Glossary of Fine Jewelry and Jewelry Design Terms

Explore commonly-used terms found on the product pages of our website.


4 Cs- Created by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the 4Cs of diamond quality is the universal standard for describing, assessing, and categorizing diamonds, determining the quality of a diamond by four metrics or parameters: Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat Weight.


Alloy- The combination of two or more metals to create a durable base metal for jewelry settings. For example, 14k gold is generally made of 58% gold with 42% other metals such as copper or silver.

anniversary band with baguette diamonds
Anniversary Band- A band-style ring that is gifted on a wedding anniversary and can often be stacked with your existing bridal set, or worn alone. Sometimes anniversary bands incorporate more gemstones in configurations representative of the time a couple has spent together (i.e. Seven gemstones for seven years, or some such).

Aquamarine- A light blue precious gemstone of the beryl variety; best-known as the birthstone for the month of March and often requested as an alternative gemstone for engagement ring designs.

Art Deco (style)- A popular design style of the 1920s and 1930s featuring ornate details, bold outlines, and geometric design elements. Brings to mind opulence, glamour, luxury. Think The Great Gatsby or the vibes of the fictional Hotel Cortez in AHS: Hotel (2015).

asscher cut diamond

Asscher Cut- A "step" diamond cut invented by Joseph Asscher in 1902. The cut is described as a blend of Princess and Emerald cuts. Final result is a square-shaped gem.


Bar Set- Bar settings secure gemstones on two sides with vertical metal bars. This setting is similar to channel settings except they leave more space on two sides for light to pass through your gemstones.

Baroque (style)- Baroque art was prominent in the 17th century. It is a style of art and design that is characterized by exaggerated motion and clear detail to produce drama, exuberance and grandeur. Later Baroque was termed Rococo, characterized by increasingly decorative and elaborative works. Think Rembrandt, Carvaggio, and Vermeer.

Basket head or setting- A common setting where prongs and horizontal bars are arranged to create a "basket" setting to secure a gemstone into jewelry (most commonly rings and earrings). This setting is slightly different from standard prong settings, with that horizontal bar being present in the basket and not present in the standard prong setting.

Bead- In terms of jewelry, commonly a round charm with a hole through the middle for use on jewelry chains or other kinds of jewelry. In terms of engagement ring details, a bead is a small round piece of metal that is raised from the surface and sometimes used as an accent or raised into a prong to secure the gem.

bezel set engagement ring

Bezel Set-  A single ring of metal that covers the entire circumference of a gem, as opposed to claw-type prongs in the common "prong setting." The Bezel is one of the earliest types of jewelry settings, yet the clean look of metal is often found in contemporary or modern-style designs. Bezel settings are considered among the most secure when it comes to protecting your gemstones in fine jewelry.

Birthstones- Every month of the year is designated a precious or semi-precious gemstone that is meant to symbolize the month of your birth. Some believe that birthstones have some mystical connection to their wearers and can be worn as protective talismans. Read more about birthstones.

Bridge- With regard to rings, the bridge is the area of the ring that touches your finger; that is, the area under the center gemstone or "head"/ "setting" of your ring. This area of the ring may feature "bridge accents" in the form of filigree or small gemstones, which can add unexpected visual interest to your engagement ring design.

In other news, the term "bridge jewelry" is used to classify jewelry that is between costume jewelry and fine jewelry. For example, gold vermeil jewelry with semi-precious gemstones that have an air of "affordable luxury" might be classified as "bridge jewelry."

Brilliance- With regard to diamonds, brilliance refers to the brightness of the white light reflection of a gem.

Brilliant Cut- A circular cut comprised of two (2) multi-faceted pyramids joined at their bases. As the name of the cut indicates, this cut is optimized to create a look maximum brilliance.


lucette pink ring

Cabochon- A gem that is polished but NOT faceted. Our Lucette ring is an example of this.

Carat (ct)- The unit used to measure the weight of gemstones. Different from "karat" which is applicable to gold.

Cathedral setting- A raised profile ring that features metal arches and a basket-like setting for your center gem. Inspired by the architecture of Gothic style cathedrals, this setting raises your center gemstone for maximum impact.

