A guide to the different jewels, terms, and materials used in most jewelry pieces!
An opaque or transparent glassy thermoplastic such as synthetic crystals mainly used in costume jewelry.
Agate is the birthstone of September and Gemini. It is a semi-precious gemstone that is a form of silicon dioxide. It is a member of the Quartz family.
Amber is one of the birthstones of Taurus. Color ranges from dark brown to deep lemon yellow. It is very popular in fashion jewelry.
Amethyst is the birthstone of February and Pisces. It is purple in color and belongs to the quartz family.
Also known as Ankle Chains or Ankle Bracelets, they are bracelets worn around the ankle. The average length of fashion anklet is 9” and sometimes come with extensions. (click here to see anklets)
Plating that is done to jewelry to give an antique appearance. The high points are polished to contrast with the dark groves.
Antique Style Jewelry
In costume jewelry reproduction of vintage designs with antique plating came to be known as Antique Style Jewelry. (link to antique style jewelry) They are also known as Vintage Reproduction Jewelry . Original Vintage Jewelry pieces are highly collectible items.
Aquamarine is the birthstone of February and Scorpio. Colors range from pale blue to blue green or teal. Most valuable of all is the deep blue aqua color.
Also known as Arm Ring or Arm Band, they are worn on the upper arm. Designs in fashion armlets have their roots in the tribal cultures around the world. (link to armlets)
A popular style in jewelry history from around 1915 to 1925 that is recognized by its combination of geometric designs and straight lines. Reproduction of this look is popular in fashion jewelry.
A style of jewelry popular from the 1890s to around 1915 that was characterized by smooth flowing lines, natural colors, and depictions of sensuous women, flowers, and nature. Art Nouveau themes are popular with current fashion jewelry designers.
A baguette is a narrow rectangle which could be a stone or a bracelet in fashion jewelry industry.
Bangles are slipped over the hand and do not have a clasp or a hinge. It is usually worn one or multiple on each hand. (link to bangles & bracelets)
A Bangle Bracelet can be slipped over the hand or may have a clasp or hinge. Since it has both the features of a bracelet as well as a bangle, it is identified as a Bangle Bracelet. (link to bangles & bracelets)
Baroque means an irregular object. In fashion jewelry pearls that have an irregular shape are described as baroque pearls.
Also known as “Ball Chain”, round beads are fixed next to each other or at equidistance to form a long chain. Beads can also be joined with short chains.
Also known as a collarette or handkerchief necklace, multiple strands are arranged in the shape of a bib around the neck. This type of Fashion Necklace is always in vogue. (link to necklaces & pendants)
Bling Bling Jewelry
This slang term has been popularized in the hip hop culture relating to flashy, outlandishly ostentatious jewelry. These are very Funky Jewelry. (link to funky jewelry)
Jewelry worn on various parts of the body that is pierced like the eyebrow, lip, nose, belly button, tongue, bridge of the nose, ears and more.
Also called “Boho”, these jewelry pieces are very ethnic, whimsical and have a free spirit character of their own. Boho jewelry has more to do with an attitude they project, rather than a style. Popular designs found in Bohemian Jewelry are floral motifs.
It is made up of square links that are connected to create a smooth chain. It looks sturdy yet stylish and sleek.
This clasp has a box at one end with a groove or notch on the side. The other end has a folded piece of metal to form a spring or lever. This lever slips into the notch in the box to close the clasp. To open press the 2 ends of the lever and pull it out of the box.
Bracelet can be worn snugly or loosely around the wrist. They always have a clasp. (Link to bangles & bracelets)
A dark metallic finish with a deep bronze, copper, or brass color popular in vintage inspired costume jewelry
Also known as “Link Chain”, it is made up of thin round or oval links of uniform size.
Carnelian is the birthstone for Leo and Virgo. A semi-precious stone that varies from translucent to opaque and has color from yellow to reddish brown. It is a member of the Quartz family.
Also known as Celebrity Inspired Jewelry, they are imitation or fake or reproduction of jewelry worn by celebrities. They are extremely popular designs in fashion jewelry. Best example of this is Kate Middleton’s jewelry worn during her wedding to Prince William was reproduced in fashion jewelry and sold in huge numbers around the world.
Dangling earrings characterized by multiple hanging pieces. The pieces often dangle from intricate filigree setting giving the piece a resemblance to an ornate chandelier.
Stones set in trough (holder) and held in place by a rim at the top of the trough.
