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Jewellery Jargon - Stones and Metal

Jewellery Jargon - Stones and Metal


We know that jewellery jargon can sound like a foreign language, so we have put together a comprehensive list to help you along your jewellery journey. These are terms that we find ourselves using all the time, from cuts of stone to types of Silver. This list will get you talking like a pro in no time! 


Birthstone - A birthstone is a specific gemstone (or sometimes more than one) which is linked to your month of birth. It's thought that people have been wearing birthstones in this way since around the 16th or 17th century.

Zodiac Stone – Zodiac birthstones, also called astral stones, are gemstones  that are linked to the twelve astrological signs. It is suggested that by wearing your astral stone, you can tap into its hidden powers.

Gemstone - A mineral crystal which is cut and polished in order to be used in jewellery or other decorative items. However, some rocks (e.g. Lapis Lazuli, Opal, and Jade) and organic materials (e.g. Pearl and Amber) are also used in a similar way and are often also considered to be gemstones.

Faceted - A faceted gemstone has cut surfaces to help it catch the light and sparkle. The most common cut is usually a classic diamond shape.

Cabochon - A stone cut with a domed top and a flat bottom. These are usually round or oval have a smooth, highly polished surface.

Mohs Scale - A scale on which minerals are graded from 1 to 10 depending on their hardness, with diamond (10) as the hardest mineral on Earth. The scale works so that minerals with a certain number can scratch minerals with a lower number and get scratched by the minerals with a higher number.

Inclusion - A particle of foreign matter contained within a gemstone. It can take the form of an air bubble or a foreign object.



Hallmarking - A mark or stamp usually indicating a standard of purity of a piece which is used in marking gold and silver items, including jewellery.

925 hallmark - An alloy of 92.5% pure silver with 7.5% copper and other metals, which results in a much stronger and better wearing metal than pure silver. 

Sterling Silver hallmark - A mark or stamp indicating that the item has been tested and approved by the Birmingham Assay office as Sterling Silver. In England the hallmark will consist of the Lion Passant and makers mark. By law only Sterling Silver items with silver weighing over 7.78gr need to be hallmarked with this stamp. Items weighing less only need to carry the 925 mark to be considered Sterling Silver.

925 hallmark

Tarnish - This is a reaction that happens to the surface of metals, including sterling silver, which will cause it to look dull, darker and possibly even stained. Its most commonly caused by a reaction with oxygen and is exacerbated by moisture. But don’t panic: see our previous blog for top tips on keeping your silver shining! 

Oxidisation - Sterling silver that has had a chemical applied to it in order to blacken it as a decorative element. Most often you'll see a recessed pattern blackened, while the raised areas are shiny silver.

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