Jewellery terminology you may come across in this shop:


1/20 12K G.F. or 1/20 14K G.F.
This means the item is 12k or 14k gold-filled, this layer of gold overlay is 1/20th of the total weight of the metal portion in the jewelry, that is, 5% gold by weight. '12/20' or '14/20' can be substitutes for the same meaning. For more info on gold-fill, scroll down and search 'G.F.'

AB
Aurora borealis; an iridescent finish to a bead, rhinestone or cabochon. The AB finishing was inspired by the Northern lights and was invented by Swarovski and Christian Dior in 1955.

Antique-goldtone
Goldtone jewellery with darkened accents in grooves or for accents, used as a finishing.

Antique-silvertone
Silvertone jewellery with an oxidised finishing. Can also be called ox-silver but I use antique-silvertone when the finishing is brightly polished with dark accents. Ox-silver is distinguished as matte and may be oxidised-sterling silver.

Art Deco
An art movement about mid-1910s to 1930s. They were characterised by geometric shapes, bold block colours, simplicity, angles, Czech faceted glass beads, molded plastics (bakelite and celluloid) and chrome. The age of the flappers.

Art Nouveau
An art movement that started from about late Victorian to Edwardian, from about 1815 - 1910s. They were characterised by fluid scroll designs, florals and nature, flowing curves and long haired women in natural tones and metals.

Baguette cut
A 8-sided cut that is in a long rectangular shape.

Bail
The connector at the top of a pendant that connects it to a chain or jump ring.

Bar pin
A pin that is worn horizontally.

Base metal
Non-precious metals and alloys.

Baroque pearl
Irregularly shaped pearl.

Bezel setting
A setting surrounding a cabochon that covers the outer edges of the cabochon.

Bib necklace
A necklace with long fringes or drapes and worn close to the base of the neck.

Brass
An alloy that is half copper and half zinc and yellow in colour.

Briolette
A pear-shaped drop with triangular facets on top.

Brushed finish
A finishing where a stiff metal brush is used on top of the metal piece to create a less reflective surface.

Bohemian glass / crystal
High quality lead crystal manufactured from the Czech Republic. They originated from Bohemia in the 17th century.

Book chain
A chain with rectangular folded metal on both ends, with jump rings connecting them together. They look like little books; and were popular during the Victorian era to hold lockets.

Book piece
A featured piece of jewellery published in a book.

Bugle beads
A long, thin, tube shaped bead.

Cabochon
A flat-backed embellishing cut into the shape of a small dome. It can be round, oval, triangle or teardrop shaped.

Cameo
A small piece of sculpture on stone cut in relief in one layer with another contrasting layer serving as background. There are also molded cameos made of resin or faux cameos where the image is glued on top of the background. The most common cameos are greek mythology and side profiles. The opposite of a cameo is 'intaglio'.

Champlevé (chaw-le-vay)
An enameling technique where opaque enamel is applied on top of a stamped or engraved depressions in a metal piece.

Chaton
A cone-shaped rhinestone/ crystal.

Clutch
Earring backings/ear nuts/ ear stoppers. For pins they are the stoppers that are used to secure the sharp ends.

Cloisonné(kwla-zo-nay)
A technique of enameling. The design is first outlined using a thin metal wire onto the main metal piece. The space between the wires is filled with enamel and then fired.

Collar necklace
A short necklace worn at the base of the neck with parallel widths throughout. It resembles a collar.

Confetti lucite
Lucite with embedded glitter or sequins.

Crystal (lead)
Glass containing at least 10% lead oxide. Standard lead crystals contain about 24-29% lead oxide. They have a brilliant shine when cut and polished. The most famous crystal manufacturer is probably Swarovski.

Crystal (natural)
Usually quartz in various mineral compositions.

CZ (cubic zirconia)
A man-made stone that resembles diamond, is very durable and has brilliant sparkle. They are not the same as zirconia (which is natural).

Demi
Demi parure; an incomplete set of a parure. It may include for example, a set of bracelet & necklace or earrings & necklace etc.

Edwardian jewellery
About 1901-1910 when King Edward VII came to the throne. The Edwardian style started slightly before 1901 when Queen Victoria was in her final years and the style was still around till about the 1920s while the Art Deco style was becoming popular.

Enamel
Powdered glass fused onto metal. It can be any colour.

En Esclavage necklace (awn es-kla-varhg)
A necklace with several cascading strands, each longer than the other so there is a space between each strand. Can consist of chains or graduated beads.

Faux (foe)
Fake or false.

