Jewelry ~ Gemstone

Terms and Definitions

  Bernardine Designer Art Jewelry


Jewelry and Gemstone Glossary of Terms

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Index of Terms

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A hoop-like attachment for a pendant that allows a pendant to be worn on a chain or bailnecklace. Some pins or brooches are supplied with removable bails. These are usually made by soldering a hoop to a small tube which can then be slipped over the pin stem so the piece can also be worn as a necklace on a chain, collar or omega necklace.



A bangle is a rigid bracelet, either wide or narrow, that slips on over the wrist. Typically bangles had a hinge to facilitate putting them on, but many are simply solid metal. A new style of bangle is made with wire beads.


Baroque Pearl

baroque pearlBaroque is a style of art or architecture developed in Europe in the early 17th to the middle of the 18th century. It is used to describe dramatic and bold, curving forms with elaborate ornamentation. Today this term is used, in gemology, to describe a form of irregularly shaped fresh or salt water pearl with an uneven surface. These pearls may be either natural or cultured. They may be slightly round with an irregular surface, coin, stick or cross shaped.



berylBeryl occurs in a variety of colors including green, yellow, greenish-yellow, blue to blue-green, red, colorless and pink. The name is from ancient Greek, beryllos, and means "precious blue-green color". There are extensive references to beryl as a gemstone in folk lore.



bezelA ring or band of metal that surrounds a cabochon or faceted stone. Also, the rim of metal surrounding the watch dial (or face).


Bezel Set

bezel set turquoise ringA bezel setting is a technique of setting a stone in jewelry. The stone is held in place by first soldering the bezel, or metal ring, to the base of the piece. Next, the stone is inserted and the metal is compressed tightly around the stone.



A rock or gemstone associated with the calendar month of birth or a sign of the Zodiac. The origin of birthstones is said to be based on the Breastplate of Aaron which is described in Exodus 28, 15-30. Instructions for fabricating the Breastplate called for the twelve stones of the Twelve Tribes of Israel to be set in four rows. These gemstones corresponded to the zodiac signs of the time.

There are many versions of birthstone charts going back to ancient times. On this site you will find no less than 14 different birthstone lists and charts including:



bloodstoneBloodstone is a soft green jasper mottled with red spots from iron oxide. A type of Chalcedony it is also known as Heliotrope. Bloodstone is a relatively soft stone and is one of the ancient birthstones for February or March.


Blue Opal

A relatively rare translucent stone with a color similar to the ocean in tropical waters, blue opalPeruvian opal is found only in the Andes mountains. It is the national stone of Peru. Much of the material found on the market today is dyed white opal, so if the price is inexpensive buyers should be aware that it is probably a dyed stone as natural stones are quite expensive. It is sometimes difficult to differentiate a dyed stone from the natural, but rotating the stone under light may show uneven coloration which is a common result in dyed stones.


Boulder Opal

Boulder opal forms on a dark ironstone base (the host rock) and occurs as a thin uneven layer adhering to the ironstone. blue boulder opalBecause of the uneven layers, sometimes part of the ironstone is visible on the surface of the stone.

Boulder opal is found in a wide range of colors including: green, blue, aqua, and pink. See opal varieties and opal description for more in depth discussions about this wonderful gemstone.



boneMost bone used in jewelry is either animal bone (frequently cow bone) or dinosaur bonepetrified dinosaur bone. It is used to make beads and cabochons and is sometimes carved to make a solid bangle or ring. Abundantly available, it is often used in place of more expensive ivory, however, bone is not as fine grained as quality ivory and the color is "whiter" rather than "ivory" colored. Agatized dinosaur bone is found in colors of red, brown, yellow and black.



A term used to describe mineral formations where the mineral is found in nature in rounded nodules or masses similar to a bunch of grapes.



Brass is an alloy typically of 60% copper and 40% zinc. See alloy.



Rock composed of sharp-angled fragments embedded in a fine-grained matrix. Some Jaspers and agates are brecciated (pronounced: bretch-e-ated).



brioletteA teardrop shaped faceted gemstone or glass bead. Briolettes are used in bracelets, earrings and necklaces and impart a delicate look to the piece, especially chandelier earrings.



Bronze is an alloy of at least 60% copper and tin or other metals. See alloy.


Brushed Finish

A textured finish made by using a wire brush or other tool to impart fine lines on the metal surface resulting in a matte rather than highly polished surface. This is also known as a satin finish.

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