Glossary of Jewelry, Timepieces & Luxury Accessories Terms

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An internal "floating" movement of light across a gemstone that varies as light strikes the exterior of the gem, i.e. moonstone.
A jour (ah zoor):
An open back setting that permits light to pass through as in a stained glass window.
The mixture of two or more metals.
Archeological Revival:
Jewelry made in the 19th century that drew inspiration from archeological expeditions, mainly the Etruscan findings. Artisans who took this style to the pinnacle were the Castellani and Giuliano families.
Having flexibility through the implementation of hinges or jump rings.
A star form achieved through the combination of internal gemstone characteristics (needle configuration) and a cabochon cut.


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A stone cut with a long rectangular table and a stepped facet pattern.
A narrow decorative band encircling the forehead. Worn in medieval Italy, and also in both France and England in the 1840s. The interest was revived in the 1920s flapper trend.
A non-flexible bracelet that either slips over the hand or features a hinge that allows the bangle to be placed around the wrist.
Bar Brooch:
An elongated flat, rectangular-shaped brooch.
Basse-taille (French):
Literally means shallow cut. The technique involves, first, establishing a design in metal, whether through carving, engraving, stamping or chasing. The surface is then covered with transparent enamel and fused by firing. The varying depths of the depressions created different tones of the enamels. The metal base was generally gold or silver. The technique originated in Italy in the late 13th/14th century.
Bearded Girdle:
The girdle is the widest edge of a diamond. Bearding occurs when fine white lines flow over the girdle's edge onto neighboring facets. This is the result of over polishing.
Belle Epoque:
The height of French jewelry design was achieved at the turn of the 20th century. This movement coincided with the Edwardian movement in England, but received its own name recognition due to bitter English and French relations. The style is noted for its refined use of diamonds and platinum.
Berlin Iron Jewelry:
Pieces of jewelry, generally made in Germany during the 19th century. The jewelry was made out of cast iron; the majority of which was produced from 1813-1815, due to a scarcity of gold in Europe. The work was often utilized openwork patterns with little or no gemstone accents.
The metal strip or rim that encircles a gemstone's outer edge; adhering it to a jewelry item.
The carved image of an African or Nubian head or bust, depicting a favored servant. The image was generally carved out of black onyx or ebony and bedecked with jewels. These items were a specialty of Venetian stonecutters and master carvers. Blackamoor brooches are highly collectible.
Blue Gold:
Created by alloying gold with 25% arsenic or iron. The faint bluish tinge is rarely seen in antique jewelry.
A darkened area or shadow resembling a bow-tie that is often found in fancy-shape diamond cuts, such as marquise, pears and oval. The bow-tie is a direct sign of how well cut the diamond is, lesser noticeable indicates a gem well cut, more noticeable, a poorer cut.
Bright Cut:
A technique of cutting metal in short strokes, then burnishing the cuts in order to achieve a bright effect in contrast to the surrounding area, i.e. multi-rayed star cuts.
Is the direct result of cut. A gemstone's cut allows light to refract as it enters a gem, then reflect back out to the viewer's eye.
A cutting style utilized on transparent gemstones, wherein a teardrop-shaped form with a pointed apex and a rounded bottom is crafted.
Burmese Ruby:
A particular, rare variety of ruby, found only in Burma. The rich color is often referred to as pigeon's blood ruby.


