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jewelry definitions

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Adjustable Choker or Necklace  

Adjustable closure with a "hook" and "tail".

Airplane Back  

A finding connected to a decorative piece that is used in cuff link manufacture. It fits through the buttonholes and swivels horizontally to lock the cuff ends together. Also called link connection or wing back.


An object attributed with magical value worn on a person.


A 9" delicate chain worn around the ankle.


A rectangular style cut of stone. Usually used to set off larger center stones.


A metal finding that is folded closed, from which a pendant, watch, stone, etc., may be hung from a chain, cord or thong.

Baker Setting  

A round setting similar to the Tiffany setting, but always having four prongs.

Balancer Back  

A thick plastic disc placed between the earlobe and the post for comfort.


Round sphere.


A non-flexible or barely flexible bracelet made of solid or hollow metal or wire. May be one piece so that it may be slipped over the hand to hang loosely, or with a hinge so that it may be opened and fastened around the wrist.

Bar Pin  

See pin back.


Any ornamental bar with a pin and clasp mounted on the back worn as a hair ornament.


An uneven hammered appearance.

Barrel Back  

An earring back in the shape of a barrel.

Barrel Clasp  

The mechanism on a necklace, charm or flexible bracelet that twists the two free ends together.

Barrel Nut  

A barrel-shaped finding with PVC lining which grips a pin; generally used for earrings.

Base Metal  

Any non-precious metal.


A hollow metal sphere that is swaged from spinning seamless tubing, and then separated and rolled into its final shape. Made like the no-hole ball, except that the two holes aren’t closed. Beads have one or two holes. Can be made from non-metallic materials. See no-hole ball and fancy balls and beads.

Bead Clasp  

A clasp mechanism that is hidden in a bead; made from a bead finding. Typically used for pearls or beaded goods, where it is camouflaged by round items.

Bead Tip  

A circular metal finding with a hook to which a clasp is attached directly or through a jump ring. It serves as a terminator for strung goods. It has a hole in one end through which the silk or nylon is threaded or knotted.


Round beads strung together which are either strung with spacers or knotted.


A form of any shape which incorporates a continuous groove to fit something, generally a stone. The metal at the top of the groove is then burnished or swaged over the end of the mounted item to hold it, forming a setting. Various types include open-back bezel, serrated-edge bezel and rolled-edge bezel.

Bezel Wire  

See U-wire.


Multi-strand necklace.

January Garnet

Symbolizes constancy, faith, loyalty and strength.

February Amethyst/Pearl

Symbolizes deep love, happiness, humility, sincerity and wealth.

March Aquamarine/Bloodstone

Symbolizes health, hope and youth, brilliance, courage, generosity and health.

April Diamond

Symbolizes brilliance, constancy, excellence, innocence, invulnerable faith, joy, life, love and purity.

May Emerald

Symbolizes spring, rebirth, hope, peace and tranquility.

June Pearl/Moonstone

Symbolizes beauty, faithfulness, humility innocence, integrity, modesty, and purity.

July Ruby

Symbolizes beauty, charity, daintiness, dignity, happiness, love and passion.

August Sardonyx/Peridot

Symbolizes divine love, marital happiness vivacity and power.



Symbolizes calmness, constancy, contemplation, hope, innocence, purity, truth and virtue.



Symbolic of confidence, happiness, hope, innocence, prayer and tender love.

November Topaz

Symbolizes divine goodness, eager love, fidelity, friendship, gentleness and integrity.

December Turquoise/Zircon

Symbolizes earth, happiness, good health, hope, prosperity and success.


Pearls found in fresh water mussels – generally not perfectly round as cultured pearls.  Irregular in shape, lower in luster, but available in a wider range of natural colors.

Boat Hook  

See lobster claw.

Bone Jewelry  

Jewelry made from natural animal bone. It may be dyed or tinted to any color.


The ring or hoop on the pendant of a watchcase for fastening the swivel of a watch chain; any bow-shaped ornament, flat or three-dimensional.

Box Setting  

A square or rectangular grooved setting generally used for mounting a stone on a ring or pendant. The top edges of the groove are then swaged over to secure the stone.


A small item such as a charm that's designed to be suspended from a chain.


The degree of brightness in a cut gemstone due to light reflected from the surface and from the back facets.


A gem cut in a particular form with numerous facets so as to have special brilliance.


Any piece of jewelry that may be pinned, generally to clothing, but also to hats or hair.

Bunch Rings or

Stack Rings


Inexpensive rings with small center mounting for low-priced stones. Bunch rings are commonly sold in bunches tied together by string.


To make shiny or lustrous by rubbing.

Buttercup Setting  

A deep, six-prong setting shaped vaguely like the buttercup flower. The prongs are distinctly flared at the base, which has a scalloped outline when viewed from the top. Available in closed-back or open-back form, and on posts and V-bails. Also called a scallop setting.

Butterfly Clutch  

A clutch that grips a grooved post, having two wings that are squeezed to release it. Also called a grip fastener or a military grip.

Button Earring  

Round in shape, domed or flat, without any drops or fringe hanging from the earring.

Button Hoop  

Large hoop dangling from a button post - top; a.k.a. gypsy hoop.


A style of cutting in which the top of the stone forms a curved convex surface. May be round, oval, or square in shape.


Generally a stone, usually an agate, or a shell composed of two differently colored layers, which has been carved so that one portion is raised from the differently colored matrix. Available in natural materials, in glass, plastics, porcelains, etc.


Cover hinged to the center of a watchcase.

