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Jewelry Glossary

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - K - L - M - N - P - R - S - T - U


Abrasion (Abr) — Superficial damage along the facet junctions of a polished diamond.   Return to top »
Alloy — A mixture of two or more metals.   Return to top »
Amethyst — The February birthstone. This purple colored quartz has strong ties to royalty. Click here to learn more about amethyst gemstones or click here to shop amethyst jewelry.   Return to top »
Anneal — The process of heating a gemstone to enhance its depth of color and strength.   Return to top »
Appraisal — For items sold for more than $1,000, we provide a complimentary appraisal from our GIA graduate gemologists to be used to insure your diamond or fine piece of jewelry. An appraisal consists of a brief description and a picture of the purchased item as well as a calculated coverage rate of your item. Click here for appraisal services.   Return to top »
Aquamarine — The March birthstone. This bright blue variety of beryl showcases gorgeous bluish-green hue. Click here to learn more about aquamarine gemstones or click here to shop aquamarine jewelry.   Return to top »
Assay — The act of testing a metal to determine the purity and percentage of metals present.   Return to top »
Asscher cut — A step cut diamond that is essentially an emerald cut diamond, but it is square and features cropped corners. It was originally designed and introduced in 1902 by Joseph Asscher. Click here to learn more about Asscher diamonds or click here to shop Asscher diamond jewelry.   Return to top »
Baguette — A narrow rectangular cut gemstone or diamond. A tapered baguette diamond or gemstone features one broad side and one narrow side. Click here to shop baguette diamond jewelry.   Return to top »
Bangle — A type of bracelet that slips over the wrist and does not feature a clasp due to its rigidity. Click here to see an example.   Return to top »
Belly — The curved sides on a pear, marquise, heart, or oval shape diamond.   Return to top »
Bezel setting — One of the most secure diamond and gemstone settings. The diamond or gemstone is completely surrounded by a precious metal rim and locked into place once the bezel is soldered. Click here to see an example or click here to shop bezel set jewelry.   Return to top »
Blemish —
Blemishes (Pertaining to Diamonds): This refers to any imperfection that is found on or in a diamond.
Blemishes Due to Crystal Structure
  • Natural (N): Part of the original crystal structure remains on the diamond.
  • Surface Graining (SGr): Translucent lines that appear on the surface of a finished diamond.
Blemishes Caused by Deterioration (Wear)
  • Scratch (S): A dull, thin white-colored line across the surface of the diamond.
  • Nick (Nk): Tiny notch close to the facet junction or girdle.
  • Abrasion (Abr): Small nicks that are found along the facet junctions. These produce fuzzy and or white lines, which result in edges that are not sharp and crisp.
Blemishes Due to Cutting Process
  • Extra Facet (EF): Additional facet located on the girdle that is not part of the desired cut.
  • Burn Marks (Brn): Uneven polishing caused by structure irregularity can cause the surface of the diamond to turn hazy from wear.
  • Pit (Pit): A small opening, which looks like a white dot.
  • Rough Girdle (RG): Pitted or irregular girdle.
  • Polish Lines (PL): Colorless, and often hard to see find parallel lines, ridges, or grooves, which are left by the process of polishing a diamond.