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A cutting style, in which a gemstone is cut with a smoothly domed top. Cabochons may be cut of transparent, translucent or opaque gemstones. Special effects, such as asterism, chatoyancy, adularescence and opalescence cannot be achieved without a cabochon cut.
Calibre cut:
A style of gemstone cut, usually utilized for small sizes. Stones are cut in this fashion to standardized measurements so as to fit into standard mounts. Calibre cuts rose to prominence during the Art Deco era.
A gemstone carving technique, in which an image is created by cutting through various layers of a gem. Early carvers used coral, lava, shell and layered hardstone materials for cameos. Historically cameos were utilized for wax seals, and later jewelry. Italy was recognized worldwide for the fine quality of carvers.
Cannetile (French):
A metal decorating technique, utilizing thin wires to create a course filigree pattern. The patterns often form scrolls or rosettes in tightly coiled wire. The application was popularized the 1900s, mainly in India and England, due to limited gold supply. Cannetile permitted a small amount of gold to be drawn a long way.
A unit used to measure gemstone weight. Each carat is composed of 100 points, much like a dollar bill consists of 100 cents.
Celtic Revival Jewelry:
Jewelry manufactured in Ireland in the mid 1800s that drew inspiration from Celtic archeological discoveries. The favorite motif was the brooch. These were often crafted in gold or silver.
Champleve (French):
Literally translates to mean a raised field. It is an enameling technique wherein the design is made by lines cut into the metal base, filled with powdered enamel, and then fired to fuse the enamels. Decorating in this fashion was, historically, done on bronze and copper, but sometimes on gold, as well.
Channel Setting:
A style of setting wherein gemstones are secured in place by rails or channels of metal. This type of setting provides a smooth finish compared to bead or prong setting.
An item generally worn suspended from a bracelet or necklace. Charms arose during the Victorian era as talismans of affection. They have continued in both valuable and non-valuable forms ever since, whether as expressions of sentiment or pleasant tourist trinkets.
Charm Bracelet:
A bracelet from which numerous charms hang. The style was popularized in the 1900s and continues today. Bracelets containing older charms with movable components, or platinum charms are more collectible.
A technique involving hammering a design into the surface of a metal. The metal is placed in pitch and worked with a chasing tool and hammer until the desired effect has been achieved.
A decorative clasp often worn attached to a woman's belt or girdle. A hooked-plate suspends short chains bearing objects for daily household use such as keys, scissors, a tablet with pencil, coin purse, etc.
The effect of an "eye" formed by a gemstone's natural internal structure when combined with a cabochon cut. Gemstones contain fibers or needles in their make up that can be brought out based upon the stonecutter's abilities. Common stones noted for chatoyancy are tiger's-eye quartz, and cat's-eye chrysoberyl.
A small area of damage or breakage on a gemstone's surface. Choker. A necklace that is designed to be worn close to the wearer's throat.
Clarity Grading:
Applies to polished or finished diamonds. The accepted system for determining a diamond's purity. The highest level is Flawless, ranging down to Imperfect or Declasse.
A fastener utilized for closing bracelets, necklaces, etc. Generally manufactured in two parts, one of which is attached to either end of the jewelry item to be closed.
A brooch-like item featuring a hinged two-prong pinstem that pierces the fabric, rather than a single pinstem.
Cloisonne (French):
An enameling technique utilizing a metal plate with attached wires, which create chambers that are then filled with colored, powdered glass and fused into polished enamel.
Cluster Ring:
A style in which numerous gemstones are set in close proximity, forming a one larger shape.
Cocktail Ring:
A ring popularized as early as the 20th century, in which a cluster or grouping of gemstones often form a dome-like pattern. Generally accepted as an evening ring fashion.
A broad neck plate dating back as early as the 7th century BC. The style has come in and out of popularity over the years.
Conch Pearl:
A rare type of salt water pearl grown in a conch rather than an oyster. The pearl that is produced is usually pink or white in color.
Concha Belt:
This style of belt is attributed to Native American Indians of the South Western United States. It is a leather belt that has added silver ornamentation. The ornaments are often handmade out of silver sheet metal, cut into oval-shaped discs, and decorated by chasing, engraving or hammering. The designs may feature gemstone accents or inlay.
Costume Jewelry:
A broad based term that applies to (1) jewelry of low value. The items may be made out of inexpensive materials or gemstones, and are generally set in silver; or (2) jewelry manufactured out of base metals and imitation stones, i.e. plastics, glass, etc.
Crescent Brooch:
A moon-shaped brooch, popularized in the Victorian era, set with as little as one or numerous rows of diamonds.
A devotional ornament generally worn as a pendant or necklace.
Crucifix Pendant:
A pendant shaped like a cross, depicting the crucifixion of Christ.
Cruciform Pendant:
A pendant shaped like a cross.
Cuff Bracelet:
A type of wide band bracelet that has no closure. It is solid and of low flexibility.
A form of fastener used to close one's shirt sleeves or cuffs. Cufflinks are manufactured in a variety of styles, some with chains, "T" bars, or double-sided.
The smallest facet located at a gemstone's base. The cutting of a culet alleviates a major pressure point on a faceted gemstone, particularly a diamond.


