Jewelry Glossary

Why do you sometimes use millimeters and at other times you use inches in your descriptions?

There are only three countries in the world that do not use the metric system: Liberia, Myanmar and the United States. The United States doesn’t hate the metric system. It hates change. So, here’s the challenge. Crystal beads and pendants are described in millimeters.  Not my choice. That’s just the way they come.  However, I can’t describe an 18 inch necklace as 45.72 centimeters. See my dilemma. I’m stuck between how the rest of the world does things and how the U.S. chooses to do things. Not an easy task for me.

What crystals do I use?

I use Swarovski (also known as Austrian crystals) and Preciosa Czech crystals. Czech crystals are less known in the U.S. but are considered of equal quality to Austrian crystals. Swarovski and Preciosa have their own patented colors and each come in a variety of sizes and shapes. On occasion I will use a glass bead or pendant because of its unique color or shape. This diversity of choices gives me greater freedom to choose the best color and shape for my jewelry designs.

What are AB crystals?

AB stands for Aurora Borealis: a special coating that makes crystals sparkle and iridescent. The Aurora Borealis (AB) coating can be on clear crystal or on colored crystal. Clear AB crystals produce a light rainbow effect of pale yellow, pink and blue hues. I use Swarovski and Preciosa Czech crystals which are known worldwide as the highest quality crystals.

What are vitrail crystals?

Vitrail is a French word meaning stained glass window. Many manufacturers of crystals have vitrail colors, but Swarovski and Preciosa have the best quality. Vitrail crystals come in two colors: light vitrail and medium vitrail. Light vitrail crystals have a special coating of pale purple and blue colors. The result is a kaleidoscope of changing colors reflected by light. Medium vitrail has a deeper, more vibrant color of green with reflective rays of fuchsia, purple, orange, yellow, and a hint of amber. The overall impression is regal and striking.

What is a baguette crystal pendant?

Swarovski’s column-shaped pendant is called the Queen Baguette Pendant. Each baguette is full of architectural and art deco influence. The diamond-shaped facets add modern appeal. The total effect is regal and glamorous.

What is a briolette crystal pendant?

Swarovski has created two shapes of briolettes: a teardrop and a flat shaped style. Beautiful diamond-shaped facets cover the surface of each briolette creating a shimmering, sparkling appearance.

What are crystal pearls?

I use only Austrian and Czech crystal pearls which are considered the highest quality. Czech Preciosa Crystal Nacre Pearls have a crystal ball core which has several coats of nacre applied, using a technology that is very similar to the natural production of pearls. Crystal nacre pearls have a gloss on them which makes them indistinguishable from natural pearls. They are also highly resistant to abrasion, UV radiation, and to alcohol based perfumes. Swarovski Crystal Pearls are smooth, lustrous and flawless like a classic pearl. At the heart of each Swarovski crystal pearl lies a solid core of Swarovski crystal, which is covered in layers of pearlescent "nacre" to create a flawless, silky-smooth surface that resists cosmetics, chemicals and perfumes. This process replicates perfectly the elegance and splendor of a natural pearl.

What are glass pearls?

Glass pearls are less expensive than crystal pearls, yet beautifully mimic the appearance of real pearls. I use Cultura Czech glass pearls because they offer more colors, sizes and uniformity. Unlike cheaper imitators, Cultura Czech glass pearls accurately replicate the luster, weight and feel of genuine pearls and even surpass them in their flawless surfaces.

What are shell pearls?

Shell pearls are man made. The raw material comes from the shell of an oyster. The shell is coated, polished, and shaped into a pearl. Shell pearls are less costly than real pearls, yet provide uniformity in shape, size and color. They are also durable and will always keep their shine and color. Unlike real pearls, shell pearls will not be affected by sweat, perfume or detergents. For these reasons, shell pearls are highly valued in jewelry designs.

What is a bail?

A bail (also spelled bale) is a jewelry term. It is a component of certain types of jewelry, mostly necklaces, that is used to attach a pendant or stone. The bail is usually placed in the center of the necklace where the pendant hangs.

What do the terms 14K Gold filled, vermeil, gold electroplate, gold plating and gold overlay mean?

Gold-filled jewelry is made from a solid layer of gold which is at least 5% of the item’s total weight and is mechanically bonded to either sterling silver (vermeil) or a base metal. Gold-filled jewelry is also 5 to 10 times thicker than regular gold plating, and 15 to 25 times thicker than gold electroplate. Gold plate and gold overlay is generally less than 5% of the item’s weight.

What is antique silver or gold pewter?

I use lead free pewter components that have either an antique gold or antique silver finish.