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Jewelry 101 : Know Your Basics

Jewelry 101 : Know Your Basics

Wikipedia says “An informed consumer is capable of making sensible decisions by gaining an insight about a product prior to its purchase” Here is our attempt in making our clients an informed consumer. These are some terms that you must have or will come across with your interaction within the gem and jewelry industry. And for gem addicts, Time to know your basics! 

Gemstones- Shapes, cuts and styles  

Non faceted cutting styles 

  • Bead: Gemstone beads come in a variety of shapes and sizes. It is generally pierced for the thread or string to pass through. 

  • Cabochon: Gemstone with a rounded top and flat bottom. In other words, any gemstone which is not a bead, carved or faceted. 

Faceted cutting styles 

  • Round Cut – undoubtedly, the most popular cut. Also known as the round brilliant cut, the facets are cut in a way to optimize the dispersion of light in a stone, this cut was once exclusively for diamonds but now almost every gemstone can be fashioned in this style. 

  • Oval Cut – gives the benefits of round cut in a distinct shape. The elongated shape here creates the illusion of a larger gemstone.

  • Rose Cut - domed top, has triangular facets on the top and usually has a flat bottom. It multiplies the lustre and brilliance of the gemstone. 

  • Asscher Cut – The Asscher brothers developed the cut in 1902. A hybrid of the princess cut and emerald cut, it amplifies the gem's clarity. 

  • Baguette Cut – long and rectangular in shape, along with long step cuts just like asscher and emerald cut. Maximises the gemstone clarity. It is especially used as a side stone or accent stone. 

  • Cushion Cut – as the name suggests, it has gently rounded corners which evokes a subtle character in the gemstone. It maximizes the lustre. 

  • Emerald Cut – most popular cut for emeralds as it enhances the color face up. It's more like a rectangle from the top with sharply chiseled corners. 

  • Marquise Cut – also known as the navette cut, the marquise is cut to reflect the most light and offer maximum sparkle and depth of color. Symmetry should be perfect to avoid chipping or cracking after setting. 

  • Pear Cut – identified as a teardrop, the pear cut reflects light beautifully and allows color to showcase dramatically. As with the marquise cut, symmetry is extremely important for the integrity of the gemstone. 

  • Princess Cut – this is the second most popular cut right after the brilliant round. It displays excellent sparkle. The square shape of this cut helps the cutter retain gem rough in the cutting process. 

Different types of metals: 

Metals can be specifically divided into two categories. Precious and non precious metals. The metals most often used in jewelry—gold, platinum, palladium and silver—are called the precious metals, The physical properties of precious metals ( Those qualities are allure, rarity, workability, and durability ) make them ideal for use in jewelry and often distinguish them from non-precious metals, called base metals, such as copper, zinc, tin, nickel, lead, and iron.


Gold is the rarest metal on earth. It's Glowy, sunny yellow, precious metal. Gold’s appeal derives mostly from its color, luster, rarity, and resistance to corrosion.

Gold is often the choice of customers who are particularly attracted to and excited by color.

Gold alloys:

Alloying gold increases its strength and hardness; which resists scratching.

In the US and most countries, people use the term karat to state gold’s fineness, which is based on parts out of 24. This means that pure gold is 24 parts gold—or 24-karat gold.

18 karat gold = 18 parts gold and 6 parts an alloying metal.

14 karat gold = 14 parts gold and 10 parts another metal or metals.

 “K” is the abbreviation for karat, so you’ll often see gold jewelry stamped 14K or 18K.


Silver’s bright, white shine and workability are its principal assets for jewelry use. Pure silver is too soft to be practical for jewelry, so it’s usually mixed with a small amount of copper. Copper hardens silver without taking away its brilliant shine.


Platinum is highly tarnish resistant, takes on a high polish, and is harder to scratch compared to gold and silver.


Palladium is a silvery, white metal that has recently gained popularity within the  jewelry industry. 


Titanium is difficult to work in comparison to others and which is why only hand crafted pieces can be made with them. Titanium jewelry is priced in the same range as precious metal jewelry.

Stainless steel:

Stainless steel is an alloy, to be referred as stainless steel it must be a 10.5 percent chromium. Most stainless steel alloys are strong and ductile, and all are corrosion resistant. It’s more scratch resistant than any of the three precious metals, but exceeds only silver in its resistance to denting. It also takes a high polish.

Tools used by gemologists:


There are a lot of higher magnification loupes now available, gemologists prefer using a handheld loupe of 10X magnification. This is the most important tool for a gem connessioure. 


It's a device or tool used for measuring the width, size, karat weight, and more of gemstones and jewelry. Extremely crucial device. 


Tweezers are the most common tool using which gemstones can be held while grading, asserting or setting in jewelry. It takes practice to get a hang of it. 


While you only need a 10X loupe for gem grading, a microscope will give you a larger field of view and a brighter image. It will also show alterations like fillings, dye concentrations, assembled stones, and diffusion treatments.


A lint-free fabric is used here to remove oily film and dirt. These are usually pretty long lasting.