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One of the rarest and most valuable varieties of andradite garnet. The color is generally a vibrant yellow-green. Demantoid garnets have brilliance akin to that of a diamond. Fine golden fibers, called horse tails, are their most notable feature. The combination of fine color, size and the display of horsetails increase the value dramatically.
The artisan who initializes a jewelry concept, and its rendering. The designer may also make the item or pass it on to a workshop.
A form of head ornament dating back to the ancient Egyptians and Romans. Generally worn by men and women of nobility.
Dog Collar:
A wide, jeweled necklace that was popularized by Alexandra, King Edward VII's wife. It was rumored that Alexandra had a small scar on her throat, so she wore tight multi-level pearl dog collars to disguise the blemish. The style developed in the late 1890s and continued until 1915.
A brooch that is designed with removable components that may be worn joined together, or as separate brooches.
A stone composed of two different stones sealed together by a cement. This type of stone is called a composite. It was sometimes done to strengthen a gemstone or to enhance a gem's appearance.
Dress Set:
A jewelry suite designed for a gentleman's evening attire. The set included one pair of cufflinks, together with shirt studs.


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A form of ornament worn suspended from the ear, either by pierced wire, screw back or clip.
Egyptian Revival Jewelry:
Articles of jewelry made circa 1860-70, copying the overall appearance and style of classical Egyptian jewelry, but made without using the actual ancient Egyptian techniques. Common themes were scarabs, cartouches, lotus blossoms, etc.
A jewelry manufacturing technique in which a wax model of an item has metal adhered to it via electrical current. This allows the metal image to be an exact copy of the original model. There is no shrinkage as with lost wax casting. Two advantages to electroforming; one, the model can be reused over and over, and two, it allows beautiful, yet strong, light weight items to be made, such as earrings.
A technique invented in 1840, whereby gold is adhered to base metal. Electroplating allowed gold to be stretched a long way.
A metal decorating technique similar to repousse except that embossing is done by machine rather than by hand. A design or pattern is pressed into the metal from the reverse.
A form of pendant with an enlarged solid or hinged bail. This permits the pendant to be worn on a wide neck chain or clipped over a strand of pearls.
En Pampille (French):
A style of design popularized in jewelry of the 19th century. Brooches and earrings saw the greatest use of en pampille work. It is a decorating technique wherein gemstones cascade in descending order of size and terminate in a finial.
En Tremblant (French):
Literally means tremble. A jewelry ornament, usually a flower brooch with projections that tremble when the piece is subjected to any movement. Sometimes the projections are attached to finely coiled springs or tubular stems.
A metal decorating technique that utilizes acids to burn a design into the metal surface. An acid resistant substance such as wax or varnish coats the surface to be untreated. As acid corrodes the exposed areas, a design emerges. Generally nitric acid is used for silver and copper etching. Aqua regia is used for gold and platinum.
Eternity Ring:
A ring set with a continuous row of gems, most often diamonds. Typically, the gems are all of the same size, type and cut. The eternity band is very popular as a wedding or anniversary band, mirroring the ideal of eternal love.
Etruscan Revival:
Jewelry made of heavy gold work crafted in the Etruscan style. Techniques utilized were granulation, filigree and beads. Wide band style bracelets and rings were popularized. Scarabs were a common motif, especially for rings. The leaders in manufacturing jewelry in the Etruscan Revival style were the Castellani family.


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One individual surface section of a gemstone. One window pane of many on the exterior of a gemstone. The combined number of facets as well as their position increase or decrease a gemstone's brilliance.
Faceted Girdle:
The girdle of a gemstone is the widest point around the stone. With specific regard to diamonds, a number of small facets may be cut into the girdle to increase the stone's brilliance. Master cutter Ernest G.H. Schenck developed the technique.
Ferroniere (French):
A type of jeweled headband worn across a woman's forehead. Generally, a large gemstone pendant would drop from the center. The design originated in 15th century Italy.
A metal wire decorating technique using fine wires in twisted, plaited or scrolled form. The designs were intricately woven, creating a delicate appearance.
Small metal components utilized in jewelry manufacturing. Examples are heads, pinstems, catches, posts, and wing nuts to name a few. Findings are machine made in mass quantities.
A word relating to the proportion of pure gold or silver in an article of jewelry.
Florentine Finish:
An engraving technique wherein parallel lines are cut into metal in two different directions. This cross-hatching effect creates an interesting finely grooved texture.
Flush Setting:
A method of gemstone setting where the stone is set down into the metal so that it's table, or top facet, rests at the same level as the metal. The metal is pushed down over top of the stone's edge to secure it in place.
A small decorative item suspended by a watch chain. The fob could be decorative or functional, such as for use as a seal.
Fob Seal:
A small seal used for wax stamping that rests at the base of a decorative mounting. Often worn suspended from a chatelaine, long chain or watch chain.
A process of enhancing the appearance of a gemstone's color. A small piece of colored foil is applied either to the stone or to the closed back mounting.
French Jet:
Black glass that is often used to imitate jet.
Fringe Necklace:
Any type of softly formed necklace from which tassels, short chains, or small ornaments suspend, creating the appearance of fringe. The style dates to the 7th century. It has appeared throughout the ages in various forms.