Center gemstone- This one is pretty self explanatory. The center gemstone is the main or primary gem showcased in the center of the "head" of your ring. The center gemstone is typically the largest gem in a ring.

Channel set- When a "channel" is cut into metal or formed from two metal strips and gems are set inlaid to the recessed groove so that gems are flush with the shank.

Clarity- The absence of inclusions and blemishes within a diamonds. Clarity is measured on a scale from Flawless (FL) to Internally Flawless (IF) to Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS₁ and VVS₂) to Very Slightly Included (VS₁ and VS₂) and so on. To read more about diamond clarity visit

Diamond clarity chart - GIA

Claw (prong)- Prongs hold your gemstones in place. A claw prong tapers off as they reach the stone, forming a fine point that looks like a tiny  claw.

Cluster- When a series of diamonds or gemstones make up the head of a ring. Configurations may vary; a ring may be designed with a cluster of small gems intended to appear as a single larger gem. A ring with a larger center stone and a chunky halo, like our Kendall, could also be classified as a cluster.

Cocktail ring- A substantial and dimensional ring that rises off of the finger and worn for dressy occasions.

Color grade- In the case of diamonds, the D-to-Z color grading system formalized by the GIA actually measures the lack of color, with the ideal coloring being colorless or near colorless. The scale begins with the letter D, representing colorless, and continues with increasing presence of color to the letter Z, or light yellow or brown. ("Color" is one of the 4 Cs.)

Contemporary (style)- As it pertains to jewelry design, contemporary pertains to current trends. On a broader and more general scale, anything that is fabricated in the present versus pieces that are considered antique, vintage, Victorian, or Art Deco. Definitions for "Contemporary" as it pertains to jewelry may vary depending upon school of thought.

Crown- As it pertains to gemstones, the crown is the top part of the gem from the girdle to the table, or the height of the gem. Sometimes this term refers to the top portion of a ring, displaying most of the design elements.    

Culet- The point at the bottom of the gem where facets converge to a point or flat area.

Cut- The cut of a diamond pertains to how it is faceted for polishing and is the factor of the 4Cs that most impacts diamonds' brilliance. Oftentimes, the terms "cut" and "shape" are used interchangeably when the word cut should apply to the arrangement of facets needed to create an attractive face-up appearance and the word "shape" should pertain to the outline of the diamond, that is round, marquise, pear or oval.


Depth- In regard to diamonds, the distance from the diamond table (the flat area at the top of a diamond) to the culet (bottom tip).

Diamond- Diamonds are very well known as the strongest and hardest natural mineral, ranking a "10" (the highest) rating on the Mohs Scale of HardnessRead more about DIAMONDS on our blog.

Dispersion- With regard to diamonds and also referred to as "fire," this is the effect produced when white light disperses into rainbow colors when it hits the diamond's cut facets; how light refracts against diamond facets.


Edwardian (style)- Typically ornate, intricate, and flowery, Edwardian jewelry is often characterized by pieces made between 1901 and 1920. Openwork, lace-inspired filigree and milgrain details were introduced during this period.

Emerald- A green precious stone that is a variety of Beryl. Generally a rich velvety green gem is traditionally known as emerald while lighter green gems of the same family are known as Green Beryl.

Emerald Cut- A rectangular gemstone cut with straight, linear stepped facets. Gems are often cropped at the corners for stability. Like Oval-cut gems, ratios come into play for Emerald cuts with classic rectangular cuts ranging from 1.30 to 1.60. From The Diamond Pro:

Emerald ratios chart

Eternity band- A ring with a continuous line of identically cut gems going all the way around the precious metal band; also known as an "infinity ring" and represents never-ending love when gifted to a spouse or partner.


Facet- A single side/plane/ cut surface of a finished gemstone.

Filigree- A form of intricate metalwork created by twisting and plating together thin threads of pliable precious metals to achieve a lace-like look. Filigree has a long and global history but was popularized in Edwardian jewelry design and is now a sought after engagement ring style.

Finish- In regard to precious metal bands/settings, the appearance of the surface of the metal. Generally "Bright Polished" refers to a high polish or high-shine look while "Semi-Polished" adds some matte to surface texture for a softer look. More textured finishes include Satin/Brushed, Hammered, Florentine, and others.