Little ornaments called charms dangle from a chain of the bracelet. Ornaments are combined with beads or pearls to give a charming effect. (link to bracelets & bangles)
A necklace that sits at the base of the neck and fits snugly around the neck. It is usually 14” to 16” in length.(link to necklaces and pendant)
Citrine is the birthstone of November and Virgo. Extremely popular in fashion jewelry, it is a member of quartz family. Colors range from yellow, yellow brown, dark orange brown, orange and reddish brown.
In the early 30s and 40 s statement rings were also called Cocktail Rings. These pieces were inspired from the alcoholic concoctions from which it took its name. The rings were meant to be “bubbly and extravagant”. These cocktail rings had a personality of their own; assertive, bossy and a show off. (link to rings)
Jewelry that has been made in the same time or period whether it is the current period or a decade ago or 100 years ago.
Coral is the skeletal material of calcium carbonate, built up by small animals that live in colonies in the sea. Red, pink, and white coral is mostly calcium carbonate. Black and golden corral is conchiolin. Red coral is the most valued. Coral is the anniversary gemstone for the 35th year of marriage.
Also known as Fashion Jewelry or Fake jewelry or Imitation Jewelry or Cheap Jewelry. This kind of jewelry was usually made with non-precious metals like brass, copper and alloys with glass stones or simulated gemstones and looked fake. But over the years the process, finish and materials have changed to give it a look of fine jewelry.
Jewelry which is made from natural rock crystal that is quartz. Glass crystals are also used in costume jewelry
Also known as Cubic Zirconium, CZ or CZT or American Diamond. It is hard, optically flawless and usually colorless. Because of its low cost, durability, and close visual likeness to diamond, synthetic cubic zirconia has remained the most economically important competitor for diamonds that has become very popular in fashion jewelry.(link to semi precious jewelry)
Cuffs in fashion jewelry can be Ankle Cuffs or Wrist Cuffs that is ¾ of a circle and can be adjusted to fit snugly any size wrist or ankle.
Earrings that dangle from the ear and can range from 1” to 5”“almost reaching the shoulder. (link to earrings)
Jewelry developed by jewelry designers is called Designer Jewelry. Earlier it used to be goldsmiths that were the jewelry designers. Some famous jewelry designers of today are Kenneth Jay Lane and Van Cleef.
Emerald is the birthstone of May, Taurus and Cancer. Colors range from yellowish green to bluish green.
A term that refers to the rectangular cut of faceted stones.
Enameling is a fusion of finely crushed glass paste mixed with metal oxides on to a metal under very high temperature. The vibrant colors of the enamel are due to the different metal oxides mixed with the glass powder. The intensity of the color is controlled by the amount of metal oxide in the enamel.
Jewelry that represents a culture, group or religion. For example Indian Ethnic Jewelry. (link to ethnic)
A term that indicates an imitation or synthetic component, for example faux pearls or faux leather.
Fish Hook Earring Back
This type of earring back has the ear wire in the shape of a hook. The hook just slides through the earring lobe and rests behind the ear. They often have small plastic tubes that slide in the wire hook at the back of the ear to hold the earring in place.
Originally fine wire designs that interlaced leaving small openings. In costume jewelry today, filigree refers to delicate lace like castings that have numerous fine openings.
Freshwater Cultured Pearl
Freshwater Cultured Pearls are a kind of pearl that comes from freshwater mussels. They are gaining popularity around the world as the most versatile, affordable variety of cultured pearl. (link to Classic Pearl)
It is the birthstone of January and Aquarius. It occurs in all colors except blue.
With all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood being popularized, Glam Rings is being used to describe these statement rings. These Glam rings are usually flashy and have the Hollywood glitz attached to its personality. (link to rings)
Fashion jewelry made out of colorful glass beads are called Glass Jewelry.
It is a man-made pearl that is made of glass and is coated with nacre, the same material that coats a genuine pearl. Glass pearls look and feel just like a real pearl and is used extensively in fashion jewelry.
It is a single strand that has a large bead in the middle that gradually decreases in size towards the clasp at the back of the neck. A graduated necklace can be of any length. (link to necklaces and pendants)
Gold Plated Jewelry
Gold Plating is a method of depositing a thin layer of gold onto the surface of another metal, most often brass, copper or silver by chemical or electrochemical plating. Different layers like 5 kt (1gm), 2 kt (5gm), 18 kt (3.6gm). 22 kt (4.4gm) and 24kt (4.8gm) are popular in fashion jewelry. (Grams (gm) values are approximate)(link to gold plated jewelry)
It is a gold color given to jewelry and does not contain any gold. This tone is extremely popular in costume jewelry.
