Jewelry | Types & Lingo

Definitions Of Common Types, Materials & Styles

Jewelry | Types, Materials & Definitions

Jewelry comes in thousands upon thousands of different styles, materials, finishes and assemblies. With so many choices and price points available in the market, it's often difficult to know where to begin. Some fashion accessories are bought and worn for one specific look or trend, while other jewelry can be passed down from one generation to the next.

We often get questions about different types of jewelry, metals, materials and styles. Before choosing which necklace, ring, earring or bracelet is the perfect one for you, take some time to learn the meaning behind common terms & descriptions. For additional questions, feel free to contact us at patandz@ruggedswagco.com. 

SCROLL TO EXPLORE & LEARN THE MEANING BEHIND COMMON TERMS USED TO DEFINE & DESCRIBE JEWELRY!
.925 Grade Silver This means 'sterling' silver. Sterling silver is not pure silver - it consists of 92.5% silver (.925) and 7.5% copper and other metals. The other metal makes sterling silver much easier to work with and fabricate into different shapes. Sterling silver will maintain and appreciate in value over time. Genuine sterling silver is non-magnetic! Shop .925 Sterling Silver Jewelry Here
14k Gold The 'k' refers to 'karats' which are units used to measure the purity of gold. 100% pure gold is known as 24 karat. However, pure gold is hardly ever used in jewelry, as it easily scratches and changes shape very quickly. 14k gold is 58.5% (majority) pure gold (14k / 24k = 58.5%), mixed with other metals like silver, platinum, nickel and copper to help maintain longevity and looks over every day wear. For this reason, nearly all wedding rings are 14k gold. Shop 14k Gold Jewelry Here
14k White Gold Continuing the 14k Gold description above, 14k White Gold contains a high percentage of platinum on top of 58.5% pure gold. 14k white gold is a great choice for someone who loves the look of platinum at the price point of 14k gold. Sometimes 14k white gold is made using nickel, which can irritate the skin of those with nickel allergies. If you do have an allergy, make sure to check for 'nickel-free' notes in the piece's description. Shop 14k White Gold Jewelry Here
18k Gold 18k gold is 75% pure gold (18k / 24k = 75%), mixed with other metals like silver, platinum, nickel and copper to help maintain longevity and looks over every day wear. 18k gold is the highest grade gold commonly found in high end fine jewelry and is pricier than 14k. However, color will be maintained for a longer time, but due to high gold percentage, is slightly easier to scratch. Shop 18k Gold Jewelry Here
24k Gold Plated Gold plating is a process where a thin layer of 24k gold is placed over another metal (base material) via chemical or electromagnetic plating (electroplating). This creates the appearance of pure gold at a fraction of the price of 14k and 18k gold. Our pieces feature 24k gold plating over sterling silver base material for a long lasting and durable construction. However, gold plating will wear out over time, so make sure to avoid contact with perfumes, colognes, lotions and other oils. Clean after wearing with a cotton ball or equivelant wiping cloth, etc. Shop Gold-Plated Jewelry Here
316L  316L notes 'marine grade' stainless steel, comprised of iron, chromium, nickel and molybdenum. This alloy of various elements keeps the stainless steel from rusting over time, and is a perfect material for routine exposure to waters, airborne particles and ocean air. This material is often used in construction close to the ocean or in cities. 316L is also used in medical industry for fine instruments. Shop Stainless Steel Jewelry Here
Abalone Abalone refers to 'abalone shell', which is made from the shells of mock-clinging ocean mollusks. These shells are slightly spiraled and are lined with 'Mother of Pearl' (see below). Shop Abalone Jewelry Here
Alloy Alloy is simply made by combining two or more metallic elements via melting elements into a molten state and casting together in a consistent blend. Alloys are made to combine benefits of certain metals to get the best of each - color, sheen, durability, resistance to tarnish/corrision, etc. Different blends also allow a wide variety of price points depending on the supply of each metal. Nearly all jewelry is technically made from an alloy. 
Amulet Also knowns as a Talisman, the definition of Amulet translates roughly to an object warn on one's person to protect them from bad energy, negativity and evil. Common Amulet jewelry themes include the Evil Eye, Dreamcatcher, Cross/Crucifix, Hamsa, Hand of Fatima, Charms and Zodiac Signs. Shop Spiritual Jewelry Here
Bib Necklace A large necklace that's design to cover most of the upper chest. Often available in a variety of stones or metals. Shop Bib Necklaces Here
Bohemian This theme originates from the French word 'bohemien', which roughly translated to gypsy, and refered to travelers coming to the country from the mountain lands of central Europe. The word refers to unconventional, free-sprited appearances and in modern times, artistic style of self-expression. Shop Bohemian Styles Here
Braided  Braided jewelry is made by taking three or more strands of a material and intertwining them into a  classic braid pattern. Most often seen in bracelets and necklaces made of leather strips or leather cording. Shop Braided Styles Here
Carat Carats are units used to measure diamonds and other stones by weight, where 1 carat equals 200 milligrams, or 0.2 grams.

