This A-Z list of commonly used jewelry terms is THE ultimate guide to all of the important terms used to describe rings and other jewelry. Plus, each is represented with an image example to make it even easier to become a jewelry design expert!
Glossary of Jewelry Terms
An abalone gemstone is formed from the shell of a sea gastropod or mollusc by the same name. These shells are sold by the industries that farm molluscs for meat, which makes the process of sourcing abalone eco-friendly. The shell is hand cut and polished, enabling its use in our jewelry as an inlay.
Alexandrite is the June Birthstone and it was discovered by a Finnish mineralogist and named after Tsar Alexander II of Russia, the then-ruler of Finland. It has a very unique purple-blue-green hue that changes color from different angles.
A form of quartz, amethyst is a semiprecious stone and the February birthstone.
This beautiful, natural material can be used as a ring inlay or on the inner sleeve of a ring. Antler patterns vary greatly in pattern, color and darkness. Choose from naturally shed specimens we keep in stock or send us your own antler to use in a deer antler ring. There’s no upcharge either way!
The March birthstone Aquamarine is a gorgeous blue stone that was believed by the Romans to protect the wearer from harm while at sea.
This is a more specific type of prong setting that secures the stone in a basket shape. Several prongs grip the stone, while additional horizontal prongs reinforce the overall setting. Basket settings are one of the most secure ways to hold a gemstone.
The beveled ring profile option is where the edge is 45 degrees to the top surface of the ring. This creates a crisp edge that gives the ring a modern, precision-engineered look.
A bezel setting is when a stone is surrounded by the surface metal. The entire top of the gemstone is visible, but the bottom and sides are encased within the metal of the setting, making bezel settings the most secure way to secure a stone.
Birthstone jewelry correlates each month to a particular gemstone (sometimes more than one). Birthstones are commonly used in Custom Mother’s Rings; all children are represented by their respective birthstones. Heart-shaped peridot (August) and alexandrite (June) gemstones are featured in the design shown.
Black ceramic is a trendy alternative metal although, technically, it is not a metal at all. It is very durable and scratch-resistant but can shatter if met with enough force. This material is hypoallergenic and every easy to clean, requiring only a little soap and water.
There are natural and synthetic black diamonds, both of which have become more popular recently. Some diamonds that would normally be imperfect white diamonds are treated to be more black, making the imperfections no longer visible.
Bloodwood is a red colored wood found in Latin America. Some pieces are a dark strawberry color and others are a lighter pink. Bloodwood is often used in making musical instruments and we create bloodwood wedding bands.
BOX ELDER BURL WOOD
The intricate swirling grain of this wood is very receptive to dyes – box elder burl wood rings are available in many different colors, including blue, purple and green. All of our wood is protected with our durable, water-resistant ring armor clear coat.
A bridal set is the pair of rings worn by the bride: the engagement ring and the wedding band. The two often compliment each other in material and shape.
A brushed finish is a slightly rough texture on metal. It looks similar to brush strokes from a large-bristle paint brush. The effect is achieved by using a very grainy and coarse belt or pad to sand the metal.
A cabochon is a polished gemstone that is flat on one side and rounded on the other. The flat side is affixed to jewelry in a bezel or with prongs. There are many kinds of stones that can be made into cabochons, including turquoise, lapis, amethyst, aquamarine, jasper, garnet and moonstone (shown).
A vital part of the custom ring design and crafting process. A 3D computer aided design is created using special software. We offer full-service custom ring design, including CAD.
To give you a highly realistic idea of what your item will look like, a CAD rendering is created by taking the computerized 3D model and translating it into a lifelike 2D image with colors and shadows.
A caliper is a tool used to measure elements of jewelry, particularly the width of our rings and their inlays. Each of our product listings has information on how wide each part of the ring is and these measurements are performed by our in-house calipers. More about ring sizing.
One of the 4Cs for grading diamonds, it is a unit of weight for gemstones, but it’s most commonly associated with its size (an obvious correlation with its weight). A 1 carat diamond weighs 1/5 gram; if cut to ideal proportions, it is typically 6.5 mm wide.