Jewelry finishing is loosely define as the processes related to adding the final touches to a piece of jewelry. A "finished" piece of jewelry is ready to wear.

Fire- See Dispersion

Flush set- When the top surface of the gemstone(s) and surrounding metal are "level" or on the same plane. Flush setting styles do not have prongs or bezels.

Freeform- A gem with no defined shape, but with abstract or organic qualities.

French cut (detail)- Square or rectangular multifaceted stones most often used in pavé or micro pavé work.


Gallery- With regard to rings, the area beneath the center stone.

Girdle- The circumference of the widest part of a polished diamond; divides the crown of the gem from the pavilion.

Gold- A yellow precious metal, modified to appear also as white gold and rose gold in modern jewelry. Pure gold is 24 karats, meaning 24 of 24 parts are gold. To increase its strength for daily wear, gold is commonly combined with other metal alloys; 18 karat gold is 18 parts gold and 6 parts other alloys, 14K is 14 parts gold and 10 parts other alloys, and so on. Read more at Jewelrywise.


Half bezel set- A bezel-style setting that leaves about half of the gemstones edge exposed. This look has the vibe of a tension setting and works well for unique and impressive gemstones that you really want to show off. Especially common in modern and contemporary designs.

Hallmark- The official marks stamped into the inside of your ring's band indicating the composition and purity of precious metals. (A "Maker's Mark" indicates the maker, designer, and/or origin.)

Halo- A ring setting where the circumference of center gemstone is framed with smaller gemstones. Though halos are typically pavé or micro pavé, they can also be "chunky" (that is, halos can feature larger diamonds to form more of a cluster in terms of design). Halos can make your center gem appear much larger in carat size.

Head (setting)- This is the area of the ring that holds the center gem.

Hidden halo- A hidden halo is a row of diamonds (generally placed around the girdle or pavilion of a center gem and) only viewable from the sides. Standard halos frame that center stone and are viewable from the top of the ring. Gemma is a Dana Walden design with a hidden halo.


Illusion setting- A setting that integrates a ring of metal around the girdle of a gem to make it appear larger than it is.

Inlay- A carved setting with no prongs; gems placed in these spaces are an exact fit for the gem and gem sits flush with metal surface.

Invisible set- A setting style where no prongs or bezels are visible and gems are secured to the ring in a way where metal setting is much less prominent. Gems appear to be floating within the piece.



Karat- The system of measuring the amount of  pure gold found in solid gold jewelry. Pure gold is 24 karats, meaning 24 of 24 parts are gold. To increase its strength for daily wear, gold is commonly combined with other metal alloys; 18 karat gold is 18 parts gold and 6 parts other alloys, 14K is 14 parts gold and 10 parts other alloys, and so on. Read more at Jewelrywise.


Lab diamond- A genuine diamond that is formed in a laboratory instead of in the earth's mantle. Has the same physical and chemical properties as natural diamonds and graded using the same scale as natural diamonds, per the GIA. Read More About Lab Diamonds (aka lab-created diamonds, lab-grown diamonds, engineered diamonds).

Lariat- A necklace that features a long vertically hanging strand. The entire necklace will form a "Y." See an example in our collection.


Micro pavé- When a set of uniformly sized, very small diamonds are set into an arrangement using very small prongs. Diamonds in micro pavé are typically 0.01ct or smaller. (Pavé will utilize larger gems in a similar mounting process). See examples of micro pavé. You can also read more about micro pavé.

milgrain wedding band

Milgrain- The use of tiny fine metal beads to create ornate textured border and detail in a fine jewelry piece. See examples of milgrain in our work.

Minimalist (style)- Simple and elegant design that eliminates unnecessary embellishments in favor of highlighting the basic materials used. Also referre dto as "naked" or "barely there."

Mounting- The part of a ring that holds the gemstone, whether it be the holistic arrangement of prongs or bezel setting that comes into direct contact with gems.




Patina- The "film" or layer that develops on a metal over a period of time due to exposure to open air and/or a natural result of oxidation. Most commonly seen with copper and silver.

