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An alloy is a combination of two or more metals. Common alloys used in jewelry are: gold under 24 Kt (mixed with silver, copper, and/or other metals), sterling silver (92.5% silver, 7.5% copper), brass (roughly half copper, half zinc), bronze (at least 60% copper with tin and perhaps other metals), and pewter (tin, lead, antimony, and a bit of silver or copper).


Antique brass items have been plated with a brass finish over raw brass and then oxidized. The items are then coated with a protective lacquer finish.
The reason for the plating is simple: raw brass will stain your skin and clothing a greenish black. When cared for properly, professionally finished pieces will stay beautiful for years to come.


It is a metal finish applied to both jewelry findings and beads which gives it a yellowish to greenish-brown color.


It is a metal finish applied to both jewelry findings and beads which gives it a reddish-brown color.


It is a metal finish applied to both jewelry findings and beads which gives it a golden yellow color.


is a metal finish applied to both jewelry findings and beads which gives it a medium to dark grey color.


Argentium Silver is the most tarnish resistant silver available today – it is available in a wide range of products, is firescale free and whilst perfectly malleable in an annealed state, can easily be made almost twice as hard as annealed traditional sterling silver.


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A bangle is a stiff bracelet. Some bangles have a hinge, others are solid and must be slipped over the hand.


An elementary substance that has basic rather than acidic properties.  Term is often used by beaders to refer to any non-precious metal such as copper, nickel, tin, or zinc.  Also used to refer to alloys such as brass, bronze, and steel.


Any small or rounded component, made from a variety of materials, with a hole through it; to be strung singularly or with others in a sequence.


Black pearls (also called Tahitian pearls) are dark-colored pearls. They are produced by the large, black-lipped pearl oyster Pinctada margaritifera (also called the Tahitian black pearl oyster), a mollusk found in the tropical Indo-Pacific Ocean. Black pearls come in many colors, including many body shades and overtone tints including gray (light gray to almost black), peacock green (especially valuable), aubergine (eggplant), and deep brown. The color of the dark nacre is determined by the minerals in the oyster’s diet (plankton) and in its environment. Many “black pearls” are dyed or irridiated to enhance or change their color; it is difficult to tell a natural pearl from a treated pearl. Tahitian pearls are graded on six factors: 1.Shape (round is most valued), 2.Size (the larger the better), 3.Surface Quality= (clean is superior to blemished), 4.Luster (the more high-gloss luster the better), 5.Nacre Thickness (thicker is better and longer lasting), 6.Color (overtones atop the body color add value to the pearl. The most sought-after color is peacock green and darker colors are more valuable Overtone colors include blue, pink, gold, silver, aubergine, and peacock green)


A bracelet is an ornament worn wrapped around the wrist. Types of bracelets include solid and hinged bangles, expansion, cuff, beaded, charm, spiral, Yurman-style and, and link bracelets.


Brass is a metal alloy containing (at least 50%) copper and zinc. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. Some types of brass are called bronzes, despite their high zinc content. Brass is a valuable manufacturing material because of its hardness and workability.


Bronze is a metal alloy containing (at least 60%) copper plus tin and other metals.


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Charms are tiny, representational ornaments that are worn on bracelets and necklaces.


A silver or gold chain formed with round, uniform links joined together. A standard type of jewelry chain.


Short(generally 14-inch) necklace, usually beads or pearls or chain.


A clasp is a fastener that can open and close, attaching two things together (for example, the two ends of a necklace, or a pin to a garment). The clasp on a piece of jewelry can tell you a lot about the piece, including giving an indication of its age (by determining when that particular type of clasp was invented and looling at the wear on the clasp), its quality (better quality pieces generally have better-quality clasps), and its composition and manufacturer (the clasp is often where the maker’s stamps are). For example, the spring ring clasp was invented early in the 1900’s; jewelry made prior to 1900 or so will not have a spring ring clasp. Some other common clasps include the lobster claw clasp, the box clasp, the barrel clasp, the fold-over clasp, the hook-and-eye clasp, and the bar and ring toggle clasp.


Multiple gem stones grouped together in a jewelry setting. This is used for cluster rings, cluster pendants and cluster earrings.


Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu (Latin: cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is rather soft and malleable, and a freshly-exposed surface has a pinkish or peachy color. It is used as a thermal conductor, an electrical conductor, a building material, and a constituent of various metal alloys.


