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A semiprecious gemstone, agate is a variety of quartz and usually features bands of color that vary from tan to red or brown to green. It has a hardness of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, which makes it suitable for both jewelry and decorative objects.


A gem material that's composed of small crystals or particles. Chalcedony, jade, lapis lazuli, malachite, and turquoise are aggregates.

Akoya Pearls

Saltwater cultured pearls that are harvested from Akoya mollusks in the ocean off the coasts of Japan and China.


Discovered in Russia in 1830 and named for Czar Alexander II, this mineral has the unique ability to cast two different colors – green in sunlight and red in artificial light.


A mixture of two or more metals created to enhance the strength and/or appearance of a particular metal.

Alternative Metals

Metals used in jewelry that are slightly less rare than platinum and gold. Examples are: palladium, titanium, stainless steel, tungsten, and cobalt.


A purple form of quartz. Amethyst is the birthstone for February and the traditional gift for the 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries.

Ankle Bracelet/Anklet

A bracelet style worn around the ankle. Anklets include simple chain styles, to highly embellished selections that are decorated with diamonds, gemstones and charms.

Anniversary Band

An anniversary band is a ring (often with diamonds) that represents the renewal of your marriage or partnership commitment. This type of ring can be used to complement a wedding ring, and is usually given as a gift to mark an anniversary.

Anniversary Rings

An anniversary ring is often designed with diamonds and represents a renewal of your marriage or partnership commitment. This type of ring includes many styles including eternity bands and three-stone designs that can be worn alone.


A chemical or electrolytic coating added to protect certain metals. 

Antique finish

Used in sterling silver, the oxidation process enhances the details in the design. Oxidized pieces require special care to maintain contrast.


An icy blue‐green mineral from the beryl family. Aquamarine is the traditional birthstone for March and the classic gemstone choice for the 19th wedding anniversary.


Asscher‐cut diamonds and gemstones feature square cut with deeply cropped corners. The stones are cut with a series of parallel steps, creating an effect much like a house of mirrors.



A baguette‐cut diamond or gemstone is one cut into a small rectangular or tapered shape with a stepped edges. Baguette‐cut diamonds and gemstones are generally used as accents to larger stones.

Bangle/Bangle Bracelet

A rigid bracelet that is either solid or hinged, designed to slip easily over the hand and around the wrist.

Baroque Pearl

Baroque pearls are pearls with an irregular non‐spherical silhouette, ranging from minor aberrations to distinctly ovoid, curved, pinch, or lumpy shapes.

Barrel Clasp

Two metal findings on either end of a necklace or bracelet that generally screw together, forming a clasp that looks like a barrel.

Bead Chain

Any metal chain that looks like a series of small, conjoined beads, rather than open links. The beads may be solid, or hollow to reduce weight.

Bead Setting

Bead setting is a generic term for setting a diamond or gemstone directly into metal using gravers, which are essentially tiny chisels. A hole is drilled directly into the metal surface, and then a ball burr is used to make a concave depression just the size of the stone.


Beryl is a mineral species that produces aquamarine and emerald.

Beveled edge

A flat edge set at 45 degrees to the top surface of an item.

Bezel Setting

Bezel settings use a type of elevated collar which wraps the rim of a diamond or gemstone with a complete metal edge. This type of setting is the most secure. The bezel setting also protects the diamond or gemstone better than other types of settings. Metal is wrapped around the girdle of the stone, making only its crown and table visible. This setting is admired for its protection, security and ability to minimize inclusions.


A birthstone is a precious or semiprecious stone traditionally associated with a particular month or sign of the zodiac and believed to attract good fortune.

Black Diamonds

There are natural black diamonds and enhanced black diamonds, which are more affordable. Zales uses enhanced black diamonds that are treated to permanently create the intense black color.

Black Hills Gold

Black Hills Gold jewelry is handcrafted in Rapid City, South Dakota. Each piece features a unique motif of grape clusters and green and rose gold leaves.

Black Onyx

Onyx is a variety of the microcrystalline quartz, called chalcedony. Traditionally found in black, onyx is also available in a variety of colors.


Blemishes are slight imperfections found on the external surface of a diamond.

Blue Diamonds

Natural blue diamonds are extremely rare. Zales enhanced blue diamonds are treated to permanently create their intense blue color.

Blue Sapphire

The most popular shade of corundum. Sapphires are also available in many other colors including purple, pink, orange, yellow and white. Blue sapphire is the traditional birthstone for September.

Blue Topaz

Available in many colors, blue topaz is the most popular. Blue topaz is the traditional birthstone for those born in December.

Blueberry Diamonds ™

Blueberry Diamonds™ are the trademarked name for the blue diamonds used in Le Vian® jewelry. These blue diamonds are treated to permanently create the intense blue color.

Blueberry Sapphire™

Blueberry Sapphire™ is the trademarked name for the blue sapphires used in Le Vian® jewelry.

Bolo Bracelet

A bolo bracelet features an adjustable chain or cord in which the two loose ends tighten in place with a sliding clasp.

Bolo Clasp

A bolo clasp usually features an ornamental design and adjusts to secure a cord or chain by tightening.

Box Chain

A box chain is made up of small square links that are connected to create a smooth chain.

Box Clasp

A box clasp features a piece of folded metal on one end of a chain that fits into the opening of a box on the opposite end, securely fastening both ends together.


A bracelet is an ornamental band or circlet for the wrist or arm. A bracelet can be crafted of any material including sterling silver and gold, and are available in a variety of styles ranging from ornate to simple.

Bridal Set

A bridal set is a coordinated ensemble that includes an engagement ring and a wedding band.

Bright Polish

A bright polish is a jewelry metal finish that's smooth, shiny and mirror‐like.


Brightness, or brilliance, is the effect of a gemstone's internal and external reflections of light.


Brilliance, or brightness, is light that is reflected from the diamond to the eye, or the amount of sparkle for a particular diamond.


