Mystic Wynd's Glossary of Jewelry Terms
(For Gemology - click here!)
Copyright 2011 Mystic Wynd Creations, All rights reserved
(For Gemology - click here!)
Copyright 2011 Mystic Wynd Creations, All rights reserved
Alloy - A mixture of two or more metals to create a substance that usually has better qualities than any of the single component metals. (Example: Copper is alloyed with zinc to produce brass, which has the color of gold, but is much harder and more durable than gold.)
Anklet - Ornamental jewelry designed to be worn around the ankle and created from linked chain(s), strung beads, or other strung components such as gemstones. To determine the anklet size you need, measure the circumference of the ankle and add approximately 3/4" or 1" to the basic measurement. Industry standard sizes for adult anklets are as follows: Small = 6.5” ; Medium = 8” ; Large = 9.5”
Antique(d) - term applied to any metal or component to which a method of creating an aged look or patina (finish) has been applied. (Not to be confused with antique used as a term to describe something that has reached a certain age and is considered to be valuable due to its age and scarcity)
Bar and Toggle Clasp: A bar and toggle clasp (also known as a "toggle") is a two-piece clasp that is attached to opposite ends of a piece of jewelry. One section of the clasp has an open center (round, square, oval, or some other shaped-opening). The other half is a T-bar that attaches to the components at the other end. You insert the "T" into the hole which holds the worn jewelry in place. Toggle clasps are one of the most popular jewelry closures/jewelry clasps around - both for their functionality and for their contribution to the overall design of the piece of jewelry. They are very easy to put on and take off - which is always helpful when you don't want to or can't fiddle with clasps that have tiny mechanisms. Toggles that have square or oval openings/holes are easier to get on and off, and are also more secure, than round ones. They can be also very sturdy and very attractive. Widely used to secure bracelets, anklet, and necklaces, these kinds of clasps are also incorporated by jewelry artisans into their actual necklace designs, often positioned to rest to the side or at the bottom of pendants, rather than at the back, as in traditional necklace designs.
Barrel Clasp: A barrel clasp derives its name from its shape which has the same basic form as a barrel. These clasps are made of two cylindrical screw ends that look like barrels, each with an eyehook or connector loop to attach them to the necklace or bracelet. These screw end pieces have male and female ends; one end screws inside the threads of the other, much like a bolt screwing into a nut or a bottle cap screwing onto a bottle.
Bib - Necklace that has a choker length strand as its base with either vertical dangles from a single strand, or graduated strands increasing in size by typically 1"-2" with each subsequent strand.
Bullet Clasp: Somewhat similar to box clasps, traditional bullet clasps have two parts - the larger being a housing, often ornate, into which the second piece - the bullet - is inserted and held in place by some type of tension against a small indentation in the bullet. Modern day bullet clasps often use a magnet to secure the bullet in its housing.
Box Clasp: A box clasp consists of two parts which are attached to opposite ends of a necklace, bracelet, or anklet. One end is a fitted boxed housing with a slot in it. The other end is a lever formed from a flat piece of metal folded over, which fits into the notch like a tongue and groove when compressed. Once the tab is inserted into the notch and released, the pressure secures it inside the box. To release this type of clasp, simply press the two ends of the protruding lever together and pull out of the box.
Bracelet - Ornamental jewelry designed to be worn around the wrist and created from linked chain(s), strung beads, or other strung components such as gemstones. To determine the bracelet size you need, measure the circumference of the wrist and add approximately 3/4" or 1" to the basic measurement. Industry standard sizes for adult bracelets are as follows: Very Small = 6 - 6.5” ; Small = 7” ; Medium = 7.5” ; Large = 8” ; Extra Large = 8.5”
Briolette - An elongated, pear-shaped stone covered with bands of triangular (sometimes rectangular) facets, usually having one pointed end. Briolettes do not have a girdle.
Burnish(-ed, -ing) - is the cosmetic deformation of a surface due to sliding contact with another object resulting in a polished effect.
