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.
Bail: A metal loop used for connecting a pendant, watch, stone or other jewelry piece to a chain or cord.
Bale: See Bail.
Ball Chain: A type of chain composed of small metal balls joined by tiny metal connections.
Band: A ring, (such as a traditional wedding band), that has the same width all the way around. May be made of Sterling Silver, Gold or other metals. May also have gemstones.
Banded Opal: A variety of Opal that has variously coloured layers of opal or opal alternating with other minerals or matrix.
Bangle: A rigid bracelet that slips over the hand, or is hinged and worn over the wrist and closed with a clasp. They may be worn on the upper arm or lower arm. They have been made from various material e.g. plastic, silver, gold, or other metals. Bangles have been around from the Middle La Te’ne period, 300 BC to the present day.
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 often used in jewellery making and coated with another metal e.g. silver plating, gold plating etc.
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 aluminium. It is composed of aluminium oxides and aluminium hydroxides. Bauxite is used as an abrasive, a catalyst, and a refractory for the lining of furnaces that are exposed to intense heat.
Bayadere: (French) a necklace composed of several strings of seed pearls that are twisted together in a rope-like manner. The strings may be contrasting colours.
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.
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Bedouin a Jewelry: Articles of jewellery made and worn by the Bedouin tribes of Saudi Arabia. Almost always in Silver and often set with turquoise.
Belle Epoque: See Edwardian.
Belly Ring: A form of body jewellery that is worn in or on the belly button.
Beryl: The name of a family of stones, composed of a silicate of aluminium and glucinum (beryllium), that includes aquamarine, emerald, and morganite. Found in South America, Ural Mountains (Russia) Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Southern Africa.
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. Today it would be equivalent to an engagement ring.
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”.
Biblical Gemstones: This refers to a number of gemstones that are mentioned in the Bible e.g. Exodus xxviii sardius – topaz carbuncle, emerald, sapphire, diamond, jacinth, agate, amethyst, beryl, onyx and jasper. All being stones set in the breastplate of Aaron the High Priest. Quote ” Make sacred garments for Aaron that are glorious and beautiful.”
Also these gemstones mentioned in Revelation 21:19 – “The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third, chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls.
Bicone: referring to Bicone beads they take their name from their shape, a double cone or bi-cone. Swarovski crystal bicones have caused the term to take on a wider use. Swarovski has developed a bicone bead with an extra facet known as the Xilion bicone.
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:
This same list was also popular back in 1937 when the list was made by the National Association of Goldsmiths of Great Britain.
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 jewellery 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 coloured onyx.
Black Opal: A variety of precious opal that is almost opaque with a deep blue or dark grey or black background. It contains tiny irridescent opal spheres that cause a play of colours as a result of the diffraction of light. It is one of the most valuable varieties, it was discovered in Australia at the Lightning Ridge mine.
Black Pearl: A pearl of blackish gun-metal colour, on of the most valuable varieties.
Black Prince’s Ruby: Not an actual ruby, but a ruby-red colour 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 often hollow or irregular.
Bloodstone: A variety of chalcedony that is dark green red spots resembling blood. These red spots are iron oxide. Actually oxidizing of the green. Found in Australia, Brazil, China, India, USA.
Bloomed Gold: The term used for gold jewellery 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 Pearl: A variety of pearl that is lead-greyish owing to a thin crust over a layer of conchionlin near the surface, or a dark kernel rich in conchiolin.
Blue Topaz: A topaz that is light brown or colourless when mined but turns a vivid blue when exposed to heat. Blue Topaz is an alternate birthstone for December.
Bodkin: A hairpin, this name originating during the Renaissance when they were made of Gold or Silver and decorated with gemstones.
Body Jewelry: Jewelry designed to be worn on or in any part of the body. While all jewellery 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 jewellery 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 jewellery.
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 jewellery 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 colour, in a semi-metallic form, and in colourless 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.
Bowenite: a compact variety of serpentine, it is of green colourizations. It is found in several places around the world, including New Zealand, also Rhode Island. It was named after G.T. Bowen in 1822.
Bow-Guard: Originally just a wide leather strap worn on the left wrist to protect the arm from bowstrings, it is now usually decorated with a wide ornament of silver.
Box Clasp: (Sometimes called Box-and-tongue clasp) A method of connecting two ends of a chain. One end has a box with an opening that is notched on the top of the box. The other end has a flat piece of metal that 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 Chain: A chain in which each link is wide and square so that it resembles a box. It can be presented in many sizes.
Bracelet: A popular form of jewellery worn around the wrist or forearm as a flexible band or a series of links. Worn by men and women from the earliest of times. They can be simple or lavishly set with gemstones.
Brass: An alloy that produces a yellow colour, it is made up of roughly half copper and half zinc. It can be used in costume jewellery.
Bridal set: An engagement and wedding ring that comes in a set and usually matches or compliments 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. Brilliant-cut is the most common style of cutting a diamond. The standard brilliant-cut consists of 58 facets, 33on the top or crown of the stone, 25 on the base or pavilion. The crown has a large 8 sided central facet called the table. The culet is the small facet of the pavilion, parallel to the table. The girdle is the line where the pavilion and crown meet. The original Brilliant-cut is said to have been invented by the Italian Vincenzo Peruzzi about 1700 and it quickly superseded the former rose-cut.
Briolette: A diamond or other transparent gemstone where the entire surface is cut into small triangular facets into the shape of a teardrop or elongated pendant. This style is a modification of the rose-cut.
Britannia Or Pewter: An alloy of tin, antimony, and copper with a dull silver colour.
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 colour and is not favoured for jewellery because of the weight. It was used along with Gold in early European jewellery.
Brooch: An ornamental piece of jewellery or clasp having an attached pin for affixing it to a garment, from the French word “broche”, meaning “to pierce” or an object/weapon made for piercing. It can be attached to a hat, hood, turban or sleeve as a fastener or just for decoration.
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 jewellery. 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 maybe 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.