Carat (ct.)  

Unit of weight for gemstones. This system divides a carat into 100 points, resulting in such decimal weights as ¼ carat and 1-½ carats. ¼ carat = 25 points.


Symmetrical ornamental shape generally used for decoration or engraving – from Egyptian tablets used for royal names.

Case Screw  

Small screw with full or ¾ head; designed to fasten a watch movement to its case.

Case Spring  

Spring which causes a case lid to snap open when the crown is pressed.


A process for forming or duplicating jewelry objects by forcing molten metal into an investment mold from which the pattern has been burned out.


The safety fastening mechanism on the back of a pin. See the joint, catch and pin-stem entry.

Chai   Two Hebrew words meaning "alive" or "living". It is an expression of best wishes and well being. A popular symbol of Jewish identity commonly made into pendants and rings.
Chain Tags  

A flat metal finding with a hole in each end. Its specific function is to carry the quality stamp or trademark of the manufacturer, and to provide an easily handled attachment point for spring rings. Also known as a quality tap or a plaque.

Channel Look  

Setting stones of similar size are placed in a channel to give an unbroken line. May not actually be channel set.

Channel Setting  

A setting in which the stones are fitted into a continuous strip of metal and held by the two walls, as opposed to being held separately by prongs.

Channel Wire  

See U-wire.

Chaton (see "Head")  

A ready-made prong setting used in rings or any other jewelry. Also refers to a small foil back crystal or glass stone.


Miniature object generally designed to be attached to a chain bracelet but, in fact, may be worn in any number of way including as pendants or hung from pins, brooches, watch chains, etc. Can depict sports, occupations, figures, numbers, and letters – thousands of representations are available.


A figure, pattern or object that has the shape of a V or an inverted V.


A short 15" or 16" necklace worn close around the throat.


A piece of jewelry with bold designs that has substance and weight.


A metal prong or claw on a gemstone setting.


Any type of attachment that connects the two ends of a piece of jewelry. Primarily used in wrist and neckware. Available in a wide variety of types.

Clasped Choker, Princess Collar or
Dog Collar

A necklace approximately 13"-15" long that fits around the middle vs. the base of the neck.


In a clip-back earring, the clip holds the decorative part of the earring to a non-pierced ear by mechanical pressure. Earrings with a spring clip to securely and comfortably hold the earring on the ear.

Clip-On Bail  

See locket bail.


Enameling in which thin, flat wire (silver, gold, bronze, or copper which has been gilded) is bent to form cells on a metal base then filled with enamel. Each color is in a separate compartment.

Cluster Rings
or Pendants

Three or more beads on a ring or pendant.

Cluster Setting  

Any stone setting in which multiple stones are set closely together. They are generally circular.


Three or more beads on one earring back.


The attachment used to secure a pierced earring on the ear. It is slipped onto a post after insertion through the earlobe.

Clutch and Bar  

A tie-pin clutch with a small chain and bar added. The bar is designed to pass through a buttonhole to secure the necktie.

Clutch Back  

A locking device which grabs onto a pin or post in a piece of jewelry to prevent loss. Depending on the clutch type, this pin may be grooved or plain. Also see ear nut.

Cocktail Ring  

Any large scaled ring designed to hold gemstones.


An all-around necklace about 15"-16" long fitting close to the base of the neck.

Collar Button  

Metal button designed to close the starched collars that used to be separate from shirts up to about 60 years ago.

Collar Clip  

Double-ended spring clip worn under the knot of the tie forcing the knot out and holding the ends of the collar in place; in and out of fashion.

Collar Pin  

Double-ended pin with one removable end (generally a ball) which is inserted through holes in both collars; serves same function as collar clip and also goes in and out of fashion.


Decorative band or collar with top and bottom edges parallel; flange in which any kind of stone is set.


When a semi-precious stone is dyed or irradiated to intensify the color.

Colored Stone  

Any precious or genuine stone other than a diamond used as a component in jewelry; sometimes used to describe synthetics, glass, plastic or similar imitation stones.


Popular "horn of plenty" symbol of abundance and luck; spiral horn from which cascade edibles or flowers.

Corrugated Bead  

A hollow metal sphere made from corrugated tubing. Like all beads it has two holes. Also called a cut bead. In addition, there is also a twist-corrugated bead in which the corrugations spiral around the surface of the bead instead of being straight up and down.


A flat plate rolled slightly at the rim.


Rock crystal stones artificially cracked or crazed by heating.


The identifying emblem on a piece of jewelry.


Christian symbol of the resurrection; religious find that takes dozens of forms, plain or decorative, from the common Latin Cross to the Greek and Byzantine Crosses; called a crucifix if it includes the crucified figure of Christ.

Cubic Zirconia  

A man-made diamond substitute with the color, clearness, hardness, refractive index and dispersion level very close to that of a diamond. Cubic Zirconia is composed of Zirconium oxide that is stabilized by yttrium. It is an extremely hard stone with a high refractive index that creates brilliance. The visual effect is identical to a diamond.

Cuff Bracelet  

Wide solid bracelet with an opening either slipped on or hinged.

Cuff Link  

Jewelry item designed to close buttonless shirt cuffs called French cuffs; consists of either two identical or similar decorative pieces connected by a bar or chain.

Cultured Pearls  

Created by introducing a perfectly round mother of pearl bead into an oyster, which is grown in salt water. The oyster deposits layers of nacre to form a cultured pearl

Cut Bead  

See corrugated bead.


An operation that adds a third dimension to a normally flat ornament; e.g., doming a flat ornament.

