ALLOYING OF SILVER
Amount of pure silver in relation to the binder metal. Pure silver is too soft and, in order to be processed, needs a binder (usually copper is used). It is expressed in thousandths. Example: the 800 title means that in the alloy there are 800 parts of silver and 200 of copper.
ALLOYING OF THE GOLD
The percentage of pure gold in relation to the binder metal, expressed in thousandths or in carats. (See also carats)
Finishing of a metal object to make the surface perfectly polished and free of processing residues. It is done with various types of tools and abrasives.
In the candlesticks, candlesticks, etc., the recess in which the candle is placed.
Gem with smooth, molded or convex shape.
Hard stone with figures worked in relief that come in a different color from the background. This is a possible thanks to the color layers of the stone itself. From the Hebrew “kamaa”, relief.
Object that serves as a support for a single candle.
Unit of measure. For the gems it indicates the weight; the term derives from the Greek kerátion, fruit of the carob tree, whose seeds were formerly used as a unit of weight. One carat is equal to 0.20 grams and is subdivided into 100 points; therefore a 25-point diamond weighs a quarter of a carat, so it has 0.05 grams. For pearls, the carat is the weight unit used in Europe; in Japan the momme is used. For gold, carats are used to indicate how many parts of pure gold are present in an alloy. The pure gold corresponds to 24 carats, therefore if we talk about 18 carat gold it means that the alloy is composed of 18 parts of pure gold and 6 parts of other metal. The title, that is the ratio between pure gold and binder metal, is also expressed in thousandths: 18 carats correspond to 750 thousandths.
Ancient processing technique. It consisted in filling a stone or clay matrix with a jet of molten gold. Also widely used for contemporary jewelery, today the casting is carried out using machinery, computers and high-tech ovens.
Ornament composed of a series of metal links passing one inside the other. Among the many types of existing chains, the best known are: the Foxtail chain, the Forzatina chain and the Grumetta chain.
Every single ring or element of a chain.
The necklace is named after the famous French designer Coco Chanel, who loved wearing long strings of pearls. Today it also designates the chain with a length of more than 90 cm. You can carry one or more threads or knotted, depending on the look and personal taste.
Earrings made up of several hanging elements. They can have a length of a few centimeters or reach up to the shoulder.
Small pendants to wear mostly hanging on a bracelet, very popular in the ’50s and’ 60s and now back in fashion. The new charms, purchased or received as gifts, are gradually added to the bracelet.
Any of the numerous non-cutting tools that are used, with the help of the hammer, to create an ornamental pattern on the gold or silver plate by making a plastic movement of the metal. The term also indicates both the art of chiseling and the work that results from it.
It is said to be a chiseled object.
Choker of varying height, close to the neck, made of rigid slab or formed by several strands of gems or pearls.
Type of spring clasp, used above all to make the earrings adhere to the earlobe. Until the ’30s the earrings were worn in the perforated lobe or with a screw closure. The clip will allow you to wear heavy earrings and, from the point of view of design, to extend them to cover even the top of the ear. From English “to clip”, tighten.
Enamel processing technique on gold or other metal objects. By welding thin sheets of gold to a metal support, alveoli are formed in which enamels of various colors are placed, thus composing a design. From the French “cloison”, wall, partition.
It is a ring with an important frame, with a large central stone with a decisive color usually surrounded by other nuances or contrasting gems. It is normally carried to a finger of the right hand as the left is destined to the “rings of affections”, such as the engagement ring or the wedding ring.
It is said of a ring whose rim does not close: the two upper extremities diverge and often mount two different stones by type and color.
The upper part of the cut stone, above the girdle.
Also called “cuffs machetes”, it can be stiff or soft, but it is always of a certain height and adherent to the wrist. You can bring two, not necessarily identical, to the left and right wrist, similar to “cuffs”.
Pearl generated by particular molluscs following the human intervention, which inserts a specially designed foreign body called the nucleus into the vital parts of the animal. From the chemical point of view it does not differ from the natural pearl.
Operation that serves to give the desired shape to a rough stone, enhancing the brightness. It is the cut that allows the stone to reflect the greatest amount of light. The most common cuts are brilliant, teardrop, navette (marquise), emerald, heart, cabochon, rose, baguette, oval and princess.
