Jeweler’s Jargon: Technical Terms Defined

The hunt for a piece of fine jewelry can be a serious matter, often imbued with deep significance. Whether it’s a birthday gift, anniversary necklace, or an engagement ring, you’ll want to choose the perfect piece.

It can be difficult to decide what type of look you want. On top of that, having to figure out what dozens of new terms mean can be confusing and exhausting!

Read on for some essential definitions that will help you know exactly how to communicate with your jeweler, so you’re sure to choose a piece that will be treasured for years to come.


Often the centerpiece of jewelry, gems are an essential component to the decision process. But with so many to choose from, how can you decide? Color, quality, and origin are factors that may be on your mind.

Solitaire: This term describes any piece of jewelry that features a single gemstone. Often referring to diamonds, a solitaire piece will put the stone front and center. This is a classic style for engagement rings.

Lab-grown: True to its name, this term refers to gems that are grown in a lab. It’s important to note that these stones are identical in molecular structure to their natural counterparts, minus any potential imperfections that mined gems might have. Physically and visually, lab-grown stones are on par with natural stones, and they provide an economical alternative in jewelry.

Cubic Zirconia: This term refers to a man-made diamond alternative. While we don’t sell this kind of gem, Cubic Zirconia was first produced in 1929 and entered the jewelry world in the 1970s. Chemically different from diamonds, yet visually very similar, cubic zirconia runs about 1/10 the price of diamonds.

Cuts of stones

The cut of stone determines its look. From princess to round brilliant to emerald, and beyond, the cut of a stone gives it its style and sparkle.

Brilliance: Sometimes also called brightness, brilliance refers to how much light is reflected through the stone to the eye. The higher the brilliance, the more desirable the gem. More sparkle, please!

Beveled edge: This term can be used for stones or metalwork. It refers to a flat edge meeting the surface at a 45-degree angle.

Facet: This term refers to any of the many flat surfaces of a gem, cut at specific angles to reflect light up through the top of the gem.

Table: This is the flat top of a stone (usually a diamond). It’s the largest and most important facet, where the light is reflected to shine out of.

Culet: Most diamonds have a pointed culet, where the tapered edges come together in a perfect point at the base of the diamond. Sometimes, a jeweler will cut another facet at the bottom of the gem, creating a flat culet. Often, a pointed culet is seen as the most desirable.


Carat: This term is a unit of weight for precious stones. Diamonds are often categorized by carats, and 1 carat is 200 milligrams.

Karat: Karats measure the purity of gold. Pure gold is 24 karats, where all 24 parts are gold. 14 karat gold contains 14 parts gold, 10 parts of another metal. Gold jewelry usually contains other metals to provide strength and durability to the gold.

Alloy: An alloy is a mixture of two or more metals. High-quality silver is often combined with 7.5% copper, and gold can be combined parts of with silver, copper, nickel, or zinc. Alloys give the metal resilience and stability, and you can always ask your jeweler what metals each piece contains.

There you have it! Familiarity with these terms will make your search more straightforward, and it should ease any communication you have with jewelry specialists. We can’t wait to see which pieces you decide on!

Click here to find the right specialist near you.