Button Toggle Clasps: These clasps are composed of a set of matched buttons, one having a loop of cord, elastic or beaded thread. The loop is then slipped around the other button to close the clasp.
Carat - A unit of measure of the weight of diamonds and other gemstones. One carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams or 100 "points." There are some countries around the world which also use this term interchangeably with karat, which refers to the purity of gold. Due to the difference in weight between stones, the actual visual size of the stone in two different families (eg, diamonds and emeralds) may differ significantly. A one carat brilliant sapphire, for example, will be smaller in size than a 1 carat brilliant cut diamond.
Choker - Any necklace designed to be worn around the neck. This term generally applies to any necklace 16 inches or shorter and should like at the very base of the neck. 1.5" to 2" should be added to the neck circumference to size, based on the looseness desired. (Also see wearable length for additional sizing information)
Collar - Necklace designed to fit snugly around the middle of the neck. To determine the proper length for a collar, add 1" to the neck circumference. (Also see wearable length for additional sizing information)
Crown - The section of a faceted gemstone between the girdle and the table, or flat top facet of the stone. (If the cut has a table)
Dapping- the creation of a three dimensional (usually domed) surface on a flat surface through the use of a dapping hammer and a domed die. (Also called doming)
Electroplating - technique in which a thin layer of metal (usually gold, silver, or copper, although other metals can be used) is deposited on an object of a different metal composition which is achieved by passing an electrical current through a solution containing dissolved metal ions and the metal object to be plated.
Faceted - Having a man-made (as on a faceted gemstone) or a naturally occurring flat polished surface (as on a crystal).
Fold-Over Clasp: (See Snap Lock Clasp)
Flux - Liquid or paste compound that is applied to metals being joined through soldering which keeps the metals clean of oxides, helps the solder flow and acts as a visual indicator to gauge when the solder is beginning to flow.
Girdle - The outer edge of a faceted stone, serving as the dividing line between the crown and the pavilion. In a well cut, highly graded stone, the width of the girdle will be even and proportional to the cut of the stone. The girdle may or may not be polished.
Hook and Eye Clasp: The hook and eye clasp is constructed of two pieces - a simple hook on one end of the bracelet or necklace and an "eye" piece on the other end which is usually shaped like a figure eight or a large closed jumpring. Not quite as secure as some of the other clasps, the hook and eye is more suitable for necklaces than bracelets.
Karat - designation used to define the purity of a gold alloy. 24kt gold, at 99.9% gold is considered pure gold. In the US, a gold alloy must be at least 10kt to be labelled as gold. In the UK, 9kt is the minimum fineness. Other regions and countries have varying minimums.
Lariat - Long necklace generally measuring at least 48" which does not have a clasp (although it may have a loop through which the dangling end is fed) and is designed with loose ends that may be looped, draped, or wrapped to create any number of fashion looks.
Length - The linear measurement of a bracelet or necklace. The length (linear length) of a bracelet, necklace, or anklet may vary from the wearable length due to the design and size of the components (specifically, beads) used. (Also see wearable length for additional sizing information)
Lobster Claw Clasp: Similar to a spring ring clasp in its mechanism, a lobster clasp opens by pressing a hinge, which opens the clasp into a claw shape. The claw catches a loop or ring attached to the other end of the chain, securing the two ends together. Lobster claw clasps (also known as parrot clasps for their resemblance to a parrot's head with its mouth open when unclasped), are somewhat more heavy duty than spring rings and due to their carabiner type locking mechanism in many designs, they are often easier to use than spring ring clasps.
Matinee Length - Necklace generally measuring 20" to 23" or 3-4" longer than a custom fitted princess length necklace. This length should drape flatly against the chest.