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The gallery is the undercarriage of a ring mounting. It is often of openwork fashion, thus allowing light to pass through. An artfully carved gallery can add considerable interest to a design.
A gem is an item that is organic or non-organic and possesses rarity. The intrinsic value is based on quality, beauty, size, durability as well as rarity. Synthetics, glass, plastic and other imitations do not qualify as gems.
Geometric Style:
A style of jewelry design that reached its zenith in the 1920s-1930s. Art Deco as it is sometimes referred to utilized abstract designs with geometric shapes and brilliant color contrasts.
A process of applying a thin gold film to another surface, whether it is wood or another metal.
A type of chandelier-like design often seen in brooches and earrings of the 17th and 18th centuries. The main design generally suspends three pear-shaped gems, usually diamonds.
The thin band that runs around the widest part of a diamond. The girdle separates the top portion, or crown, from the lower section, the pavilion, of a stone. The girdle is generally left unpolished but may have facets cut into it for greater brilliance.
Gold Alloy:
A mixture of metals added into precious metal such as gold, silver and platinum. The alloys are often added to strengthen the main metal. Alloys may also affect the color of the metal, such as adding copper to gold in order to create rose gold.
A layer of gold applied to another, usually base metal, surface. This gives the appearance of gold, but at a fraction of the cost. In the USA, gold-filled articles must have a layer of gold equal to at least 1720th of the total weight of the metal in the piece. Law requires that the piece be clearly marked as gold-filled.
A variety of quartz that is colorless or white with inclusions or granules of gold running through it. Generally used in thin tablet-like slabs to decorate jewelry. The jewelry containing gold-in-quartz was considered to be for the elite. It is often associated with the California gold rush of the mid 1800s.
Gold Leaf:
An extremely thin layer of gold amounting to approximately 0.005 mm in thickness.
Gold Nugget:
A lump of native gold that is generally found in river or stream beds. Sometimes used in their found form and mounted into jewelry or melted and alloyed into manufactured gold.
Granulated Gold:
A textured design patterned formed by minute grains of gold, soldered onto an object. The gold granules maintain their round shape with no visible solder marks on the metal. The granulation process dates to the 3rd millennium BC and continues to be crafted by master goldsmiths today.
Green Gold:
A gold alloy that utilizes a higher percentage of silver to transform the yellow appearance into a greenish tinted gold.
A monochrome enameling technique displaying shades of gray, black and white. The process is achieved by firing a black enamel base, and then fusing painted layers of white, black and gray. The layers affect the color outcome as well as the texture of an item.
Guard Ring:
A type of interior "U"-shaped ring placed within a ring to allow for a more comfortable, close fit.
Guilloche (French):
An enameling technique wherein an engine-turned pattern that is cut into a metal surface and filled in with enamel. The original pattern shines through he transparent enamel.