Note to be confusted with Karats ('k'), which are units used to measure the purity of gold. 100% pure gold is known as 24 karat. If an alloy is 50% pure gold, for example, it is 12 karats (24k x 50% = 12k). 
Chromium Plated Also referring to 'chrome plating', chromium plated jewelry features metal alloy coated with a layer of pure chromium, which is set via electroplating. Commonly seen on household objects, chrome offers additional strength (hardness) and a smoother surface, keeping jewelry from tarnishing and weathering over time when exposed to waters, oils, etc. during daily wear. 
Contemporary Contemporary jewelry takes more common designs of rings, necklaces, bracelets etc and adds a flair of intense, modern and artistic expression to it. Contemporary styles are often seen on statement and costume jewelry pieces. These pieces are often designed from an artist's scultive expression rather than simply for the purpose of being worn. 
Costume Jewelry The term 'costume jewelry' somewhat implies the definition itself - costume jewelry is made of imitation and inexpensive materials for the purpose of dressing up an outfit to match an exquisite expensive style. Materials usually include metal alloy colored in golds and silvers, with glass accents to mimic diamonds and gems. The benefits of buying costume jewelry pieces include a low price point, so you can purchase many pieces, as well as giving the look of genuine fine jewelry pieces at a very small fraction of the cost. Of course, trade off being less longevity and more sensitivity to breakage and tarnishing. Great for seasonal and short-term trend styling. Shop Costume Jewelry Here
Cubic Zirconia (CZ) Zirconia, short for zirconium dioxide, is a lab-created crystalline compound that is white/clear, odorless and shapeless. It is often cut into cubic shapes to closely mimic the appearance of diamonds and their sparkling multi-faceted nature. Key differences between CZ and diamonds include the significant price difference, hardness (diamonds being harder), and color. Cubic zirconia is a great alternative to diamonds at a much lower cost for what you get looks-wise. Shop Cubic Zirconia Pieces Here
Cuff This refers to a one-piece bracelet with an open back that is slid over the wrist into place. Cuff bracelets don't close, but in exchange can fit a variety of wrist sizes and are somewhat moldable for a better on/off and overall fit. Shop Cuff Bracelets Here
Engraved Engraved jewelry features a design, word, date etc that is carved or scrastched into the surface of the metal itself to create a permanent scripture. Engraving on modern jewelry is usually don with lasers, but hand-tool methods are still used. Shop Engraved Jewelry Here
Evil Eye The Evil Eye represent a look cast from someone in your direction with bad intentions. It generally refers to bad or negative energy stemming from a specific source or person. When worn as an Amulet (or talisman, see above), the Evil Eye symbol is rumored to protect you from any malicious or negative glares that may be coming your way, even without your knowledge! The most common Evil Eye Amulert is the Turkish Nazar. Shop Evil Eye Jewelry Here
Filigree Filigree is a specific style of ornamental metal work and jewelry making. Filigree refers to metal wire, or the appearance of wire in thin sheets of metal, soldered together into one solid pieces with fine intricate detailing throughout. Shop Filigree Jewelry Here
Fine Jewelry In short, fine jewelry refers to any pieces made with genuine precious metals and gemstones. Metal types include gold (white, yellow, rose), silver/sterling silver and platinum, and gemstones include diamonds and rubies. Fine jewelry is not constructed with non-precious alloys or imitation stones (see Costume Jewelry above). Shop Fine Jewelry Here
Iridescent Also known as opalescent, iridescent refers to a surface which reflects different colors depending on the angle and intensity of light shining on the surface. Common materials used in jewelry to create an iridescent appearance include Mother of Pearl, Abalone shell, varios types of glass and Opal stone. Shop Iridescent Jewelry Here
Karat Karats ('k') are units used to measure the purity of gold. 100% pure gold is known as 24 karat. If an alloy is 50% pure gold, for example, it is 12 karats (24k x 50% = 12k).