A cathedral style engagement ring has the shanks (the part of the ring on either side of the center stone) rising up in a slope to meet the center stone. These sloped shanks often have stones or inlays, leading the eye to meet the center stone.
Diamonds that are uniquely numbered and have undergone grading on the 4Cs (Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat) by a lab are considered certified and are sold including a grading report. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the world's oldest, largest, and one of the most respected independent laboratories that offers diamond grading reports; they are also considered to have the highest grading standards.
This November birthstone is sometimes called “burnt amethyst” because it is formed when amethyst is heat treated. The name refers to the slight citrus-orange tint.
This traditional Irish ring design features a heart (love), loyalty (crown), and friendship (hands) combined together to create the claddagh symbol.
One of the 4Cs for grading diamonds, a stone’s clarity refers to how easily light can pass through it without hitting small internal marks known as “inclusions.” These marks interfere with a stone’s clarity and look like small specks or birthmarks “floating” inside of the stone. The highest/best and most rare grade of clarity is FL (Flawless) and the lowest is I3 (Imperfect 3), which has many inclusions visible to the naked eye. In between those, there are grades of S (slightly included), VS (very slightly included) and VVS (very, very, slightly included).
This mixed material combines metals of different colors into a swirling, fluid pattern. The cobaltium mokume ring variety features sparkling blue and black bands of swirls.
Color grades are based on the absence of color with a range of D (colorless) to Z. All D-Z graded stones are considered white, even though they have hues of grey or yellow as grading gets lower.
CRUSHED DINOSAUR BONE
A popular alternative to solid dino bone inlays, especially when you want a thinner inlay of the material. For a solid dinosaur bone inlay, the thinnest we can get the piece is 2 millimeters. When crushed, we can make the inlay thinner. Our crushed dinosaur bone is sealed and protected with our durable ring armor.
For suits with french cuffs, cufflinks are often worn by the groom and groomsmen. Our cufflinks feature unique inlays such as deer antler, wood, meteorite, and dinosaur bone.
This gemstone cut is shape is a square with rounded corners, much like a pillow, which is where it gets its name.
CUSTOM RING SIZER
A custom ring sizer is crafted in the size and width of the ring you desire; it is THE most accurate way to determine a ring size for our rings.
If you have your own materials (metal, wood, gemstones, etc.) you’d like to use to create a custom piece of jewelry, you can send them to us to use in a new or existing design.
One of the 4Cs for grading diamonds, a stone’s cut refers to how the shape and facets reflect light. The better the cut, the higher the sparkle and the brighter the light reflection. Cut grades are as follows (highest to lowest): Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor.
Made by melting together steel and iron in an environment without oxygen. This pattern-welded steel has an undulating pattern affected by how steep the round profile is. A flat profile damascus ring has a simple pattern of lines rather than the wavy pattern of a round profile damascus ring.
Diamond alternatives that are white in color like a diamond include cubic zirconia (CZ), white sapphire, white topaz and moissanites. In our opinion, a moissanite is a superior choice; it costs less and boasts fire and brilliance comparable to that of a high quality diamond. Other stones like the emerald (green) and sapphire (blue) shown in this image are also diamond alternative options.
Also known as gembone, this unique material is a popular ring inlay choice alone or paired with meteorite. Each piece has a unique pattern and color. Learn all about our dinosaur bone rings and other accessories on our education page.
Also referred to as “round”, this is one of our ring profile options; the ring profile describes the surface shape of the ring.
ELYSIUM BY LASHBROOK
Elysium jewelry is a crafted using a rare material made by our partner Lashbrook. It results from super-heating diamonds and fusing them together with a lot of pressure. This crushed diamond material is jet-black in color, never fades, is scratch-resistant and requires no special care.
An eternity ring has a loop of uninterrupted stones traveling along it. “Eternity” refers to the unbroken loop, and can also be taken to refer to eternal love. Eternity settings are often found in womens wedding bands.
The facets of a stone refers to the sloped geometric parts on the surface of the stone that help reflect and refract light through it. The opposite of a faceted ring is a cabochon, which is completely rounded and smooth.
