Glossary of Frequently Used Diamond & Jewelry Terms
Anniversary ring: An anniversary ring is often an embellished band given as an anniversary gift or three stone ring, representing your past, present and future.
Antique or vintage: Designs that are influenced by past style trends are most often referred to as antique or vintage engagement rings. These designs can include such details as beading, milgrain, art deco influences, engraving, scallop or scroll work and pavé set diamonds.
Asscher cut: Asscher cut diamonds are simply a variation of the classic emerald cut. Asscher cuts are square in shape and have distinct cut corners, which add to its geometric appeal, making the diamond appear almost octagonal. However, it is the pavilion (bottom part of the diamond) that defines the uniqueness of this shape, which has a "scissor cut" with all facets, step-cut down toward the culet (point on the bottom).
Air holes: Air holes are the small holes drilled inside the ring to create light beneath the diamonds, allowing them to show more brilliance and shine. They also assist in the ease of cleaning these small diamonds.
Baguette: A rectangular-shaped stone with step-cut facets - looks similar to an emerald cut and are most often used as side stones. If a baguette’s long sides taper inward, it is referred to as a ‘tapered baguette’.
Bar set: A ‘bar’ is a thin piece of metal that sits vertically to hold the stone(s). Similar to a channel setting, however, the ‘channel’ is perpendicular to the band. When there is a series of stones set next to each other using this technique, you will see a narrow bar between each one.
Beading or milgrain: This detail is most often seen as an embellishment on antique or vintage inspired designs. Beading or milgrain is representative of little ‘beads’ of metal used to accent the edge of a setting or its design features like the halo, bezel or as a pattern to add additional adornment to the style.
Bezel: A bezel is a style of setting that uses no prongs rather a rim of metal holds the stone, completely surrounding it, leaving only the upper portion, above the girdle, showing. Bezels can be plain metal or accented with diamonds or gems and often have smooth edges, but can be scalloped or molded into any shape to accommodate the stone.
Brilliance: Diamond brilliance is comprised of two components brightness and contrast. It is the sparkle you see when light is reflected from the surface as well as the total internal reflection of light.
Brilliant-cut: A brilliant cut diamond has numerous facets which maximize light return through the top of the diamond creating exceptional brilliance (sparkle). A round brilliant-cut diamond has 58 facets. Other brilliant cuts include the heart, oval, marquise and pear shaped.
Burnish set: Sometimes referred to as ‘flush set’ this style of setting is where the stone is inserted into a tapered hole that has been drilled into the band, and a burnishing tool is then used to push the metal all around the stone, so that the stone is flush with the surface of the band.
Carat: Carat (ct) is the unit of measure for the weight of diamonds and gemstones. One carat can be divided into 100 points, so a 0.25 carat stone can also be referred to as 25 points.
Cathedral setting: A cathedral setting is a style of ring where either side of the band arches up and reaches towards the center stone.
Certification: Also known as Diamond Grading Reports, these are certificates that accompany lab-grown diamonds or earth-mined diamonds which state the 4Cs of the stone. We most often work with the IGI, EGL USA and the GIA. Lab-grown diamond certification notes that the diamond is ‘laboratory grown’.
Channel setting: Channel setting is a style of setting where the stones line up next to each other and are supported between two bars or strips of metal, referred to as channels.
Clarity: Clarity is referred to as the purity or quality of a diamond and is the relative measurement of the inclusions and blemishes as determined by a gemologist using a special scope and a 10x magnification loupe. It is the visibility, number and size of these inclusions that determine the diamond's clarity grade. The better the clarity of a diamond is, the greater the brilliance and it also increases the value or price of the diamond. Diamond clarity is measured on a scale from Flawless (FL) or Internally Flawless (IF) to Included (I1, I2, and I3). Each of these characteristics are plotted on a diamond diagram that is included on the diamond's grading certificate.
Claw Prong: A claw prong is a style choice where each of the prongs holding the stone are shaped into a shaper point or claw.
Cleavage: The natural areas of a diamond or gem where weak bonds hold the atoms together. When a stone is cut, the cutter will ‘split’ the stone along these planes/the cleavage lines.
Color: Diamond ‘color’ is graded on a scale from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown). A diamond graded as colorless allows more light to pass through the stone making it sparkle more and increases the overall value.
Crown: This is the upper portion or the top of a diamond from the girdle up.
Culet: The bottom point of the diamond.
