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Jewelry Terms

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Baddeleyite: A mineral with the same chemical composition as cubic zirconia. It is powdered, melted down, and mixed with oxides to make cubic zirconia.

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.

Bail: A metal loop used for connecting a pendant, watch, stone or other jewelry piece to a chain or cord.

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.

Band: A ring, (such as a traditional wedding band), that has the same width all the way around.

Bangle: A rigid bracelet that slips over the hand, or hinged oval worn over the wrist that closes with a clasp.

Bar Brooch: A bar shaped, (long, narrow), brooch which is often set with gemstones or pearls.

Bar closure: A hinged bar which fits into a catch and is secured in the catch with a pin.

Baroque: A pearl with an uneven or craggy shape and/or surface. Also an irregularly shaped stone or glass bead.

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.

Basalt: A dark volcanic rock, often with a glassy appearance, composed chiefly of plagioclase, pyroxene, and olivine.

Base Metal: The collective term for any and all non-precious metals.

Basket: A fancy setting with a lacy or basket-looking appearance due to numerous holes pierced in the side.

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.

Bead: A small, usually round, object with a hole pierced through it to be strung as a necklace, bracelet, etc. Beads are commonly made from stone, shell, glass, or plastic.

Belle Epoque: See Edwardian.

Belly Ring: A form of body jewelry worn in or on the belly button.

Beryl: The name of a family of stones, composed of a silicate of aluminum and glucinum (beryllium), that includes aquamarine, emerald, and morganite.

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.

Beveled: Any surface that is cut at an angle less than 90 degrees.

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)

Black Hills Gold: A style of jewelry made in the Black Hills area of South Dakota featuring 10kt yellow gold with accents of 12kt rose and green golds usually featuring a grape and grape-leaf motif.

Black Onyx: Opaque black colored onyx.

Black Prince’s Ruby: Not an actual ruby, but a ruby-red color of spinel.

Blemish: A flaw, such as a nick or scratch, on the surface of a stone.

Blister Pearl: A pearl that forms attached to the shell.

Bloodstone: A variety of chalcedony that is dark green red spots resembling blood.

Bloomed Gold: The term used for gold jewelry that has been immersed in an acid bath giving it a textured, slightly matte appearance.

Blue Lace Agate: A translucent light blue agate with milky white banding.

Blue Topaz: A topaz that is light brown or colorless when mined but turns a vivid blue when exposed to heat. Blue Topaz is an alternate birthstone for December.

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.

Bohemian Garnet: Term for the red pyrope garnet found in much Victorian and turn of the century jewelry.

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.

Bombé: The word itself simply means "curving or bulging outward". In regards to jewelry it refers to a dome-shaped setting often seen in rings and earrings from the 1940s and 1950s.

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.

Box Chain: A chain in which each link is wide and square so that it resembles a box.

Bracelet: A form of jewelry worn around the wrist.

Brass: An alloy made up of roughly half copper and half zinc which has a nice yellow color.

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.

Briolette: A gemstone cut with triangular facets into the shape of a teardrop or elongated pendant.

Britannia Or Pewter: An alloy of tin, antimony, and copper with a dull silver-color.

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.

Bronze: A very dense and heavy alloy of 60% copper and 40% tin. It has a dull brown color and is not favored for jewelry because of the weight.

Brooch: An ornamental piece of jewelry with a pin and clasp to be attached to clothing, from the French word "broche", meaning "to pierce" or an object/weapon made for piercing.

Bruiting: The term for shaping the girdle of a diamond, the first step in the cutting process.

Brushed Finish: (Also known as “satin” finish). A series of tiny parallel lines scratched onto a surface with a wire brush or polishing tool to produce texture

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.

Burnish setting: A setting in which the gem is set flush with the setting's surface without using prongs to hold it in place.

Buttercup setting: A deep six prong setting with prongs that flare from the scalloped looking base resembling a buttercup flower.

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.

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