Glossary of Terms
ANTIQUE AND VINTAGE JEWELLERY
AEI: Latin Letters symbolizing the sentiment of “Ever” or “Forever”.
À jour: An open back setting that permits light to pass through.
À la Mercure: gilding using mercury, only used today for restoration.
Acrostic: when the first letter of the name of each stone spells out a message (for example – ruby, emerald, garnet, amethyst, diamonds – spells ‘REGARDS’).
Adamantine: term used to describe the luster exhibited by diamonds and gems with a Refractive Index of 1.9 – 2.5. (from the Greek ‘untameable’).
Addorsed: from the French adosse, to lean, meaning a motif with animals or objects placed back to back. Seen in heraldic designs, signatures and trademarks.
Adularescence: An internal “floating” movement of light across a gemstone that varies as light strikes the exterior.
Aesthetic Period: Victorian era 1885-1901
Agate: a variety of chalcedony, can be many different colors and levels of translucency.
Aggregate: composed of various minerals.
Agra Diamond: famous diamond surrounded in legend, found in the mid-1500s in Agra.
Aigrette: hair ornament designed to hold feathers.
Aiguillette: dress ornaments (mainly 15th century).
Akbar Shah Diamond: famous diamond from Mogul Empire.
Alabaster: gypsum and calcite but has also been used to indicate selenite.
Albert Chain: style of watch chain as worn by Prince Albert in which one end is attached to button hole of vest.
Alexandrite: chrysoberyl variety wtih distinct change of color.
Allochromatic: a gemstone whose colors are due to impurities.
Alloy: The mixture of two or more metals.
Alluvial: ‘brought by water’. In jewelry, refers to gems and stones and gold found in water.
Alma Chain: a type of chain with broad links and a ribbed surface.
Almandine: purple red garnets (when cut in cabochon they are called ‘carbuncles’).
Alpaca: alloy of 65% copper, 19% zinc, 14% nickel and 2% silver. Can be used in jewelry. (Also known as: white metal, neusilber, argentan, argentor, bendorfer silver, christoffel, packfung, peru silver, nickel silver, sterling metal, German silver).
Aluminum: white base low density metal not usually used in antique jewelry, sometimes used in contemporary jewelry.
Amatory Jewels: type of love token jewelry of the late 1700s. Navette shaped. Usually made in England though of French appearance.
Amazonite: a variety of the microcline series of the feldspar group. Never faceted. Blue-green.
Amber: fossilized sap, resin, or gum from ancient trees.
AMERICAN BRILLIANT CUT: method of cutting diamonds for greatest brilliancy and fire; most popular in contemporary era.
American Doublé: gilded tombak.
Amethyst: type of quartz. Ranges in color from deep purple with red flashes (known as Siberian amethyst) to a pale lilac with blue undertones (called Rose de France.)
Ametrine: variety of quartz consisting of both amethyst and citrine with zones of both purple and yellow.
Amorphous: without form. Examples of amorphous materials used in jewelry are: glass, amber, moldavite, obsidian, opal.
Amulet: worn for superstitious purposes (ward off evil, bring good fortune etc)
Anchor Chain: cable chain with additional cross bar.
Andalusite: Orthorhombic gemstone, Brownish to Yellowish Green, Green, Brown, rarely Pink.
Andradite: gemstone known as garnet / when Green: Demantoid, when Black: Melanite, whenYellow: Topazolite.
Angel-skin (coral): referring to coral when it is pale pink or pinkish-white in colour.
Annealing: heating metal to remove brittleness.
Anodized: preparing metal for coating.
Antimony: chemical element used for making pewter and for some solders.
Antique: at least 100 years old.
Apatite: gemstone, can be colorless, Yellow, Green, Violet, Blue, Pink or Brown.
Apple coral: soft red and golden yellow coral (from the coral species ‘melithaea sponge’).
Appliqué: decorative items of one material or metal affixed to another.
Aqua Regia: combination of acids that will dissolve gold and platinum.
Aquamarine:(Latin, “water from the sea”), a pale green bluish to dark blue beryl.
Arabesque: intricate design of interwoven flowing lines, composed in a geometric pattern.
Aragonite: pearls / mother of pearl
Archaeological Revival: Jewelry made in the 19th century that drew inspiration from archeological expeditions, mainly the Etruscan findings.
Archduke Joseph Diamond: famous diamond, 12th largest perfect diamond in world.
Arcots: pair of famous pear shaped diamonds.
Argentan: word stamped onto objects that look like silver but are not. For examples, nickel, German-silver or alpaca.
Armlet: bracelet worn on upper arm.
Art Deco Jewelry: A style of jewelry dating from the 1920s through the mid to late 1930s.
Art Moderne: in same time period as retro jewelry but still Art deco styling.
Art Nouveau Jewelry: A free-flowing, naturalistic style of jewelry popular from the 1890s until about 1910.
Articulated: Having flexibility through the implementation of hinges or jump rings.
Arts & Crafts jewelry: Jewelry from The Arts & Crafts Movement (1890-1914) Influenced by British designer William Morris.
Asprey: English luxury merchandise company founded in 1781.
Assay: metal testing process.
Asscher Cut: type of diamond cut that has a square, step cut.
Asterism: A star form achieved through the combination of internal gemstone characteristics (needle configuration) and a cabochon cut.
Aubergine: Tahitian cultured pearls with a deep gray purple color.
Aucoc: renowned nineteenth-century French jeweller and goldsmith. Louis Aucoc (1850-1932).
Ave: the ten small beads on a rosary.
Aventurescence: glittering sparkling shimmer reflections of small inclusions of hematite or goethite in feldspar or fuchsite or hematite in quartz.
Aventurine: gemstone, translucent to Opaque Green (most common), Blue, Gray, Yellow and Brown with Aventurescence.
Azurite: gemstone, Dark Brown, Light to Dark Green, Yellow & Black.
Azurmalachite: rock, patterned Blue and Green.