Cushion cut: The cushion cut has a square or rectangular outline with rounded corners. While the preferred shape has a 1:1 ratio, we most often see the cushion in a slightly elongated to elongated shape. The cushion cut is also referred to as an ‘antique square or modified cushion’ when cut in the square shape. It has 58 brilliant facets that resemble a pillow shape, hence the name “Cushion”. The cushion shape is an ‘antique style of cut’, evolved from the "Old Mine Cut" that was developed before the turn of the century.
Cut: The cut is considered the most important quality of a diamond, yet it is the least understood of the 4Cs. The cut of a diamond is imperative in determining how light passes through the stone – which affects the fire, brilliance, and sparkle.
Diamond: A diamond is a precious gem, comprised of a crystalline form of pure carbon, the hardest naturally occurring substance.
Diamond Grading Reports: Also known as Certification, these are certificates that accompany lab-grown diamonds or earth-mined diamonds which state the 4Cs of the stone. We most often work with the IGI, EGL USA and the GIA. Lab-grown diamond certification notes that the diamond is 'laboratory grown'.
Diamond Hybrid®: The Diamond Hybrid is created by placing a perfectly cut crystal core or substrate into a chamber of intense heat and pressure and infusing lab-created diamond crystals, or bonding them at a molecular level, into the outer layers of the crystal core. These Lab created diamond crystals stack up on the core and realign with each other. The finished product is a diamond infused simulant that has a non precious crystal core and a solid outer layer of lab-created diamond that will never wear off or detach from the core.
Dispersion: Sometimes referred to as fire, dispersion is the break-up of white light into a spectrum of colors.
Double prong: A Double Prong is when two prongs of the same size and shape are created side-by-side to hold the stone in place. This style of prong setting is purely decorative and also adds security.
Emerald cut: The emerald-cut is among the most classic of diamond shapes and is usually cut into a rectangular shape. Its clean lines come from step-cutting, or parallel line facets and it is always cut with blocked (cut) corners. The length-to-width ratios for the emerald cut is typically 1.5:1 ratio, meaning that the length of the stone is be about 1½ times the width of the stone, which is the correct way to cut a true emerald shape, however, the emerald can also be cut into a square shape where it is referred to as a ‘square emerald’ which can look similar to the Asscher cut.
Engagement ring: An Engagement Ring is ring worn on the left hand's ring finger that signifies your commitment to marriage or being 'taken'.
Engraving: Engraving, whether created by hand or with a laser, is a form of etching that adds design details to the outer band of a ring or is used to inscribe a personal message inside of a band.
Eternity: Sometimes referred to as “Full” Eternity. This is when a ring’s side stones extend all the way around the band without any plain metal showing.
Facet: A facet is any flat polished surface of a diamond or gemstone. Diamonds and gemstones are cut with many facets and when placed properly they are what gives a diamond its fire, color, and brilliance.
Fancy Cut: A fancy cut is any diamond shape other than round, such as an oval, pear or marquise.
Flush fit: Sometimes referred to as ‘burnish set’ this style of setting is where the stone is inserted into a tapered hole that has been drilled into the band, and a burnishing tool is then used to push the metal all around the stone, so that the stone is flush with the surface of the band.
Feather: A feather is a type of inclusion or flaw within a diamond. It is described often as a small crack or fissure.
Fire: A feather is a type of inclusion or flaw within a diamond. It is described often as a small crack or fissure.
Fluorescence: Fluorescence happens when a diamond is exposed to ultraviolet light, it may emit a soft glow of white-ish, blue-ish or yellowish light. Diamond Grading Reports will most often note whether a diamond has fluorescence, however, is not considered a grading factor, only a characteristic of that particular diamond.
Girdle: The girdle is a thin perimeter line that runs around a diamond, dividing the crown above from the pavilion below. Ideally the width of the girdle should be even and proportional to the cut of the stone. A girdle can be polished or unpolished and usually has no impact on the appearance or value of the diamond.
Girdle reflection: A girdle reflection is caused by the pavilion facets, and appears to be at first glance a crack or feather inclusion in the stone. By tilting your diamond at different angles, the girdle reflection can shift in its position. The size of the reflection is proportional to the girdle thickness of your diamond. Depending on your diamond’s proportions, you might see a thinner or thicker reflection.
Gold: Gold is a precious metal represented by the chemical element Au. Pure gold is yellow in color and soft, which is why it is usually alloyed with other metals, such as silver, copper, platinum or palladium, to increase its strength or alter its color.
Half Bezel: Also referred to as a semi-bezel. A half bezel is a style of setting that uses no prongs rather a rim of metal holds the stone, surrounding two sides while leaving two sides open, exposing the diamond’s girdle. Half bezels are typically plain metal.
