Rue B’s jewellery dictionary A-B

Rue B’s jewellery dictionary A-B


Acrylic (also known as “acrylic glass”, “plexiglas”, “perspex”) is the synthetic polymer or simply plastic.

Acrylic has multitude of applications in many many industries: from photographic lenses and scientific instruments to windows in your home and utility boxes.

In jewellery (especially the cheaper pieces) it is used to imitate diamonds. Some of the more expensive costume jewellery items could be made entirely out of acrylic (like necklaces or bracelets) of various colours.

The entire collections of certain designers are known to be made completely out of acrylic.

acrylic glass

“Acrylic glass” is another name for “acrylic” plastic.


Most agates, as a variety of quartz, occur in volcanic rocks or ancient lavas where they represent cavities. It obtains its typical banded appearance through the deposition of other quartz substances within the layers. The bands sometimes look like eyes, fancy scallops, or even a landscape with trees. Agate was highly valued as a talisman or amulet in ancient times. It was said to quench thirst and protect against fever. The tradition still holds strong today as agate is widely used in spiritual healing, believed to balance and harmonise the body and mind.

Agate has Mohs Scale hardness of 7 and Specific gravity of around 2.6


An alloy is a combination of two or more metals. Common alloys used in jewellery are: gold under 24 Kt (mixed with silver, copper, and/or other metals), sterling silver (92.5% silver, 7.5% copper), brass (roughly half copper, half zinc), bronze (at least 60% copper with tin and perhaps other metals), and pewter (tin, lead, antimony, and a bit of silver or copper).


Amber is translucent fossilized tree resin (from conifers), a natural hydrocarbon that comes in many colours, including yellow, reddish, whitish, black, and blue. Amber is flammable. It used to be thought that amber possessed magical powers that protected the wearer from evil. Pressed amber consists of small pieces of amber that have been fused together to form a larger piece. Fake amber is easily made from plastics, and buyers must beware of cheap imitations sold as natural amber. Amber has a hardness of 2.5 and a specific gravity of 1.05-1.10.


(Greek for “not drunken”) is a form of the mineral quartz, and is a relatively common gemstone. Amethyst is usually purple, but can range in colour from pale lavender to a very deep, reddish purple to a milky colour to green. Deeper-coloured amethysts are more highly valued. The ancient Greeks believed that amethyst made one immune to the effects of alcohol. Synthetic amethysts are hard to distinguish from the real stone.


Aquamarine is a transparent, light blue or sea-green stone that is porous. Today, blue aquamarines are more highly valued, but this was not true in the past, when sea-green stones were prized. Heat-treatment turns greenish stones bluer. The best aquamarines come from Brazil. Large aquamarines are relatively common.


Armlet is decorative band, usually of gold, silver, or other metal and sometimes featuring precious gems, worn for ornament around the arm, especially the upper arm. Armlets have been worn since ancient times: in Assyrian art, for instance, deities, monsters, and men are shown wearing armlets.

art deco

Art Deco style originated in Paris and was popular from mid 1910 to the mid 1920’s. Art Deco pieces are typically characterized by geometric lines and angles with few curves. This style evolved into Art Moderne.

aurora borealis

AB stands for Aurora borealis (which means “northern lights”). Aurora borealis Swarovski crystals have a special irridesc


Baguette(Bag-ette) a small, rectangular stone that is often used as an accent or border on engagement rings. Similar to an emerald cut but smaller and usually more narrow.

baguette cut

A baguette cut is a stone (usually a diamond) that has been cut into a long, rectangular shape. Baguette means “stick” or “rod” in French.


A band is a ring that is made from a thin, flat, ribbon-like strip of material (usually metal). The band can be unadorned or decorated. Wedding rings are often bands.


A rigid bracelet that is slipped over the hand or clasped in place on the wrist. They can be plain precious metal, be decorated with patterns, or be set with gemstones.

bar and ring clasp

This type of clasp has a bar which is inserted into a large ring on the other end of the necklace or bracelet. It is also known as a ‘toggle clasp’.

barrel clasp

A barrel clasp is a jewellery fastener that resembles a barrel. The two pieces of this clasp screw together. It is used to attach two other rings or links of a necklace or bracelet.


Beads are small objects, each with a hole through it for stringing. Beads are made of glass, stones, wood, plastics, seeds, and ceramics.


The metal around a stone that holds it in place.

bezel setting

(Behz-uhle) stones are set inside a tube of metal, which holds them secure without inserting metal between them. Since the metal edges fold over the stones to hold them in place, it can make stones look slightly smaller.

bib necklace

A bib necklace (also known as a collarette) is a short necklace with flowing ornaments in the front.


Each month has a particular gemstone associated with it. Each stone is thought to be lucky for the person born in that month. The birthstones are: January – Garnet, February – Amethyst, March – Aquamarine, April – Diamond, May – Emerald, June – Pearl or Moonstone, July – Ruby, August – Peridot, September – Sapphire, October – Opal, November – Topaz or Citrine, December – Turquoise or Zircon.

bling bling

Bling bling is an American slang term used to describe large, showy jewellery, especially jewellery encrusted with diamonds. The term was coined in the late 1990s by the New Orleans rappers Cash Money Millionaires.


A style of jewellery and clothing exemplified by flowing lines, natural materials, and funky details. Bright colours, layers, and casual pieces are hallmarks of the Boho style.

bolt ring

A bolt ring (also known as a spring ring) is a hollow circular metal fastening ring with a spring opening. It is used to attach two other rings or links of a necklace or bracelet. The bolt ring was invented early in the 1900’s


Bows are a common motif in jewellery.

box chain

Square metal links are connected to form a smooth, even chain. Often used for men’s jewellery.


An item of jewellery worn on the wrist. They can be of plain precious metal, decorated designs of precious metal or set with stones. Common types of bracelets are: chain-link bracelets such as curb and figaro; rope bracelets; charm bracelets; fancy-link bracelets; tennis bracelets; solid and hinged bangles and cuff.


Brass is a metal alloy containing (at least 50%) copper and zinc.

brilliant cut

This round cut is the most common and popular style of cut for diamonds, and many other gemstones. This is because it has been designed with 57 carefully proportioned facets to maximise the amount of light reflected and refracted by the gemstone.


A briolette (or drop cut) is a pear-shaped cut gemstone with triangular facets on top. This type of stone makes a nice pendant.


Bronze is a metal alloy containing (at least 60%) copper plus tin and other metals.


An ornamental piece of jewellery which has a pin back for affixing it to clothing or hats. Usually larger in scale than the ones referred to as “pins”.

ent finish that shines in many colours.



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