Daytime Diamond  

The name given to pieces of jewelry with rhinestones or cubic Zirconia that can be worn in the daytime.

Devotional Jewelry  

Religious items – crosses, Christ heads, etc.


Regal emblem.

Die Setting

(see "Metal Stamping")


Forming a flat piece of metal with hardened steel forms called dies. A pair of dies with male and female patterns are pressed into the metal with great pressure to cut, shape or add surface detail.

Dog Collar  

Wide, flexible band of any material to be worn tight around the neck similar to a choker.

Dog Tag  

Identification tag worn around the neck by members of the armed forces.


Any convex decoration; generally made by pressing a metal circle into a hollow. Can be made manually with a dapping block and a dapping punch, or by utilizing a pinch-off tool in a power press.


A hoop attached to a designed stud.


Any stone made of two component parts. Doublets are frequently combinations of genuine stones along with glass, plastics or synthetic stones.


A small ornament suspended from a piece of jewelry.

Drop-off Necklace  

Necklace with several motifs coming off the necklace.


An earring in which the bottom half swings.

Ear Back  

See ear nut.

Ear Clip  

See clip.

Ear Nut  

A threaded nut for use with ear screws. There also is a friction version which is not threaded, but instead has two curved wings that grasp a grooved post. The friction versions are alternately called clutch, push back, clutch back, ear back, earring backs or earring clutch.

Ear Post  

See post.

Ear Screw  

A threaded post used with a nut for pierced earrings.

Ear Wire  

A bow of wire, looped to fasten an earring to a pierced ear. It's generally made of gold, sterling silver or hypo-allergenic surgical steel. Also see kidney wire.


Any ornament attached to the lobe of the ear by screw, clip or wire.

Earring Back  

See ear nut.

Earring Clutch  

See ear nut.

Earring Jacket  

A separate decorative component that can be added to earrings by the wearer to create different looks.

Ecclesiastical Rings  

Ring with religious motifs worn by higher-ranking Church officials and dignitaries.


The process by which electricity is used to cover a piece of jewelry with a metal. The electricity makes the two magnetically attract and permanently fuse.

Elephant Hair Jewelry  

Generally jewelry made from elephants’ tail hair or bristle – usually a twisted bracelet; commonly copied in metal.

Elk Tooth  

Emblem of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; either natural elk’s teeth or molded plastic. At one time common as a watch fob ornament.


To make beautiful with ornamentation.


A multi-level raised design in metal manufactured in one piece.

Emerald Cut  

A rectangular cut with parallel facets and clipped corners.


A technique where powdered colored glass is fired to a gloss after it is applied to gold, silver or copper. A layer of clear powdered glass is placed on top and fired again.


Any item with a relatively flat, thick area suitable for engraving.


Etching a design into the body of the metal.


An inexpensive technique to reproduce the look of enamel using resin-like chemicals instead of glass.


See metal etching.

Eternity Ring  

Band set with full or half circlet of stones given by a husband or wife as a pledge of undying love. Similar styles include guard, caliber and insert rings.


A loop which connects any piece of jewelry to another segment, bail or a chain.

Eye Pin  

A wire of varying length that has been manipulated at one end to form a loop to which items can be attached.

Eyeglass Ware  

See U-wire.


Small flat surfaces cut into a stone, glass or shell. Purpose is to refract light or enhance the design.

Faceted Button  

Small, flat surface cut into a stone, glass or shell. Purpose is to refract light or enhance the design.

Fancy Balls and Beads  

A name for balls or beads made in shapes other than spherical; e.g., bell shapes, oval, cups, etc.

Fancy Gallery  

See gallery.


The current trend in clothing, hair styles, accessories, etc.

Fashion or

Simulated Pearl


Produced by covering a plastic or glass bead with a pearl-like substance to simulate a cultured pearl. Widely available in many colors. Roman pearls have a distinctive, trademarked color called "Roman Cream".

Faux (fōe)  

Imitation. Usually refers to imitation pearls.


A metal band that is fitted to the ends of material to finish the ends or keep them from fraying.


Ornament shaped like a wreath or garland, generally composed of a bound bunch of flowers or leaves suspended at the ends.

Figure-Eight Safety  

A type of safety catch in which a hinged wire in the shape of a figure eight or hourglass snaps over a catch. Usually used in link bracelets.


Ornamental work formed of bent wire soldered into delicate and complex designs, somewhat reminiscent of lace patterns. Today, filigree may also be stamped or cast.


Mass manufactured component parts such as joints, links or clasps that are necessary to assemble many jewelry items.


A fishhook-shaped finding used to make earrings. The hook end passes through the pierced ear, while an ornament hangs from the other end.

14K Post  

Pierced earrings where the post is made from 14K gold.


Ornament shaped like flame or torch end.

Flat Stock (also Sheet Stock)  

Metal passed through successively narrow rolling mills; generally used for stamping.

Fleur-de-lis or

Iris-shaped ornament famous as the insignia of French royalty.

Flexible Bracelet  

Bracelet made of hinged links.

Flexible Extension

Bracelet composed of hinged links actuated by springs, permitting the links to pull apart slightly. Used mostly for watchbands.


Brushed or textured.


A chain or ribbon attached to a pocket watch. Used to pull the watch out of a pocket, or to attach the watch to clothing with a pin.


Ornamental designs – engraved, stamped or cast – in the form of leaves, vines, etc.

Formed Bead  

A bead formed from metal tubing.


A banded metal ornament designed to accept a setting and stone. It is often confused with the setting itself.