A jeweled ornament worn in the hair for an elegant look. Different cultures around the world wear hair ornaments for the significance in their tradition. In India woman wear a variety of hair ornaments. The one known as “Jhoomar or Pasa” is worn on the right side of the head. The one worn in the hair parting that has a small piece of the ornament adorning the forehead is called “Mang Tika”
Handmade or Handcrafted Jewelry
Jewelry that is made by hand or hand process rather than machines is called Handmade or Handcrafted jewelry.
Hook and Eye Chain Clasp
The eye in this clasp is usually the shape of a figure 8. The hook attaches to the eye to close the clasp.
They are circular or semicircular earrings. (link to earrings)
Jade is the birthstone of March and Virgo. Most common color of jade ranges from light to dark green. Other colors are also found.
Jasper is the birthstone of October and Virgo. It is usually red, yellow, brown or green in color; and rarely blue.
This is green or organic jewelry. Jute is processed to make smooth long fibers and dyed in a variety of colors. Embellishments like beads are added to make jute jewelry.
This is the oldest art of jewelry making originated in the royal courts of Rajasthan in India during the Mughal era. Gold foil is inserted between carefully cut and polished multicolored gemstones or glass stones and its mount to create elaborate pieces. Meenakari (Enameling) is added to the piece to enhance its beauty.
Lac / Lakh Jewelry
This is an exotic handcrafted tribal jewelry from Rajasthan India, which is now the fashion rage of urban areas. It takes about 9 different craftsmen and 10 to 15 hours to make a small piece. A metal die of the design is made. Then both sides of the design are imprinted on silver foils to make a hollow shell. Lac is then filled in the hollow silver foil shell to give it strength. Enamel, rhinestones, mirrors, glass beads and gold finish adds to the beauty of this ancient art.
Latch Earring Back
This type of earring back has a small thin metal rod that slides through the ear and catches in a loop on the back of the earring. Latch backs are often seen on hoop earrings.
Leather is shaped craved, punched, colored, embossed and engraved to create a wide range of designs. Embellishments like beads, shells and mirrors are added. A lot of Native American Jewelry is made of leather.
Lobster Chain Clasp
Also known as Lobster Claw Clasp or Parrot Clasp. This clasp uses a tension from a spring loaded mechanism to keep the clasp securely closed. The claw catches a link in a chain at the other end.
A necklace in which one end passes through a loop on the other end and does not need a clasp. A Lariat necklace also comes in a long chain that can be looped around the neck and tied with a knot in the front.
Similar shapes that are linked together to form a bracelet.
It is a mineral iron pyrite that is used in sterling silver jewelry. Small polished and faceted stones are inlaid into the silver which adds an extra sparkle to the jewelry. The stones have a metallic luster and are opaque. Its popularity started with the Victorian era and continued through the art deco period. Today marcasite pieces in sterling silver have become a collectible.
A stone shape that is elongated and comes to a point at each end.
This type of necklace falls at the cleavage and is 22” to 23” long.
A satin finish on plated jewelry that does not have the reflective quality of bright plated goods.
A springy wire that is mainly used for chokers and bracelets that is spread when jewelry is put on and then springs back to shape, enabling the items to stay on without the use of a clasp.
Moonstone is the birthstone of June. It is milky with a rainbow spectrum. Opacity varies from transparent to translucent.
It is the nacre, a blend of minerals that are secreted by oysters and other mollusks and deposited inside their shells. Jewelry made from mother of pearl falls under the category of organic jewelry
Murano Glass Jewelry
The art of glass making was perfected by Murano glass makers during the 14th century when in conflict with Venice. The glass is made from silica, which becomes liquid at high temperatures. As the glass passes from a liquid to a solid state, there is an interval when the glass is soft before it hardens completely. This is when the glass-master can shape the material. Today Murano glass jewelry is extremely sought after in fashion jewelry world.
Opal is the birthstone of October. The most common color is milky white ranging from transparent to translucent. Black opal is the most sought after color.
Opera Necklace is 30” to 35” long and sits at the breast bone. (link to necklaces)
Onyx is the birthstone of December and Leo. It belongs to the quartz family. They have various colors and are extremely popular with fashion jewelry designers.
Also known as tear drop shape; it is pointed at one end and round at the other.
Pearl is the birthstone of June, Gemini and Cancer. Colors range from, white, cream, pink, grey and black.
Pearl Box Clasp
A box clasp with a pearl at the top of the box to give it an elegant look is called a Pearl Box Clasp.
Peridot is the birthstone of August. Color ranges from transparent or intense light yellow to green. It is widely used in fashion jewelry pieces.
It is a method of adhering more expensive metals to the exterior of less expensive metals to give the color and appearance of the higher quality metal, for example gold or silver plating. Shown in the picture is a gold plated ring.
