Know Your Terms
The World of Jewelry can sometimes overwhelm newcomers with its vast array of terms and definitions seldom heard in everyday life. When making a jewelry purchase of any sort, a general grasp of the words and phrases used to describe stones, metals, styles, and techniques is always handy. To give customers a head start, we have provided a list of some of the most commonly used words and phrases and how they pertain to the world of jewelry:

Click the image below and mouse over to see descriptions of the various parts of a diamond.

 

  • Bangle - A rigid bracelet or anklet, especially one with no clasp.
  • Bail - the upper portion of a pendant setting through which the chain is passed.
  • Bezel - The upper, faceted portion of a cut gem, above the girdle and below the table; also a way of setting a gemstone without prongs.
  • Brilliance - the amount of light a stone reflects back into the eye. Often directly related to the quality of the cut of the stone.
  • Brilliant Cut - also referred to as "round"; this is the most common cut for a stone.
  • Carat - A unit of weight for precious stones, equal to 200 milligrams. Most often associated with diamonds; a quarter-carat stone could be listed as .25 carat, 1/4 carat, or twenty-five points.
  • Clarity - a measurement of clearness of appearance; for gemstones, clarity refers to the absence or presence of inclusions. The size, nature, location and amount of inclusions determine a stone's clarity grade and affect its cost.
  • Clarity Grading Scale - used by the Gemological Institute of America to rate an individual stone's clarity.
  • Cut - The shape and placement of the facets of a polished stone.
  • Emerald Cut - A rectangular cut, with facets on each of the sides and across the corners. This cut involves fewer facets than most cuts, and thus creates a clearer-looking stone. Because of this fact, it is generally reserved for stones of high quality and with few or no inclusions.
  • Facet-One of the flat polished surfaces cut on a gemstone or occurring naturally on a crystal.
  • Filigree - Delicate and intricate ornamental work made from gold, silver, or other fine twisted wire.
  • Fire - the separation of reflected light rays into the colors of the spectrum as they enter and leave a stone.
  • Flawless (F) - a clarity rating merited by a stone that has no inclusions visible by an expert gemologist under 10x magnification.
  • Included (I1 or I2) - a clarity rating merited by a stone that contains obvious inclusions under 10x magnification which are just visible to the naked eye.
  • Inclusion - A natural mark or flaw in a stone; any foreign body enclosed in the stone.
  • Internally Flawless (IF) - A clarity rating merited by a stone containing no visible internal inclusions by an expert gemologist under 10x magnification.
  • Karat - A unit of measure for the fineness of gold, equal to 1/24 part. Pure gold is 24 karat; gold that is 50 percent pure is 12 karat.
  • Marquise - A stone cut that is long and pointed at both ends.
  • Mounting - A setting for a stone.
  • Pear - A stone cut that is pointed at one end and rounded at the other. Also called "teardrop" or "tear".
  • Princess - A square stone cut.
  • Prong - A thin, pointed, projecting part; usually several prongs make up the head or basket of a piece of jewelry, which holds the stone in place.
  • Semi-mount - A setting for a larger stone that also includes smaller stones set as accents.
  • Shank - the thinner part of the ring that wraps around the finger.
  • Shoulders - on the inside of some rings, the edges on the outside of the hollow space beneath the top portion.
  • SI1 and SI2 - Slightly included; a clarity rating merited by stones with noticeable, relatively easy to find inclusions under 10x magnification.
  • Simulant Stone - anything that is meant to resemble a gemstone in physical appearance, but has different chemical, optical, and physical properties. A cubic zirconia, or CZ, is an example of a simulant diamond.
  • Synthetic Stone - A stone that has essentially the same appearance and optical, physical, and chemical properties as the natural material that it represents. These are usually lab-created stones and often possess superior color and/or clarity over natural stones because the conditions under which they are produced are strictly controlled.
  • Trilliant - Also called "trillion"; a triangular stone cut.
  • VS1 and VS2 - Very slightly included; a clarity rating merited by stones with minor, difficult to find inclusions under 10x magnification.
  • VVS1 and VVS2 - Very, very slightly included; a clarity rating merited by stones with minute, extremely difficult to find inclusions.
  • White Gold - An alloy of gold and nickel, sometimes also containing palladium or zinc, having a pale platinumlike color. White gold is often plated with rhodium to enhance and protect the white color of the metal.