Introduced at the beginning of the 19th century, the open frame has no bottom and therefore allows the stone to receive light from below.
Closure through a “tongue” to be inserted in the “drawer” at the other end of the chain or bracelet. The tongue is usually made of white gold, because it is more resistant to wear than yellow gold. It is also called “concealed” closure.
Usually important earring, in gold and gems, which instead of hanging, rises to cover and adorn the lobe.
French word indicating a small coffee pot or teapot for single use.
Processing technique. A wax model, previously coated with metal, is covered with gold or silver. Through an electrochemical process, the precious metal is deposited on the base metal evenly, while the wax core melts with heat. In this way the jewel can have voluminous and light forms at the same time.
Decorative design executed by hand on a precious metal surface with a sharp and pointed tool called burin. The design is made indelible for removal of material. There are also industrial processes that use the pantograph, the laser and the computer to make simple engravings on large quantities of jewels and silvers.
Flat and polished area of the gem. The number of veneers in a stone depends on the type of cut.
English word which means “fantasy”. The diamond is normally colorless; when the color is present, it is called fancy diamond. Fancy diamonds are rare and have great value on the market.
Typical optical effect of the faceted diamond. It consists in the variety, brightness and intensity of the colors of the iris that are produced when the diamond reflects light.
Technique consisting in introducing a precious metal fused into a cavity, specially created in a refractory material, where it will solidify.
The outermost circumference of the diamond or other cut stone, between the crown and the pavilion.
Examination to which the precious metal is subjected to check its title. Until the end of the nineteenth century, there were special offices (known as the Mint, of the Bolo, etc.) where silversmiths and goldsmiths went to certify the quality of the precious metal before putting it on the market. The official in charge, called “assayer”, operated a small withdrawal from the artifact and, if the title resulted regulate, there affixed the law punch.
The metal points, bent to claw, which stop the gems in the settings. From the French “griffe”, claw.
It is said of hammered metal and special chisel irons that leave typical “imprints” of beaten surface.
Process to model, with a hammer, containers in tempered silver. It is the most used technique by silversmiths, it consists in molding plates, vases and other objects by hammering metal sheets placed on shaped anvils with the hammer.
Small candlestick with a dish-shaped base and a handle.
An Icy diamond is a fancy diamond with a characteristic “ice” color. From English “ice”.
Solid, liquid or gaseous body that can be inside a gem. In evaluating stones, inclusions are imperfections.
A jewel halfway between the classic ring and an ornament for the hand: the upper part, specially designed to be flexible, covers more phalanxes of the same finger.
An oval motif used to decorate the edges of silver crockery. Imitates an ornate decorative characteristic of architecture.
Tray with several shelves or with a high pedestal.
The brightness and iridescence of a pearl. This optical phenomenon, due to the decomposition of the light reflected by the calcium carbonate crystals that form the layers of the pearl, is perceived as a set of “spectral” colors that move on the surface.
A rigid evening handbag, mostly rectangular or oval, the creation of which is attributed to Van Cleef & Arpels (thirties), today brought back to life by many movie and fashion stars. It is made of precious materials and often studded with gems. The interior is divided into small compartments, designed to hold the bare essential for an evening (makeup, handkerchief, keys, eyeglasses, cell phone).
Ancient Japanese term that indicates the weight unit of cultured pearls. One momme corresponds to 3.75 grams, or 18.75 carats.
They are earrings characterized by the closure called, in fact, a nun, consisting of a particular hook, slightly leaning, which is usually combined with a single pearl or colored stone.
MOTHER OF PEARL
Layers of calcium carbonate and conchiolin (organic substance with a cementing function) that give shape to the pearl. These are “secretions” with which the mollusk, to defend itself, covers a foreign body penetrated inside the shell.
The supporting structure of a stone. It can be of two types: per day and night.
Pearl generated spontaneously by particular mollusks, due to the reaction due to the presence of a foreign body inside the shell.