French Back  

An earring in which one leg of a U-shaped wire is attached to the back of the ornament. A screw piece may be fitted through a threaded hole in the other leg; this may be tightened against the earlobe. Also see screw back.

French Clip  

An earring finding consisting of both a spring-clip and a screw-back to adjust the tension of the clip.


A type of finding for pierced ears that is similar in appearance to a fishhook.

Friction Post  

A push-on post; see ear post.


An ornamental border consisting of short straight or twisted beads on strips hanging from a cut or raveled edge or from a separate band.

Fringe Necklace  

Usually beads of varying lengths coming off a beaded necklace.

Fusion Post  

A post used in the fusion or fusion-welding process. Looks like a normal post, but has an "initiating nib" at the end. During assembly, when the positively charged post contacts the negatively charged base, an arc occurs at the initiating nib, fusing the post to the jewelry item.


A name for metal strips used to make settings. Gallery is generally manufactured as a continuous strip with a repeated design. Highly decorated examples are referred to as fancy gallery.


A mineral or petrified material that when cut and polished can be used in jewelry.

Genuine Ivory  

Jewelry obtained from the hard, creamy-white tusk of an elephant, hippo or walrus. Now illegal to produce. Most genuine ivory items on the marketplace are antiques.

Geometric Shapes  

Utilizing rectilinear or simple curvilinear motifs or outlines in design.

Glass or
Crystal Stones

Beautifully colored glass matching the real stone in color and cut, but lacking the depth and fire of the real gem.

Gold Electroplate  

An electrolytically applied coating of gold over a base metal. The plated coating must not be less than 10k fineness, to a minimum thickness throughout equivalent to 7 millionths of an inch of fine gold. Any thinner must be marked gold flashed or gold washed. If the coating is equivalent to 100 millionths of an inch of fine gold, it may be marked Heavy God Electroplate or HE.

Gold Filled or
Gold Overlay

A process of pressure bonding a thin layer of gold to a base metal core, usually brass. Gold filled – unlike gold plating – has an actual layer of gold, giving it more value and making it tarnish resistant.

Gold Toned  

A term used to refer to gold-colored jewelry. May not actually have any karat gold plating.

Goose Neck Collar  

A type of metal collar that is flexible in design.


Beads that decrease in size originating from a center bead.

Grip Fastener  

See butterfly.

Guard Chain  

Small chain with one end attached to a necklace or bracelet, the other end to a loop or link on the opposite end of the piece. Used as a fail-safe in case the clasp opens.

Hat Pin  

Long metal pin with an ornamental head used to fasten a woman’s hat by passing the pin through her hat and hair.


An inexpensive, opaque genuine stone that is dyed in different fashion colors.


The upper portion of a ring; it is usually a tapered box with prongs or grooves for fastening a gemstone. It may be integral, or can be designed to be mounted to the separate ring shank. See setting and chaton.

Head Pin  

A wire of varying length that has been manipulated at one end to form a flat round surface.

Heishi Beads  

Small marine shells strung through a natural or drilled center hole. Available in natural or dyed colors, as well as in imitation forms.


A type of jewelry from European history – usually from the 1500s to 1800s – and associated with crosses, crests, fleur-de-lis and other historical motifs.

Hidden Clasp  

See ivory clasp.

High Relief  

Ornamental work in which designs are raised or stamped to stand out from the surface.


Three-component assembly for joining; permits motion of a finding to complete its function as a piece of jewelry; joint, top wire and catch; the joint is the stationary part, the catch is a small U-shaped finding into which the hoop wire snaps. Top wire is a hinge for hoop earrings in which the hinge attaches the ornament to the earlobe.


The pin that fits through pieces of metal tubing to create the hinge used for lockets, cases, boxes, etc.


Jewelry worn for a certain season usually Christmas.

Hollow Ring-Ball  

A hollow ball with a ring attached; used as a detail in assembling jewelry.

Hollow Wire  

Tubular gold or gold-filled stock used for bracelets or chain. May be solder-filled.

Hook Wire  

See fishhook.


Metal wire or tubing that has been separated into individual rings. Used for earrings, bracelets or necklace segments. Usually round rings that hang from the ear.

Hoop Wire  

A curved wire finding with a loop at one end for a hinge. It's used to attach a hoop or dangle earring to the ear. See hinge and top wire.

Hypo-allergenic Post  

Materials used in the manufacture of earring posts that provide maximum protection against allergic reactions; a.k.a. surgical steel posts.

Identification Bracelet  

Usually a link bracelet with a curved center plate designed for engraving a monogram.

Illusion Setting  

A prong setting containing a faceted metal plate that surrounds the girdle of a diamond, thus making the diamond appear larger.


Engraved or cut.

Initial Ring  

Ring with the wearer’s initial(s) raised, engraved or set into a contrasting metal or a stone such as onyx.


A technique of filling recessed areas with a contrasting material such as opaque stones or shell so that the surface of the metal and the contrasting material are even height.

Insignia Jewelry  

Jewelry with emblem, crest, fraternal symbol, etc.


Any surface which shimmers with seemingly more than one color.

Ivory Clasp  

A necklace fastener consisting of two short barrels which connect by means of a male and female screw. Also called a hidden clasp or multi-use clasp.


See earring jacket.


Rich, deep, dark color that calls to mind precious stones such as emerald, ruby, sapphires.


Piece of metal, often tubular, soldered or screwed to a piece of jewelry to form, along with a pin, a hinge for the pin with which the piece is fastened to the clothing of the wearer; also a hinge formed by three or more sections of tubing.

