Gem Home   |   Glossary Index:   Gemology   |  Metallurgy   |  Jewelry Design & Techniques

Glossary of Terminology: Jewelry Design & Techniques

Jewelry Design & Techniques

Glossary of Terms used in Jewelry Design

Jewelry Making Terminology & Techniques
  • à Jour (n, a) An opening in a gemstone setting that allows light to pass through the stone from both sides.
  • Acid Etching (n, a) Etch (derived from the German word "to corrode or eat") involves immersing the metal in an acid solution while protecting certain parts with a substance called a resist (asphaltum, rosin, wax, etc.) in order to create a pattern on the metal's surface.
  • Amulet (n) An object or a talisman to protect against danger and the unknown.
  • Anodizing (v) Anodising, or anodizing, is a technique used to dye and/or modify the surface of a metal (usually titanium) using electrolysis. The dye enters the pores in the etched oxide surface of the metal.
  • Basse-taille (n) Translucent enameling that is applied over an engraved metal surface.
  • Burnished Finish (a, n) A directional bright finish done by hand with a burnishing tool or "burnisher."
  • Calibré (n) Gemstones that are cut to fit a specific setting size (calibrated), or gems that are set into rows or strands of identical size.
  • Cameo (n) A method of stone carving which creates a raised positive relief image, contrasted with intaglio, which has a negative image.
  • Cannetille (n) Wire filigree that is braided to form a cone-shaped scroll or spiral. Used as a gem setting framework.
  • Champlevé (n) Enameling technique, meaning "raised field," are stamped depressions in metal that are then filled with enamel.
  • Chip Carving (a) Also called Kerbschnitt, chip carving involves using a metal-cutting chisel to remove tiny chips from the metal's surface to create a pattern or relief.
  • Cliquet (n) Also known as a jabot pin, or sûreté. A fastening device or 'catch' that uses a pin and snap closure.
  • Cloisonné (n) Cloisonné is a multi-step process where filigree is inlaid with enamel to produce a wide variety of color in jewelry.
  • Crucible (n) A cup-shaped bowl made of graphite and clay or ceramic in which metals are melted to a liquid state.
  • Diadem (n) Synonymous with the word "crown," derived from the Latin and Greek word "diadema" which is derived from "diadein" meaning "to bind around."
  • Échelle (n, a) A vertical series of graduated settings that resembles a ladder. Pronounced: ay-Shell
  • Electroplating (v) Depositing one type of metal onto the surface of another type by using the process of electrolysis or an electro-chemical reaction. Plated coatings are measured in microns.
  • Elephant Hair (Jewelry) (n) Traditional African tribal jewelry or bracelets made from actual elephant hair strands which grow at the end of elephants' tail. Used as a generic term for black synthetic fiber strands made from modacrylic (synthetic copolymer) fiber.
  • en Eésille (n) A chocker made with a gold or platinum trellis-work of gemstones or diamonds.
  • en Esclavage (n, a) Bracelet or necklace that contains metal similar plaques that are connected with rows of swagged chain (enslaved).
  • Faux (n) Imitation of the real thing, such as paste gemstones or costume jewelry.
  • Ferronière (n) A headdress featuring a thin metal band adorned with a single large gemstone.
  • Filigree (n) Delicate jewelry or metalwork with wire soldered to a metal background in patterns. Also describes pattern-work made with twisted threads of gold and/or silver. Derived from the Latin words filum thread, and granum, grain.
  • Girandole (n, a) A chandelier-like brooch or earrings having three pear-shaped pendents, hanging from a larger central setting.
  • Granulation (n) Similar to the shot ball technique, tiny granules or "grains" are fusion-welded to the metal's surface to create a pattern or design. A technique used for centuries in India and Nepal.
  • Guilloché (n, a) Machine-turning technique for engraving a repetitive decorative pattern onto a metal surface - a popular watchmaking embellishment.
  • Habillé (n) Meaning "dressed up," this refers to the image in a cameo, of a women wearing some form of gem-set jewelry.
  • Hammered Finish (v) Using a cross peen hammer to leave indented hammer marks on the metal's surface.
  • Intaglio (n) Intaglio is the opposite of cameo with an incised negative image. Intaglio is used to make engraved seals, where it leaves a raised design on the material being stamped.
