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Jewelry Making Glossary

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ab effectAB - AB stands for Aurora borealis (which means "northern lights"). Aurora borealis finish is a special iridescent finish that shines with many colors. This iridescent finish is a result of a very thin layer of metallic atoms that have been deposited on the lower surface of the stone.

This process was invented in 1955 by the Swarovski company together with Christian Dior.
See Crystal Effects for more details..

Acrylic - Acrylics are a type of thermoplastic, and can be transparent, translucent, or opaque. Some commonly-known acrylics are lucite and plexiglas.

Alloy - is a homogeneous hybrid of 2 or more elements; with at least of those elements being a metal.  The resultant alloy has metallic properties but usually with (sometimes substantially) different properties from its individual elements.

Anchor Chain - This chain originates from the chain used to attach and anchor to a vessel.  This is a common and popular jewelry chain and the Flat Anchor Chain is a sleek and elegant variation of this chain.
(see full article on Jewelry Chains)

Anodizing - produces a kind of finish from a process that electrolytically coats a metallic surface with protective and/or decorative oxide. These coatings are usually from 0.1 to 1.0mil in thickness. The anodizing process on metals from the reactive metals (like Niobium) is not the same as the more well known process of anodizing aluminium. Anodizing reactive metal uses high-voltage, low-amperage and employs non-toxic electrolysis.

Anodized coatings are hard, durable, never peels, and wear resistant.

arcade setting - (see chaton setting)

Aurora borealis - (see AB effect)

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Bail - Jewelry bail is a piece of finding used to hang a pendant to a chain. open locket bailThere are a variety of styles and sizes to choose from. The snap on bail or open locket bail is one of the most familiar and popular. They simply clip onto the ring or loop of a pendent/charm then over your necklace chain.

pinch or prong bailOther types of bails include the pinch bail or prong bail which is most often used to hang things like drilled stones and Austrian crystals.

v-bailAlso the v-bail, as shown here.

Ball Chain - (see Bead Chain)

end cap, bead cap, coneBead Cap - used to give further enhancing decoration and/or protection to beads, either at one or both ends of the bead. Can also be used to finish multi-strands in earrings, necklaces, bracelets. This is specifically true for cone-shaped bead caps and these are often called "cones" or "end caps".

bead chainBead Chain - This is sometimes also called Ball Chain. The reason for either name is quite obvious. This type of chains has round beads fixed along the chain, either with some distance between each bead or the beads could be strung next to each other.
(see full article on Jewelry Chains)

Bead Tip - (see Charlotte Crimp)

Beading Wire - like tigertail, beading wire is made up of multiple strands of very find wire, that is usually twisted together and then coated with nylon or plastic.  The nylon/plastic comes in a variety of colours and also provides strength, durability, and resistance to wear and abrasion.
(see article on Beading Wire and Tigertail)

Beeswax - is used to condition thread so that they are stonger and easier to work with. Thread condition can also be used.

bent nose pliers - (see full article on Jewellery Pliers)

blunt nose pliers - (see full article on Jewellery Pliers)

Bizantine Chain
(see Byzantine chain)

Boho jewellery - is Bohemian styling. The term covers clothing and accessories. The underlying style is drawn from combining ethnic styles worn by people from around the globe. It is very reminiscent of the 'hippies' era - lots of layered clothing and accessories, made from natural materials, and with a free-flowing, not-structured overall feel. It is an "anything goes" kind of freedom style.

box chainBox Chain - A box chain is made up of square links - links that are wide and square (hence resembling a box) - that are connected to create a smooth chain.
(see full article on Jewelry Chains)

Box Clasps - has 2 parts: a box housing, and on the other side, a 'tongue'.  The 'tongue', made of a flat piece of folded metal to form a spring lever, slides into the box housing and clicks into place.
(see full article on the many Types of Jewelry Clasps)

Brazilian Chain
(see Snake Chain)

Briolette - this refers to both the shape or the cut (facet) of the stone. Briolettes are ususally elongated-pear or tear shape. Some people refer to them as teadrops. It can be top or side-drilled. It's cut is normally triangular facets, but not necessarily so anymore.

Britannia Silver - has 95.8% silver purity.
(see full article on Sterling Silver)

Bronze - Bronze is made from copper, alloyed primarily with tin and zinc. Bronze is a hard metal with a high-wear resistance. Bronzes (like gold) can come as yellow bronze, red bronze, and white bronze.

bullion wire - (see French wire)

Byzantine Chain - Byzantine chain is intricate, elaborate, and graceful. It is made up of oval or round links ; pairs are linked onto pairs to form the old-world textural desing.
(see full article on Jewelry Chains)

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Cable Chain - A cable chain is made up of round or oval links of uniform sizes. This is the chain that most people think of when they think of "chains".
(see full article on Jewelry Chains)

Cab - (see Cabochon)

Cabochan - (see Cabochon)

Cabochon - A cabochon is a stone that has been shaped and polished, normally with a flat backing.  It is not faceted. Cat's eye, garnet, turquoise, moonstone and many stones that are opaque, tanslucent, and/or very soft are cut and polished in this style.
(see full article on Cabochons)