FAUX TENSION SETTING
If you like the look of a tension setting engagement ring, but your top stone choice has a softer grade on the Mohs scale, this is a perfect alternative setting. You get the same look as tension setting, but the design includes a hidden bezel or underpinnings (invisible while wearing) to help support the stone.
A flush setting refers to when the surface of the stone’s crown (the top) is “flush” with the surface of the metal around it. This setting is also called Gypsy setting, Hammer Setting, Shot Setting, or Burnish Setting. The only exposed area of a flush set stone is the crown.
FREE RING SIZERS
Order our free ring sizing kit to help you determine your accurate ring size. Note, the ring sizers are 4mm wide and most accurate if you’re ordering rings around the same width. For wider rings, we highly recommend the purchase of our custom ring sizers.
One of our ring finish options that we offer; a frosted finish is when the surface of metal is roughened, adding a unique texture to the metal’s surface. Over time, a scratch on a frosted surface will blend into the metal amongst other scratches - whereas a scratch on a polished surface would be much more obvious.
Red garnets are the January birthstone have been widely used in jewelry and art since the antique roman era. While red is the most common color of garnet, orange, yellow, green, purple, blue, brown, black, pink, and colorless garnets also exist.
A term we coined here at JBJ to describe the beautiful collection of jewelry featuring a four different mixes of colorful turquoise and metals.
The majority of our meteorite rings are crafted using this type of meteorite, which is sourced in Namibia. The unique etching is called a Widmanstatten pattern.
Oddly, this material is not gold nor stone. It is a beautiful glass with very small pieces of copper suspended inside of it. It is created by heat-treating a mixture of sand, copper, and other chemicals inside of a controlled environment. Goldstone comes in a variety of colors.
We use in-house engraving equipment to laser-burn images into our jewelry. You can refer to our jewelry image engraving listing and provide an image to be engraved on your order.
An inclusion is a mark on the inside of a diamond or other gemstone. Referred to by many as an imperfection, the number of inclusions in a stone affects the stone’s “clarity” score.
An inlay is a material inside of a channel in a ring. For instance, in this picture the deer antler material in the center is an inlay, as it is inlaid into the titanium. In contrast, an “overlay” is when the material is placed on top of the ring, with no edges.
Interchangeable rings are crafted in durable titanium. They allow you to have one ring core with multiple inlay components in your favorite materials such as meteorite and whiskey barrel oak wood (shown). Change your inlay components with a quick and easy twist. Or, opt for one of our existing interchangeable ring sets.
An opaque, semi-precious gemstone which is most commonly a light green color. Jade also comes in black or translucent grey-green.
Koa is a darker brown tropical wood featuring a prominent grain pattern. The koa tree is native to Hawaii and is one of the most common trees on the islands.
This deep blue metamorphic rock and semi-precious stone has been prized since antiquity for its intense, natural blue color. Lapis lazuli rings typically contain veins and pockets of pyrite. The blue stripes on King Tutankhamun’s iconic sarcophagus are made of lapis.
A lotus setting is a unique way of holding a gemstone in place. It looks like a lotus flower clutching the stone and can feature smaller accent stones on the sides.
Malachite is a deep green gemstone that doesn’t fade over time. It has characteristic stripes of dark and light hues.
A mandrel is a tool that we use to measure the size of a ring by placing it through the center. Most of our rings are crafted in a comfort fit, so when using a mandrel to identify a ring size, we measure the size at the middle of the ring where the mandrel and ring come in contact. Read more about ring sizing.
This stone cut shape looks like a football with pointed ends. It has the largest surface area of any stone cut giving it the largest perceived size.
Our memorial jewelry is designed to offer a tasteful, unique way to honor a lost pet or loved one. Ashes are sent to us to be carefully inlaid and sealed into a ring, pendant, or bracelet.
If you’re looking for an extremely unique alternative to a diamond, opt for a meteorite stone engagement ring.
A jewelry design element where the edges look like a small row of beads. Typically found on antique jewelry, milgrain rings are enjoying a resurgence in popularity thanks to its intricate and classic look.
Mimetic meteorite isn’t actually meteorite; it is a pattern engraved on metal that looks strikingly similar to the Widmanstatten pattern on a Gibeon meteorite piece. If you admire the look of meteorite jewelry but prefer a lower cost alternative, this is a great option.