Pavé- The arrangement of many small gemstones held in place by "prongs' formed of small beads of metal. Pavé generally refers to this sort of arrangement with diamonds larger than 0.01ct while micro pavé refers to arrangements comprised of diamonds 0.01ct or smaller.

Pavilion- The area of a gemstone between the GIRDLE and CULET, often where body facets of a gemstone are cut. Essentially, the area of a gem that slopes to its bottom point, otherwise known as the CULET.

Platinum- Naturally occurring white metal that is harder, heavier and more durable than gold. Platinum is also hypoallergenic, providing a fine jewelry solution for anyone with an allergy or sensitivity to gold or its alloys.

Precious gemstones- Any rare mineral  made rarer still by difficulty in mining gemstone quality or jewelry quality specimens with minimal inclusions and flaws. Examples include diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and exceedingly opals, too. 

Prong set- The common use of metal tines to secure a gemstone in a piece of fine jewelry or engagement ring.


Remount- A service or brand of jewelry remodel that allows you to put an heirloom gemstone into a new setting for the purposes of repair or redesign. Learn more about Dana Walden's Diamond Re-Setting Services.

Ring guard- Most popularly known as wearing two bands on either side of your solitaire engagement ring to prevent the engagement ring from slipping off.

Rose Cut- This gem cutting style gets its name from the final product resembling a rose bud. Generally these are different from popular brilliant cut diamonds because there is a flat surface at the bottom of the gem (as opposed to a point or culet) and the side profile of the gem appears dome-like instead of having a more traditional flat-topped facet.

Ruby- The red variation in the corundum family, which also includes sapphires. The red color of rubies comes from traces of chromium in the mineral. A true ruby generally has a medium to deep red hue. Anything lighter is considered a pink sapphire.


Sapphire- Gemstones in the corundum family that include popular blue sapphires, as well as sapphires in every other color including yellow, pink, and green. Red corundum is not included in this classification, as those are known as rubies.

Scintillation- The sparkle created when flashes of white and colored light play on a gem in motion. The impact of the gem to the naked eye takes two forms: flash scintillation and fire scintillation.

aquamarine engagement ring

Semi-precious gemstones- These gems are classified as less rare than diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds. They are still prized for their symbolism and beauty. Some examples of semi-precious gemstones are amethysts, rose quartz, garnet, and aquamarine (shown above).

Shadow band- A style of wedding band made to conform to the profile of your specific engagement ring design, as opposed to a straight band or curved band, the latter of which is made to more generally accommodate low profile round or oval center gems.

Shank- The part of the ring that goes around your finger, specifically around the sides and back of the finger, as opposed to the top area (or "head") of the ring where the center gemstone resides. This area of the ring is more commonly known as the band of a ring.

Shoulder- The top part of the band on either side of the "head." The shoulder is where you might place "side stones" as accents.

ring with side stones

Side stones- Smaller gemstones or diamonds that are typically placed on the shoulder of the a ring as an accent, as shown above in the Harkin ring.

Silver- Fine 99.9% silver is generally too soft for jewelry making, so Sterling Silver is created using an alloy that includes copper. This alloy is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper and is typically stamped with a "925" inside the band.

Solitaire- An engagement ring that showcases a single diamond or gemstone at its heart.

Step Cut- There are three cuts in this family: emerald cut, Asscher cut, and baguette cut. The step cut style features long rectilinear/ rectangular cuts that render like a staircase on top-down view of the gemstone.


Table- The flat, polished surface facet at the top of a diamond or gemstone.

Tension set- When compression is used to hold a gem between two strips of metal to showcase gems without prongs or bezels. 

three stone diamond engagement ring

Three-stone ring- As the name suggests, a ring with three prominent stones in the central design of the ring. Often a larger center gemstone flanked by two smaller stones or three gems of the same size. We also have three-stone designs that feature three entirely different gemstones for an artistic and asymetrical look.




White gold- An alloy of (yellow) gold where mixing with palladium and silver allow for a clean white metal look in fine jewelry settings. White gold requires rhodium plating for additional durability for everyday wear. Rhodium is in the Platinum family and offers a desirable white metal surface sheen.