A brilliant‐cut diamond or gemstone is cut in a particular form with numerous facets to have exceptional brilliance. The shape resembles that of a cone and provides maximized light return through the top of the stone. Brilliant‐cut diamonds and gemstones include round, oval, teardrop, pear, princess, radiant, triangle, heart and marquise‐shaped diamonds.


A briolette is an elongated pear‐shaped gemstone cut with facets, and it is often drilled to hang as a bead. It was popular during the Victorian times.


Bronze is a yellowish‐brown alloy of copper and iron with up to one‐third tin.


A brooch is an ornamental pin fastened to clothing with a hinged pin and catch.

Brushed Finish

A brushed finish features tiny grooves in the surface of the metal that add texture. This effect slightly reduces the reflection of the metal and creates a wispy, feathery look.

Button Earrings

Button earrings lie flat on the ear with no dangling parts. They have a disk‐like or slightly domed shape.

Button Pearl

A button pearl that appears flattened or domed from the side.

Bypass Ring

A bypass ring coils around the finger, with the ends of the band crossing or passing each other on top. It may also be called a crossover ring.


Cable Chain

A cable chain features uniform round or oval‐shaped links connected to form a chain.


A cabochon is a precious stone of convex hemispherical or oval form, polished but not cut into facets. This form is traditional for translucent and opaque gems. It also brings out the phenomenal effects in gems like cat's‐eye and star sapphire.


A cameo is a technique of engraving upon a gem or other stone, as onyx, in such a way that an underlying stone of one color is exposed as a background for a low‐relief design of another color. Traditional cameos feature a woman or goddess on them.

Carat (CT.)

A carat (ct.) is the measurement for diamond and gemstone weight. A carat is 200 milligrams or one fifth of a gram. Diamonds and gemstones can range from small fractions of a carat to many carats.

Carbon Fiber

Typically used in men's fashion jewelry, carbon fiber is fiber‐reinforced polymer, originally used in vehicles and sports equipment. Is light, durable and strong.


A red variety of chalcedony, Carnelian is derived either from the Latin word meaning "flesh" or the Latin word meaning "cherry" Carnelian is believed to give its wearer energy, protect from poverty and a calm temperament.

Cat's Eye

Cat's eye is a chatoyant variety of chrysoberyl that reflect a streak of light when cut in a rounded or unfaceted (cabochon) shape.

Cathedral Setting

The cathedral setting uses arches of metal to support and hold the center diamond or gemstone. Cathedral‐like arches rise above the band on either side of the stone. The arches themselves may be carved or set with smaller accent diamonds or gemstones.


A cavity is an inclusion in the form of a sizable opening that penetrates a diamond or gemstone from the surface.


Ceramic carbide is a relatively new man‐made product that is extremely durable and nearly impossible to scratch. In combination with other materials like tungsten carbide, ceramic jewelry becomes the perfect choice for the active person. Ceramic carbide is also a material that people with metal allergies and sensitive skin can enjoy since it is completely hypoallergenic.


A certification provides an unbiased description of the individual qualities that determine a diamond or gemstone's value and worth as evaluated by expert gemologists.


Chalcedony is a translucent variety of quartz that comes in a variety of colors, the most popular being bluish‐grey.

Champagne Diamond

Champagne refers to brown diamonds with a secondary tone of yellow that resemble the color of champagne. The intensity of the yellow can be weak (yellowish) or strong and same goes about the general intensity of the color. Champagne diamonds can be natural or enhanced.

Chandelier Earrings

Chandelier earrings feature a series of dangling drops, usually in multiple tiers, suspending from a post or French wire setting. The drops may be simple metal or set with diamonds, gemstones or pearls.

Channel Setting

In a channel setting, diamonds or gemstones are set flush between two strips of metal that holds them in place side by side with no additional prongs between the stones. This type of setting protects the edge, or girdle, of the gemstone, and is a very secure setting.


A charm is a small ornament worn on a necklace or a bracelet.


A chevron is a V‐shaped facet or a pattern of stripes forming either a "V" or an inverted "V."

Chocolate Diamonds®

Chocolate Diamonds™ is the trademarked name for the rich chocolate brown diamonds used in Le Vian® jewelry.

Chocolate Quartz ™

Chocolate Quartz™ is the trademarked name for the smoky brown quartz used in Le Vian® jewelry.


A short necklace that measures about 14 to 16 inches in length.

Choker Necklace

A choker is a close fitting necklace. Chokers are commonly about 14 to 16 inches in length.

Chrome Diopside

Chrome diopside is a deep, forest green, transparent gemstone, chrome similar in color to tsavorite or emerald.


Chrysoberyl is a mineral species that produces alexandrite and cat's‐eye. It occurs in transparent yellow, green, and brown gem varieties.


Citrine is a golden‐yellow variety of quartz. It is also the traditional birthstone for those born in November.


A Claddagh is a traditional Irish design that features two hands holding a crown‐topped heart. This design represents love, loyalty, and friendship.


Clarity is a gem's relative freedom from blemishes and inclusions.


Clasps are the device used to fasten each end of a watchband, bracelet or necklace together.

Claw Clasp

Named for its resemblance to a lobster claw, this clasp has a hook with a spring‐powered arm that can be opened and closed. The hook is attached to a ring on the opposite end of the chain, and the arm is closed to secure the chain.

Cluster/Composite Setting

A cluster or composite setting features several diamonds or gemstones grouped together to either create a unique design or to look like one larger stone.


Cobalt is the same material used to build jet aircraft engines. Cobalt is harder than stainless steel and therefore, harder to scratch. Although not 100% scratch proof, cobalt chrome is much harder than titanium and all other precious metals including platinum, gold and silver. Cobalt is also hypoallergenic.


A diamond with no traces of body color is considered colorless. Light travels through a colorless diamond better than a diamond with color, resulting in exceptional brilliance.