  • Jarretière (n) A type of gold-meshed strap or garter with fringed terminals and ornamental closures.
  • Lamination (v) The bonding of two different metals to create a pattern when cross-sectioned. Damask Steel and Japanese "Mokumé Gane" or "Wood Grain" are two examples of metal lamination to create a pattern.
  • Lavalier (n) A necklace with two pendants of unequal length (aka negligee pendant).
  • Limoges (n) French technique for enameling and firing to create a pictorial image, typically a portrait, to be used as a brooch.
  • Lost wax casting (v) Creating an original artwork from wax, a mold is made of the original sculpture. When the molten metal enters the mold, the wax evaporates leaving the cast metal in its place.
  • Manchette (n) A wide bracelet that tapers into that shape of a shirt sleeve.
  • Metal Inlay (n) Imbedding or inserting of sheet metal or wire into an indentation or groove in the surface of a finished piece of metal.
  • Mirror Finish (a, n) A highly reflective surface with no visible abrasion pattern. Created with rouge, muslin, or a flannel buffing wheel.
  • Négligée (n) A necklace pendant with two drops that are unevenly suspended.
  • Pampille (n, a) A graduated row of articulating set gemstones that taper to a point.
  • Parure (n) Pronounced (pah-rur), a matching earrings and brooch or pendant to make up a jewelry set, or suite of mating jewelry. Term came into popular usage in 17th century France and later in other European countries.
  • Patina (n) Patina is a chemical film formed on the surface of metal through wear, corrosion, or oxidization due to exposure to the elements. A patina is often deliberately added by metalworkers.
  • Pavé (n, a) Small pinpoint gemstones or diamonds that are set very close together to create a field of color.
  • Pendeloque (n) A pear-shaped gemstone cut, or a pear-shaped drop earring that is suspended from a circular or bow setting.
  • Piqué (n) Gold or silver inlayed design pattern (pricked). Also, a carbon diamond inclusion.
  • Plique à Jour (n, a) Translucent enameling technique that has the look of stained glass.
  • Repoussé (n) French for "to push back," Repoussé is a technique for creating a relief design by pressing or hammering the inside or backside of a metal surface.
  • Rivière (n) A necklace of ascending graduated gemstones or diamonds that flows like a "river."
  • Reticulation (Samorodok) (n) Giving the surface of the metal a rough or wrinkled texture (network or web) that has a naturally formed appearance. The process (aka Samorodok) was popularized by Russian artists such as Fabergé.
  • Satin Finish (v) A non-directional or directional finish created with abrasive compounds that produce fine lines across the surface of the metal.
  • Sautoir (n) A long strand of beads or pearls that are terminated in a pendant or tassel.
  • Sévigné (n) A 17th century diamond bow-brooch set that is worn on a bodice.
  • Sûreté (n) Also known as a cliquet or jabot pin. A fastening device or 'catch' that uses a pin-and-snap closure.
  • Shank (n) The portion of a ring that encircles a finger. The shank holds the head (setting), which in turn, holds the gemstone.
  • Shot Ball (n) Metal fusion using tiny shot balls fused to the metal's surface to create a pattern or design. A technique used in ancient Etruscan jewelry to add texture to the surface.
  • Scoring (a) Using a tool to engrave a groove or furrow into the flat surface of the metal.
  • Solder (v) A solder is a fusible metal alloy (gold solder: gold mixed with lower melting metals) with a melting point below 450º C (840º F) and is melted to join two metallic surfaces. Solder is used with flux which removes impurities and oxidised metals from the points of contact.
  • Taille d'epargne (n) Enameling technique that is the reverse of champleve, where outlines or shallow channels are engraved into the metal, then filled with opaque black, blue or red enamel. Pronounced: Tie-duh-parn
  • Tiara (n) The word "tiara" is of Persian origin, meaning a decorative, flowered or jeweled headband, worn in the front of the hair, for special occasions.
  • Tiffany Mounting (n) Refers to a solitaire mounting with a four or six prong head to hold the diamond. The shank is usually simple and narrow.

Books on Jewelry Making
Gem Cutting and Faceting

Gem Home


Copyright © 2008 All rights reserved.

Books on Jewelry Making
Understanding Jewellery