Halo: The halo is a part of an engagement ring that encircles the center stone. A halo can be any shape and is accented with diamonds or gemstones. Halo designs accentuate the center stone making it appear half to one carat larger.
Hardness: Generally measured using the MOHS scale. Resistance a material offers to scratching or abrasion.
Hardness: Generally measured using the MOHS scale. Resistance a material offers to scratching or abrasion.
Inclusion: An inclusion is sometimes referred to as a flaw. It is an internal characteristics of the stone that can be seen by the naked eye or under under magnification. Inclusions are impurities in the stone appearing as bubbles, crystals, carbon spots, feathers, clouds, pinpoints, cracks or abrasions. It is these characteristics are one-of-a-kind to each diamond, similar to a unique fingerprint.
Invisible setting: An invisible setting is where the stones (typically princess or emerald cut) are set next to each other without any visible metal holding them in place - creating the appearance of a solid surface of stones.
Karat: Karat (k) is the unit of measure for the weight and purity of gold.
Knife edge: A knife edge is a decorative element on a band where the edge of the band tapers towards the center or slants in, coming to a slight point or knife.
Lab-created diamond: Lab-created diamonds (also known as man-made diamonds, lab-grown diamonds, synthetic diamonds, and/or cultured diamonds) are grown in highly-controlled laboratory conditions that simulate the earth’s natural growing environment, producing real diamonds that are optically, physically and chemically identical to earth mined diamonds.
They are grown using one of two different techniques. Each process produces pure carbon diamonds when complete, however they are often used for different application. High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) is our primary growing process, while Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) is commonly used to produce diamonds for industrial purposes.
Loupe: A small magnifying glass that is mounted for hand use, often used to look at diamonds or jewelry settings. It can be held up to the eye or attach to a pair of glasses.
Matched set: When referring to diamonds a matched set is a pair with virtually identical characteristics (4cs) and proportions. When referring to jewelry a matched set most often an engagement ring and wedding band that were crafted to go together to be a perfect match of fit and style.
Mandrel: A tool used by jewelers to determine the size of an existing ring. Most jewelers use the bottom or leading edge of the ring to determine the size, others use the middle of the ring. It is important to note that there can be slight variances between ring mandrels, even those that come from the same manufacturer.
Marquise shape: The Marquise cut is an elongated shape with tapering points at both ends. Its shape allows the cutter to maximize carat weight, giving the appearance of a larger-looking diamond and tends to flatter the finger, making it appear longer. The most traditional marquise-cut diamonds, have a length-to-width ratios between 1.75 and 2.25.
Micro-pavé: A micro-pavé setting is similar to a pavé setting where the band appears to be paved with tiny diamonds. The difference is that micro-pavé settings use even smaller diamond and prongs or beads to hold the tiny diamonds in place, while leaving very little metal exposed.
Milgrain or Beading: This detail is most often seen as an embellishment on antique or vintage inspired designs. Milgrain is representative of little ‘beads’ of metal used to accent the edge of a setting or its design features like the halo, bezel or as a pattern to add additional adornment to the style.
Mixed-cut: This cut is a combination of the modified brilliant cut and the step-cut. Mixed cuts combine the beauty of the emerald cut with the sparkle of the brilliant cut. The most successful and popular mixed cut is the Princess cut.
MOHS Scale: The MOHS scale of mineral hardness was created in 1812 by the German geologist and mineralogist Friedrich Mohs. It characterizes the scratch resistance of various minerals through the ability of a harder material to scratch a softer material. For example a diamond is the hardest substance known at a 10 on the MOHS scale.
Melee: Melee diamonds are very small diamonds. The diamond weight for melee diamonds range from as low as 0.001 carats (1000th/carat) to 0.18 carats.
Palladium: Similar to platinum, palladium is an incredibly dense, strong and hypoallergenic precious metal, and does not need rhodium plating for its strength or color - making palladium the perfect option for people who love the look, feel and luxuriousness of platinum jewelry, but prefer the lower price point.
Pavé: A pavé setting is a band that appears to be paved with tiny diamonds. Pavé settings use small prongs or beads to hold the diamonds in place, leaving very little metal exposed.
Pavilion Bottom portion of the stone, under the girdle, measuring to the culet. It is the area below the girdle consisting of 23 facets in the round-brilliant-cut diamond.
Pear shape: The pear shape most resembles a ‘teardrop’ with its rounded end on one side and a tapering point at the other. The pear is considered a feminine shape and the more elongated its shape is, the more slender your fingers will appear. Pear shape diamonds can vary in their length and width ratios, with the most common ratios varying between 1.45 and 1.75.