Conflict Diamonds

A conflict diamond is a rough diamond mined in an area controlled by insurgent forces whose sale is used to finance antigovernment military action. Zales Jewelers does not sell conflict diamonds. Learn more



Copper is a bright shiny reddish‐gold metal that is soft and easily malleable. Copper has been recorded as being used as far back as 10,000 years ago in many different artifacts, long before gold was used. Copper is still widely used and desired for its color and versatility.


Corundum is the mineral species that produces ruby, sapphire, star ruby, and star sapphire.

Crown (Diamond or Gemstone)

The crown is the upper portion of a cut gemstone, which lies above the girdle. The crown consists of a table facet surrounded by either star and bezel facets (on round diamonds and most fancy cuts) or concentric rows of facets reaching from the table to the girdle (on emerald cuts and other step cuts).


Crystals are the transparent form of crystallized quartz.

Cubic Zirconia (CZ)

Cubic Zirconia is an artificial crystal resembling a diamond in refraction, dispersion, hardness, and color.


A cuff is a wide oval‐shaped bracelet. It may have a hinge and clasp, or it may encircle about 3/4 of the wrist with open ends that allow it to be easily slipped on and off.

Cuff Links

Cuff links are pairs of functional and decorative accessories used in place of buttons with special dress shirts to hold the cuff together.


The culet is the small on the bottom tip of a diamond.

Cultured Pearl

A cultured pearl is a pearl created by an oyster farmer under controlled conditions. They are created when tiny irritants are inserted into a mollusk shell. Nacre builds around the irritants over time, resulting in cultured pearls. Most pearls today are cultured.

Curb Link Chain

A curb chain features oval‐shaped links that interlock with each other when laid flat.


A cushion‐cut diamond or gemstone is a variety of brilliant cut in which the girdle has the form of a square with rounded corners.


The cut is the form, style and quality of a diamond's or gemstone's fashioning. Cut types include round, princess, cushion, baguette and many others.



Diamonds are the hardest natural mineral known to man. Diamonds are the classic birthstone for April and the traditional gift for the 10th, 60th and 75th wedding anniversaries.

Diamond Clarity

One of the 4Cs, diamond clarity measures the amount/absence of inclusions in and blemishes on a diamond. Clarity ranges from flawless to included/imperfect.

Diamond Color

One of the 4Cs, diamond color measures the amount of body color (tint) in a diamond on a scale from colorless to yellow/brown or gray.

Diamond Cut

One of the 4Cs, diamond cut determines how light travels through a stone. Cut refers to the proportions of a stone, facet angles, finish and shape.

Diamond Fascination®

Diamond Fascination® designs feature one genuine diamond (.005 carat) set into each piece. The item is then paved with diamond dust crystallized in enamel.

Diamond Table

The diamond table is the uppermost flat surface and largest facet of a cut stone.

Diamond Total Weight

Diamond weight is the sum of the carat weights for all diamonds in a piece of jewelry.

Diamond Weight

A diamond weight is also called a carat. The carat is a metric unit of weight used for diamonds and is one fifth of a gram (0.2g).

Diamond‐Cut Finish

A diamond‐cut finish is created by cutting metal with a diamond, giving it a glittering and sparkling look.

Diffusion, Diffusion Treatment

Diffusion is heating a gem to very high temperature while it's in contact with selected chemicals. The chemicals penetrate the gem and become part of the gem's crystal, changing its color in the process.


Dispersion is the spreading of white light into spectral hues. It is caused by different colors of light being refracted differently. Dispersion is a key element of diamond's appeal.


A doublet is an assembled gem made with two main components.

Drop Earrings

Drop earrings feature gems or other decorative elements that dangle.


Durability is resistance to damage of all kinds. Overall durability depends on the combination of hardness, toughness and stability.

Dye Treatment, Dyeing

To dye a gemstone is to add a chemical agent in order to improve or change its color. This is a common treatment for gems like chalcedony, cultured pearl, jade, lapis lazuli, opal, shell, tiger's‐eye, and turquoise.



Emerald is a member of the beryl family and is found in all shades of green. It is the traditional birthstone for those born in May and is traditional gemstone for the 20th, 35th and 55th wedding anniversaries.


An emerald‐cut gemstone is rectangular in shape with beveled corners and a step cut.

Enamel Finish

An enameled finish is a smooth, durable material made of melted and fused glass powder used to coat jewelry.

Engagement Ring

An engagement ring is exchanged at the time of engagement that symbolizes a couple's love and the promise of marriage. The engagement ring often features diamonds or precious gemstones.


An engravable item features a surface that can be inscribed with a message.


An ensemble is a group of jewelry items that go together; for example, a ring, bracelet, necklace, and earrings of matching design. These items may be sold either separately or together.

Eternity Band

An eternity band is a ring completely encircled with gemstones or diamonds. It is given to express unending love and can also be used as a wedding or anniversary ring.

Extended Service Plan (ESP)

Our exclusive service plan that can be purchased for additional protection for fine jewelry. The ESP plan covers repairs to the mounting or setting, future ring size adjustments, refinishing and polishing, and resetting of diamonds and gemstones.


An extender is an additional length of chain, usually about 2.0‐inches in length, used to lengthen anklets, bracelets and necklaces.


An extinction is a dark area in a faceted gem, usually seen around the edges when it is viewed face‐up, often due to cutting proportions that don't maximize light return.


Faceted Gem

A faceted gem is a gemstone cut in a manner so that it is covered with small flat polished surfaces. Most transparent gems are faceted.


Facets are the flat surfaces on a cut stone. The placement of facets determines how much light reflects through the stone.

Fancy Cut, Fancy Shape

A fancy cut or fancy shape relates to the way in which a diamond or gemstone is cut and includes any faceted shape other than round. Classic fancy shapes include the emerald, heart, oval, pear, and marquise cuts.


A feather is a break within a gem.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

U.S. government agency responsible for promoting free and fair commerce in the national marketplace. The FTC Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries help to define legal and ethical standards for gem and jewelry professionals.

Figaro Link Chain

A Figaro chain features distinct rhythmic pattern of three (or five) equally sized links separated by one longer link.