Joint, Catch and Pin-Stem  

An assembly used to affix jewelry items, such as brooches, to clothing. The joint serves as the fulcrum on which the pin-stem pivots. The catch is a hook into which the pin-stem fits when closed (see safety catch). The pin-stem is a pointed pin with a base fashioned into a hole or T-shape to facilitate connection with the joint. The tip is pointed to pierce clothing. Also see pin back.

Joint Pin  

Metal pin fitted tightly into the holes in end-joints of hinges on which the lid-joint of a case or a pin-base turns as a bearing.

Joint Wire  

Hollow wire or tubing formed by bending a strip of thick flat plate and drawing it through a drawplate until the desired diameter and opening is achieved. For tubing, a metal disk is punched, cupped and finally drawn to the appropriate size.

Jump Ring  

A plain wire ring used for attaching adjacent jewelry parts. In general, the ends of the wire are bent together, but not soldered. May be of any size, either round or oval in shape. When used with lockets or pendants, it may be called a loop.


Karat defines the proportion of fine gold in alloy. Pure or fine gold is 24KT while 18KT gold consists of 18 parts of pure gold mixed with 6 parts of other metal.

Key Ring  

Generally a split ring onto which keys are forced by prying apart the split sections; sometimes made of spring-loaded holders or screw and ball threaded devices.

Kidney Wire  

A wire formed into a kidney shape to which dangled earrings are attached. It is generally closed, as opposed to a shepherd hook or fishhook, which remains open. Used in pierced earring applications.

Knotted Pearls  

When stringing, jewelers cord is used and a small knot is made between the beads to make the item more supple and generally preferable to unknotted items. Commonly used with cultured pearls to keep them from rubbing against each other and scratching.


Tubular section that fits into a hold drilled into a pearl. The pearl is then fastened by a cement or epoxy. Also any setting with a small pin on the button used to attach the setting to a ring or plate.


Fine lead crystal made in France noted for its satin or "frosted" finish.

Lapped Border  

Any item with a rolled edge, giving the appearance of a rounded edge.


Necklace with open decorated ends that are looped or knotted instead of clasped.

Link Connection  

See airplane back.

Lobster Claw  

A clasp, shaped somewhat like a lobster's claw, in which one end has a heavier section concealing a spring mechanism, while the other end has one moveable section which opens and closes. Generally used as a chain clasp. Also called a snap clasp or a boat hook.


A small, box-like pendant with one or two hinged lids. The wearer can put photos, locks of hair or similar mementos inside.

Locket Bail  

An oval- or D-shaped finding used to connect pendants to a chain; specifically, for locket-type pendants. Meant to clip onto the pendant rather than be soldered. Also called a clip-on bail.


Finding for suspending a locket or pendant to a necklace chain; generally attached to the item by soldering. Also called a jump ring.

Love Knot  

Generally three intertwined rings made from wire or tubing reformed or flattened as a group, after assembly, into regular or irregular shapes.

Low Relief  

Ornament in which designs are raised above a background surface, but raised only about half as high as in high relief. Also known as bas relief.

Low Square Setting  

Usually refers to the replacement for the upper half of a square prong setting; generally used for repairs.


Using a variety of bead sizes and shapes to create a necklace.


Trade name for a bright iron mineral called cubic pyrite. When mounted singly or in clusters, marcasite’s bright metallic luster resembles diamonds. Common in antique jewelry, marcasite is currently popular.


A necklace usually 24"- 26" long.


A dull finish.


Round or oval disk often commemorating somebody or some event, generally with a head or figures. Resembling a coin, they can be cast or stamped. They may be mounted in bezels and hung or inserted into jewelry.


A finely woven metal fabric used in purses, handbags, kerchiefs, etc. Can be of any quality metal.

Metal Etching  

An ornamental part, of base or precious metal, in which the design is created by a "chemical milling" process, referred to as "photo etching".

Metal Stamping  

An ornamental stamped part, in any metal, generally formed by die striking. Creates volume without the heavy weight of cast goods.


Case for a written Hebrew prayer; attached to door posts for good luck. In miniature version, a religious finding worn as a pendant or charm.


A flexible metal fabric-like mesh, but woven of wire spirals. Used in bracelets.

Military Grip  

See butterfly.

Millimeter (mm)  

Metric unit of measure to determine size. 1mm = 0.04". Commonly used to measure stone or bead sizes.


Hollow form into which molten metal is poured; a rubber form into which low temperature white metal is poured; a bronze or iron form into which molten metal is poured; flexible rubber form into which wax is injected as the first stage in lost wax casting; a refractory material (investment) into which the wax patterns are placed then burned out prior to being filled with high temperature molten metals such as brass, silver or gold.


Japanese unit of weight for cultured pearls – equals 3.75 grams.

Money Clip  

Small form of folded spring metal used for holding bills in the pocket. Often decorated on one or both sides.


Combination of letters arranged in a pleasing and artistic form and engraved onto jewelry, watches, silverware, etc.

Mood Stone  

Primary component of the famous "mood ring" of the 1970s. Trademark of Q-Tran for a heat-sensitive liquid crystal material sealed in plastic


A metal plate at the end of a belt that goes through the buckle.


Decorative work in which a design is formed of small squares of colored glass or enameled material set into cement. Some precious and genuine stones are similarly laid into a matrix to form patterns such as a checkerboard.


The iridescent pearly lining of a shell.


The central theme or design of a jewelry item other than its chain or findings.