Refined goldsmith technique, known since ancient times, which consists in engraving thin grooves on the metal surface following a minute drawing, filling them with a black amalgam and then smoothing the surface until it is completely smooth, with an effect decorative high impact.
The only type of frame existing until the early 1800s: the setting hid the lower part of the gem that received only light from above.
The lower part of the cut stone, below the girdle.
In a jewel, decorative effect that is obtained when the stones are placed next to each other and form a real “floor”.
The base of the candlestick (jargon).
Spotted decoration, obtained by working the gold surface with the burin.
Coat a metal with a thin layer of the finest metal.
Operation that serves to smooth and give shine to the stone after cutting it. It is carried out by means of rotary diamond powder plates.
Work carried out with diamond-tipped tools, which, by removing parts of the gold surface, form small grooves creating particular chromatic and luminous effects.
Tool consisting of a steel rod, with an end bearing a motif or design, with which it is impressed by percussion, on a piece of precious metal, an imprint that serves to certify the origin, the title or the shop. It is also the symbol imprinted in the metal
Jewel characterized by embedded stones “a riviera”, in a row.
Chemical process used in jewelry to make white gold (which originally tends to be opaque and yellowish) brighter and more “white”. The object being processed is immersed in a bath of rhodium, a metal which can not be attacked by acids, to form a thin protective layer.
Protect silver objects from oxidation with a special transparent varnish.
Decorative technique, used above all in the processing of gold and silver, which consists in molding the slab of precious metal from the reverse side with a hammer and a chisel, to create motifs and figures that will stand out in relief on the right. The work itself, the result of this work.
It is said of precious metal finished, on the surface, with a “sand” effect.
It is said of precious metal finished, on the surface, with a “silk” effect.
Long necklace up to the waist, born in the Art Deco period, formed by strings of pearls, also intertwined with each other, and characterized by a final tassel pendant. Today sautoir also occurs in other forms; for example, as a chain in precious metal and not, studded with different gems and with pendant of various shapes.
Insert and stop the stone in the setting. In the processing of a jewel, it is a manual phase that is performed with precision instruments, and requires a great expertise from the setter (also called a caster).
In a ring, the circle that holds the mount. In a candlestick, the elongated element that supports the bud.
Special silver plating on decorative objects and copper pottery, created in the English city of Sheffield in the mid-1700s.
Metal hook-shaped clip, with spring closure, used to stop necklaces and bracelets.
Diamond set alone in a ring or other jewel. By extension, the ring itself.
Closing with a carabineer hook, clip or other type of spring clip.
English term to indicate the silver alloy containing at least 92.5% pure silver.
Flat top of a faceted stone, normally it is the largest facet.
Sommelier bowl, with a base of bosses and handle, used to taste the wine and observe its nuances of color.
Chris Evert, a tennis champion of the ’70s and’ 80s, wore a bracelet with diamond rivière during the games. Hence the name of this type of bracelet.
Model a metal surface from the reverse using hammer and chisel.
Nowadays, in the field of jewelry, for tiara we mean an ornament for the head, reserved for brides or social occasions, which adorns the head in the form of a precious circle or semi-circle, similar to a crown, often studded with gems such as diamonds or pearls.
Born as an anniversary ring, trilogy is a jewel characterized by the presence of three diamonds that symbolize the past, the present and the future of a love story.
Richly decorated object, usually in silver, used as an ornament for the table. The most striking examples are those in Rococo style.
Workmanship inspired by an artisan technique of the nineteenth century, introduced in jewelry by Bulgari in the second post-war period. Gold and steel are worked in segments that make the jewelry flexible to better adapt it to the shape of the neck and wrists.
Golden silver in focus.
Pocket box in use in the eighteenth century, mainly produced in English and French, where it was placed of cotton, soaked in perfume or vinegar, to smell. From the French “vinaigre”, vinegar.
Processing technique of gold and silver consisting in welding together differently intertwined threads of different thickness to form figures. The term also indicates the goldsmith’s work thus obtained.
Very ancient metal working technique. It is still today the method used both for large statues and for making jewelry and silverware. To create the starting model, and subsequent molds, various materials are used, one of which is the wax, which, in one of the processing phases, is dissolved to give way to the precious metal.