Calotte - (see Charlotte Crimp)

Carat - (spelt with a "c") is the unit of measurement for fine gemstones, like diamonds.  One carat is equivalent to 200milligrams.  It is derived from the Greek word for carob beans which was once used, due to their uniform sizes, as weight in the precision scales for weighing fine gemstones.  Because "carat" is spelt with a "k" (karat) in North America, there is often a confusion between these 2 words.  See "karat" for more information. (see a fuller article on the difference between karat and carat)

Chain Extender - (see Extender Chain)

chain nose pliers - (see full article on Jewellery Pliers)

Chain Wire - (see Memory Wire)

channels - (see Swarovski Channels)

cord endsCharlotte Crimp - (aka bead tip, calotte, clam shell crimp, clamp on bead tip, clamshell knot concealer, crimp cover) - small findings with a cup and a hook. It is used to link a cord strung necklace to a clasp and conceal the knot by squeezing the cup section together, over the knot.  Charlotte crimps are available in many finishes/colours.
(see more details on Bead Tips & Calottes)

chasing - a term used in metal work. Metal is worked from the front (unlike repousse). A chasing hammer is used, sometimes with punches, to produce design on the metal surface.

chaton - a stone with a metal foil backing. The foil backing enhances the reflection.

chaton setting - a setting in which the stone is held in place by metal claws. This setting is also called coronet setting or arcade setting.

Clam Shell Crimp - (see Charlotte Crimp)

Clamp on Bead Tip - (see Charlotte Crimp)

Clampshell Knot Concealer - (see Charlotte Crimp)

Clasps - 'Clasps' and 'Fasteners' are generic terms for a whole wide range of jewellery findings used to secure bracelets and necklaces.
(see full article on the many Types of Jewelry Clasps)

Coil Ends - (see Cord Ends or Spring Ends)

Coin Silver - can have 80% or 90% silver purity.
(see full article on Sterling Silver)

Cone - (see Bead Cap)

cord endsCord Ends (aka Coil Ends, Thong Ends, Crimp Coil Ends)
Use cord ends with a dollop of glue and crimp over cord like leather and suede. The loop of the cord end is used to hold the clasp.
(see more details about Cord Ends)

coronet setting see: chaton setting

crimp bead, french crimpCrimp Bead - a crimp bead is a small metal bead with thin walls and comparatively large holes.  It is designed to be flattened with a crimp tool or crimping pliers.  Crimp beads are used to finish off wire or cord at the ends in lieu of unsightly knots.  The crimp beads, when used properly, give the jewelry a finished, professional look.
(for more information on how to use crimp bead)

crimp bead coverCrimp Bead Cover - Crimp bead covers conceal crimp beads, adding a polished, professional touch to your jewelry. Crimp bead covers can come in different sizes and materials. Use pliers to gently squeeze the two sides of a cover together over a crimp bead.

Crimp Cord Ends - (see Cord Ends)

Crimp Cover - (see Charlotte Crimp)

Crimping pliers - (see full article on Jewellery Pliers)

Cutters (pliers) - (see full article on Jewellery Pliers)

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Ear Thread - see Ear Threader

Ear Threader - is a earring finding whereby you can thread the earring through the ear hole. It can come in various designs. The basic working of it is so that it consists of a small rigid rod on one end (the 'post') which is connected, via a few inches of fine, flexible chain to the other end. This end is made up of a loop / ring to which you can attach beads, dangles, crystals, pearls, etc.
(see more details on Ear Threader)

end barEnd Bar - Used to finish a multi-strand necklace or bracelet.

End Cap - (see Bead Cap)

End Coils - (see Cord Ends)

end cord connectors - (see Leather Crimps)

End Cutters (pliers) - (see full article on Jewellery Pliers)

cord endsExtender Chain (aka Necklace Extender Chain, Extension Chain, Chain Extension) - is used to attach to the end of a necklace to allow length adjustment.

Eye Pin - Similar to a Head Pin, but instead of a flat head, they have a loop at one end. back to top


Fasteners - (see Clasps)

figaro chainFigaro chain - The Figaro chain, like the curb chain, has flattened links. Unlike the curb chain, it does not just have one uniform size links alone. Instead, it usually has 2 or 3 shorter links alternating with a longer link.
(see full article on Jewelry Chains)

Filler Bead - (see Spacer Bead)

Findings ( Jewelry Findings) - component parts and pieces used to connect &/or decorate beads, wires, and chains in the creation of jewelery pieces. Jewelry findings give jewelry pieces a finished and professional look.  There are many types on the market.  Sterling silver and gold filled findings are often considered the best but are usually the most expensive.

Fine Silver - has 99.9% pure silver fineness.
(see full article on Sterling Silver)

Flat Anchor Chain -
(see Anchor Chain)

Flat Nose Pliers - (see full article on Jewellery Pliers)

French crimp - (see crimp bead)

French wire - aka gimp wire, bullion wire, or jump gimp. it is made from very fine coiled wire and is generally used to attach strung beads onto metal components. They usually come in silver or gold, plated or unplated. It can be most often found on fine hand strung pearls and other (semi-)precious gemstone jewellery pieces.
(see full article on French Wire)

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