The Informed Shopper: Jewelry Terms

Have you ever been shopping for jewelry and come across an unfamiliar term? Or found a piece you love but have no idea how to describe it? Unfamiliar jewelry terminology can easily make a shopper feel intimidated or unsure. Here at, we have created a simple Jewelry Terms Dictionary so you can feel confident and informed when shopping for Jewelry!

Birthstones – Every month has a stone (or two!) that is assigned as the designated birthstone. Check out our information page about birthstones Here!

Carat (ct) – Unit to measure the weight of any gemstone. Check out our blog with more info about Carats Here!

Clasp – The type of closure a necklace has. There are numerous styles but the lobster clasp and spring-ring clasp are two of the most common.

Hallmarking – A stamp imprinted on a piece of jewelry indicating its purity. Common hallmarks are 18K, 14K, 10K for gold and 950 and 925 for sterling silver.

Halo – A piece of jewelry that has a main stone surrounded by smaller accent stones, creating a halo.

Karat (K) – Unit to measure gold purity. Pure gold is 24K. Common gold purities in jewelry are 18K, 14K, and 10K. Check out our blog with more info about Karats Here!

Plating – A plated piece of jewelry is a less valuable metal that has been dipped into gold or rhodium, giving it the appearance of a fine metal. Plating means the piece is not solid gold or silver.

Setting – A diamond or gemstone setting is how the stone is secured in position. There are a variety of setting types including:

  • Prong Setting: Prongs, which look like claws, secure the gemstone in place.
  • Pavé Setting: Small stones are set close together, often seen accenting large stones.
  • Channel Setting: Stones are held in place within a grooved channel. 
  • Bezel Setting: A gemstone is secured by a thin collar-like piece of metal.

Solitaire – A piece of jewelry that has a single main gemstone. Often used to describe rings, earrings, and necklaces.

Treated Stones – Stones that have undergone a type of treatment to improve its natural characteristics. Some treatments lower a stones value. For more information about treated stones, see our information pages Here!

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