This Mohs scale ranks the hardness of minerals on a scale of 1-10 based on one’s ability to visibly scratch the other (10 being the hardest). For instance, a diamond ranks as a 10, which means it is highly scratch resistant and that it can scratch all minerals ranked lower than it. In jewelry, softer stones are more prone to breakage and/or scratches.
Moissanite is just as brilliant (if not more) alternative to a diamond that can be cut into a variety of shapes. To the naked eye, a moissanite looks virtually identical to a high quality diamond. Moissanite engagement rings are substantially more affordable than either lab-grown diamonds or natural diamonds.
Mokume jewelry has a swirling pattern and can come in different colors: copper, blue, red, and black. Mokume Gane translated from Japanese means “wood eye metal”. This rare metal lamination process was developed in the 17th century for the adornment of Samurai swords.
A June birthstone and a beautiful engagement ring option, moonstone is a slightly transparent stone composed of multiple layers. The way the light refracts inside the layers is referred to as “adularescence” and lends to the milky tone of the gemstone. Moonstone is also the official Florida gemstone.
Morganite is a rare, pink stone that varies in brightness. Some morganites are very pale pink and others are a darker peach color. It comes in a variety of shapes, including pear (shown here), oval and round.
To make white gold “whiter”, many jewelry manufacturers coat items in a thin layer of rhodium, but we do not. This maximizes the true purity and color of the metal to shine through and requires no additional maintenance (it is recommended to re-coat plated rings each year). If you notice in the image shown, the metal color difference is very subtle.
The October birthstone can be crushed or solid and inlaid in a wedding band. Or, it can be featured faceted or as a cabochon in an engagement ring.
Gemstones cut in the shape of an oval, particularly those smaller than 1 carat, give the illusion of a larger shape. Otherwise, they are very comparable to a round cut in fire and brilliance.
Palladium is a white colored, lightweight and durable precious metal. It consists of ruthenium and iridium. To the naked eye, polished Palladium jewelry looks very similar to platinum and titanium.
This symmetrical gemstone cut that resembles more of a teardrop in shape than a pear. This gemstone cut is a combination of a marquise and round cut. Pear cut engagement rings are growing in popularity.
A pendant is a piece of jewelry suspended on a chain or cord that ultimately creates a necklace. The piece of metal that connects the chain to the pendant is referred to as a “bail.”
Petrified wood is a beautiful stone that occurs in a variety of colors; it is created when wood and other natural particles have been stored underground for a long period of time. Like dinosaur bone, petrified wood has hardened over millions of years through the process of fossilization.
A design element, typically composed of a metal, but sometimes an inlay of a material. Pinstripes are used as an accent or to separate multiple sections of a ring design.
Platinum is a premium precious metal and platinum rings are very white. It is typically hypoallergenic because it is most commonly mixed with ruthenium and iridium for jewelry.
A polished finish is highly reflective, like a mirror. Scratches and imperfections are more visible on polished items, but surface scratches can be re-polished away in most cases. Please refer to our ring finish options for a full list of options.
The most common mount for engagement rings, a prong setting uses small metal findings to hold the gemstone. This mounting allows light to pass through the stone from multiple angles, including the underside, enhancing the ability for light to pass through the stone.
Also referred to as checkerboard cut, this term refers to any type of gemstone that the top surface of the stone has been cut in a way that its facets resemble a patchwork quilt. Most commonly, this technique is used on cushion cut (square with rounded edges) and rectangular shaped stones.
This term refers the exterior look of the ring. Finish options include polished, matte, brushed, sandblasted and more. Each of the many ring finish options we offer has a different look.
A ring’s profile refers to the shape of the part of the ring facing upwards from the finger. We offer many different types of ring profile options including flat, round, beveled, knife, and concave.
Rose gold is a metal alloy made by adding copper to pure yellow gold. The copper gives rose gold rings the gold a pinkish tint. More copper in the mixture creates a deeper pink color. Our offerings include 14k and 18k rose gold. Rose gold is not hypoallergenic.
