Fine jewelry fascinates people. If you are a jewelry lover but don’t understand all those industry-specific words, then you have reached the right place. We have put together a fine jewelry glossary where you will discover all the industry-specific terms. This will help save time, effort, and will help you make the right decision when purchasing a beautiful piece of jewelry. Just bookmark this page and return to it whenever you have questions! We will update this glossary periodically so that you always have the freshest information about jewelry.

Karat (K)

This is the unit jewelers and jewelry stores use to measure the purity of gold. The purest form of gold is 24 Karat (k). But since gold is not a strong metal (you can leave a finger impression if you want), jewelers introduce special alloys to increase the metal’s strengths and durability. This is how they obtain 22k, 18k and 14k gold.

Carat (ct)

Often confused with Karat, carat measures the weight of gemstones. This term comes from the carob seeds. 100 points (or cents) make up 1 Carat. The next time you enter a store and the salesperson asks you “what cent/pointer/carat gem do you want”, you will know how to answer.

Melee Diamond

These types of diamonds are small and their carat weight can vary from 0.001 to 0.18 carats. If a carat is 0.2 grams (or 200 mg), you can imagine just how small these diamonds are. Jewelry makers often use these precious stones  on rings and earrings to support a bigger, center stone.


Gemstone or Diamond Setting is when a precious or semiprecious stone has been secured in position by a metal piece on a fine jewelry piece. There are different setting styles, which include:

  • Prong Setting: when prongs secure the gem directly from the edge of the diamond or gemstone. The prongs look like claws and are usually from strong gold. Another securing system is usually present as well.
  • Bezel Setting: when a thin metal strip goes around the stone, securing the gem.
  • Channel Setting: when a grooved channel holds the gem in place.
  • Pave Setting: is a special setting style where small stones are close to each other and appear as if they are forming a gem-honeycomb. It is a common setting style.

Gold Hallmarking

This is the stamp on the gold jewelry and it indicates the purity of gold (in Karat). It also shows the trademark and some information about the jewelry’s manufacturer.


The finish is an important aspect regarding fine jewelry. This is the final polish received by the jewelry piece (metal).  The polish will make it so that different textures appear in the precious metal.

  • Frosted gold: where the gold finish appears to look like frosted glass
  • Matte Finish: where the gold has a dull look, without a strong shine but with a warm yellow hue.
  • Hammered finish: when the gold is beat with a hammer to leave small, underlying dents.
  • High Finish: where the gold jewelry will appear to have a mirror-like glossy look.


This is a collection and combination of 9 gems (precious and semi-precious stones) which people believe to represent and guide the 9 planets. Other people believe that Navratna can bring a lot of peace and happiness to the wearer.


Every month of the year has its own Birthstone, which will bring the wearer (the one born in that month) a sacred aura. The following gemstones are the Birthstones for each month:

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Treated and Untreated Gemstones

These have become usual terms that you will hear every time you look for gemstone fine jewelry. Specialists can treat the stones to improve and increase their natural characteristics, making them less valuable and more common. On the other hand, the untreated stones can be hard to find and can be very expensive. In fact, today it is very hard to find beautiful stones that have not been touched by the hand of a human being.


Facets are the final polished surfaces that you can see on the gemstones. Jewelers have designed the facets to allow the light to enter and exit the gem more efficiently. Over the years, facets have been improved and the most popular style of facets is the Round Brilliant Cut (or RBC). This style has 58 facets that allow a maximum quantity of light to enter the gem, reflect off each facet, and leave the stone. Other common cut styles include the Emerald Cut, the Marquise Brilliant Cut, the heart Brilliant Cut, the Oval Brilliant Cut, and many others.


This alloy is mostly used in traditional Indian jewelry. This enamel is made of ground glass that was finely mixed with compounds. Enamel will have a smooth colored surface when heated. In India, people call the art of working Meenakari.


Plating or Rhodium Plating is a popular trend on the market. Today, a lot of manufacturers dip different types of metals (such as brass, nickel, sterling silver, etc.) called a base into gold (rhodium) solution. When the electric current passes through, the gold in the solution will coat the base with a tiny layer of gold. The quantity of gold you can find in gold plated jewelry can be of maximum 0.05% of the total jewelry weight.

Net Weight or Gross

These are two important terms which are very crucial to understand.  Gross Weight refers to the gold weight without the carat weight of the gemstones. Net Gross Weight is the gold weight including the gold weight in grams and the gemstones.


Today jewelry designs can use different methods, including the old fashion “hand design” or using a program such as 3D CAD – 3D Computer Aided Design. 3D CAD is a software that allows you to convert 2D images into 3D fine jewelry pieces, making them look very real and natural.


This is a very important jewelry part and represents the small accessory that keeps the jewelry piece in place (for chain necklaces and chain bracelets). The most common types of clasps are the Springring Clasp and Lobster Clasp. Both of these clasps connect into rings and form an opening when the inside spring lifts.

At Ana Luisa we believe in offering our clients all the information they need to make the right purchase. Click here to view our limited edition fine jewelry collections. If you have any questions regarding jewelry, don’t hesitate to contact us. Remember to check this page periodically for updates and share our blog with your friends.

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Ruxandra is a fashion blogger who teaches fashion stumped twenty to thirty somethings how to shop their jewelry boxes for polished new ensembles. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Fashionista, Nylon, and Refinery29.