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Hair Jewelry:
Hair jewelry is a representation of sentiment, a prevalent jewelry theme throughout history. Jewelry made solely with or decorated by human or horsehair was extremely popular in the Victorian Era (1837-1901). Hair jewelry in the form of necklaces, bracelets, rings, brooches, lockets, earrings and watch chains were a reflection of love and loss. Generally, the hair was woven into patterns or cut and pasted into scenes.
Hair Ornament:
Any form of jewelry worn in the hair. Pieces such as combs, hair pins, aigrettes, and barrettes were worn for fashion as well as functionality.
Half Pearls:
Pearls, cut in half, stretched the source a long way. Jewelry designs of the late 18th and 19th centuries favored the technique of using half pearls for decorative jewelry purposes.
A strand of unfinished pearls, meaning unknotted and without clasp. Pearls are sold by the hank and then fashioned into necklaces and bracelets.
The ability of a gemstone, mineral, glass or other hard object to resist being abraded, or scratched. Hardness is measured by comparison with that of other selected minerals according to the Moh's Scale.
A blanket term applied to opaque gemstones that are most often utilized for mosaics, pietra dura and cameo carving. Agate, carnelian, onyx and sardonyx are examples.
A long metal pin used to hold a lady's hat in place. The well-dressed Victorian lady popularized the hatpin. Interest in the hatpin continued through the 1940s.
Heishe (American Indian):
A shell or stone bead that is hand craved by Indian tribes of the southwestern United States.
An interesting style of jewelry popularized during the Late Victorian era. The style paid homage to famed Renaissance painter Hans Holbein. Characteristic traits are the use of a large centralized gemstone, outlined by various colors of enamel, and small gemstone or pearl accents. While the front surface was the main focus, the reverse was also highly decorative. Hand engraved foliate and floral patterns were a display of fine craftsmanship.
Horsehair Jewelry:
Jewelry made from horsehair was popularized in the Victorian era (1837-1901).


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ID Bracelet:
A modern type of bracelet design centering an arched plaque bearing the wearer's name; chains attached to either end of the plaque finish the bracelet.
Illusion Setting:
A style of setting that makes the gemstone appear larger than it actually is. Illusion setting is used particularly for small diamonds as a means of enhancing their appearance. Master jeweler Oscar Massin developed it in the 1860s.
Imitation Gemstone:
A man-made stone designed to look like a natural gemstone, but having entirely different physical properties such as hardness and specific gravity.
Imperial Jade:
The most valuable variety of jadeite; it can appear as an apple-green color to blue-green emerald-like color. It is highly translucent and a solid even toned green with no mottling.
A foreign material that may be of solid, gaseous or liquid form that is found in a natural gemstone. An inclusion is an identifying characteristic of a gemstone. Generally inclusions are small enough that they cannot be seen by the naked eye.
A decorating technique utilizing slices of stone, cemented into a recessed frame. The inlay is polished down to be even with the item's surface.
An intaglio is a carving method opposite of a cameo. Where a cameo is raised, an intaglio image is carved down into the gemstone. In effect, the background is left untouched. Functional intaglio work was often used for wax seals. A more decorative style featuring rock crystal quartz rose in popularity during the Victorian era (1837-1901). A rock crystal quartz cabochon was carved from the base inward to the dome, and then hand painted, hence creating a painted reverse intaglio. These often depicted hunting scenes of vibrant color.
Intarsia, Florentine:
A name for a particular style of inlay technique that was often used on small decorative boxes, but now extends to include jewelry.
Iridescence is a phenomenon. A soft sheen of prismatic colors appears to float over the top of a gemstone's surface, changing as the light source moves. Gemstones known for iridescence are moonstone, labradorite, and sunstone, among others.
Irradiation is a color change inducing process. Gemstones of poor color can be irradiated to intensify their color. The technique is widely used as a treatment for blue topaz.


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A type of brooch similar in fashion to a tiepin. Jabot brooches were worn in the ruffled collars of men and women of yesteryear.
Jardin (French):
Literally translated, a garden. Jardin is a term referring to inclusion clusters within an emerald. Emeralds are widely recognized for being included; yet the inclusions are not always a detriment. They can be an attractive identifying characteristic.
Jarretiere (French):
Literally, garter. A type of metal bracelet having the appearance of a strap with a buckle on one end.
Joaillerie (French):
The term for the type of jewelry that is composed mainly of gemstones.


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A world recognized scale used to qualify an article's gold content. Pure gold is extremely soft, so much so that a fingernail can scratch it. In its liquid form, alloys are added to strengthen the gold.
Kashmir Sapphire:
A region in Myanmar that historically produced the finest quality sapphires. Kashmir coloring is a vibrant velvet blue.