Festoon necklace
A necklace with multiple drapes hanging on a chain. May have additional pendants or ornaments on them.

Figural jewellery
Jewellery made to look like actual objects, people or nature.

Filigree
A metal design made with thin wires bent into intricate shapes (rosettes or vines) or thin wires soldered onto a thicker border. It also includes ornamental openworked metal designs.

Fleur-de-lis (fleur-duh-lees)
A heraldic symbol of French royalty that means 'Flower of the Lily'.

Foil-back
A silver or gold foil used on the back of rhinestones that gives the rhinestone its sparkle. A rhinestone can lose its shine when foil-backs are damaged or darkened.

French jet
Black glass made to resemble jet (fossilised coal).

G.F.
Gold-filled. A gold-filled item has 100 times thicker gold content than a gold-plated item. It is as close to gold as you can get without the heavy price tag of gold. The core is usually sterling silver (this is also known as vermeil) or base metals like brass. Gold-filled wire is made by bonding a sheet of gold onto the base metal with extreme heat and pressure. By law, gold-filled items have to be at least 5% of its total metal weight in gold. GF items last a lifetime.

Givré
A type of art glass with transparent glass fused with a frosted or coloured translucent core.

Goldtone
Gold-plating or a golden-coloured alloy plating/metal.

Gold-plated
A very thin outer layer of gold particles bonded to the surface of a base metal by electrolysis or dipping method. Gold-plate is not as durable as gold-fill. With moderate to heavy use, a gold-plated item will eventually lose its outer coating, exposing the base metal. An even thinner layer of gold is called gold-wash.

Graduated necklace
A necklace with beads in increasing size with the largest bead at the center and the smallest beads at the ends.

Guilloché(gi-low-sh)
A technique of enamelling where enamel is applied on top of ornamental geometric designs engraved by engine turning of a machine. These machines are no longer being made, and the technique used nowadays include expensive timepieces. Guilloché pieces usually include handpainted florals like roses.

Gypsy setting
A depressed setting in a jewellery piece with a star pattern engraving around it. Also called 'star setting'. Most common on rings, charms and lockets. 

Hallmark
A mark that indicates the content of precious metals. For eg. 925, 24K

Hammered metal
A hammer is used to create texture on metal, creating a crater-like depressed surface.

Harlequin glass
An art glass made to look like harlequin opals. Also known as harlequin glass opals.

Heishe beads
Disc-shaped beads with that run continuous and evenly when strung in a strand. Usually made of shells, bones or stones.

HGE
High gold electroplate. Gold is plated thickly onto another metal using electricity.

Intaglio
A technique of carving where an image is carved or engraved into stones. They were previously used for marking wax seals.

Iridescent
Displaying a rainbow-like colours like soap bubbles. Similar to 'pearlscent'.

Japanned
Metal that has been enamelled black.

Jet
Fossilised coal, also known as Gagate. They were used widely in mourning jewellery popular during the Victorian era. Glass imitation jet are called french jet.

Karatclad
A trademark for thick gold electroplating.

Lampworked glass
A technique of glasswork made from glass canes and tubes that are shaped by hand over a flame. Originally they were worked over lamps. They are invented in Murano, Italy. Millefiori is a form of lampworking too.

Lariat necklace
Long necklace that is knotted or hung around the neck rather than clasped. They have decorated ends or tassels. They can be used with a center ornament to keep it closed.

Lucite
Invented by the Dupont company in 1937. It is a form of thermoplastic / acrylic resin. Vintage lucite is quite collectible and can be available in any colours. Good lucite usually do not have mold seams (unlike cheaper acrylics) and are heavier too.

Marquise
A rhinestone or gemstone in an eye shape (2 pointed ends). Also known as 'navette'.

Millefiori (mee-ley-fio-ray)
A style of glass that is formed from multiple canes of colored glass that are fused together and cut crosswise. They originated from Italy and means 'thousand flowers'.

Milk glass
Opaque white glass.

Modernist
A style between 1930-1960 focusing on design and form, also known as the wearable art movement. They are usually simple, geometric or abstract, using basic metals wrought into interesting shapes and forms.

Mother-of-pearl shell
The iridescent coating found on the inside of oyster shells.

Mourning jewellery
Victorian period jewellery where Queen Victoria popularised it after a period of extended mourning for Prince Albert. They were widely worn to commemorate the passing of a loved one, and are usually made of jet, french jet or black filigree.

Nacre
The substance or coating of a pearl.

Navette
A rhinestone or gemstone in an eye shape (2 pointed ends). Also known as 'Marquise'.