A rough cut or raw stone is a stone that has not yet undergone the process of gemcutting. A raw stone is at the halfway point between mining and being a finished gem.
The most popular cut of gemstone with upwards of 70% of rings featuring this shape.
One of our many ring profile options, a round profile (sometimes called a domed profile) is when the surface facing away from the finger is rounded subtly. The other tulipwood ring design shown here has a flat profile to help illustrate the difference in the two profile options.
This July birthstone is a popular gemstone that comes in pink, purple, and most commonly red. Some rubies undergo heat treatment to bring out a brighter color.
A sandblasted ring finish is dark and rough, produced by a sandblasting machine wearing away the surface of the metal. Sandblasted metal absorbs light rather than reflecting it giving it a more understated, masculine look.
A shadow band is a ring that is custom made to fit perfectly alongside an engagement ring. It is usually made of complementary materials and is often curved to fit snuggly against the center stone. Alongside an engagement ring, a shadow band is the second half of a bridal set.
A square profile ring is a popular shape of ring that looks like a rounded square with soft corners.
Our stardust jewelry is composed of meteorite shavings embedded into colored enamel. Some of our designs have gold shavings mixed in amongst the meteorite specks. When we cut the solid pieces of meteorite needed for other items such as rings, the shavings result and we couldn’t just throw stars in the trash. That’s how stardust was born!
Pure silver is a white precious metal that has the highest thermal conductivity and electrical conductivity of all metals. On the periodic table of elements, it is abbreviated Ag with the atomic number 47. Silver is soft, which is why sterling silver, an alloy composed of 92.5% silver and another harder metal (commonly copper) is used in the crafting of most jewelry.
Coming in blue, violet, or burgundy, tanzanite was first found in Tanzania. The scientific name is blue-violet zoisite but it was renamed by Tiffany & Co. to make it more appealing. The stone undergoes heat-treatment to bring out its characterising blue-violet color. Tanzanite is one of the December birthstones.
A beautiful engagement ring setting style in which the gemstone is secured by pressure in lieu of prongs or another mounting. Stones with a higher grade on the Mohs scale can be used in tension set engagement rings. Softer stones graded lower Mohs grade can be set in a faux tension setting.
Titanium is a white metal that is very lightweight but durable. It is hypoallergenic and the most commonly used alloy. Titanium is the top metal choice for men's weddding bands.
The term trillion or trilliant is used to describe a diamond or other gemstone cut that is triangular in shape. Most commonly, trillion cut stones are used as accents (as shown in the image) vs. the main stone of a ring.
A troilite is a dark spot on/inside of a piece of meteorite, and is similar to a knot in wood grain. You can read more about them in our blog about troilites in meteorite jewelry.
Tungsten, which looks very similar to titanium, but is much heavier, is the most scratch resistant metal. Tungsten wedding bands are very easy to remove in case of medical emergency, no cutting or sawing required. An added bonus, it’s hypoallergenic.
Ultrasonic bath cleaners vibrate at extremely high frequencies, creating microscopic bubbles that are highly effective at removing dirt and contamination from jewelry. They are far more effective than any hand-scrubbing or manual method.
Gemstones with pointed and squared edges are best-suited for the V Prong. Also known as L prongs, this style of prong surrounds the edges completely providing them from damage while also securing the stone in place.
WEDDING RING SETS
In an attempt to make the ring design decision process easier, we’ve paired together some complimentary wedding bands and engagement rings to create unique ring sets. Keep in mind, the items paired together can always be purchased separately. We also have bridal sets, which pair an engagement ring with a women’s band.
Choose from 10k, 14k or 18k for your items. The difference? The higher the karat, the more slightly yellow your item will be. Please note, our white gold rings are NOT rhodium-plated. However, we will plate upon request. White gold is not hypoallergenic.
Coming in 10k, 14k, and 18k, yellow gold is a very popular choice for precious metal. With more karats, the gold looks more yellow, is softer, and more pure. Yellow gold rings are not hypoallergenic.
The second hardest natural stone, yellow sapphire is an affordable stone with a bright color. While most sapphire jewelry uses a blue sapphire, the second most popular color is a yellow sapphire.