Filigree is a delicate work of twisted gold or silver soldered together which forms an open design used with jewelry. Filigree often resembles lace.


A filling seals fractures or cavities in a gem. In fracture filling, surface‐reaching breaks are filled to conceal them and improve the gem's appearance. In cavity filling, larger surface openings are filled for similar purposes. Fracture fillers include colorless oils, natural and synthetic resins, and glass. Cavity fillings are usually glass or plastic. Fracture filling is common for emeralds, and cavity filling is most frequent with rubies; but both treatments occasionally appear in a number of gems.


Jewelry findings include components such as bails, clasps and setting heads.


Fineness represents the amount of precious metal in an alloy, usually measured in parts per thousand. For example, an item marked Pt950 is 950 parts platinum and 50 parts alloying metal.


A fingerprint is partly healed cleavage or fracture. This type of inclusion usually forms when a break occurs while a gem crystal is growing, and nutrient fluids seep into the break. The fluids may remain in liquid form or later solidify, in either case creating a microscopic pattern that resembles a human fingerprint.

Flat Link Chain

A flat link chain features open chain link that lays flat against the skin.


Flawless is the highest diamond grading on the clarity scale. A flawless diamond has no inclusions or blemishes visible under 10x magnification.

Florentine Finish

A Florentine finish is the texture on a metal's surface in which small lines are engraved in a crosshatch pattern.

Fluid Inclusion

A fluid inclusion is a small pocket of liquid trapped inside a gem.


Fluorescence is the glow some gems emit under ultraviolet light.

Flush Setting

With a flush setting, holes are cut in the surface of the metal, and stones are placed inside. Only the tops of the stones are visible, and their tables are even with the metal's surface.


Fluting is a decorative grooved design used in jewelry that can be horizontal or vertical. This style can be used with or without additional accents like gemstones or diamonds.

Four Cs

The Four Cs are the four distinct characteristics – cut, color, clarity and carat weight – that classify each diamond. Experts use these classifications to establish the value and quality of every diamond.

Foxtail Chain

Resembling the fullness of a fox's tail, this chain is designed by interweaving bent circles of metal together in a continuous pattern.


A fracture is an irregular break within a gem. Unlike cleavage, fracture isn't tied to crystal structure patterns. It can occur in any kind of gem, and often has a curved or scalloped contour (like breaks in glass).

French Wire Earring Back

A French wire earring back is shaped like a hook with the 'hook' part going through the pierced portion of the ear.

Freshwater Cultured Pearl

A cultured freshwater pearl is one that is cultivated with intentional human intervention in freshwater ponds, lakes, and rivers, as opposed to saltwater environments. Freshwater pearls are harvested from freshwater rivers and/or lakes in China, Japan and the United States.

Friction Back

A friction back is the small metal back that is pushed onto an earring's post, preventing it from slipping off.



Gemological Institute of America. This organization is considered to be the authority on gemological teaching and research.


Garnet is the reddish‐brown birthstone for January. Less common varieties are found in all colors except blue. Garnet is also the traditional gift for the 18th wedding anniversary.

Gem Treatment

A gem treatment is an artificial process that improves a gem's appearance or durability. Treatments for colored gems include bleaching, coating, diffusion, dyeing, filling, heating, impregnation, and irradiation.


A gemstone is a stone found in nature that has the necessary rarity, beauty and durability for use in jewelry.


The girdle is the horizontal midsection and widest part of a diamond. The girdle may be polished, faceted or unpolished on a diamond, but is typically left unpolished on colored stones.

Glue Setting

A glue setting is used when stones are attached to metal by strong glue adhesive, rather than prongs or other metal settings.

Gold (Metal)

Gold is a classic metal used in most jewelry. Pure gold (24K) is too soft to be used for jewelry so it is combined with other metals to enhance durability. For example, 14K gold is 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metals.

Gold Plating

Gold plating is a coating of karat gold permanently plated onto a base metal through electrical current.

Gold Supply Chain

We take the impact of our company's supply chain seriously, and we believe that gold should be extracted and processed in a manner that respects the needs of current and future generations.

Green Amethyst

Green amethyst is a form of green quartz, produced by heat treating an amethyst or yellow quartz. It is also called prasolite.

Green Diamond

A green diamond is a fancy colored diamond known for its striking green hue. Certain elements must be present during the diamond's formation in order for a diamond to have a green body color, making it rarer than a traditional diamond. Zales utilized enhanced green diamonds in its green diamond jewelry.


Half‐Bezel Setting

A half‐bezel setting wraps metal around either side of the stone's girdle, rather than around the entire stone.

Half‐Channel Setting

With a half‐channel setting, each side a diamond or gemstone is bordered and secured by a slender strip of metal.

Hammer Finish

A hammer finish is a decorative metal finish with small indentations or dimples covering the surface.

Hardness (Mohs Hardness Scale)

Hardness is the ability of a stone or mineral to resist scratching. Hardness is measured from 1 to 10 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, with 10 (diamonds) being the hardest.

Heart‐Shaped Cut

Heart‐shaped cut diamonds and gemstones are cut in the shape of a heart. Heart‐shaped diamonds are a variation of the round brilliant‐cut.

Heat treatment

Heat treatment is using a high temperature to improve or change a gem's color. This treatment is common for many gems including aquamarine, carnelian, citrine, ruby, sapphire, tanzanite, topaz, tourmaline, and zircon. Controlled heating can also eliminate needle‐like inclusions and improve clarity in rubies and sapphires. Less often it's used to make the same inclusions grow in order to create or intensify a star effect.


Hematite is a steely‐gray crystal of iron oxide often used in men's jewelry.

Herringbone Chain

Herringbone chain is a flexible chain that lies flat around the neck.

High‐Polish Finish

A high‐polish finish is metal with a shiny, reflective surface.

Hinged Back

The hinged back is very popular in hoop earrings. This back style features a hinged piece of metal that goes through the ear and snaps into a latch on the opposite side of the earring.