Pendant: A pendant is a piece of jewelry (necklace) that hangs from a chain worn around the neck.
Platinum: Platinum is one of the strongest and most durable metals used in jewelry and does not have to be mixed with other alloys for strength, nor does it need to be plated with rhodium to give it, its bright shiny finish. Because of its purity, platinum is also hypoallergenic, so those with sensitivities to nickel do not have to worry about an allergic reaction when wearing platinum. Platinum is an excellent metal to use with very fine delicate settings that can benefit from its strength.
Point: A point is one-hundredth of a carat - 100 points are equivalent to a 1.0ct diamond.
Polish: Polish refers to the degree of smoothness of each diamond. All finished diamonds are polished using a polishing wheel.
Princess cut: The princess cut is a modern classic with clean, square lines and beautiful sparkle. The shape of the Princess is distinguishable by its sharp right-angle corners and it is second most popular shape, after the round brilliant. The cut of this diamond shape combines the step cut of the emerald cut with the triangular facets of the brilliant cut. This princess is the perfect choice if you prefer a square shape but want the brilliance of a round.
Prong: A prong is a metal tip, bead or arm reaches up towards and touches the stone from the head or basket - and holding the stone in place. This style of setting usually consists of four or six prongs, but can also consist of different styles like V-tip, claw, double or 3 prong martini. Using a prong setting exposes the girdle, allowing the maximum amount of light to enter a stone from all angles.
Radiant cut: The radiant cut is either a square or rectangle in shape, and like the emerald, the radiant cut is distinguishable by its blocked (cut) corners. The radiant is a beautiful combination of the classic emerald cut but with the faceted sparkle of the round brilliant or princess cut, because it combines the step cutting of the emerald with the triangular faceting of the brilliant cut.
Refraction: The bending of light as it passes through a diamond or gemstone.
Refractive Index or Index of Refraction: The refractive index determines how much light is bent, or refracted, when entering a material.
Rough: Rough refers to uncut diamonds or gemstones in their natural state.
Scintillation: Scintillation is the intense sparkle that comes from a diamond when it moves. Black and white sparkles of scintillation show well in flood lit or office lighting environments where fire can be totally absent. Under pin point or spot lights fire also adds to scintillation.
Shape: The phrase diamond shape refers to the form or general outline of a diamond. It is not uncommon to confuse the ‘shape’ and ‘cut’ of a diamond, as they are considered to be synonyms, which is understandable because diamond “names” include the word cut, such as princess cut or emerald cut. However there is a significant difference between the shape and cut of a diamond. Shape describes a diamond's form, symmetry and proportions (e.g. round, square, triangle) whereas cut refers to the specifications (e.g. ideal, excellent, very good) of a diamond.
Simulant: A simulant has an appearance similar to that of a natural gemstone, but has different optical, physical, and chemical properties. Examples of diamond simulants are the Diamond Hybrid® or white sapphires.
Solitaire: A solitaire ring has a single diamond or stone set by itself in mounting.
Split shank: A split shank engagement ring is a style feature where the band (or shank) splits opening towards the center stone creating two or more arms that reach towards the head or basket.
Stacking or stacked set: A stacked set refers to the stacking of multiple bands or rings together - creating a unique stacked look. It can also be where an engagement ring is paired with more than one back creating a ‘sandwiching’ effect.
Step cut: Stones whose outlines are either square or rectangular and whose facets are rectilinear and arranged parallel to the girdle are known as step cut stones. The emerald cut and the asscher are examples of the step cut.
Synthetic: Synthetic is defined as a material or chemical created to imitate a natural product. Examples of synthetic diamonds are Moissanite or cubic zirconium (CZ) - these products are created to imitate the beauty of diamonds, however they have no carbon properties. Lab-created diamonds are 100% crystallized carbon, they are real diamonds NOT synthetic.
Table: The table is the top surface of a finished diamond or gemstone.
Tension setting: A tension setting uses pressure to hold (or squeeze) a stone between two ‘bars’ or open ends of the setting - creating the illusion that the stone is floating.
Three Stone Ring: A three stone ring is often given as an anniversary band representing the past, present and future, however, they can also be worn as an engagement or cocktail ring. Three stone rings allow the wearer to mix and match stone shapes or colors to create a personalized design.
Trillion shape: A Trillion is a triangular-shaped diamond that either has flat sides or bows out. Trillions are commonly used as side-stones.
Wedding Set: A wedding set is the pairing of an engagement ring and wedding band, creating either a ‘matched set’ or a mixed set.