Baguette: A gemstone cut in a narrow rectangular shape reminiscent of a loaf of French bread, from which it draws its name. Small diamonds cut this way are often used as accents for rings and necklaces. We carry baguette rings, bracelets, and earrings.
Bakelite: (also called catalin): A moldable plastic invented by Leo Bakeland in 1909, it was used in jewelry extensively during the U.S. Great Depression of the 1930's. Bakelite can be molded, lathe-carved, and one color can be inlaid into another, as in polka dots. The inlaid and carved pieces are especially popular with collectors today. It has a distinct scent when rubbed similar to formaldehyde.
Bale: See Bail.
Bar closure: A hinged bar which fits into a catch and is secured in the catch with a pin.
Barrel clasp: A method of securing two ends of a chain together by having one half of a fitting screw into the other half. When the two halves are screwed together they resemble a barrel.
Bauxite: A clay-like mineral, bauxite is the principal ore of aluminum. It is composed of aluminum oxides and aluminum hydroxides. Bauxite is used as an abrasive, a catalyst, and a refractory for the lining of furnaces which are exposed to intense heat.
Belle Epoque: See Edwardian.
Belly Ring: A form of body jewelry worn in or on the belly button.
Beryllium: Another name for Glucinum.
Betrothal Ring: A tradition dating back to as early as ancient Rome where it was called an anulus pronubus, a betrothal ring is usually a plain ring without a stone presented by a man to his fiancée indicating their intention to marry.
Bezel: Although it is now often used to refer to the entire ring setting, the bezel is more accurately the term for the metal case which the gem is set into. The ring of metal that surrounds the stone is called the "collet".
Birthstone: Birthstones have their roots in ancient astrology, and there have been many birthstone lists used over the years. The most common one today is based on a list first publicized by the Jewelers of America in the 1950s:
January - Garnet
February - Amethyst
March - Aquamarine
April - Diamond
May - Emerald
June - Pearl or Moonstone
July - Ruby
August - Peridot
September - Sapphire
October - Opal
November - Citrine
December - Turquoise (or Blue Topaz)
Blister Pearl: A pearl that forms attached to the shell.
Bloodstone: A variety of chalcedony that is dark green red spots resembling blood.
Body Jewelry: Jewelry designed to be worn on or in any part of the body. While all jewelry is technically worn on the body, the term "Body Jewelry" is typically used when referring to belly rings, nose studs, toe rings, tongue bars, and for jewelry designed for pierced lips, eyebrows, nipples, or any skin surface.
Bolo: A braided leather loop worn about the neck and adorned with a slide, (an ornament of silver, stone or other material fastened so that it slides up under the chin), leaving the two leather ends hanging.
Book Chain: A Victorian style of chain made in gold, gold filled , and sterling silver, in which each link is a rectangular, folded piece of metal resembling a book. They were often elaborately engraved and had large lockets attached.
Boron: A soft, brown, nonmetallic element. It is extracted with some difficulty and in its reduced state appears as a substance of a deep olive color, in a semi-metallic form, and in colorless quadratic crystals similar to the diamond in hardness and other properties. Boron is used in flares, propellant mixtures, nuclear reactor control elements, abrasives, and hard metallic alloys.
Bow-Guard: Originally just a wide leather strap worn on the left wrist to protect the arm from bow strings, it is now usually decorated with a wide ornament of silver.
Box Clasp: A method of connecting two ends of a chain. One end has a box with an opening which is notched on the top of the box. The other end has a flat piece of metal which has been folded over to form a spring with a knob at the end. The folded metal spring slips into the hole in the box with the knob sticking out through the notch in the top. The compressed spring holds the two ends in place. It is released by pressing the knob. The connection is usually reinforced by a figure 8 catch.
Box-and-tongue clasp: See Box Clasp.
Bracelet: A form of jewelry worn around the wrist.
Bridal set: An engagement and wedding ring that come in a set and usually match or compliment each other.
Brilliance: The amount of sparkle a stone gives off through reflection and refraction of light.
Brilliant-cut: A cut gemstone having 56 to 58 facets to maximize the volume of light that is reflected from the inside and thus produce the greatest brilliance. The most common shape of brilliant cut stones are round, which is why this is type of cut is sometimes called a "round-cut", but oval, marquise, pear shape and heart shapes are not unusual.
Britannia Silver: A silver alloy composed of 958 parts silver in 1000 hallmarked with the figure of Britannia. Britannia silver was mandatory in England from 1697 to 1720 to prevent the melting down of sterling coins to create silver objects.
Broker: See Agent.
Bud Leaf: The slang term given to the leaf of the cannabis plant, which is the plant used to make hemp products. It is a popular motif in modern jewelry. Also called a "marijuana leaf".
Buffalo Stone: See Ammolite.
Butterfly Chain: A chain composed of very tiny butterfly-shaped links with oval-shaped "wings". The butterflies are linked head to tail at a slight angle very close to one another so that the wings form a long continuous spiral along the length of the chain.
Butterfly clutch: A fitting that slides onto the back of an earring post to secure it in place.
Button: A method of joining two parts of a garment together by means of a toggle fastened to one side of the garment which is then pushed through a slit in the other side of the garment. The toggle, called a "button", is usually a disk and may be quite ornamental. Some buttons are worn strictly as decoration rather than serving a functional purpose. The term "button" is also applied to round pins that usually bear a slogan of some kind.
Button Earring: An earring with no dangling parts.
Byzantine Chain: An intricately designed chain. Two pairs of oval-shaped links are linked together. Each pair is then parted to allow a large thick oval link to be attached to the other pair.