Glossary of Terms
ANTIQUE AND VINTAGE JEWELLERY
Baguette Cut: type of gem cut, a long, elongated table cut.
Bail: loop of metal at top of pendant for putting chain through.
Bailey, Banks & Biddle: Jeweler from Philadelphia, first opened in 1832.
Bakelite: variety of plastic, invented in 1909.
Band: circular ring.
Bandeau: type of tiara.
Bangle: type of bracelet with no clasp.
Bar Brooch: type of brooch that has a bar shape.
Baroque: period spanning from 1600 -1700. Can also refer to the baroque style.
Baroque pearls: Pearls with irregular non-spherical shape.
Barrette: hair ornament resembling a brooch.
Base Metal: any non-precious metal used in jewelry.
Basket Mount: mount for gemstones that appears basket like.
Basse-Taille: type of enamel work.
Bath Metal: similar to pinchbeck but whiter with more zinc.
Bavette: a necklace comprised of multiple strands of different lengths with one clasp.
Bayadére: a twisted rope necklace of seed pearls.
Bead nucleus: The bead used as the core of a cultured pearl.
Bead: small decorative object that has a hole in it for stringing.
Bead Chain: chain with small balls of metal joined by small lengths of wire, not longer than each bead in between.
Bead Setting: method of securing a faceted gemstone.
Beaded Wire: wire with bead-like decorative element.
Bearded Girdle: The girdle is the widest edge of a diamond. Bearding occurs when fine white lines flow over the girdle’s edge onto neighboring facets because of over polishing.
Beauty Pin: also called ‘handy pins’. Small pins used for securing veils, hats, lace and sleeves.
Belais: American brothers who held the patent for white gold in the USA from late 1800s through the 1920s.
Belcher Chain (also called Cable Chain): the most classic kind of chain, made with interlocking links.
Belcher Mounting or ring: a flush ring setting, similar to a gypsy ring.
Belcher Shank: “D” shaped cross section shank.
Belle Époque: the era called ‘Edwardian’ in Britain was called Belle Époquein France.
Belperron: French jewelry designer, born 1900
Benedetto Pistrucci: 1784-1854. Gem and metal carver during the Neo-Classical era.
Benitoite: gemstone, usually blue, sometimes pink
Benoiton Chain: A benoiton is worn in the hair and consists of several chains which dangle from the hair and are then attached to the bodice. This was a brief fashion after the success of the comedy “La Famille Benoiton” by Victorien Sardouin in 1866.
Berlin Iron: type of jewelry made from iron.
Beryl: mineral family with wide range of colors.
Bezel Setting: setting used to hold stone in place.
Bi: Chinese jadeite disc, popular in West in 1920s.
Biwa pearls: Pearls from Japan's Lake Biwa.
Bib Necklace: necklace with gemstones that hang in the shape of a bib.
Bijouterie: a piece valued for the delicacy of its design as opposed to the value of its materials.
Billet-Doux: jewelry with coded floral love message.
Birefringence: the strength of double refraction.
Birthstones: stones for each month of the year.
Biscuit: unglazed porcelain.
Black, Starr & Frost: American fine jewelers, started 1810
Blackamoor: brooch created to resemble bust of African man or woman
Blister pearl: A pearl that forms on the inside of a mollusk's shell over an irritant.
Bloodstone: type of quartz, dark green with red or orange.
Bloom Finish: a way of dipping a karat gold item and creating a thin layer of high karat gold on the outer surface.
Blue Gold: a way of creating blue colored gold using arsenic or iron. Used in “gold á quatre couleurs.”
Bodice Brooch: brooch worn in center of bodice, sometimes sewn on.
Bodkin: Renaissance hair pin.
Body Color: refers to pearls’ overall color.
Bog Oak: Oak wood that has been darkened and hardened as a result of being immersed for many years in the bogs of Ireland.
Bombé: dome or rounded shaped jewelry
Bone: used in jewelry, often carved.
Book Chain (also called Venetian): A book chain resembles a book binding having interlocking, folded links of flat metal. It was popular in the Victorian era.
Boucheron: jewelry company, began 1858.
Boule: rough form of synthetic spinel or corundum
Boule ring: ring with a domed head, often pave set. 1935 fashion began.
Bow-tie: A darkened area resembling a bow-tie that is often found in fancy-shape diamond cuts. The bow-tie indicates how well cut the diamond is, lesser noticeable indicates a gem well cut, more noticeable, a poorer cut.
Bracelet: jewelry worn on wrist
Bracteate: pendant based on ancient coins
Brass: alloy of copper and zinc
Braze: soldering or welding using brass.
Brazilian Chain: an articulated chain, designed to move like a snake (also called snaked chain). It was first introduced in 1850.
Briolette or Box Chain: A briolette or box is similar to a belcher chain except the links are tighter together and are square in shape.
Brick Link: used in bracelets or necklaces, rows of rectangular metal links are off-set every other row to look like brick masonry. Originally Victorian, revived in Retro jewelry.
Bright Cut: shiny, angled cuts in metal around set stones.
Bright Finish: mirror like finish on metal
Bright Sterling: Sterling Silver with a mirror like finish.
Brilliance: term used to quantify the brilliance of a gemstone.
Brilliant Cut: type of diamond cut
Briolette Cut: type of diamond cut
Brisé fans: fan with no leaf.
Britannia Metal: a lead-free pewter alloy. It was first created in England in the 18th century.
Britannia Silver: a silver alloy made of 95.84% silver and 4.16% copper. Developed in England.
Bronze: an alloy of copper and tin.
Brooch: a piece of jewelry that can be attached to clothing or a hat by means of a pin.
Brown Émail: brown enamel.
Brunnian Link: a link made from several parts that hold together in such a way that when one link is removed, all other links detach as well.
Brush Finish: a matte finish on metal created by scratching with a wire brush.
Bruting: a process of diamond cutting using a lathe that allows for rounding.
Buccellati: Italian jewelry firm renowned for textural gold jewellery and silver objects. 1919 – present.
Buckle: a clasp that attaches at one end of a strap allowing the other end to pass back through. Used for securing clothing, shoes and other objects.
Buckle Bracelet: a bracelet that incorporates a buckle motif.
Bulgari: jewelry firm from Rome, 1884-present
Bulla: a lentil shaped ornament often worn as a pendant. Its origins date back to the Etruscansand it was popular during the 19th century archaeological revival.
Burmese Ruby: A rare variety of ruby, found only in Burma. Often also called‘pigeon’s blood’ ruby.
Burnished: a metal polishing process using a hardened steel tool called a burnisher, to produce a high shine and hardening. Can also be used with agate.
Butler Finish: the brightest of the brushed finishes, imitating a hand rubbed finish created over many years of polishing by the butler.
Button: small, often decorative, items used to secure two sides of an article of clothing.
Byzantine Chain: An intricate and complex chain that needs to be seen rather than described.