This is an oldest art of jewelry making that has been passed down from generations of artisans. The use of uncut gemstones or glass stones in jewelry is known as “Polki”.
This type of necklace is usually 18” to 20” long.
A method of setting stones that uses tiny prongs that are bent over the edge of the stone to hold it in place. This setting is greatly used in costume jewelry.
Push Earring Back
This type of earring back has a straight post that is inserted into a small metal piece behind the ear lobe to hold the earring in place.
Quartz is a rock crystal that is abundantly used in costume jewelry. Forms of quartz are Citrine, Rose Quartz, Milky Quartz, Smoky Quartz, Amethyst.
Natural resin is a secretion of plants, but synthetic resin used in jewelry is liquid plastic. It is poured in moulds to give desired shapes, colors and opacity. It is popular in jewelry making due to its versatility and affordability. Resins like polyester, epoxy and urethanes are used in making resin fashion jewelry.
The name comes from the Rhine river, which was the source of quartz crystals that were originally used in making rhinestones. Today rhinestones are made from cut lead glass and are usually foil backed to improve the reflective quality.
Rhodium is a precious metal and a member of the platinum family. It is electroplated on jewelry, to provide a surface that will resist scratches and tarnish, and give a white, reflective appearance.
Any necklace that is longer than 35”.
A semi-precious stone in the quartz family that is characterized by a soft pink color and is highly translucent.
Ruby is the birthstone of July and Capricon. The color red relates to passion, health, strength, courage, physical energy and protection.
Sapphire is the birthstone of September and Virgo. Colors range from blue, yellow, pink and white. It is the gemstone of royalty.
Princess Diana’s blue sapphire ring that Prince William gave to Kate Middleton as an engagement ring became the most popular ring in jewelry history.
Silver Plated Jewelry
Silver plating is a method of depositing a thin layer of silver onto the surface of another metal, most often brass or copper by chemical or electrochemical plating. It usually contains 5 % of silver.
It is a silver look given to jewelry by dipping it in silver looking substance that forms a top coat. Silver tone does not contain silver. This tone is extremely popular in costume jewelry.
“Simulated” meaning made to look like but not the same as natural gemstone. They do not have the same chemical composition like color, hardness or luster as natural gemstones.. Beautiful colors of ruby, emerald, sapphire, turquoise, coral and more are recreated in these simulated gemstones. They are very popular with fashion jewelry designers.
Spring Ring Chain Clasp
A round tubular closure used for necklaces and bracelets. A spring loaded pin is pulled back with a tiny lever, allowing an opening to hook the loop on the other end of the jewelry, after which the pin springs back into place.
Statement rings have their roots in ancient Roman royalty. They are huge with big stones and flashy that makes a statement. (link to rings)
Sterling Silver Jewelry
Earrings those are equal to or smaller than the ear lobe. (link to earrings)
Daniel Swarovski an Austrian perfected the method of giving crystals the maximum refractive index. They contain approximately 32% lead for maximum refraction. Also some of the crystals are coated with a special metallic chemical so that the light reflects in a rainbow spectrum. Beautiful fashion jewelry is crested with Swarovski crystals.
Tear Drop Shape
Also known as pear shape; it is pointed at one end and round at the other.
Toggle Chain Clasp
A clasp that consists of a ring on one end and a bar on the other end. The bar slides through the ring vertically and then lies on the ring horizontally to keep it from coming back through.
Topaz is the birthstone of November and Scorpio. Most common colors are blue and white. Very popular in fashion jewelry.
Tourmaline Is the birthstone of October and the ZodiaC sign of Libra. Colors range from black, pink, blue, ruby red and more.
Turquoise is the birthstone of December and Sagittarius. It ranges in color from sky blue to bluish green and can be clear blue or with black or copper matrix.
A necklace that consists of beads that are the same size. (link to necklace)
Victorian Style Jewelry
A style of jewelry popularized during the reign of Queen Victoria of England (1837-1901). The long period included a number of trends that were influenced by events in Queen Victoria’s life. Today designs in fashion jewelry are reproduced from the Victorian era and are called Victorian Style Jewelry.
Waist Band or Waist Belt Jewelry
Jewelry that is worn around the waist and consists of a chain with bells, stones or beads is called Waist Belt Jewelry. In India it is known as “Kamarband” which is usually worn by brides, but now it has become a fashion statement. Waist belt jewelry is an essential part of a belly dancer. (link to more)
Jewelry that is made out of wood that is dyed and polished to form beautiful wooden fashion jewelry. Coloful wooden beads are strung to make necklaces and bracelets.
A necklace with a long row dropping in the cente of the necklace or chain, forming a Y shape. (link to necklace and pendants)