Planning the perfect accessory for an outfit requires the right materials and colors. In the case of fashion jewelry, terminology helps identify the right materials to help prevent allergic reactions and ensure that the colors fit with the outfits you enjoy.
When jewelry descriptions suggest that a metal is silver toned or a silver tone, it means that the metal looks like silver. In most cases, it does not contain any silver and usually it will not fade or change over time. The metal is coated to look like silver without actually containing the higher quality metal.
Gold tone is similar to silver tone, but it looks like gold instead of silver. It is usually a metal that is coated or made to look like gold, but it uses other types of metals as the actual base.
Metal plating refers to any type of jewelry that contains gold or silver plate. It means that the base metal like nickel or an alloy has a gold or silver plate added to the top. The thin layer of a higher quality metal gives the appearance of gold or silver without adding to the cost of the jewelry.
A trigger is the secondary part of a simple clasp that closes around the ring on the other side of the bracelet or necklace. It is sometimes called a lobster clasp because it has a small claw-like appearance. It pushes open a small metal hinge that allows the clasp to close around the ring. A lobster clasp combined with a spring ring is a common type of clasp used in fashion jewelry.
Toggle ClaspsA toggle clasp is a heavier and two-part clasp that usually closes a bracelet rather than a necklace in fashion jewelry. It is a simple bar on one side and a round ring on the other. The bar goes through the ring and then pulls straight to close the bracelet or necklace.
As the name suggests, a magnetic clasp closes by using two magnets. One side holds a negatively charged portion and the other side holds the positively charged portion.
The S Clasp
An S clasp uses a ring on one side and then uses an S-shaped piece of metal on the other side. The ring slides into the S-shaped metal to hold the necklace or bracelet closed.
A fishhook clasp is a simple option that slides into one side and then pushes together to hold the clasp shut.
Fashion jewelry often uses inexpensive metals, like nickel, to create the chains or settings on the jewelry. Pay attention to the type of metal to prevent any allergic reactions, since some individuals react to nickel jewelry. In some cases, nickel is covered with gold or silver plate to improve the shine of the jewelry.
Cluster is a term used to describe the way stones, glass or beads are placed on a ring, earrings or necklace. When several stones or glass surround a larger stone or piece of glass, it creates a cluster design.
German silver is a term that describes a combination of different metals. It does not actually contain any silver. Instead, it is made of a combination of nickel, copper and zinc. The material is sometimes called nickel silver. Individuals with an allergy to nickel should avoid German silver fashion jewelry.
Fashion jewelry changes based on current styles and popular designs, but the terminology remains similar. The key factor that sets fashion jewelry apart is the purpose of the accessory. It does not require expensive materials because the jewelry makes a statement about a personal style and it changes to keep up with the latest fashions and trends.