Honey Gold™

Honey Gold™ is the trademarked name for the yellow gold used in Le Vian® designs.

Hook & Eye Clasp

A hook and eye closure features a hook on one end that fits into a metal ring on the other end of a bracelet or necklace.


Hue is one of the three color components. Hue gives a color its generic name – blue, green, blue‐green, greenish blue, and so forth.

Hypoallergenic Metal

A hypoallergenic metal, like platinum or titanium, are the least likely to cause symptoms of an allergic reaction when worn. These metals are ideal for those who have a sensitivity to certain materials.



An ideal‐cut diamond features a series of prisms and mirrors. The way light is returned out of the top of the diamond (not its sides or bottom) determines how brilliant and fiery a diamond is. "Ideal" is not just an adjective ‐ it's become the industry standard for the set of proportions, ratios and angles known as the American Ideal Cut.


An imitation is a gem look‐alike. Unlike a synthetic, an imitation (or simulant) doesn't have the same chemistry, structure, or properties as the gem it resembles. Appearance is the only similarity.


An imperfection is a term for a negative clarity characteristic, such as a carbon inclusion in a diamond.


An inclusion is the natural birthmark inside a stone that can affect its flow of light and also add uniqueness and character. Inclusions vary in size, shape, quantity, position and color.

Independently Certified

Independent certification is a process where diamonds, regardless of the seller, have received an appraisal of value from a trusted and authoritative source outside of the organization.

Invisible Setting

An invisible setting features several stones mounted together by metal beneath the stones. The metal cannot be seen from above, making the stones appear as if they have no setting at all.


Iolite, a variety of cordierite, ranges in color from blue to blue‐violet. Iolite is a gemstone with pronounced pleochroism, meaning it has the ability to appear as different shades depending on the angle and light source.


Ion plating is one the most advanced protective surface finishing processes. Ion plating makes gold and other metals more durable, more wear resistant and also has a higher brightness. It can also add color to a metal.


Iridescence is the rainbow‐like colors that sometimes appear when light is reflected and refracted through structural layers.


Irradiation is the science of exposing a gem to high‐energy radiation or bombardment with subatomic particles to change its color. This treatment is routine for smoky quartz and blue topaz. Except in very rare cases, the treatment leaves no significant radioactivity.



Jade is the common name for two mineral species – jadeite and nephrite ‐ traditionally used as carving materials because of their great toughness.

Journey Necklace

A journey necklace features a ladder or S‐curve design featuring diamonds or gemstones that graduate in size from smallest to largest, symbolizing love's journey.



Karat is the standard measurement of gold purity. Pure gold is 24 karat and therefore, the amount of gold in an alloy is based on 24 parts. For example, 14K is 14 parts gold and 10 parts alloying metal.



A lab‐created gemstone is one produced in a laboratory setting. Lab‐created stones have the same chemical, physical and optical properties as natural gemstones.


A lariat is an open‐ended necklace held together by an ornamental clasp in front.


A diamond can be microscopically inscribed on its girdle with its unique GIA Report Number, a personal message, or any other text, symbols or logos.

Light return

Light return is the total intensity of light reflected by a faceted gem.


A locket is a jewelry design that that opens to store small pictures of loved ones. A locket is most commonly worn on a necklace, but may also be on a pin or bracelet charm.

Loose Diamond

A loose diamond is one that is sold independently of a ring. It can be purchased in any cut or size.


A loupe is a magnification tool used by jewelers to analyze gemstones and other jewelry materials. Diamonds and color stones are always evaluated at 10x magnification and in the face-up position.


Luster indicates the sharpness of light reflections from a pearl. This is one of the pearl value factors, and it is a critical component of every pearl's beauty.



MM or mm is the abbreviation for millimeter, the standard unit of measurement for jewelry dimensions. For an approximate conversion to inches, see below. 3mm is approximately 1/8 inch 6mm is approximately 1/4 inch 13mm is approximately 1/2 inch 19mm is approximately 3/4 inch 25mm is approximately 1 inch 50mm is approximately 2 inches 75mm is approximately 3 inches

Madeira citrine

Madeira citrine is the trade term for citrine that's deep orange (the most valuable color for this gem).

Magnetic Clasp

A magnetic clasp features a magnet on each end of a chain are drawn together to hold the jewelry in place.


Malachite is a mineral species that's opaque and light to dark green or bluish green with attractive bands of different shades.

Mariner Link Chain

Mariner chain, also called an anchor link chain, is made up of oval links with a strip of metal down the center.

Marquise Cut

A marquise cut is a type of cut in which the stone is elongated and pointed at both ends. A marquise cut stone is longer than it is wide.

Matte Finish

A matte finish is one that is grainy and non‐reflective.


Most jewelry is made of metal. Common metals include gold, silver, platinum and titanium. Metals can be used in pure form or combined with other metals to increase durability.


Milgrain is a decorative detailing technique in which a beaded design is impressed into the metal.

Mineral Gem

A mineral gem is one that was created by geologic processes. Diamond, emerald, ruby, and sapphire are the most familiar examples. Others include amethyst, aquamarine, citrine, garnet, jade, opal, peridot, topaz, and tourmaline. Mineral gems are the products most consumers think of as natural gems.

Mohs Hardness Scale

The Mohs Hardness Scale is used to measure the degree to which a stone or mineral is resistant to scratches. Hardness is measured from 1 to 10, with 10 (diamonds) being the hardest.


Morganite is the peachy‐pink variety of beryl, cousin to more familiar beryl like emerald and aquamarine. The beautiful, feminine colors of morganite are a result of the presence of manganese.

Mother‐Of‐Pearl Inlay

Mother‐Of‐Pearl is the thin layers of nacre that make up the iridescent interior of a mollusk shell. These layers are removed and used for watch faces and other pieces of jewelry.

Mystic Fire Topaz

Mystic Fire is a colorless topaz that is enhanced after it is cut with a patented coating on its underside, producing a blue‐green appearance that displays a kaleidoscope of color.