Blemishes (Pertaining to Pearls): Spots, wrinkles, blisters, or small pits that appear on a pearl's surface.   Return to top »
Bow-tie — A dark shadow, often in the shape of a bow-tie, where light passes through a brilliant cut pear, oval or marquise shaped diamond. Well proportioned elongated brilliant cut diamonds trap light within, causing brilliance and fire to return back to the eye from all areas of the stone. When a pear, oval or marquise diamond is cut poorly, light is able to pass through the stone creating visibly dark bow-tie shaped shadows.   Return to top »
Branded cut — A diamond cut that a manufacturer develops to promote as a special cut. This is often a specific set of proportions or number of facets a manufacturer will produce for optimal results.   Return to top »
Brilliant cut — A cutting style consisting of triangular or kite-shaped facets, which extend from the center towards the girdle. Brilliant cut diamonds have the most brilliance (white light) and fire (rainbow spectral colors) of all diamond cuts. Most commonly, this term refers to a round brilliant cut diamond (RBC). The shape of this diamond cut resembles the likeness of a cone. It provides the maximum light return through the top of the diamond. In round brilliant cut diamonds, the diamond has either 57 or 58 facets. The 58th facet exists if the diamond has a culet. An octahedron diamond crystal can ideally produce two round brilliant cut diamonds. This cuts down on the weight loss of a diamond crystal. However, even with modern techniques, the cutting and polishing of a diamond cuts down at least 50% of the diamond crystal. Shapes included in this category are round, cushion, radiant, pear, heart and oval.   Return to top »
Brightness — The brightness of a diamond is the appearance of internal and external reflections of 'white light' that is seen coming from a face-up polished diamond.   Return to top »
Brilliance — The reflection of white light that comes from a diamond describes the diamond's brilliance. Brightness and contrast are essential attributes of a diamond's beauty. A diamond appears brighter if it has sparkle, which is also referred to as scintillation. This is an effect of the stone's reflection and refraction of light.   Return to top »
Bruise — A small fracture or chip, which creates lines that resemble a root inside the diamond.   Return to top »
Carat — One of the 4 C's related to the value and quality of diamond grading. Carat weight is the measurement applied to diamonds, precious gemstones, and pearls. This measures the weight of a diamond, not the size of the stone, which is important to keep in mind. The overall size of a diamond is directly related to the actual cut of the stone. 1 carat contains 100 points. Therefore, a 1/2 carat diamond is often referred to as "50 points" or a "50 pointer." 1 carat = 1/5g. The larger the carat weight of a stone, the more valuable and the more rare the diamond is. Carat is frequently abbreviated as "ct." and the abbreviation "cttw." refers to carat total weight or the total diamond weight of the piece.   Return to top »
Cavity — This is a type of inclusion that consists of a deep or large opening in the diamond.   Return to top »
Center stone — The main or focal gemstone or diamond in a setting.   Return to top »
Certification — The process resulting in a report created by a gemological laboratory or gemologist. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the most acclaimed independent diamond and gemstone grading laboratory. Shop certified loose diamonds or certified jewelry   Return to top »
Chip (Ch) — Damage on the surface of a diamond leaving a shallow opening. This is found most commonly at points where facets meet the girdle edge and culet.   Return to top »
Clarity — One of the 4 C's, this refers to the amount and type of inclusions located in a diamond. Diamond clarity is referring to the absence of internal inclusions or external blemishes in a diamond. The better a diamond's clarity, the more brilliant, rare and valuable it is. There are 11 clarity grades, which we have listed on our diamond education page.   Return to top »
Cloud (Cld) — A clarity characteristic consisting of a group of tiny pinpoints, often giving a hazy appearance, under magnification. Clouds consist of tiny crystals that are so minute that they are only visible when clustered together.   Return to top »
Color — Diamond color is one of the 4 C's used in diamond grading. This term refers to the actual body color of a diamond and grades diamonds that are in the "normal color range". Diamonds are graded on a scale of D-Z, with D being completely colorless and Z being a pale yellow or a brown color. D-F colored diamonds are considered colorless with G-J colored diamonds being considered near colorless. Colorless diamonds are rarer, and thus more valuable. Color is generally considered the second most important factor when choosing a diamond, with diamond cut being the first. The sparkle of a diamond is what first attracts a consumer to a diamond and the consumer noticing the color second. As the size of a diamond increases, the color becomes much more noticeable. If you are interested in purchasing a larger diamond, such as a carat or more, color is very important to consider. Most consumers want to purchase the best value for their money. Since the visible difference between one color grade of diamonds to the next is difficult to notice with the unaided eye, most of our consumers are selecting diamonds with F, G, or H color. It is also important to note that diamond cuts that reflect more light, such as round brilliant or princess cut diamonds, actually mask some of the color of diamond. This is due to certain diamond cuts reflecting more light. Setting a diamond in a certain precious metal should also be taken into consideration so that the diamond color is complemented. Platinum and white gold complement diamonds with a grade of D through H.   Return to top »