An unfinished piece of jewelry onto which a stone or stones will be set. It is complete except for the stones. Can be a ring, pendant, bracelet, necklace, etc., with any of a variety of settings.


More than one strand of beads.

Multi-Use Clasp  

See ivory clasp.

Napkin Ring  

Small ring of any material designed to hold a folded napkin by the place setting at the table.

Neck Chain  

A slender, light chain which can be used to suspend a locket or other ornament.


A short necklace or chain less than 18" in length.

No-Hole Ball  

Either a hollow metal sphere swaged from seamless tubing, or a solid metal sphere swaged from rod. (Solid no-hole balls are generally brass, while hollow no-hole balls are available in both base and precious metals). After swaging, the ball is separated and rolled into shape. Used as earrings with posts, pendants, cuff links, pins, etc.


Watch parts made of non-ferrous metals that cannot be magnetized.

Nothing Necklace  

Extremely fine gold chain sometimes with small stones or ornaments.


The face of a coin or medallion (opposite is reverse).

Omega Clip  

The name for a wire finding shaped like the Greek letter omega Ω. It is a clip earring finding in which the omega wire pivots in one end of a yoke or joint, with the other end of the yoke attached to the decorative part of the earring. Can be used to substitute for a clip earring finding or used in conjunction with a post earring.

One Year Pearls  

Cultured pearls with extremely thin layer of nacre over the nucleus.

One-Hole Ball  

A hollow metal sphere with a single hole. Made by drawing a flat stock into a cup and then rolling it down into a finished sphere, leaving one hole.

Open Setting  

A stone setting with the sides open so that the lower portion of the stone is visible.

Opera Length  

A necklace usually 28"- 30" long.

Oval Bead  

An oval- or teardrop-shaped metal bead formed in a swaging process. See fancy balls and beads.

Oval Setting  

An oval-shaped setting similar to the Tiffany setting, but designed to accommodate oval stones.

Pad Insert  

A molded rubber or plastic insert that goes over the clip of a clip earring, or over the wire for a pierced earring. Designed for greater comfort.


A type of pattern with swirls in it.


Small pieces of solder.


A fancy edging or trimming made of braid, cord, gimp, beading or metallic thread. Silhouettes inspired by decorative trimmings.


Any of various pale or light colors.

Paternoster Beads  

Alternate term for Rosary Beads.


Green film formed by oxidation on copper and bronze; can be formed naturally over a period of time through exposure to air, but can be hastened or artificially induced by coloring agents. Currently very popular in costume jewelry

Pavé Setting  

A setting in which small stones are set as close together as possible, so that the piece literally looks "paved" with stones. Alternate terms include pavement and paviment.

Pear Cut  

Like a pear. Larger at one end than the other.

Pearl Cup  

A cup designed to hold a pearl. It sometimes has a small peg which mates with a hole in the pearl for added security.

Pearl Drop  

A real or imitation pearl with a metal ring attached for suspending from a piece of jewelry.

Pearl Enhancer  

A bail-like finding that may be opened to fit over an endless strand of pearls or beads and then locked closed. It may be stone-set and used alone or with a drop.

Pearl Shortener  

A hinged ring that may be used to shorten an opera-length pearl strand. The strand is doubled and the two resulting end loops are hooked into the shortener. Also, a safety pin-type finding that is used to pin a portion of the strand to the clothing.

Pearl Slug Eye  

A straight, short wire with a ring at one end. It is inserted into a pearl to convert it into a pearl drop.

Peg Setting  

A peg, often set into a metal cup or hemisphere, which mates with a hole drilled into a pearl. The pearl is then fastened by cement or epoxy. Also, any setting with a small pin on the bottom used to attach the setting to a ring or plate.


An ornament designed to be suspended from a chain or necklace.


A unit of Troy weight for precious metals. Generally shortened by DWT, it contains 24 grains of 1/20th of a Troy ounce.


The process of etching parts on or from thin metal by the photographic copying of a design onto a sensitized surface, then etching around that design with acid; produces highly exact and repeatable patterns of controllable thickness – pieces can be as thin as razor blades. Also called photo-chemical milling. See etching.

Pin Back  

A joint, catch and pin-stem assembly that in effect is pre-assembled on a metal plate (the ends of the plate are actually formed into the joint and catch). The entire unit may then be attached to a piece of jewelry by soldering.


See joint, catch and pin-stem.


A pin attached to a base with a hole in it designed to hold the joint-pin, which is part of the hinge. Used to fasten brooches, bar pins, etc. on clothing.


See chain tag.


Metal sheet or flat stock used for stamping out findings; may also refer to the electrolytical precious metal deposit over base metal from the electroplating process or the mechanically bonded precious plate used in the gold or silver- filled process.

Platinum Toned  

A term typically used to refer to platinum colored jewelry. The color of the finish is achieved by electro-depositing rhodium, a very durable and expensive metal. The color is slightly darker than sterling silver.


Mirror-like shine.

Porcelain Flowers  

Flowers made out of hard ceramic ware usually translucent and white.


A pin-like finding attached to an earring. It passes through the pierced earlobe, and may be held on by a matching clutch or ear nut. The metal thread attached to a pierced earring for passage through the earlobe. See ear post.


Equipment used to stamp findings; can be a foot press, screw press, electric press, percussion press, hydraulic press, etc.


A necklace usually 20"- 21" long.


A claw or wire used to fasten and hold a stone in a setting.

Prong Setting  

A setting consisting of a series of prongs, generally four or six, that holds a stone.

Push Back  

See ear nut.