Nacre is the substance produced in mollusk shells that coats particles and other foreign objects. Over time, layers of nacre build up around the particles to form pearls.

Natural Fancy Color Diamonds

Natural fancy color diamonds feature a deep body color, including brown, yellow, blue, violet, orange, pink and red. Fancy color diamonds are unusual and therefore highly valued. They are rated Z+ on the color scale and have nine saturation levels from Faint to Fancy Vivid.

Natural Gem

Natural gemstones are those that are mined from the earth rather than created. Natural gemstones are extremely rare. This often adds to their value and appeal. Synthetic or lab-created gemstones are made of the same material as natural gemstones, so they share the same chemical and optical properties.

Natural Pearl

A natural pearl that formed without human involvement of any kind. Also see cultured pearl.


Near‐colorless diamonds have little or no color visible to the naked eye. Near‐colorless diamonds are classified as G, H, I or J on the color scale.

Nick Setting

The nick setting is similar to the channel setting. Stones are placed in a row, with metal bordering either side. In a nick setting, small prongs are nicked from the surrounding metal to secure the stones.


Nickel is a hard metal with a silver or white appearance that is often combined with other metals for added strength.


Nucleation is the surgical procedure for implanting the nucleus around which a cultured pearl grows.



Olivine is the mineralogist's name for peridot.

Omega Back

An omega back is the hinged and curved closure that supports the back of a post earring.

Omega Chain

An omega chain features small rectangular pieces of metal linked together on a flexible wire that is invisible to the eye. Omega chains are arched on top but lay flat against the neck and can be decorated with a slide.


Onyx is a gemstone usually found in black, but can occasionally be found in other colors. It is the gemstone to celebrate the 7th wedding anniversary.



PVD Finish

PVD stands for Physical Vapor Deposit, a process by which a durable finish or coating is applied to metal, such as stainless steel. The black color, a carbon and titanium composite, is placed into a pressurized chamber with the stainless steel. The composite is forced into the surface of the steel, coloring it black.


Palladium is a rare and lustrous silvery‐white metal.


The pavilion is the lower part of a diamond, located between the girdle and the culet.

Pavé Setting

A pavé setting features multiple small stones set in a curved or flat surface and held in place by prongs. The prongs are created by hand from the surrounding metal with the use of a fine sharp graver's tool. The tables of the stones will all be level with the jewelry surface.

Pear‐Shaped Cut

Also known as teardrop‐shaped cut, a pear‐shaped stone features a rounded edge on one end and a point on the other.


Pearls are organic gemstones created from layer upon layer of nacre and produced in mollusk shells. Pearls are the traditional anniversary gemstone for the 3rd and 30th years of marriage and the birthstone for June. Today, because of their rarity in nature, most pearls are cultured.


A piece of jewelry that hangs from a chain worn around the neck.


Peridot is known for its yellow‐green color. Peridot is the birthstone for August and the traditional gift for the 16th wedding anniversary. It is also known as olivine.


Personalized jewelry can be customized with engraving, choice of gemstones or metals.


A pin is a piece of jewelry that's usually fastened to a garment by a hinged pin and catch; sometimes called a brooch.

Pink Diamond

A pink diamond is a fancy colored rare variety of diamond, with a pink or rose body color. The vivid pink color is caused by the presence of trace elements during the diamond's formation.


Platinum is a durable precious metal, valued for its white color and purity. Platinum is hypoallergenic. To be called platinum, it must contain at least 90% pure platinum (10% other metals).


Pleochroism is transmitting (or showing) different colors in different crystal directions. Many doubly refractive gems exhibit this property because when light is polarized the separate rays may undergo differing selective absorption and take on different colors. You usually see a blend of any pleochroic colors that are present, but in gems like iolite and tanzanite the effect is so strong you see distinctly different colors depending on your viewing direction.

Point (pt.)

(1) Weight: (1/100) carat. (2) Cut: The pointed end of a pear, marquise, or other fancy shape.


The polish is the condition of a diamond or metal's surface.

Popcorn Chain

A popcorn chain is a three‐dimensional beaded chain that resembles kernels of popcorn.


A post is the metal part of the earring that goes through the pierced earlobe.


A princess‐cut diamond has a squared shape and beveled edges.

Promise Ring

A promise ring is used to signify a pledge or promise between two people. It is most commonly used as a pre‐engagement ring and replaces the tradition of exchanging class rings as a symbol of 'going steady.' Can be worn on the ring finger of either hand.

Prong Setting

A prong setting is one component of what is known to jewelers as a head, a claw‐shaped type of binding (typically 3, 4, or 6 individual prongs per head) that is welded or soldered to a jewelry item in order to mount (or set) a gemstone to the jewelry item.


Prongs are pieces of metal used to secure diamonds and gemstones. Forming a basket‐like base, the ends of the prongs are bent over and shaped so that they rest against the gem to hold it snugly in place.


A property is a gem characteristic produced by the combination of chemical composition and crystal structure. Gemologists normally observe or measure properties to identify gems. These include absorption spectrum, cleavage, fluorescence, hardness, optic character, pleochroism, refractive index, specific gravity, stability, toughness.

Pure Gold

Pure gold is gold that is not alloyed with other metals. The term karat is used to indicate the purity of gold present, with 24K being pure gold and lower ratings proportionally less.

Pure Platinum

Pure platinum that is not alloyed with any other metals. Platinum measurement is often expressed in percentages. In order for a metal to be considered platinum, it must contain 90% of the material at a minimum.



Quartz is the most abundant mineral species on Earth. Quartz varieties include amethyst, ametrine, citrine, rock crystal, rose quartz, smoky quartz, and tiger's‐eye.



A radiant‐cut diamond or gemstone is an eight‐sided rectangular or square‐cut stone with approximately 70 facets.

Raspberry Rhodolite®

Raspberry Rhodolite® is the trademarked brand name for rhodolite garnet in Le Vian® products.