Coral is an animal that grows in colonies in the ocean. Coral polyps secrete a strong calcium structure that is used in jewelry making. Coral ranges in color from pale pink (called angelskin coral) to orange to red to white to black. The most valued colors are deep red (called noble coral) and pink. In jewelry making, coral is either carved into beads, cameos, or other forms, or is left in its natural branch-like form and just polished. It used to be thought that coral protected the wearer, so it was a traditional gift to children. Coral has a hardness of about 3.5 and a specific gravity of 2.6 to 2.7. Since it is composed of calcium carbonate, coral will effervesce if touched with acid. Imitation coral is made from glass, porcelain, or plastic.


Crystal is high-quality glass containing at least 10% lead oxide. Lead added to the melt produces very clear glass resembling rock crystal. The process of making lead crystal was discovered by the English glassmaker George Ravenscroft in 1676. Crystal is colored by adding various metallic oxides to the melt.


Cubic zirconia(also known as Cubic zirconium) is a synthetic gemstone that very closely resembles diamonds. Because of its startling diamond-like appearance and inexpensive price tag, cubic zirconia is a highly popular gemstone used most frequently in jewelry such as rings, earrings, bracelets and pendants. Although cubic zirconia is synthetic, it is inspired by its natural counterpart, zirconium oxide (ZrO2), first discovered in 1892 but too rare to be commercially profitable.


A cuff is an extra layer of fabric at the lower edge of the sleeve of a garment covering the arms. Cuffs may be made by turning back the material, or a separate band of material may be sewn on or worn separately attached by buttons or studs.


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A freshwater pearl is a pearl that was harvested from a freshwater mussel (a mollusk). These pearls are frequently shaped like crisped rice cereal, and are less valuable than oyster pearls. Biwa pearls are very good quality freshwater pearls.


Findings are the parts that jewelers use in making jewelry. For example, clasps, hooks, pin backs, jump rings, and earring backs are findings.


The texture or polish on any piece of jewelry.


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A gemstone or gem is a piece of attractive mineral, which—when cut and polished—is used to make jewelry or other adornments. However certain rocks, (such as lapis-lazuli) and organic materials (such as amber or jet) are not minerals, but are still used for jewelry, and are therefore often considered to be gemstones as well. Most gemstones are hard, but some soft minerals are used in jewelry because of their lustre or other physical properties that have aesthetic value. Rarity is another characteristic that lends value to a gemstone. Apart from jewelry, from earliest antiquity until the 19th century engraved gems and hardstone carvings such as cups were major luxury art forms; the carvings of Carl Fabergé were the last significant works in this tradition.


The thickness or diameter of sheet metal or wire. The smaller the number, the larger the wire.


Gold-filled jewelry also known as “rolled gold” or “rolled gold plate” is composed of a solid layer of gold bonded with heat and pressure to a base metal such as brass. Some high quality gold-filled pieces have the same appearance as 14 karat (58%) gold.


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A hinge is a type of bearing that connects two solid objects, typically allowing only a limited angle of rotation between them. Two objects connected by an ideal hinge rotate relative to each other about a fixed axis of rotation. Hinges may be made of flexible material or of moving components.


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inside diameter.


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The component parts or materials used in making a piece of jewelry.


A plain wire ring of any size, usually round or oval in shape, used for attaching jewelry parts. In general, the ends of the wire are bent together, but not soldered.


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Generally a split ring onto which keys are forced by prying apart the split sections; sometimes made of spring-loaded holders or screw and ball threaded devices.


Measure of the quality of gold.  24 karat (24k) is pure gold.  Anything less than 24k is an allow.  For instance, 12k is 50% gold.


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Newly manufactured pewter should be a lead free alloy because older pewters with higher lead content are heavier, tarnish faster, and oxidation gives them a darker silver-grey color.


A metal clasp that gets its name from its “lobster claw” shape. A lobster clasp that is rounded (curvy) is called a parrot clasp.


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The Moh’s Scale measures the relative hardness of various substances. It uses ten reference minerals. The hardness of a substance is determined by scratching it against a reference mineral. If it scratches that mineral, then it is of equal hardness or harder than that mineral, otherwise it is softer then that mineral. The picture below shows the minerals that are used on the Moh’s Scale.

Diamond is ranked as number 10, the hardest substance on this scale. The softest mineral is talc. Graphite ranks between 1 and 2 on this hardness scale.


