You are invited to the

Fall 2024 Gemstone Roundtable

You are invited to the

Fall 2024 Gemstone Roundtable

Fine Jewelry Vocabulary

The first hallmark of fine jewelry is its premium components: precious metals such as gold, sterling silver, and platinum; and fine gemstones—for example, diamond, tourmaline, pearl, sapphire, garnet, and opal. Other hallmarks include an attention to detail and quality workmanship. Creating a piece of llyn strong fine art jewelry requires great skill and accomplishment. The resulting piece is both supremely wearable and appreciated for its imaginative, artistic, and meaningful presentation.

The jargon of fine jewelry can be confusing. What is white gold? Why is a one-carat diamond larger than a one-carat green zircon?  How can I tell a rose cut from an old European cut? At llyn strong fine art jewelry, we can forget sometimes that not all of our customers are familiar with the terms we use online and in the store. So, we’ve prepared the following glossary.

Parts of a Stone

CaratThe standardized unit of weight for gemstones of all types (this is different from karat, which refers to the purity of gold content). Carat weight varies with each type of stone—diamond, emerald, tourmaline, etc.—because the density, or specific gravity, of each stone type is different. For example, diamond has a specific gravity (S.F.) of 3.51; topaz has an S.F. of 3.60. So, a one-carat topaz will look slightly smaller than a one-carat diamond.
CrownThe top part of the stone above the girdle. Think of it as the bird’s-eye view of the gem.
CuletThe bottom of a gemstone. This can be either a point or a small facet, which is cut parallel to the table.
FacetAny one of the flat, polished, and geometrically arranged surfaces of a cut gemstone. Some gemstone facets have a particular name: for example, the table facet; star facets, which are the top row of facets that adjoin the table facet; and break facets, which adjoin the girdle at both the crown and pavilion.
GirdleThe widest perimeter of a gemstone. The girdle separates the crown from the pavilion.
PavilionThe underside of the stone below the girdle.
ShapeRefers to the outline of the girdle. Among examples are round, oval, pear, marquise, octagonal, heart, triangular, and cushion.
TableThe top flat facet of a gemstone at the center of the crown.

Stone Cuts

Gemstones come in a variety of shapes: round, pear, square, octagonal, oval, heart, and triangular, among others. Each of these shapes may be fashioned into many different cuts. For example, a square-shaped stone may be fashioned into a princess, radiant, cushion, or Asscher cut.

AsscherDeveloped by the Asscher brothers in 1902, the Asscher is a square step-cut stone. There is a distinct ‘X’ pattern in the stone’s table; step-cut facets along the pavilion end in a point. Its 58 facets maximize a gem’s clarity and luster. (The patented Royal Asscher Cut has 74 facets.)
BrilliantAlso called a round brilliant, the cut consists of 57 triangular and kite-shaped facets that spread out from the center of the gem. The culet is pointed. The brilliant cut creates the most sparkle and fire—called scintillation—of any cut.
CabochonThe oldest style of stone cutting, the cabochon, or cab, is a polished gemstone without any facets. It has a flat bottom and a smooth, polished dome top. The special characteristics of some gemstones can only be seen when cut in cabochon—for example asterism (stars), chatoyancy (cat’s-eye), iridescence, adularescence (milky luster), and opacity.
CushionAlso referred to as a pillow cut, the cushion cut has been in use since the 18th century. The modern cut is a square or rectangular shape with usually 58 facets and gently rounded corners.
EmeraldThe emerald cut is a step-cut stone with truncated corners and 50 to 58 facets. This cut emphasizes the gem’s clarity and color.
FantasyInvented in the 1970s by Bernd Munsteiner, the fantasy cut features large, free-form facets. Most of the cutting or carving is on the stone’s pavilion.
Old MineThe old mine cut, in use between 1890 and 1930, is a cushion cut with a smaller table and higher crown than more modern cuts. The pavilion ends in a flat facet rather than a pointed culet.
Old_EuropeanIn use between 1890 and 1930, the old European cut is a round cut with a smaller table and higher crown than more modern cuts. The pavilion ends in a flat facet rather than a pointed culet.
PrincessThe princess cut is a square version of the round brilliant cut, having either 57 or 76 facets for maximum brilliance.
RadiantIn a radiant cut, the corners of a square- or octagonal-shaped gemstone are cropped in a straight line rather than rounded as in a cushion cut. This cut has either 62 or 70 facets, which, unlike the emerald cut, are not rectangular and not parallel.
RoseDating to the 16th century, the rose cut resembles the spiraling petals of a rose bud. A rose-cut stone has no pavilion, just a flat base. Today the crown of a rose-cut gem is dome-shaped with 24 triangular facets. Rose-cut gems are luminous rather than sparkly.
StepUsed for square- or rectangular-shaped stones, a step cut consists of four-sided facets that ascend the crown and are more or less parallel to the table; the facets of the pavilion descend in steps that are more or less parallel to the girdle. In place of a culet, a step-cut stone has a keel (like the bottom of some boats) that runs the length of the pavilion.