Red Diamond

Red diamond features a rich red body color. Red diamonds are classified as fancy colored diamonds and are harder to find in nature than traditional diamonds. The red‐hue occurs when that diamond is exposed to certain elements and conditions during formation.


Rhodium is a shiny platinum group metal that increases whiteness and strength of other metals. A rhodium finish also helps to prevent tarnishing.


Rhodolite is a garnet variety that's predominately a mixture of almandite and pyrope. Color ranges from light pink to dark purple‐red.

Rock Crystal

Rock crystal is the colorless variety of quartz.

Rope Chain

A rope chain features several strips of metal twisted together, resulting in a chain with a rope pattern.

Rose Gold

Rose gold is the result of combining pure gold with large amounts of copper. It may also be called pink gold.

Rose Quartz

Rose quartz exhibits a pale pink to rose‐red hue. The color usually occurs due to trace amounts of titanium, iron or manganese in the massive material.

Round Brilliant‐Cut

Diamond cutters developed the round brilliant cut over hundreds of years. The round cut brings out a diamond's brilliance, dispersion and scintillation.


Ruby is the red form of the mineral corundum. Along with sapphires, rubies are the second hardest minerals (diamonds are the hardest). Rubies serve as the birthstone for July and the traditional gift for the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries.


Saltwater Pearl

A saltwater pearl is a natural or cultured pearl produced by a mollusk that lives in the ocean or some other body of saltwater. Akoya, South Sea and Tahitian pearls come from saltwater.


Sapphire is a form of the mineral corundum that comes in every color except red. Sapphires and rubies are the second hardest minerals (diamonds are the hardest). Sapphire is the birthstone for September and the traditional gift for the 5th, 23rd and 45th wedding anniversaries.

Satin Finish

Similar to a brushed‐finish, a satin‐finish adds texture with small grooves in the metal's surface. This reduces the metal's reflectivity and adds a desirable soft sheen.


One of the three color components, saturation (also called brightness and intensity) is a color's strength and purity. For example, emerald and sage green have different levels of saturation.


Scintillation is the sparkle or flash emitted by diamonds when they are moved under light.

Screw Back

Screw backs are typically used for diamond earrings. This secure backing features small metal backs that screw onto the post.


A semi‐mounting is a ring that has everything except for the center stone. A semi‐mounting allows customers to add the stone of their choice to complete the ring.

Semiprecious Gem

Semiprecious is a traditional classification that includes all gems other than "precious" gems (diamond, emerald, ruby, sapphire, and pearl). Most professionals believe that the categories are misleading, and the term semiprecious is unfairly negative. But both terms (precious and semiprecious) are still widely used.


A setting is the way in which a gem is held. Prong, bezel and channel are all types of settings.


Siladium® is a metal used by ArtCarved® in class rings. Siladium is a fine jeweler's stainless steel that is over 95% recycled. It polishes to a bright white luster, and is strong and durable.


Silver is a type of metal used for jewelry. Silver is often combined with other metals to increase its strength. Sterling silver consists of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% alloy.

Simulated (stone)

A simulated gemstone is a man‐made stone that resembles the color of a birthstone.

Singapore Chain

A Singapore chain is a twisted curb chain where the links are joined in such a way that, even when the chain is untwisted, there is always a natural curve to it.


For diamonds, size means carat weight. For gemstones and pearl sizes, Zales uses millimeters (mm) as measurement.

Smoky Quartz

Smoky quartz is a rich brown variety of quartz.

Snake Chain

A snake chain features thin bands of metal secured closely together, resembling the body of a snake.


Solder is the process of melting metal and joining it together to make, repair or adjust jewelry.


Solitaires are rings, earrings or necklaces that feature a single diamond.

South Sea Pearl

South Sea Pearls are the rarest and most expensive type of cultured pearl, grown primarily in waters around Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The size is large – normally about 8 to 18 millimeters. Shapes are often circled. Colors range from white and cream to silver gray, golden yellow, rose pink, and aqua blue.


A spacer is a decorative bead or accent that is placed between charms in personalized jewelry such as charm bracelets.


A spectrophotometer is an advanced gem‐testing instrument that measures selective absorption from infrared to ultraviolet.


A spectroscope is a gem‐testing instrument used to analyze absorption spectrum.

Spiga Chain

A Spiga chain features small figure eight‐shaped links that form a 3D braided chain that feels almost square, and looks as though the wire has been plaited.


A spinel is a mineral made of aluminum and magnesium oxides that often resembles ruby.

Spring Ring Clasp

The spring‐ring clasp features a small metal ring with a gap that can be opened and closed by a spring‐powered lever. This ring attaches to a metal ring with no gap on the opposite end of the chain.


A square‐cut stone is cut with a square outline. Facets are cut in 'steps.' Normally contains 57 facets.


Stability is considered the resistance to damage not directly related to hardness or toughness, including heat, sudden temperature change, intense light, moisture loss, and chemicals.

Stackable Ring

Stackable rings are slender bands (often matching) worn on one finger at once.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a strong metal used for jewelry that is less likely to rust or corrode than regular steel or other jewelry metals.

Star Effect

Star effect is the phenomenon that occurs when intersecting bands of light form a star pattern that appears to move across the top of a gem. It's usually caused by reflections from microscopic needle‐like inclusions that crisscross in specific directions. The best‐known examples are star ruby and star sapphire.

Steam Cleaner

A professional cleaning device that removes dirt from unset gems or jewelry with high‐pressure blasts of super‐hot water. Steam cleaning can damage most colored gems.


Step‐cut is a way in which diamonds are cut. Step‐cut diamonds feature rows of facets positioned in a step‐like fashion. Most step‐cut diamonds have four sides and a rectangular shape, such as emerald or baguette diamonds.

Sterling Silver

Sterling silver is a durable jewelry metal consisting of at least 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% alloy.

Strawberry Gold ®

Strawberry Gold® is the trademarked name for the rose gold used in Le Vian® designs.