Puzzle Ring  

A ring made of several connected rings that fit together like a puzzle.

Quality Tag  

See chain tag.

Religious Finding  

General classification for any finding of religious meaning or symbolism; e.g., a cross or Star of David.


A faceted glass stone, usually set with foil backing to give it highlight.

Ring Adjustor  

A metal device which clamps inside a ring; used to tighten a ring that is too large or has to be large to fit over the knuckle; also called ring guard; also enhancing decorative bands, sometimes joined at the bottom into which another ring is placed to create a different look.

Ring Blank  

A stamped finger ring that has yet to go through the various finishing processes.

Rolled Bead  

A cut metal bead that has been rolled. The term is applied only to round beads, not to oval or oddly shaped beads. See fancy balls and beads.

Rolling Mill  

Hardened steel rollers geared to turn together and reduce the thickness of bars, rods or wire. Also used to impress a pattern in the surface of flat or round stock.


See roundel.

Rope Chain  

Chain of fine wire in close spiral links making it look like a rope.


A chain of beads used by Roman Catholics to count devotional prayers.

Rosary Beads  

The beads that form a rosary.


A non-spherical doughnut- or washer-shaped bead of precious or base metal that is used as a spacer. Also spelled rondelle.

Sacred Heart Medal  

Religious piece depicting the figure of Christ and His Heart.

Safety Catch  

A catch in which a sliding piece called a rotor has been added. This serves to lock the pin-stem in the closed position, thereby preventing accidental release.

Safety Chain  

See guard chain.

Saint’s Medal  

Article of religious jewelry representing a saint; e.g., St. Christopher.

Satin Finish  

A dull finish imparted by sandblasting, brushing with a stiff wire brush, or by chemical means; a soft luster rather than a high polish.

Scallop Setting  

See buttercup setting.


Ancient Egyptian representation of the scarabaeus beetle; symbol of resurrection. In ancient times, frequently made with carved name or cartouche on underside and used as a signet.

Scarf Pin  

Originally a decorative pin about 2" long, passed through a tie; now used primarily for women’s scarves.

Screw Back  

A U-shaped metal finding with a threaded screw that moves in and out one end of the horseshoe to tighten an earring against a non-pierced earlobe. Also called French back.


Originally incised whalebone or whale ivory with paint or ink rubbed into the engravings; carved by American whalers; the look and style has been copied in plastics.


A spiral curve.


To form an image - or representation of - from solid.


Without a seam, generally referring to a ring or piece of tubing made from one piece of metal cupped, drawn and cut.


Occurring at a particular season.

Security Post/Nut  

A push-on, screw-off post/nut unit for pierced earrings.


A mounting that is only partially set. Semi-mountings are usually set with the small side stones, and simply await the main or center stone.


Refers to genuine, transparent stones which have intrinsic investment value, such as garnet, amethyst, citrine and blue topaz.


A metal form into which a stone is set using claws, a bezel, or any other means of holding the stone. There are many types of settings; e.g., Tiffany, channel, etc.


In a ring, the shank is the part that surrounds the finger. Ring mountings are often two-piece: the shank and the setting in which a stone is set.

Shell Cameo  

Generally a cameo carving in which the white upper layer of a shell stands out from the darker brownish underside. Generally of Italian workmanship.

Shepherd Hook  

A pierced earring wire shaped like a shepherd's crook - similar to fishhook wire but with a longer shaft. See ear wire.


Mirror-like shine.

Signet Ring  

A ring with the wearer’s coat of arms, initial or crest engraved; originally used to impress a wax seal for identification of letters or documents.


Refers to the outline of a piece of jewelry.

Simulated Stones  

Imitation stones of glass, paste or plastic.

Sister Hook  

A clasp finding made of two overlapping hooks which are hinged to form a heart outline when open.

Snake Chain  

Machine chain – round, square, rectangular or oval; joints between links are connected to be flexible like a snake.


See clasp.

Snap Clasp  

See lobster claw.

Snap-it Closure  

A closure mechanism on a pierced hoop earring that is a combination of a hinged post on one end of the earring and the V shaped finding on the other end. Once the post is inserted through the ear, the post is snapped into the V shaped finding.


Two spheres or more, one placed on top of the other.

Snuff Box  

Small hinged box ornately engraved on the lid; originally used for carrying a tobacco product the user sniffed.

Soft Collar Pin  

Bar pin with spring clips at each end to grip the ends of the wearer’s shirt collar.

Solder-Flushed Finding  

A type of find which incorporates a coating of solder so that assembly may be easily done with quick heating.


From the French word for alone. Generally used to describe a ring, earring or pendant with a large single center stone or the stone itself.

Solitaire Ring or Pendants  

A single stone set in a ring or pendant.

Souvenir Spoon  

Generally a small demitasse-type spoon used to commemorate an event or a place.


Jewelry with red, white, blue or black colors usually worn during spring.

Split Ring  

A horizontally-split metal ring for attaching objects to be worn on chains or keys to a key chain.

Spoon Jewelry  

Rings, bracelets, etc. made from small spoon handles or sugar tongs; originally a crafts product, now produced by commercial manufacturers.

Spring Hinge  

A hinge with an added spring to bring it back to the closed position.

Spring Ring  

A circular tube - just short of a complete circle - inside which a coiled spring presses on the inner end of a curved wire which projects from the tube to complete the circle. By pressing on a small lip, the wire can be pushed back into the tube, permitting objects to be attached. Frequently used on key chains.

