ESTATE AND ANTIQUE JEWELRY TERM REFERENCE DICTIONARY
a jour: an open work setting that allows light to pass
alloy: mixture of two or more metals
assay: analytical test to determine metal content
attributed: not signed, but credited with a related organization
baguette: narrow rectangular cut stone
bail: loop which cord or chain passes to hold pendant
baroque: irregular shaped pearls
basse-taille: enameling technique that uses a clear application to an engraved metal surface
bezel: metal rim or band that holds a stone in place
box clasp: fastener for bracelets and necklaces, a slotted box which fits into a v-spring
brilliant cut: circular gemstone cut, especially for diamonds, with 57 to 58. This cut returns the greatest amount of white light to the eye.
briolettes cut: pear or teardrop shaped cut covered with triangular facets
cabochon: an unfaceted dome cut for gemstones, the stone is polished to a round surface
cameo: a layered stone with one or more colors, where the design is carved into the colored layers to show background and foreground
cameo habille: cameo with a head or bust of a person wearing jewelry set, usually set with diamonds
carat: gemstone measurement unit. One metric carat is one fifth of a gram
champleve: enamel technique where flap strips of metal are soldered, technique causes the colors to merge and blend
channel setting: row or rows of same size square or rectangular stones fitted together in a metal strip that hold the stones together in a "channel"
circa: within 10 years before or after a date
cultured pearl: pearl induced by man by placing matter into the mollusk
cushion cut: rounded corner square faceted stone, also called "antique cut"
damascene: technique of encrusting metals with other metal
demi parure: two or three matched pieces of jewelry, a matched set of only a couple of the pieces
doublet: an assembled stone consisting of two materials
electroplating: electronic process of depositing a layer of metal over another metal
embossing: technique for creating a raised decoration on metal using punches or hammers
enamel: glass-like material used in powder or flux form and fired on to metal.
engraving: design placed into metal by cutting away a surface
eternity ring: ring which stones are completely around the ring
estate jewelry: previously owned, not necessarily antique, period or vintage
Etruscan jewelry: ancient ornaments from central Italy, usually gold
etching: creating a design on jewelry or glass - acids are used
faux: fake or false
filigree: thin strands of gold or silver wire that have been twisted and soldered to create a decorative pattern
fine jewelry: made from precious metals and gemstones
french jet: black glass, not at all jet
gilding: base metal is plated or coated with a thin layer of gold
girdle: widest part of the stone, usually where the stone is held by the setting
gold filled: mechanical process using heat and pressure to join a layer of gold to the base metal
gold plated: layer of thin gold applied to metal
granulation: technique in which tiny balls are fused into a metal surface
gypsy setting: setting where stone is set recessed into the mounting
hallmark: mark to define fineness stamped on gold, silver or platinum
intaglio: an ingraving or incised design cut into stone, glass or metal using various tools such as drills, engraving tools, abrasives. A recessed design, unlike a cameo.
invisible setting: type of channel setting where well matched square or rectangular stones are set together into metal tracks very snuggly together. The metal setting is not visible from the front.
jet - a variety of the coal family that has been fossilized. Used frequently in the 19th century in mourning jewelry.
karat: measurement of fineness in gold. Pure gold is 24kts.
lavaliere: a light necklace usually has a pendant or pendants hanging from a chain. Often consisting of a gemstone or pearl. Very popular at the turn of the century.
loupe: magnifying glass used by jewelers
mabe pearl: pearl with a flat bottom and a rounded top
macle: flat-bottomed diamond crystal
marquise cut: gemstone cut in a boat-shaped or elliptical shape with pointed ends
mourning jewelry: jewelry worn in memory of the deceased by relatives and friends. Usually in black and sometimes having the hair of the deceased. At times money was left by the deceased for these items.
old mine cut: old style for cutting diamonds in which the girdle outline is squarish, the crown is high and the table is small. It has 32 crown facets
parure: complete set or suite of jewelry, has three matching pieces or more
patina: color change on the surface of metal resulting from age and exposure to the atmosphere
pave setting: method of setting many small stones very close together, presents a cobblestone look
pinchbeck: copper and zinc alloy, this looked like gold and was used to make jewelry around the 1700s
plique-a- jour: enamel technique where it is used over an openwork design, so that light strikes from the back
precious metal: platinum, gold or silver
prong set: stones held in place by metal grips
provenance: history of a piece
rock crystal: colorless quartz, naturally forms this way
rose cut: a gemstone cutting style where there are 24 triangular facets meeting at the top with a point. The base is flat
seed pearl: a small natural, cultured or artificial pearl weighing less than 1/4 of a grain
shank: part of the ring that goes around the finger
signed: marked with designers or makers mark or initials
signet ring: ring with initials, crest or seal engraved
slide: movable decorative element of longchain which adjusts at its opening
solitaire: a single stone mounting
sterling silver: alloy where 925 parts are pure silver and remainder is copper
suite: several pieces of matched jewelry
synthetic stone: man-made stone using the same elements of the natural stone
Tiffany setting: round four or six prong mounting for an elevated solitaire stone