Purchasing new jewelry provides the chance to enjoy a new style. By recognizing the terminology, you have an edge when selecting jewelry because you can pick out the styles that suit your needs. The key to finding the perfect fashion jewelry is focusing on the cut, style and design elements that set different pieces of jewelry apart.
Sterling silver, or silver, refers to the metal of the jewelry. Earrings, necklaces or other jewelry made of silver usually have 92.5 percent silver. Other metals mix in with the silver for added strength and stability.
Gold plated means that the jewelry has a coating of gold over the other materials, but the material is not solid gold. In general, gold plating wears away and the other material shows through over time.
Silver plated is similar to gold plated. The jewelry is covered with a thin layer of silver that gradually wears away to reveal other metals beneath the surface.
Although the name implies that the jewelry is made of gold, it actually means that the jewelry is not hollow. In many cases, solid gold has a gold plating over other materials or the gold is mixed with other materials. In jewelry, pure gold is 24 karat gold. Most jewelry is either 18 or 14 karat gold, which means other metals mix with the gold for added strength and durability.
Bezel refers to the rim of metal that holds a gem in place.
Depending on the piece of jewelry, it might surround the gem or have a few small prongs holding the gem in place.
A blemish refers to an imperfection or a flw on the gem. Most gems have some blemishes; however, the quality of the gem often relates to the flaws, the material and the weight of the gem.
Carat is a term that describes the weight of a gemstone. It is usually abbreviated as CT and it means that an item has 200 milligrams of weight. Many jewelry is described in half carats, quarter carats or decimal points showing a lower weight.
A karat refers to the amount of gold in the jewelry. Fashion jewelry does not always have karats; however, some pieces might have 10 or 14 karat gold or gold plating.
Imitation in jewelry refers to the creation of synthetic gems or materials. It usually refers to imitation jewels, such as imitation sapphires or rubies. In some cases, it is called man-made or synthetic as well as imitation.
Shape refers to the way the gems look. For example, it refers to a round or square shape of the stone. Jewelry has several different shapes that provide different looks and styles.
By understanding important terms, you have the tools to find the right fashion jewelry for your goals. Jewelry terms help determine when the new item will look as beautiful as you imagined or when it might cause unexpected or uncomfortable reactions. Check in with us next week to see part II of this series.