Gemstone Terminology

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Gemstone Terminology

Brilliance/Lustre – Intensity of the light reflected from a gemstone's or pearl's surface.

Briolette – A pear shaped bead covered with facets, usually with a hole drilled through the top point.

Cabochon - A gemstone with no facets, usually flat on the base with a polished dome shaped surface.

Carat - Unit used to measure the weight of gemstones – 1 carat = 0.2 gm

Facet - Flat polished surfaces cut on the surface of gemstones. A facet is used to create sparkle and to reflect the light from inside the gemstone.

Faceting – The process of making facets on a gemstone.

Fire polished – Glass beads are passed through a flame or furnace, melting the surface of the beads and removing mould/machinery marks, giving greater lustre and a smoother surface.

Focal bead – A focal bead is defined as the bead in a jewellery design that has the most impact.

Gauge – Gauge is the American unit used to measure the thickness of wire.

Inclusion – Is a foreign substance such as a mineral, internal stress fracture or some other imperfection inside a gemstone that occurs when the crystal is forming. Inclusions are like a "finger print” for a gemstone. Different gemstones have a different range of inclusions. Some gemstones, such as sapphire, show different inclusions depending on where they are mined. Inclusions can sometimes be the only way to establish whether a gemstone is created or natural.

Internal characteristics - Imperfections located within the gemstone.

Lariat Necklace – A Lariat necklace is defined as a necklace without a clasp. Lariats can be tied or wrapped in a number of ways creating a variety of looks, and they can be made with any bead/chain/wire wrapped loop combination.

Loupe - Small magnifier used to examine gems, usually 10X.

Nugget – Natural/irregular shaped beads can be either polished or faceted.

Pit/Cavity - Small opening on the surface of a polished gemstone.

Polished – The gemstone surface has been made smooth

Quality - Term that is used to describe the colour, clarity and cut of a stone.

Rough - Gemstone as it is found in nature before undergoing any manufacturing process.

Rutilated - Needles of the mineral Rutile (Gold colour) found in stones.

Simulated – Manmade Gemstones manufactured from natural or synthetic substances to resemble genuine gemstones.

Tourmalated- Needles of black tourmaline found in stones.


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