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Labradorescence is a phenomenon. It is the shimmer of color that appears to wash over a labradorite gemstone's surface. The color changes as the light source moves.
Lapel Watch:
A type of small watch, worn by a lady, that suspends from a pin. Designed for wear on a lapel.
A thin flat diamond cut that is mainly the product of Indian cutters. The diamonds either have very few facets or simply are a shaving or sliver of the original rough diamond.
A type of necklace that suspends one or more gemstones.
Line Bracelet:
A type of narrow, flexible bracelet with gemstones of similar size and shape arranged in a single line without any embellishment.
A small case, usually of oval or round shape, with a hinged lid. Lockets were designed as sentimental keepsake holders. They would often store a loved ones lock of hair, photo, portrait miniature, etc. Lockets are worn suspended from neck chains, bracelets and brooches.
An extremely long neck chain worn by a lady. This particular style of chain was popular during the Victorian era (1837 -1901).
Lorgnette (French):
A collapsible pair of eyeglasses that fold up into their own decorative handle to be worn as a pendant.
Luster is the reflection that results from light striking a gemstone surface.


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Mabe Pearl:
A type of blister pearl that forms along the lip of the oyster. Once removed, the interior is cleaned then capped by a mother-of-pearl base.
A flattened rough diamond crystal having a double triangular-shaped natural form.
Make refers to the overall cut quality of a diamond. It is the relationship of precisely placed facets at exacting angles. The better the make, the better the brilliance of a diamond.
Masonic Jewelry:
Jewelry decorated with emblems of the Freemasons.
A collection or parcel of unmounted small diamonds of mixed qualities and sizes. Melange parcels have stones that are larger than melee.
A collection of unmounted diamonds that range in size from 0.005 to 0.15 ct.
Memorial Jewelry:
A style of jewelry designed to commemorate deceased loved ones. It developed in the Middle Ages. Items often bore the deceased's name, age, date of death and/or a lock of hair.
An object decorated with many small adjacent pieces (tesserae) of inlaid multi-colored glass or stone arranged to form a picture or design. The mosaic was usually made in the form of medallions set into necklaces, brooches and pendants. The technique originated in Italy in the 19th century, where very fine works were created. Micromosaics continue to be manufactured, mainly in lesser detail for tourists as souvenirs.
A style of decoration consisting of a series of minute adjacent metal beads that are raised by passing a rolling tool across the surface of the metal. This style was developed in the 19th century.
A very small painting, usually a portrait, made on ivory, metal, porcelain, etc. These were often incorporated into necklaces, brooches and bracelets as sentimental tokens. Miniatures were very popular until the invention of photography.
Mogul (Mughal) jewelry:
Articles of Indian jewelry made from the beginning of the Mughal Empire in 1526 until its gradual disintegration. The characteristic features are the abundant use of unfaceted polished gemstones and seed pearls in combination with polychrome enamel decoration. This style has been revived throughout history. The decoration featured fine gold and silver filigree work, and the profuse use of diamonds. While items are of weighty, they are rarely solid. The hollow forms are typically filled with a wax or resin.
The metal framework in which gemstones are set to make various articles of jewelry.
Mourning Jewelry:
A style of jewelry designed to commemorate deceased loved ones. It developed in the Middle Ages. Items often bore the deceased's name, age, date of death and/or a lock of hair.
Muff Chain:
An extremely long chain that a woman wore around her neck, with either end attached to a fur muff. The style was popularized mainly in England circa the 18th century.


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It is the secretion from the mantle of mollusks such as oysters and abalone, which coats an irritant, thereby creating a pearl. Nacre is a mixture of crystalline calcium carbonate and conchiolin.
Native Cut:
Often referred to as Indian cut. This fashion of diamond cut is very rough. The diamonds appear as thin slivers. Few facets if any are made. The cut is designed to lose the least amount of weight from the rough diamond.
Native gold:
Gold nuggets mounted in jewelry in their natural form. Native gold jewelry became popular with the Gold Rush miners.
A minute crystal that is an inclusion in certain varieties of gemstones. The crystal looks like a needle.
Negligee (French):
A flexible long chain necklace consisting of items such as beads, pearls, links of precious metal, or rope-like strands. Considering the greatness of length, the necklaces rarely had a clasp. Negligees often featured tassels at either end.
An inlay used in decorating in black on silver. The process involved engraving the design into a metal plate, then filling the indented portions with a powdered black matt alloy. Alloy was fused into the grooves and depressions of the design. Niello decoration is found as early as the Bronze Age.
Not Sold
This indicates an item that did not sell at auction because it did not receive bids equal to or greater than the reserve (minimum bid) amount set by the consignor.