Ox-brass
Oxidised brass as a finishing.

Ox-copper
Oxidised copper as a finishing.

Ox-silver
Oxidised silver as a finishing.

Paste stones
Imitation gemstones made from glass with lead. Some old rhinestones are interchangeably called paste stones. They were intially worn as an alternative to real jewels for fear of getting robbed.

Parure (pah-roor)
A full matching set of jewellery. It consists of a necklace, a bracelet (or a pair of bracelets), earrings and brooch.

Pat. Pend
Patent Pending.

Pat. with numbers
The design was patented and registered.

Patina
Oxidation that forms on a metal such as copper or brass after long periods of exposure to the elements or artificially through the use of chemicals. Rich patina often adds to the overall beauty of an item. Patina is especially valued on antique silver, brass and copper.

Prong-set
Claw or finger-like wires in a setting that holds a stone in place.

Pot Metal
An alloy consisting of common metals. It ususally consists of zinc, tin, aluminium, lead, copper, nickel and others in varying amounts. The pot metal nowadays do not contain lead but they did in the past. They are safe to wear as long as you are not putting it in your mouth! A lot of costume jewellery during the 1930s Depression era were made of pot metal. They are non-magnetic, cheap, brittle compared to other metals and a dark silvery colour.

Reverse-carved lucite
Clear plastic lucite that has been incised with an image on its back. It is usually painted on the back and when viewed from the front, looks like a dimensional image floating within the lucite.

Rhinestones
Any kinds of sparkly faux faceted stones made to resemble diamonds, rubies etc. They have flat faceted tops with pointed or flat ends (flat backs). They usually come with foil-backs but may be unfoiled too. Clear rhinestones are also called 'diamante'. Most rhinestones are chatons unless they are the flat kinds to be glued. Also rhinestones were originally named for cut quartz & natural crystals (found below the Rhine river) but is now used collectively for faux faceted stones.

Rhinestone Pavé (pa-vay)
Small rhinestones that are set close together.

Rhodium
A white precious metal. Rhodium is hard and expensive. It is often used as a plating to give jewellery a hard, platinum-like sheen.

Rivoli
A rhinestone/ crystal cut with pointed ends on both sides.

Safety chain
A secondary closure to a bracelet to prevent the bracelet from getting lost. It usually has a fixed end and a spring ring clasp on the other.

Sautoir (so-twahr)
A long necklace with beaded tassels or a pendant at the end. They were popular in the Edwardian period. They are usually beaded.

Scalloped
An ornamental border consisting of a series of curved projections.

Scatter pin
Small pins that were meant to be worn as a group with other scatter pins.


Screw-back earrings
A screw mechanism is used to tighten a flat disc against the back of the earlobe to keep the earring in place.

Shank
The part of the ring that encircles the finger.

Signed
A manufacturer's or designer's official mark on a piece of jewellery.

Silvertone
Silver in color but has no actual silver content.

Star setting
A depressed setting in a jewellery piece with a star pattern engraving around it. Also called 'gypsy setting'. Most common on rings, charms and lockets.

Sterling silver
92.5% silver, the rest of the composition are metals like copper or nickel. Also known as 925. Not all silver are sterling; coin silver, mexican silver all have different amounts of silver. It also depends on the country of produce. Not all sterling are marked.

Sugar beads
Beads with a coat of plastic or glass grains that looks like granulated sugar. It originated in Japan.

Torque/Torc
A neck band that is usually made of metal and an opening at the back rather than a clasp. The front usually is wider in width than the back.

Torsade
A necklace composed of several strands twisted together.

Trembler jewellery/ en tremblant (awn traw-bla)
A style of jewellery where a piece is suspended on a fine spring on top of the main piece so it moves with vibration when adorned.

Verdigris
Greenish buildup occurring on old metals. They can be removed with acidic liquids like vinegar or lemon juice, and often found on old brass and copper. However the plating is usually compromised after verdigris is removed.

Vermeil
Gold-plating over sterling silver. There were a number of vermeil jewellery created in the 1940s as during WWII, jewellery designers switched to using sterling because of the shortage of base metals. These are very collectible. Many of these pieces were not hallmarked as they did not contain 92.5% silver to be warranted as sterling but contained high amounts of silver nonetheless.

Victorian jewellery
A style of jewelry about 1837 - 1901 when Queen Victoria ruled England.

Wreath brooch
A brooch in the shape of a patterned circle.

 

©Written and compiled by Lemon Kitscharms.