18 karat (18k)An alloy of gold that is 75% gold and 25% other metals. Different alloy metals can be added to change the color of the gold, such as 18k rose gold (an alloy of 24k yellow gold and copper) and 18k white gold (an alloy of 24k yellow gold and zinc).
PlatinumA white metal alloy that must be at least 90% pure platinum. It is hypoallergenic.
Sterling SilverA white metal alloy that is 92.5% pure silver. 
Oxidized_SilverA surface treatment causing a chemical reaction to darken sterling silver. This process is used to bring out detail or create contrast.

Parts of a Ring

HeadThe top portion of a ring, which includes the main stone(s) and mounting(s).
ShankThe portion of the ring that goes around the finger from one side of the head to the other.
ShouldersTop third of the shank on either side of the head, usually visible from the top.
UndergalleryThat portion of a mounting below the girdle of the stone where detail can be added to personalize a design.
Side StonesSmaller stones used to accent the center stone that can be set on the head or along the shank.
HaloSmall stones, usually round, that are set around the perimeter of the center stone.
Contour BandA band that conforms to the shape of the engagement ring around its head so that the two fit together. 
Straight_BandA band that has a consistent width and shape around its circumference.
ProngsMetal projections, or tines, that are notched and secured around the girdle of a stone to hold it in place.
BezelA rim of metal that goes all the way around the girdle of a stone and is folded over the girdle to hold the stone in place. A bezel can be complete (all the way around a stone) or partial.
BeadTiny prongs cut out of surrounding metal to secure a stone.
ChannelsBars of metal on each side of a row of stones to hold them in place.

To add pattern and texture, small design elements can be applied to the shank of a ring to enhance the style of the piece. Other enhancements to the metal surface include hand engraving, oxidation (with silver), hammering, and application of gold dust, as well as brushed and matte finishes.

Parts of an Earring

StudA small piece of jewelry that is worn through a small hole in the earlobe. The stud is constructed on the end of a metal post that goes through the ear and is secured by an earring back.
Huggie HoopA circle of metal that hinges open with a post that goes through the ear and is secured by snapping into itself.
Sparkle_CircleA small gold doughnut-shaped circle set with gemstones that enhances the look of jackets but can also be worn by itself from a hoop.
JacketAn interchangeable component that hangs from a hoop or stud by a ring that slides over the earring’s post.

Necklace and Pendant Parts

ClaspA device for fastening the two ends of a necklace together. It is usually intended to be worn at the back of the neck.
PendantA piece of jewelry that hangs from the front of a necklace.
Modullyn_ClaspAn interchangeable component that locks into a modular necklace. It is designed to be worn in the front to change the look or style of the necklace.
BailA ring of metal attached to the top of a pendant that allows it to be hung from a necklace by sliding the chain through the ring.


CuffA rigid bracelet with a gap that encircles the wrist but does not close.
BangleA rigid, closed circle bracelet that is worn by sliding the hand through the bracelet opening
Link_BraceletA flexible bracelet made up of separate components connected by rings or hinges to give the bracelet movement. A clasp fastens the ends together.

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