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Opalescence is a phenomenon. It is a shimmering display of light that appears to wash over the surface of an opal. A wide range of spectral colors is highlighted based upon light striking them from a particular direction or angle.
A gemstone that does not allow light to pass through it. Examples would be lapis lazuli and turquoise.
A style of decoration in which areas of an object have open space or cut cuts. This allows light to pass through an item. It also serves to lighten the overall weight. Filigree is a form of openwork.


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Glass that is cut and set in jewelry. The highly refractive glass was an affordable substitute for diamond. Paste is generally colorless, but may be foil backed to simulate other gemstones. Old paste jewelry is highly collectible, mainly if manufactured in Czechoslovakia.
A greenish discoloration that forms on bronze and copper due to exposure to elements.
Pave Set:
Literally, paved-stone setting. A style of setting in which many small gemstones are set in extremely close proximity. The gemstones are generally all the same shape. They are bead set into a mass formation that effectively coats the metal surface.
The term for the bottom portion of a diamond. The pavilion resets below the girdle section.
Any object that is suspended from a neck chain. Versions of pendants range from small drops, and single stones, to lockets and reliquaries. A pendant is an ornament.
Pendant Watch:
A type of watch worn by a woman, suspended from a neck chain.
Pietra dura:
Literally, hard stone. The term refers to various hardstones that are cut into miniature flat slices and used in mosaic form. The slices were inserted into cut out areas within another gemstone to formulate a picture. Generally an oval-shaped black onyx provided the background in which items were set. Pietra dura was popularized in the Renaissance, mainly in Florence. Items such as brooches and pendants were favorite uses for Pietra dura.
Pigeon's-blood Ruby:
The most valuable deep-red variety of ruby. Rubies of this type come from Burma and are sometimes referred to as Burmese rubies.
Metallurgist Christopher Pinchbeck invented an alloy combining zinc and copper in 1720. The alloy resembled gold in appearance. It was widely used in inexpensive jewelry. It is the precursor to rolled gold.
Plique a jour (French):
An enameling technique that gives the appearance of a stained glass window. Discovered by Benvenuto Cellini in the 15 century, the style reached its peak during the Art Nouveau period (1895-1910). Artisans such as Vever, Lalique and Fouquet were masters of the plique a jour art form.
Pocket Watch:
A type of watch designed to be carried in a gentleman's waistcoat, trouser or small vest pocket.


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Red Gold:
A gold alloy containing a high copper content.
A small pendant of religious theme. Some reliquaries depicted a religious event or acted as a receptacle for a religious relic.
Renaissance Revival:
Articles of jewelry made in the style of Renaissance jewels. Generally using gold and cabochon cut gemstones. Engraved gemstones were also popular. While the items were crafted with Renaissance themes, the workmanship and techniques were not mirrored.
A metal decorating technique wherein a thin piece of metal is punched or hammered on the reverse to raise a design on the front surface. The work is generally done by hand, but may be achieved through the use of metal dies.
An item that is manufactured as a copy or look alike of another item. Reproductions are not necessarily designed to deceive. Original jewels from particular periods of history are scarce and therefore maintain a higher value; reproductions offer the look at a more affordable price. Costume jewelry designers make copies of fine jewels, period pieces and master designer's jewels for the masses with no intent to deceive.
Revivalist Jewelry:
Revisiting jewelry styles from eras or styles gone by. Revivalists inspire an interest in goldwork.
Riviere (French):
A type of necklace that is features a graduate line of gemstones. Expensive examples were made with diamonds. The Victorian era saw rivieres set with amethysts, citrine and other semiprecious gems.
Rolled Gold-plating:
The process of fusing gold to base metal was invented in the early 1800s. Rolled gold plating achieves the look of gold at a fraction of the coast.
A hollow metal bead that is generally strung in a necklace. Sometimes gemstones are cut into rondelles.