Color center — A structural defect in a diamond that can influence how it absorbs light causing fancy colored diamonds.   Return to top »
Conflict diamonds — Diamonds sold to finance rebel interest against internationally recognized governments. Conflict diamonds are often stolen directly from the mine and sold for weapons to fund rebel interests. The Kimberley Process was enacted to combat the purchasing of conflict diamonds. deBebians does not sell conflict diamonds. Click to read our conflict-free diamond policy.   Return to top »
Crown — A term to describe all the parts of a diamond above the girdle. This includes the table, bezel, star and upper girdle facets.   Return to top »
Crown angles — The angle formed from the top of the girdle plane and the bezel facet. The crown angle varies among diamonds depending on the shape of the rough diamond when it is formed and also upon the quality of the diamond cutter. Crown angles between 31.5-36.5 degrees fall within the excellent category of a round brilliant cut diamond. The closer the crown angle is to 34.5 degrees, the more ideal the diamond's cut.   Return to top »
Crystal — A type of inclusion in which a mineral deposit is trapped inside the diamond.   Return to top »
cttw — See carat.   Return to top »
Culet — An extra facet found on the bottom of a diamond or gemstone's pavilion. The culet size will be listed on the certificate of a diamond if applicable.   Return to top »
Cut — One of the 4 C's, this term is used in one of two ways and is considered to be the most important in determining the diamond's overall beauty. Cut is used to either refer to a diamond's shape (princess, round, emerald, radiant, etc) or the actual cut, also known as the make of the diamond. The better the actual cut grade is for a diamond, the more brilliance and sparkle the diamond is going to have.   Return to top »
Cutting style — The arrangements of facets on a diamond where we derive the terms round brilliant, cushion, emerald, radiant, pear, oval cuts etc. Cutting styles often refer to stones that have either kite shaped faceting or step-cut faceting.   Return to top »
Diamond simulant — Any gemstone that is not a natural or synthetic diamond but imitates a diamond. Common diamond simulants are synthetic Moissanite, Cubic Zirconium, Asha, Colorless Sapphire, and Glass. These stones all share some properties of a diamond such as being colorless but their physical and chemical properties are different.   Return to top »
Dispersion — The physical separation of white light into the spectral colors that is visible to the naked eye. The term "fire" describes the actual rainbow colors in a diamond resulting from dispersion.   Return to top »
EGL — The European Gemological Laboratory is a consortium of independently owned gemological laboratories known for their gemstone grading and gemology research. EGL is divided up into two divisions: EGL International and EGL USA, which includes Canada. Click to shop EGL diamonds.   Return to top »
Extra facet — An extra facet is not essential to the cut of a diamond, but is often placed specifically to remove a clarity characteristic. Extra facets are common around the girdle and do not affect the clarity grade.   Return to top »
Eye-visible — A term to describe clarity characteristics that are visible to the unaided eye. Eye-visible inclusions are common in SI2-I3 stones.   Return to top »
Facet — The polished, flat planes on the surface of a diamond or gemstone. The amount of fire or sparkle of a diamond depends on accuracy of the facets.   Return to top »
Fancy-colored diamond — All natural colors except for white and black, beginning with yellow and brown diamonds whose color grade surpasses the normal D-Z color range. Yellow and brown diamonds whose color grades pass Z are considered fancy yellow and fancy brown diamonds. Other fancy diamond colors are pink, blue, red, green and purple. Click to shop fancy yellow diamonds.   Return to top »
Fancy cut — Any shape diamond other than a round brilliant.   Return to top »
Feather — A general term to describe a fracture in a diamond. A diamond can break along its cleavage plane, which results in a crack resembling the shape of a feather.   Return to top »
Finish — The quality of the polish and precision of the cut on a faceted gemstone.   Return to top »
Fire — The appearance of colored light being reflected back from within a diamond is referred to as fire. The spectral colors are viewable in a polished diamond. A diamond with a higher graded cut will refract more colors when exposed to light.   Return to top »