Magnetic Clasp: A magnetic clasp is an easy-to-use clasp that makes use of strong magnets at both ends of the necklace or bracelet. When the ends are brought together, the magnets quickly snap shut, creating a secure connection. Caution: Pregnant women and those with pacemakers should not wear magnetic clasps. Due to the strong magnets used, you should also keep magnetic objects away from VDUs, any monitors and other devices that can be influenced by the magnetic field.
Necklace - Ornamental jewelry designed to be worn around the neck created from linked chain(s), strung beads, or other strung components such as gemstones. Necklaces typically come in a variety of lengths and typically do not have a pendant.
Opera Length - term describing a single strand necklace that is between 28" and 34" long. The longer versions can often be worn as a double strand by wrapping the strand around the neck twice.
Parrot Clasp: (See Lobster Claw Clasp)
Patina - Finish formed by forced or natural oxidation of the surface layer of a metal using moisture, chemicals, heat, or some combination of these forces.
Pendant - An ornament or adornment that hangs from a necklace or bracelet. Typically, the term pendant is used to refer to a larger focal piece or piece that mixes components. A small, single component pendant is typically called a charm.
Pickle - A weak acid solution that removes oxidation and excess flux from components immediately following the soldering process.
Point - measurement term meaning one-hundredth of a carat. A single point is roughly one-half the size of a grain of sand.
Princess Length - Necklace generally measuring 17" to 19" or 3" longer than a custom fitted choker. Designed to be worn with high necklines, this length should drape slightly below the base of the neck.
Rope - Long necklace generally 40-45" in length, which may or may not have a closure or clasp.
S-Hook Clasp: The S- hook clasp consists of an often highly decorative s-shaped piece of metal on one end of a necklace or bracelet which simply hooks into an open ring component at the other end. Used for both necklaces and bracelets, this type of clasp can be used as a component of the design, although while relatively easy to use, it is not quite as secure as other clasps.
Slide Lock Clasp: (See Tube Bar Clasp)
Snap Lock (Also Known as a Fold-Over Clasp] Snap lock clasps are low-profile clasps making them less likely to tangle or snag on hair or clothes than other styles. This hinged clasp folds shut, closing securely and locking with a quiet ''snap.'' Ideal for bracelets or anklets, these clasps are also a great way to close a custom fitted collar or choker style necklace.
Spring Ring Clasp: A spring ring clasp uses a spring-loaded mechanism that opens and closes around a loop or jumpring. The spring ring is opened when the arm of the clasp is pulled backwards, and automatically springs shut when released. It is recommended that you use a split ring jumpring for additional security when using a spring ring clasp. While the traditional shape for a spring ring clasp remains a circle, they are becoming more readily available in a variety of shapes.
Sterling Silver - Silver alloy that is 92.5% silver, with the remaining 7.5% being composed of other metals (typically copper).
Tab Clasp: (See Box Clasp)
Torpedo Clasp: (See Barrel Clasp) Identical in mechanical configuration to a barrel clasp with a smoother, smaller profile.
Tube Bar Clasp: A Tube Bar Clasp consists of a set of tubes, one of which slides inside the other and locks into place. The bar style of these multi-strand clasps holds an almost unlimited number of strands of chain, cord, beading wire or thread. (Also known as a Slide Lock Clasp)
Wearable Length - The length of a necklace, bracelet, or anklet as it lies against the skin. To illustrate the difference between linear length and wearable length, consider a bracelet with 24mm center drilled beads strung on wire or thread. Due to the diameter of the beads, the linear length of the necklace might be 7.5", but the wearable length will only be 7". This is because the radius of the beads decreases the inside circumference of a bracelet when wrapped around the wrist. The wire or thread holding the beads is not snug against the wrist, but is, instead, fixed at a distance from the wrist that equals the radius of the beads. So, the bracelet in the example will have an outer circumference that is larger than the linear length by the value of the radius of the beads (12mm or approximately 1/2 inch in this example) or 8". The inside circumference is decreased accordingly, making the wearable length only 7".
Width - The horizontal measurement spanning the widest area or component of a piece of jewelry.