Pictorial Glossary of Jewelry Terms


 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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CARBON A diamond is composed of pure carbon. Carbon, when subjected to tremendous amounts of heat and pressure, crystallizes. Many diamonds do not completely crystallize. As a diamond crystal forms, some Carbon may not be crystallized resulting in birthmarks known as inclusions. Inclusions aid jewelers in identifying diamonds and make every diamond unique. The best way to identify your diamond is know what its inclusions look like, unless of course you are fortunate enough to own a flawless diamond, which has perfect crystal structure and no inclusions.
CASTING A process used to manufacture jewelry. Molten metal is poured into a mold and allowed to cool resulting in raw piece of metal, also called a casting, which has taken the shape of the design in the mold. Items can be cast one at a time or in very large quantities with specialized manufacturing techniques.
CHANNEL SETTING The art of setting gemstones in a channel, which is two walls of metal between which a gem is set so it appears suspended in a groove. Channel setting is generally used for small stones of similar size, but graduated gemstones can also be channel set in this manner.
CHASING A very decorative engraving with intricate detail performed by a highly skilled craftsmen.
CHATOYANCY A phenomenon caused by reflections from parallel needle like inclusions in a cabochon such as cat's-eye gemstone.
CIRCA The description for the approximate date of manufacture. An antique item may be described as Circa 1920 to describe its age or the approximate period which it's design would be associated with.
CLARITY The amount or absence of inclusions or other imperfections within a gemstone determines its clarity. A Clarity grade can be assigned to a gemstone based on the amount of imperfections, their size, relief (contrast and appearance), and location within a gemstone. Clarity is one of the 4Cs used to grade diamonds in the AGS system of diamond grading.
CLARITY GRADE A category used to describe the amount or absence of inclusions within a diamond. The GIA. Diamond clarity grading scale consists of eleven clarity grades.  They are, in order of decreasing quality: FL (Flawless), IF (Internally Flawless), VVS1 and VVS2 (Very Very Slightly Included), VS1 and VS2 (Very Slightly Included), SI1 and SI2 (Slightly Included), I1 and I2 and I3 (Imperfect).  Within the jewelry industry the clarity grade SI3 is used because the I1 and SI2 clarity grades encompass a vast range of qualities within their grades, which cannot be priced similarly based on the clarity grade alone. The diamond Council and many Gem Laboratories use the SI3 grade. AGS, who has created their grading system however, has not acknowledged the SI3 grade to date.
CLASP A lock or closure used to fasten a necklace, bracelet, etc. that makes it easy to put on or take off a piece of jewelry and is designed to prevent loss.  Typical clasps are a Lobster Claw, Barrel Lock, Pearl Clasp, or Spring Ring.  Clasps may be hidden or a featured part of an items design such as a toggle clasp, which is worn in the front, and is used on many necklaces and bracelets.
CLASS RING A ring worn by graduates of high school or college depicting the school attended, graduation year, school insignia, school affiliations to teams etc and/or gemstone for the school or birth month.
CLOISONNÉ A type of enamel used in jewelry manufacturing.  A design is made on metal and small carved out areas called cells or cloisons are filled with enamel and heated in a kiln or oven.
CLUTCH An earring back, also called a push back, which uses friction to secure itself against an earring post and hold an earring against the ear.
CLUSTER RING A ring set with many gemstones. The gemstones may be of similar or different colors or sizes
COCKTAIL RING   A type of ring, generally more elaborate. An eye-catching ring such as one you might wear to a cocktail party. The new term is Right Hand Ring.
COIN SILVER An alloy of 90% silver and 10% copper.  Most United states silver coins are made of coin silver.
COLLAR BAR  A bar worn beneath a tie, attached to the collar of a shirt.
COLOR GRADE  A category used to describe the amount or absence of color, typically yellow, within a diamond or other gemstone.  A color grade describes the body color of a diamond and not the colors that can be seen coming from a Diamond.  The AGS Diamond color grading scale consists of twenty three grades represented by the letters of the alphabet beginning with the letter D and subcategorized as follows: COLORLESS (D,E,F), NEAR COLORLESS (G,H,I,J), FAINT YELLOW (K,L,M), VERY LIGHT YELLOW (N,O,P,Q,R), LIGHT YELLOW (S,T,U,V,W,X,Y,Z) 
  COLORED STONES All gemstones other than diamonds, or colored diamonds.
CORUNDUM A gem species that is found in many colors.  Red corundum is called ruby and all other varieties are called sapphire.  Blue Sapphire is best known, however pink, green, and yellow sapphire are also relatively popular.
COSTUME JEWELRY Any jewelry made from materials other than the noble metals (gold, silver & platinum).  Costume jewelry can also be very expensive, especially when associated with a designer’s name.  Costume jewelry is usually trendy, in fashion, and often much bolder in shapes, materials, and size because of lower material costs.  
CUBIC ZIRCONIA A man-made material usually facetted so it will be similar in appearance to a diamond.
CUFF BRACELET A type of bangle bracelet that does not meet and is put on from the side of the wrist instead of being slipped over the hand. 
CUFF LINK A piece of jewelry usually designed with a post and hinge that goes through the two button holes on a shirt or (French cuffs - without buttons).
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rev. January. 2017