused with their size.

Certification

When referring to certificate the jeweler is referring to the gemstones certification of authenticity. The certification is important to ensure that you are not buying a cubic zirconium instead of a diamond. Only an authorized institute for grading diamonds should verify the certification of a gemstone.

Channel Setting

A channel setting is a setting used, most commonly, in wedding bands. This setting is one in which the stones are set next to each other without metal divisions.

Citrine

The birthstone of November, the citrine is a translucent variety of quartz that is typically yellow in color.  Topaz is considerably harder and heavier than quartz  and has a higher refractive index, which gives it with more sparkle when the color is good.

Clarity

When looking at gems, the clarity refers to the purity of the stone and how free it is of flaws or inclusions.

Cluster Setting

A cluster setting is a setting where a large center stone is surrounded by smaller gemstones. The gemstones surrounding the center stone commonly differ from that of the center, allowing a variety of gemstones to be placed in one setting.

Color

Color is in reference to gems.  A colorless diamond is more valuable than one that has visible color.  Gemstones, on the other hand, are more valuable with their color is more rich.

Crown

The crown is the top of a diamond. The top of a diamond is a crucial aspect in the amount of brilliance a stone will have. If the top, or crown, is imperfect the stone will not reflect the maximum amount of light and thus display less brilliance.

Cut

The cut of a gem is intended to maximize the amount of light reflected.  While diamonds are cut to provide the most sparkle, gemstones are cut to display even color and have the least amount of flaws. 

 


Diamond Grading Reports

Diamond grading reports are report from a grading institute as to the quality, or grade, of your diamond. The report will asses the four Cs of the diamond and supply an estimated value for a specific gemstone.

Dispersion

When a jeweler refers to dispersion, they are commonly discussing the reflecting or distribution of light through the gemstone. The distribution of light through a diamond should be maximized to ensure a greater brilliance. If the stone is cut inaccurately, the light struggles to be evenly distributed throughout the stone and can make the diamond appear dull in luster.

 


Emerald

The traditional birthstone for May, the emerald is one of the most popular gemstones because of its brilliant green color that ranges from light to dark.  The more vivid the color, the more the stone is worth.  Because they can shatter, it’s important to buy a stone with as few fractures or cracks as possible.  Be wary because some stones may be oiled.

 


Facet

A facet is a flat polished surface of a gemstone. This surface needs to be flawless to maximize the beauty of the gemstone.

Four C’s

How to measure the value of stones, including diamonds, moissanite, and other gemstones.  The four c’s include clarity, cut, color, and carat weight.

Flat-Top Setting

Setting where the band thickens at the top where the gemstone is held by metal clip. This setting is similar to that of a gypsy setting.

Flaws

Also called inclusions, flaws are imperfections in a gemstone that decrease the value.  Common flaws include cracks or liquid-filled cavities.

 


Garnet

The traditional birthstone for Januray, garnet is most often red in color and is known to represent friendship and commitment.  Compared to other gems, it very hard and durable.

Gemological Institute of America (GIA)

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the most respected institute for grading gemstones. It is a non-profit organization that will supply a report as to the grade of a gemstone, providing certification of the stone to ensure public trust.

Girdle

A girdle, when referring to gemstones, is the outer edge of a cut stone.

Growth or Grain Lines

Growth or grain lines are small lines in a gemstone.  These blemishes are considered flaws in diamonds. It is desirable to have as few of these as possible in a gemstone.

Gypsy Setting

Like a Flat-Top Setting, a Gypsy setting consists of a band that gets thicker at the top. It is typically used in men’s settings.

 


Illusion Setting

An Illusion setting is a setting where the stone is either set in a mirror type setting or surrounded by smaller stones similar to a Cluster setting. This setting is used to make the diamond appear larger, hence it’s name.

 


Loupe

A loupe is a magnifying glass used to examine gemstones to determine if there are flaws, growths, or grain lines. It is also used to determine the gemstones color and examine its cut.

Luster

Luster refers to the depth of reflection from pearls, opals, or other opaque stones. Luster is produced when rays of light are absorbed into and reflected back out through the stone, similar to brilliance in a diamond. Luster is rated from very high to very low and the stone is priced accordingly.

 


Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness

The Mohs Scale lists the scratch resistance of gems and minerals between numbers one and ten.. Created in 1812 by German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs, it is used to determine the strength and durability of many gems.  The hardest mineral known is a diamond, which is number ten on the scale.

Moissanite

Moissanite is a naturally-occurring jewel that was discovered in 1893 by Dr. Henri Moissan while studying meteorite fragments. Now created in laboratories, it is almost as strong as a diamond but produces more fire and brilliance and is more resistant to heat. 

 


Oiling

Oiling is a process used to fill cracks in emeralds and improve their overall color.

Opal

The birthstone for October, this colorful gem is a combination of packed silica and varying amounts of water.  Typically, the opal is white in color, but it can also be colorless, pale yellow, or pale red.

 


Pave

Pave (pronounced pah-vay) is a setting where several small stones are placed together, similar to a Cluster setting.

Pavilion

The pavilion is the bottom point of a cut gemstone. This part of the stone is extremely fragile and easily chipped if the stone is not cut properly.

Pearl

As the birthstone of June, the pearl symbolizes wisdom and virtue.  When a grain of sand (or any other irritant) is in an oyster, it gets coated with several coats of nacre, the iridescent internal layer of a mollusk shell, which creates the pearl.  The most valuable type of pearl is perfectly round because they are rare.

Peridot

As the birthstone for August, the peridot comes in a variety of colors although green is the most common.  It is rather affordable, and the most valuable are the stones that are even in color and are clear.

Prong or Claw Setting

A prong or claw setting is a setting that consists of metal tips that are slightly bent to form a claw to hold the gemstone securely in place. It is common in a solitaire setting.

 

Refraction Index

Refraction is the dispersion or bending of light as it passes through a gemstone and reflects off the facets of the cut stone. If the stone is not properly cut the refraction index will be low. In diamonds this can result in misclassification and lower rating.

Ruby

As the birthstone for July, the ruby is often mistaken for a garnet, which is also red in color.  But because red is a rare color for gems, rubies are very valuable (second to diamonds).  A clear and pure red stone is most valuable.

 


Sapphire

As the birthstone for September, the sapphire is typically blue in color although it can be orange, yellow, green, purple, or pink.  Some sapphires are colorless and are gaining in popularity as a substitute for diamonds.  The most valuable sapphires are pure blue and have no gray, black, or green tones or tint.

Solitaire Setting

A solitaire setting refers to a setting in which a single gemstone is mounted in a band. This setting is common in engagement rings and is accompanied by a wedding band after you are married.

 


Table

The table is the top surface of a gemstone. Similar to the crown of a diamond, the table must be cut correctly to ensure it demonstrates the highest amount of brilliance or sparkle.

Tension Setting

A Tension setting is a setting where the gemstone is held by the pressure of two ends of a band. There are no prongs or claws holding the gem in place. The gemstone appears to float within the band.