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Safety Chain:
A short chain designed to prevent loss of a bracelets or necklaces. It is attached to each end in case the clasp breaks or opens.
Sautoir (French):
A long necklace generally extending below a woman's waist. The sautoir design often featured a suspended tassel. The style of necklace was popular in the 1800s.
A representation of an Egyptian dung beetle. Scarabs were made of carved stone, glass or metal. They often had an inscription on the base. The scarab motif rose in popularity with the discovery of King Tutankhamen's tomb. In ancient Egypt, the scarab symbolized immortality.
Scottish Jewelry:
Scottish jewelry design mainly centered upon brooches that were functional as well as beautiful. They used materials such as agate, cairngorm and amethyst, set in silver. Interest in Scottish jewelry increased through the writings of Sir Walter Scott and Queen Victoria's purchase of a Scottish castle.
A term that has loosely been applied to all gemstones other than precious. Synthetics, simulents, glass and plastic are excluded from the semi-precious title.
The metal mount in which a gemstone is set.
Sevigne (French):
A type of a brooch in the form of an openwork bow, set with small diamonds. Some sevignes suspended a single diamond or pearl from the knot. The design was typically flat and made to be worn on a woman's bodice.
A band that forms the base of a ring.
The part of a ring that connects the central design to the rest of the band or shank.
Signet Ring:
A type of ring bearing an engraved family crest, name, or marking that was used as a wax seal. Originally designed for utilitarian purposes, the signet ring later became more ornamental.
A pendant with an enlarged bail or hanger that allows it to be worn on wide chains.
A soft thin metal that when melted, is used to join together other pieces of metal. It is the equivalent of glue or cement.
Solitaire simple means one stone. It can refer to a pendant, but is generally used in terms of rings, especially engagement rings.
A type of bead or bar that is threaded on a multi-strand necklace or bracelet to ensure that the strands remain separated and equally spaced.
Spray Brooch:
A type of brooch in the form of a floral or foliate spray; the design being naturalistic or stylized. Many times portions of the spray were set en tremblant for the purpose of movement.
A style of necklace crafted by the Navajo Indians of the southwestern USA. Generally made in silver, the necklace features fringes in the form of squash blossoms. The central form is an enlarged pendant, cross or coin. Often accented by turquoise or shell.
A straight pin with one decorative end attached to a long pin stem that is poked through an article of clothing. Some stickpins are accompanied by a clutch for security purposes.
A collection of jewelry that is related in design or style. An example would be a necklace together with a pair of matching earrings.
A jeweled brooch or pendant-brooch that was popularized during the Victorian era. The sunbursts were crafted mainly in gold with seed pearl or diamond accents.
Swivel Catch:
A metal fastener attached to the end of a chain for the purpose of attaching an item, such as a watch. The catch is made turn or swivel thereby allowing the chain free movement.


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Taille d' epargne:
Literally, saving cut. Engraving lines into metal all at the same depth prior to filling with opaque enamel. This form of enameling was often used in.
A small knob that operates a catch on bracelets, cigarette cases, compacts, etc. Generally gem set with a cabochon, when depressed, the thumbpiece allows the latch to be opened.
A type of jeweled headpiece often worn by ladies of royalty. A tiara is a curved band with a peak that is entirely gem set. In Victorian England, tiaras were made in convertible form to be worn either on the head or around the neck.
Tiger's-claw Jewelry:
Jewelry made out of curved claws of a tiger, with gold tips and mounts.
A form of clasp, one end of which is round, and the other terminating in a T-bar formation.
A type of hardwire metal necklace or bracelet designed in cuff style.
Permitting the transference of light in a diffused fashion. Objects cannot be clearly or distinctly viewed.
The ability of light to pass through an object clearly so that any item behind the gemstone can be distinctly viewed.


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Silver that has a fine layer of gold over it; sometimes referred to as gilded or gilt.
A blanket term for jewelry items manufactured during the reign of Britain's Queen Victoria (1837-1901). The Victorian era is the longest running period in jewelry history. An interest in sporting motifs, Scottish jewelry, mourning jewelry, hair jewelry and Revivalist jewelry predominated the period. Jewels were often of sentimental nature. Gold and gold-filled items set with semi-precious gems or diamonds were desired.
A small pierced, decorative box containing a sachet with scented vinegar. Fashionable ladies to ward off fainting spells carried it. Vinaigrettes were often suspended from a neck chain, ring or chatelaine.


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Watch Chain:
A chain attached to a man's pocket watch for security purposes. Decorative watch chains were worn in a waistcoat, vest or trouser pocket and were a popular fashion of gent's jewelry from the 1800s through the early 1900s.
White Gold:
A gold alloy consisting of a mixture of silver or zinc with gold. The white metal, in effect, bleaches the gold. White gold often carries a faint yellow undertone.


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