Fluorescence — A naturally occurring phenomenon in diamonds. Diamond fluorescence is graded from none to strong. Fluorescence can mask the body color of a diamond and can make a diamond of a lower color grade (I, J, K) appear more white. Fluorescence is not desirable is a colorless diamond.   Return to top »
Fracture — A crack, or feather inclusion that is found on the surface or a diamond or gemstone. It is irregular in shape and often appears like a splinter because light does not pass through it.   Return to top »
GIA — The Gemological Institute of America is a well-respected independent laboratory, which grades diamonds based on the 4 C's. GIA is renowned as the most consistent independent diamond and gemstone grading laboratory. Shop GIA diamonds or GIA certified jewelry.   Return to top »
GIA graduate gemologist — A professional certification given to those who have completed the graduate gemologist course at the Gemological Institute of America. A graduate gemologist is trained to identify hundreds of gemstones and detect the latest treatments and synthetics. A graduate gemologist has the identification skills to become a buyer, appraiser, retailer, and wholesaler of diamonds and colored gemstones.   Return to top »
Girdle — This term refers to the outermost edge of the diamond. Reported and described by GIA as a range from the thinnest to the thickest areas of a girdle. They vary from extremely thin, very thin, thin, medium, slightly thick, thick, very thick, and extremely thick.   Return to top »
Hardness — A gemstone's ability to withstand scratching and abrasion measured by the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Not all gemstones rank equally. The harder the stone the more it can resist being scratched. Stones that rank high in hardness can only scratch stones that are of equal or less hardness. Diamond ranks the highest gemstone with a 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness.   Return to top »
Hue — The basic color of a gemstone.   Return to top »
Inclusion — Anything enclosed inside a polished gemstone or extending into a gemstone from the exterior. Typical inclusions are a feather, cloud, pinpoint, and needle. Inclusions are a component of a gemstone's overall clarity characteristics.   Return to top »
Indented natural (IndN) — A section on a polished diamond where natural rough is left both on the outside and inside of the stone. Indented naturals occur when a surface reaching crystal falls out of a stone during polishing. An indented natural is considered a clarity characteristic and would be plotted on a laboratory certificate.   Return to top »
Karat — The unit used to describe the purity of gold. Karat is abbreviated with a capital "K," lowercase "k," or as "kt," and ranges from 10-24 karats. Most jewelry in the United States is made with 14K or 18K gold.   Return to top »
Knot (K) — A kind of clarity characteristic where an inclusion extends from the surface of a diamond into the stone.   Return to top »
Loupe — A portable magnifying lens used to quickly assess gemstones. A loupe typically magnifies 10X because that is the industry standard for judging clarity.   Return to top »
Loupe clean — A trade term to describe a gemstone that does not have any visible inclusions under 10X magnification.   Return to top »
Luster — The way the surface of a gemstone appears in reflected light. Gemstones break down into nine categories of luster. A diamond has the second highest luster called adamantine.   Return to top »
Master stones — A set of diamonds selected to represent the least amount of color per individual color grade within the GIA normal D-Z diamond color range. Master stones are the stones by which all diamonds graded in a lab are measured against. Master stones separate the boundaries between each color grade.   Return to top »
Melee — An industry term to describe very small faceted diamonds.   Return to top »
Mixed cut — A term to describe diamonds that are cut with both brilliant and step-cut like facets. A princes cut diamond is an example of a mixed cut.   Return to top »
Natural (N) — When a section of a diamond rough's original skin is left on a polished diamond. Naturals typically do not affect the clarity grade of a diamond because they serve to show that the diamond cutter did not take away any extra weight beyond what was necessary. Naturals are often found around the girdle so they do not affect the diamond's beauty.   Return to top »
Near-colorless (N) — A term which describes diamonds whose color grades range from G-J in the normal D-Z white diamond color range. Near-colorless diamonds are diamonds that will look white when they are facing up.   Return to top »
Needle (Ndl) — An inclusion where a crystal inside a diamond looks like a tiny rod or needle when examined at 10x magnification.   Return to top »
Nick (Nk) — A small indentation often found along facet junctions that is not obvious at 10x magnification.   Return to top »
Normal color range — The normal color range represents diamonds whose color grades range from D-Z. The range of diamond colors begins with colorless and ends with light yellow or brown.   Return to top »