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Onyx is a cryptocrystalline form of quartz. The colors of its bands range from white to almost every color (save some shades, such as purple or blue). Commonly, specimens of onyx available contain bands of colors of white, tan, and brown. Sardonyx is a variant in which the colored bands are sard (shades of red) rather than black. Pure black onyx is common, and perhaps the most famous variety, but not as common as onyx with banded colors.


outside diameter.


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Pewter is a malleable metal alloy, traditionally between 85 and 99 percent tin, with the remainder consisting of copper, antimony, bismuth and lead. Copper and antimony act as hardeners while lead is common in the lower grades of pewter, which have a bluish tint. It has a low melting point, around 170–230 °C, depending on the exact mixture of metals. The word pewter is probably a variation of the word spelter, a colloquial name for zinc.


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Patina is a green surface texture created by slow chemical alteration of copper, producing a base (chemistry) basic carbonate. It can form on pure copper objects as well as alloys which contain copper, such as bronze or brass. Patinas form on metal from exposure to the elements. They are often deliberately added by artists and metalworkers. Patinas may be used to ‘antique’ objects, as a part of the design or decoration of art.


Plating is a surface covering in which a metal is deposited on a conductive surface. Plating has been done for hundreds of years, but it is also critical for modern technology. Plating is used to decorate objects, for corrosion inhibition, to improve solderability, to harden, to improve wearability, to reduce friction, to improve paint adhesion, to alter conductivity, for radiation shielding, and for other purposes. Jewelry typically uses plating to give a silver or gold finish.


Any article or ornament suspended from a chain or necklace worn around the neck.


A pin-like finding attached to an earring. It passes through the pierced earlobe and is usually secured by a clutch.


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Raw materials or substances are in their natural state before being processed or used in manufacturing.


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Sterling silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% by weight of silver and 7.5% by weight of other metals, usually copper. The sterling silver standard has a minimum millesimal fineness of 925.

Fine silver (99.9% pure) is generally too soft for producing functional objects; therefore, the silver is usually alloyed with copper to give it strength, while at the same time preserving the ductility and beauty of the precious metal. Other metals can replace the copper, usually with the intent to improve various properties of the basic sterling alloy such as reducing casting porosity, eliminating firescale, and increasing resistance to tarnish. These replacement metals include germanium, zinc and platinum, as well as a variety of other additives, including silicon and boron. A number of alloys, such as Argentium sterling silver have appeared in recent years, formulated to lessen firescale or to inhibit tarnish, and this has sparked heavy competition among the various manufacturers, who are rushing to make claims of having the best formulation. However, no one alloy has emerged to replace copper as the industry standard, and alloy development is a very active.


Swarovski is a company known for its amazing crystal in the form of figurines, finished jewelry, beads, and jewelry components. The company’s patented technique helps create high-quality crystal that has beautiful luster and sparkle to it. While there are many other types of crystal beads and jewelry components on the market, Swarovski is still known for making the highest quality crystal in the industry. Though numerous bead and jewelry supply vendors sell products from Swarovski, the original factory was founded in Austria in 1895.


Solid gold means just that. The item is made out of gold and nothing else. Gold is alloyed (mixed) with other material because pure gold, 24 karat, is so soft and weak that it won’t hold a shape very well. It is easily bent and deformed. Items made from alloyed gold materials are still considered to be solid gold with the stamp that shows the karat or blend of the material used to make the item.


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The method of attaching necklaces or bracelets whereby a rigid metal bar (plain or highly decorated) is inserted through a ring. When the bar is turned sideways, it is prevented from coming back through the ring, providing closure.


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Vermeil is a combination of sterling silver, gold, and other precious metals. It is commonly used as a component in jewelry. A typical example is sterling silver coated with 14 carat (58%) gold. To be considered vermeil, the gold must be at least 10 carat (42%) and be at least 2.5 micrometres thick


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Yellow gold is gold that has been alloyed with a mix of 50% copper and 50% silver.


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Zircon (zircon silicate) is a lustrous gemstone that comes in colors ranging from golden brown to red to violet to blue. Pure zircon is colorless, but most zircon stones are brown. Zircon stones can be heat-treated to become blue or colorless; sometimes, heat-treated stones revert to their original color. Clear zircon is sometimes sold (intentionally or otherwise) as diamond. It has a hardness of 7.5 and a specific gravity of 3.90-4.71.

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