Anodized: A process by which the natural surface oxidation of some types of metal(such as aluminum and titanium), is increased by electrical current, resulting in a hard coating on the metal. The coating can also be color-dyed. Once the surface is oxidized in this way, it is resistant to further oxidation.
Black Enamel, Blacking,
Antiquing: Some gold diamond rings have a black enamel applied in recessed areas of the ring design. Because the gold to which it is applied is naturally resistant to impurities, this enamel will wear off over time. Therefore, the same care should be followed as for all diamond rings: they should be removed for dish washing, swimming, handling chemicals, manual labor and other activities which could damage the ring. Nail polish remover, lighter fluid, Lava® soap and other common household solutions can damage or remove the finish, also. Any jeweler will be able to refresh the black enamel when you take your rings for routine cleaning.
Bead Blast: A form of matte finish, bead blast is performed with a stream of high speed air, mixed with fine particles (such as fine sand), which is directed at the surface of the jewelry piece.
Brushed: Similar to Matte finish, a brushed finish is composed of tiny striations, or scratches, in the finish as made by a metal brush. If the striations are very fine, the finish is similar to matte. The terms are often used interchangeably.
Cloisonné: A type of finish in which areas of metal are separated by thin, metal strips which outline the design. The areas are then filled with colored enamel and fired at high temperatures.
Diamond cut: The surface of the metal is cut into highly polished facets which reflect light at different angles, creating a sparkling diamond-like effect.
Die Struck: A die is a hard-steel tool upon which an image has been formed. It is machine-pressed with great force ("struck") onto a precious metal blank, creating a sharp, dimensional design which is polished and further formed into the jewelry piece.
Embossed: The design or text formed in the metal is raised above its surface, the opposite of engraving.
Enameled: The process of fusing colored glass or other very hard compounds onto the metal to provide color that is not usually found in alloys of the base metal.
Engraved: After covering the metal everywhere except where the design or text is desired, a strong acid is applied to the piece which removes the unprotected sections of the metal, forming the desired design.
Epoxy resin: An epoxide polymer that cures when mixed with a hardener, creating a synthetic resin. Epoxy resin is very durable, thus it is often used in jewelry inlays.
Etched: The design or text is cut into the metal, thus being formed below its surface--the opposite of embossing.
Filigreed: Intricate patterns of open work in the metal which are formed by fused gold wire or by cutting through the metal.
Florentine: A cross-hatched engraved design, more coarse than a brushed or matte finish
Gold Tone or Silver Tone: Indicates that a non-precious metal is coated or plated to resemble gold or silver. Often used in metal jewelry and keepsake boxes.
Guilloche: (pronounced ghi-LOWSH) An intricate interlaced pattern that is engraved by an engine-turned lathe. When a translucent enamel is applied, as in a Faberge Egg, the engraving can be seen through the enamel.
Hammered: Random indentations in the metal either formed by the mold in which the piece was formed, or by actual hammering.
Highly Polished: All jewelry is polished to some extent in order to remove the rough surfaces which are formed in the manufacturing process. This is a labor-intensive step and is often compromised in lower-quality jewelry, especially on the underside of the crown of rings and the backs of pins and brooches. Highly polished metal has a mirror-like finish.
Matte: A non-reflective surface--the metal has been polished, but not to a mirror-like finish. The effect is often achieved by abrading the surface with fine materials after polishing. Similar to Brushed finish, though not as coarse--the terms are often used interchangeably.
Mesh: A sheet of woven fine, precious metal or steel wire.
Milgrain: The metal is formed with a texture resembling dentil moulding or a line of tiny beads, depending on the style, which outlines a design detail or border.
Oxidized: The metal surface, typically silver, is caused to combine with oxygen to create a darkening of the metal--the same as tarnishing, except it is limited to only the desired area to be darkened.
Satin: The metal has a softer shine than a highly polished metal, but not as dull as a matte finish.
Stardust: The surface is etched into a frosted appearance using a powerful laser beam.