Square Prong  

A high, four-prong setting with 90º angles at the four corners; a heavy post formed by a dovetail or similar piercing is usually found along the flat side.

Stamped (see Metal Stamping)  

When metal is pressed into a mold where the inside is hollow vs. the casting process where it is solid.


See metal stamping.

Sterling Silver  

Denotes an alloy of 925/1000th parts or 92.5% pure silver. A piece of sterling silver is usually identified with a "925" stamp somewhere on the jewelry.

Stud Earrings  

An earring with a fixed bar from a circular back piece to the ornamental head.

Stud Spiral  

A stone mounting used for shirt studs.

Surgical Steel  

Usually refers to an earring post which is made with hypoallergenic steel, surgical grade.


Working cold metals into specific shapes by hand hammering (working hot metals is forging).


A finding used for attaching watches to chains. Usually composed of a loop of metal that has a hinged section that can be opened to insert the watch bow or ring, while the closed end is fastened to a jump ring on a base that can turn (hence "swivel").


An artificially made substance with the physical properties and chemical composition of the real thing; i.e., Verneuil synthetic ruby or synthetic emerald by Chatham or Gilson. Not an imitation which, in the case of stones, is glass or plastic.


A hard steel screw with fluted, hollow cutting edges to cut threads in a pre-formed hole.


Reducing the brittleness of hardened metal by gradual heating to stages less than annealing heat.


Jewelry simple in line, ornament and finish, usually all metal and without stones.


"Magical" charm. Can be an ornament, ring, stone, etc., often with applied occult or astrological characters.

Textured Finishes  

Any finish other than high polish; includes Florentine, bark, satin, hammered, woven, nugget, granulated, bright-cut, etc.


Finger cap generally covered with small indentations for pushing needles through cloth; can be made of any base or precious metal, or porcelain, glass, etc. Functional, but also popular as a collectible.

Thread Setting  

A setting where the edge of the bezel or frame or outer edge of beadwork is cut to a fine edge before mill graining. A bright-cut edge for mill graining.

Threaded Post  

A screw post or ear screw.

Three-Bead Setting  

A variation of the square prong setting where each corner post is formed into three round beads. The corner itself forms one bead with the other two adjacent to it at the side toward the stones.


Hairpiece worn like a crown; usually set with gems.

Tie Bar  

Metal bar folded to have spring tension, used to attach the mid-portion of the tie to the shirt.

Tie Clip  

Flat metal bar with a sprung alligator clip which clips the mid-portion of the tie to the shirt

Tie Tac  

Short (about ½") pin with an ornamental top. Stuck through the tie, it pins the tie to the shirt by means of a clutch back.

Tiffany Setting  

The term generally applies to a round, six-prong setting with the prongs flaring out gracefully to clamp the stone. The term is sometimes used when describing four-prong settings.

Tiger Tail  

A heavy nylon with a thin metal wire core that is used for stringing. It resists fraying from the roughness of the beads.

Toggle Chain  

A short piece of chain which connects two elements of a piece of jewelry.

Top Wire  

A hinge for hoop earrings in which the hinge attaches the ornament to the earlobe. Also see hoop wire.


A twisting of several strands of beads, pearls, chains, etc. into a single piece of jewelry.

Total Weight  

Generally used for diamond jewelry, but can be applied to any jewelry with small stones. It refers to the combined carat weight of all the stones in the piece.

Troy Ounce  

A unit of Troy weight, used for weighing precious metals. The ounce contains 20 pennyweights (DWT) each of 24 grains. A Troy pound, a measurement never used for precious metal, contains twelve ounces.


A string of small beads that are twisted around into a button earring.

Tuxedo Chain  

Pocket watch chain with a swivel or spring ring to attach the watch on one end and a clasp on the other to belt or pants.

Twist-Corrugated Bead  

See corrugated bead.


A stone earring with the post or clip attached to the earring with no metal setting.


All beads or stones of the same size.

Unit Cluster Setting  

Any flat or domed plate drilled to accommodate melee.


Narrow flat stock that has been formed into a channel. Also known as a channel wire, bezel wire and eyeglass wire.

Vacuum Coating  

The deposition of an extremely thin metallic coating, generally on plastic or very inexpensive metals, by volatilization within a vacuum.


Generally, a lady’s compact, a hinged powder case with a mirror inside the cover.


A two-loop bail that looks like a V from the front.

Vermeil (ver-MAY)  

Defined by the Federal Trade Commission as a deposit of 100 mils of gold of at least 10K over a sterling silver product, with a nickel barrier between the silver base and the gold finish.

Waldemar Chain  

Man’s watch chain, generally about 14" long, usually worn across a vest front, with a swivel for the watch bow on one end and a spring ring on the other for a charm, pocket knife, etc.


Specially formulated waxes for carving or melting and injecting into rubber molds for the lost wax casting process.

Wax Patterns  

It is common today for wax patterns to be sold for manufacturers or craftspeople to cast on their own. Thus, instead of metal settings or ornamental findings they can buy the waxes, modify them if desired, and cast them in whatever metal they choose.

Wedding Band  

Resembling a traditional wedding band ring.

White Metal  

Various alloys of tin, antimony and copper used in the rubber mold or spincasting process; common in costume jewelry.

Wing Back  

See airplane back.


Roman Company | 1031 Executive Parkway Suite 101 | Creve Coeur, MO 63141 | 314.962.9750 | fax 314.968.5483

Sunstone Inc. | 8350 Lehigh Avenue | Morton Grove, IL 60053-2616 | 847.965.1700 | fax 847.965.0749

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