Karats are not to be confused with 'carats', which are used to measure diamonds and other stones by weight, where 1 carat equals 200 milligrams, or 0.2 grams. 
Lava Beads Made from genuine lava from the Earth's core, these beads come from stone that was heated so hot that it liquified. After coming to the surface (usually through volcanic eruption) and in contact with the atmosphere, this lava begins to cool. As it reaches the surface, it transforms into magma and cools, creating a new rock state often called 'Volcanic Glass'. Lava beads are created from this volcanic glass materials. Shop Lava Stone Pieces Here
Midi Ring Midi rings sit above the lowest knuckle on your finger. Often lightweight, midi rings come in many materials and personalized styles, which can be combined and arrange with other midi rings and jewelry to create an unlimited amount of combinations. Shop Midi Rings Here
Mother of Pearl A smoothy iridescent (shining) material that comes from the lining of genuine mollusk, abalone and other ocean shells. Shop Mother of Pearl Jewelry Here
Oxidized Oxidizing of metal alloy jewelry is a controlled process which allows humidity to naturally 'tarnish' the metal's surface during fabrication, which creates a natural blackened appearance on certain parts of the bracelet to create a worn, vintage appearance. Most commonly found among sterling silver jewelry. This does not affect the quality, and will wear nicely over time, depending on where and how frequently it is worn. Shop Oxidized Jewelry Here
Pendant A pendant is any jewelry hung around the neck as a necklace, which is mounted on a cord, chain or string. Shop Pendants Here
Rhinestones Originally referring to the glass stones collected on the shores of the river Rhine, rhinestones are imitations of precious stone, which are made from either crystal glass or in a laboratory using pastes. Rhinestones are meant to mimic diamonds or other precious gemstones and are used in costume jewelry to create that appearance. Shop Rhinestone Jewelry Here
Rose Gold Rose gold, or pink gold, is named rightly for its' pink coloring. Rose gold is an alloy made of pure gold with higher concentrations of copper compared to yellow & white gold alloys. As a general rule of thumb, the higher the karat percentage of pure gold, the lighter the shade of pink will be. Yes - rose gold jewelry is 'real' gold, or as real as any other gold alloy.  Shop Rose Gold Jewelry Here
Stainless Steel Stainless steel is an alloy consisting of iron, carbon and chromium elements. The addition of chromium helps the steel resist oxidizing (rusting) and greatly improves the longevity for everyday use. Chromium concentrations are tyically a minimum of 10%, and the higher the concentration, the more resistant the steel. In terms of jewelry, stainless steel pieces can get wet, exposed to elements and generally be worn during daily activty. Stainless steel is great for versatile, every day pieces. Shop Stainless Steel Jewelry Here
Statement Jewelry Statement jewelry is bold, loud and proud. It expresses the style of the individual and doesn't hold back in the process. Examples of statement jewlery include large flashy pendants, long colorful earrings and intene, outspoken styling. Most statement jewelry is considered costume jewelry, but there are certainly fine statement jewelry pieces on the market. Shop Statement Jewelry Here
Sterling Silver See '.925' definition above. Sterling silver is not pure silver - it consists of 92.5% silver (.925) and 7.5% copper and other metals. The other metal makes sterling silver much easier to work with and fabricate into different shapes. Sterling silver will maintain and appreciate in value over time. Genuine sterling silver is non-magnetic! Shop .925 Sterling Silver Jewelry Here
Studs Studs refer to small earrings that usually do not dangle past the earlobe. Stud earrings are often worn in professional and formal settings and can be found in many precious metal and gemstone styles. Shop Stud Earrings Here
Tassel Tassels, most often found on dangle earrings, are hanging decorations made of strands of fabric, strings, cords or even chains. Tassels are fixed at one end and loose at the other, creating a splayed style. Also found in furniture and home decoration across styles from many countries. Shop Tassel Jewelry Here
Victorian Victorian' refers to the time when Queen Victoria was queen of Enland during the nineteenth century. Jewelry styles from this era included the use of precious metals, which became significantly more affordable for the middle class during this time as the result of mines opening in Africa. In addition to precious metals, Victorian jewlery often includes romantic symbolism and motifs. Shop Victorian Jewelry Styles Here
Vintage Styling Vintage jewelry is typicaly any piece that is at least 25 years old. At our store and others, vintage jewelry actually describes new jewelry that is made to imitate the styles from 25 years ago or more. Vintage styling is therefore a broad category consisting of many different themes, styles and eras. Shop Vintage Jewelry Here