Parcel — Stones with similar size and quality grouped together for sale.   Return to top »
Pavilion — The lower section below the girdle of a fashioned diamond. The pavilion includes both the pavilion main and lower girdle facets.   Return to top »
Per carat price — The price of a gemstone divided by the number of carats. Diamonds are typically priced per carat because they vary in weight from stone to stone.   Return to top »
Pinpoint (Pp) — A tiny crystal inside a diamond that is so small it looks like a dot when examining at 10X.   Return to top »
Pique — A term used to describe diamonds that have inclusions.   Return to top »
Pit — A small opening on the surface of a gemstone.   Return to top »
Plot — A diagram of a diamond's major inclusions and surface blemishes that that help in its identification by showing the nature and location of the clarity characteristics. Plots always correspond to a master color coded key and are essential to identification of diamonds because no diamond is the same.   Return to top »
Point — A trade term to describe .01 of a carat. 100 points is equal to 1 carat.   Return to top »
Polish — This term refers to the overall finish of the diamond (graded under 10x magnification) and whether there are polish lines, nicks, abrasions or anything like that left on the diamond from the cutting process. Polish is graded from poor, fair, good, very good and excellent.   Return to top »
Proportions — The relationship between a diamond's angles and measurements. Proportions affect the overall light return known as brilliance and fire.   Return to top »
Refractive index (RI) — A measurement in the change in speed and angle of light as it passes through a gemstone. Diamonds' high RI of 2.419 explains why diamonds have such exceptional light return. The higher the RI number, the more light bends and stays trapped within a gemstone. All gemstones vary in RI readings making it easy to identify.   Return to top »
Saturation — The strength or intensity of color in a diamond.   Return to top »
Scintillation — The contrasting flashes of white light and dark areas one sees when the light source, observer, or diamond shifts position.   Return to top »
Scratch — A line across the surface of a diamond that has no depth when viewed under 10x magnification.   Return to top »
Shape — The general outline of a diamond when viewed faced-up.   Return to top »
Shoulder — Refers to the two sides on a pear or oval shaped diamond closest to the round end.   Return to top »
Simulant — Any material that resembles a gemstone. A simulant can be a natural or manmade material that is chemically different from a gemstone. For example, a colorless sapphire is a natural gemstone that can be a simulant for a diamond. In addition, cubic zirconium is a manmade gemstone that also simulates a diamond. The key to simulants is that they imitate natural gemstones but are different in their chemical structure.   Return to top »
Singly refractive — A term used to describe stones that bend light at the same speed in all crystal directions. A diamond is an example of singly refractive stone.   Return to top »
Stability — The measurement of a gemstone's ability to resist both changes in temperature and exposure to harsh chemicals. Diamonds are considered highly stable stones and are very resistant to acidic chemicals. These characteristics allow diamonds to be ideal stones for jewelry.   Return to top »
Steam cleaner — A machine that cleans jewelry by releasing high-pressure steam. Steam cleaners can be effective in getting dirt out from difficult places.   Return to top »
Step cut — A style of cutting gemstones in which facets are cut on all four sides in parallel rows resembling steps. Step-cut diamonds include emerald cuts and Asscher cut diamonds. Shop emerald cut jewelry or Asscher cut jewelry.   Return to top »
Symmetry — This term has to do with how well the actual diamond is cut (also graded under 10x magnification). This includes whether there are extra facets, if the girdle is out of round, whether the facets line if point to point. Symmetry is graded from poor, fair, good, very good and excellent.   Return to top »
Synthetic diamond — A diamond that is made in a laboratory. Synthetic diamonds have the same physical, chemical and optical properties as natural diamonds except that they are created in a lab.   Return to top »
Total gem weight — The weight of all the gemstones in a single piece of jewelry expressed in carats. This includes different variety of stones such as sapphire and diamond.   Return to top »
Total weight — The total weight of just one kind of gemstone in a piece of jewelry.   Return to top »
Toughness — The ability of a gemstone to resist breaking, chipping or cracking. Toughness is based on a gemstone's physical and chemical composition. Although a diamond is a lot less tough (ability to break) than it is hard (ability to scratch), it is still extremely durable compared to other gemstones in the market.   Return to top »
Ultrasonic cleaner — A jewelry cleaning machine that sends high frequency waves through cleaning solution. The ultrasonic cleaner is effective in shaking out dirt and oils trapped in jewelry.   Return to top »


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