Studs are post earrings with single gems or small clusters in simple settings for pierced ears.

Swarovski Elements

Swarovski Elements™ are Swarovski crystals used in jewelry and watches.

Swarovski® Crystal

Swarovski is one of the most recognized brand of crystals in the world. Swarovski crystals are famous worldwide for their precision cuts, clarity and sparkle and have been used in all types of jewelry including necklaces, pendants, earrings, and tiaras.


Symmetry is the precision of a diamond's cut.

Synthetic Stone

A synthetic stone is a colored stone produced in a laboratory setting. Synthetic stones have the same chemical, physical and optical properties as natural gemstones. They may also be called lab-created stones.


Tahitian Cultured Pearl

Tahitian cultured pearls are known for their compelling dark color. Grown in black‐lip oysters, Tahitian cultured pearls range in color from metallic to gray to black, sometimes with colorful overtones.


Tanzanite is a fairly new gemstone discovered in Tanzania in 1967. Tanzanite is known for its bluish‐purple hues and is December's newest birthstone as well as the traditional gift for the 24th wedding anniversary.


Tarnish is simply the loss of luster. Air and moisture can cause certain metals like sterling silver to tarnish.

Tension Setting

In a tension setting, a stone is held on either side by the metal of the setting, and appears to look as if it were floating in the air. Unlike other settings, the tension setting exposes almost the entire stone.

Three‐Piece Set/Trio

A three‐piece set, or a trio, is a coordinating bridal set that includes an engagement ring and wedding band for her, and a wedding band for him.

Tie Bar

A tie bar is a decorative metal bar with a clip that fastens to a tie.


Tiger's‐eye is a chatoyant variety of quartz. Color is usually yellowish brown or brownish yellow. Because the phenomenon is caused by fibrous structure (rather than needle-like inclusions), the gem usually displays a silky sheen or diffused cat's eye effect.


Titanium is a popular jewelry metal, especially for wedding bands and watches. Titanium weighs 1/3 less than gold, but is extremely strong.

Toe Ring

A toe ring is circular in shape and can be designed with or without decorative accents like gemstones and diamonds. Toe rings are worn on the toes and can usually be adjusted for a comfortable, customized fit.

Toggle Clasp

A toggle clasp features metal bar on one end of the chain that fits through a small metal ring on the opposite end. When flat, the bar cannot fit back through the ring, securing the ends together.


Tone is one of the three color components. Tone is a color's lightness or darkness. For example, red and pink have different tones.


Topaz is a mineral species that occurs in many shades of blue, yellow, brown, orange, red, and pink. All colors of topaz are birthstones for November, while blue topaz is the birthstone for December. Topaz is also the gemstone for the 4th wedding anniversary.

Total Weight/Total Ct. Weight

Total weight or total ct. weight is the combined weight of all gems in an item of jewelry.


Toughness is the ability of a stone to resist pressure from impact.


Tourmaline is classified as a semi‐precious stone and comes in a variety of colors ranging from black to brown, violet, green, pink, or a dual‐colored pink and green.


A treatment is an artificial process that improves a gem's appearance or durability. Treatments for colored gems include bleaching, coating, diffusion, dyeing, filling, heating, impregnation, and irradiation. May also be called enhancement.


Tri‐color designs feature three colors of metal in one product. These can be the same metal, such as gold, or a combination of metals.


A triplet is an assembled gem with three main components.


Tsavorite is a vibrant green type of grossularite, which is a form of garnet. The gemstone was discovered in 1975 in Kenya.

Tungsten/Tungsten Carbide

Tungsten is a fairly new metal in the jewelry industry, often used for wedding bands. Tungsten is resistant to corrosion and four times harder than titanium.


Turquoise is a mineral species that's opaque and light to medium‐dark blue or bluish green. It may also show spangles of pyrite, or include remnants of matrix. Turquoise is one of the December birthstones, and it's the 11th anniversary gem.


Two‐toned designs feature two colors of metal in one product. These can be the same metal, such as gold, or a combination of metals.


Ultrasonic cleaner

An ultrasonic cleaner is a device that cleans jewelry by sending high frequency sound waves through a detergent solution. Ultrasonic cleaners can damage some colored gems.


Vanilla Diamonds™

Vanilla Diamonds™ is the trademarked name for white diamonds used in Le Vian® products.

Vanilla Gold ™

Vanilla Gold ™ is the trademarked name for the white gold used in Le Vian® products.


Vermeil is a jewelry metal made of sterling silver coated or plated with gold.


Vintage‐style jewelry is made with an antique or vintage‐style finish.


Wedding Band

Symbolic of everlasting love and commitment, wedding bands are exchanged between the bride and groom on the wedding day.

Wheat Chain

A wheat chain is made of oval‐ and twisted oval‐shaped links that are connected and intertwined, resulting in an intricate chain with great visual detail, resembling grains of wheat.

White Diamond

White is the body color most traditionally associated with diamonds. White diamonds are graded on a scale from colorless to slightly yellow, where diamonds that are closer to colorless are more valuable.

White Gold

White gold is created by combining pure gold with a copper, zinc and nickel (or palladium) alloy.

White Topaz

White topaz is a clear variety of topaz that has little to no color.


Yellow Diamond

A yellow diamond is more rarely found in nature than traditional diamonds. The yellow color is caused by a presence of nitrogen during the formation process. Yellow diamonds are considered to be fancy colored diamonds.

Yellow Gold

Pure gold is 24K, which is too soft for gold jewelry. By combining it with copper and silver, yellow gold retains a rich yellow color while increasing its durability.



Zinc is an alloy metal. It is mixed with gold, silver, and copper to produce various shades of gold. Combining zinc with gold and certain other alloys results in white gold.


Zircon is a mineral species that occurs in blue, green, yellow, brown, orange, red, pink, and occasionally purple. It can also be colorless. Light‐colored zircons may show the optical effect known as dispersion. Zircon is one of the December birthstones.