Essential Terms Every Antique Jewellery Lover Needs To Know


The jewellery industry almost has a language of its own, and over the many thousand years, terms have been used to describe jewellery attributes, and with that in mind, here is a brief glossary of common terms used in the jewellery industry.

Antique – Definitively, an item is only classed as an antique if it is more than 100 years old, and while the term antique is often used to describe anything old, it should be at least a century old to be called antique.

Art Deco – This glitzy and colourful style originated in France in the 1920s, and it influenced society in many forms, art, furniture and appliances were all made using the same bold designs, making Art Deco very popular today.

Art Nouveau – 1890-1910 – The Art Nouveau period saw the arrival of natural shapes, and often included erotic females posing with natural objects like flowers. Precious stones and bright enamels were used to good effect, and if you would like to browse a great selection of Art Nouveau jewellery, search online for a reputable antique dealer.

Albert Chain – Named after Prince Albert, the single or double strand chain that attached a man’s pocket watch, of which the Prince was an advocate, hence the name Albert chain. Search the Internet for antique jewellery shops in London and you will find many fine examples on offer, all at affordable prices.

Bezel – The flat central section of a ring, onto which the stone is set.

C-Clasp – A C-shaped clasp commonly found on necklaces and bracelets. There are many types of clasp, and this can often denote the period, so it is a good idea to take advantage of the free online resources about jewellery.

Channel Set – Rows of stones are set in a line, which are secured by metal borders top and bottom. This is a classic setting on Victorian bracelets and necklaces, and all types of precious stones would use this setting.

Circa – This means “approximately” when used to date an item, which might be Circa 1920, for example.

Closed Back – When a stone is closed at the back, not allowing light to pass through, this is called “closed back”, and sometimes, there will be silver foil on the back of the stone, to increase reflection.

Eight Cut Stone – An 8-cut diamond has a total of 18 facets, and is normally used on smaller diamonds. This results in a soft light, rather than a dazzling reflection, and is common in both antique and vintage jewellery items.


There are indeed many terms and expression used in the jewellery business, and the best way to familiarise yourself is to search online, and whenever you encounter a term you have not heard before, you can do a Google search to find out the meaning.

Once you are ready to source an antique jewellery item, search online for a local antique dealer and pay him a visit, and with many fine examples on the dealer’s website, you can select a few pieces you want to view.
 
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