Cultured pearls are formed by the introduction of a mother-of-pearl bead into an oyster. The oyster subsequently covers the bead with a layer of nacre, thus producing a cultured pearl. A natural pearl, by comparison, occurs when a tiny particle such as sand invades the body of a mollusk without human intervention. Natural pearls are more valuable than cultured pearls, yet the two are not easily distinguished. Artificial pearls are largely made of glass or even plastic.

 

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Chatelaine's Antiques & Appraisals Magazine > Jewelry > Expert Tip: Jewelry at Auction - glossary of terms & catalog words
 


 

Jewelry at Auction - glossary of terms & catalog words

Cleaning Pearls

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Jewelry at Auction - Glossary of terms

 

Jewellery, Jewelry ~ Glossary of auction catalog terms

Antique refers in general to an object with special value due to its age. The particular age indicated by the term 'antique' can vary from one collecting category to another, however. In jewelry, antique refers to pieces made at least 100 years ago. See also contemporary and estate.

Art Deco: The Art Deco period (1920-1935) in jewelry is characterized by geometrical designs, bold primary colors, and a streamlined, modern style. The popularity of Deco jewelry reached a zenith in the early 1990s. The style continues to attract serious collectors and tends to hold its value in the finer examples of the period.

Arts & Crafts (1890-1920) is the Art movement influenced by the philosophical writings of John Ruskin and William Morris, who spoke out against the poor-quality goods produced by the Industrial Revolution. The Arts & Crafts movement focused primarily on the artisan and the process of creation. This anti-industrial philosophy was adopted by C.R Ashbee in England, who was the first to establish the guild of handcrafters that specialized in jewelry and metalsmithing. The key design components of Arts & Crafts jewelry are related to nature or historical elements, such as Celtic designs, and have a decidedly hand-made quality. Materials are usually non-precious, including silver, brass copper with the occasional use of gold, enamel and semi-precious stones.

Art Nouveau (1890-1915) is a highly decorative, romantic style featuring intertwining, curvilinear ornamentation and sinuous, undulating lines. The style often depicts the female figure and aspects of nature (such as leaves and flowers) along with elements of fantasy. Art Nouveau jewelry has regained popularity in recent years, though collectors should be aware that there are many convincing reproductions currently in the market.

Carat: A unit of weight for precious stones. One carat is equal to 100 points (.200 grams). See also karat.

Chronograph: A portable timepiece that simply tells the time is a watch, while a portable timepiece with a complicated movement (such as a stopwatch function that measures elapsed time) is a chronograph. Men's chronographs (in wristwatch form) of the 1930s and '40s are particularly valuable and sought after today.

Clarity refers to the existence or absence of naturally occurring foreign elements (called inclusions) within a gemstone. The clarity of diamonds is graded on a scale from Flawless (no internal or external inclusions are visible under 10X magnification) to Included (inclusions are readily visible to the naked eye).

Contemporary: Jewelry or timepieces described as contemporary were recently produced and/or are being sold for the first time. See also antique and estate.

Cleaning Pearls
Cultured pearls are formed by the introduction of a mother-of-pearl bead into an oyster. The oyster subsequently covers the bead with a layer of nacre, thus producing a cultured pearl. A natural pearl, by comparison, occurs when a tiny particle such as sand invades the body of a mollusk without human intervention. Natural pearls are more valuable than cultured pearls, yet the two are not easily distinguished. Artificial pearls are largely made of glass or even plastic.

Cut refers to the shape and proportion of a stone (such as a diamond) after it has been fashioned. The cut determines how the stone disperses and reflects light.

Edwardian (1900-15) refers to the period that includes the reign of King Edward VII and is also known as the Belle Epoque. Typically, jewelry styles of this period are elegant and feminine with a concentration on platinum, diamonds, and accents of colored stones. Edwardian jewelry also contains a frequent garland motif. Currently, the jewelry of this period is extremely popular and, like the Art Nouveau style, is frequently reproduced.

Estate refers to previously owned jewelry or timepieces that are being sold for at least the second time. See also antique and contemporary.

Georgian refers to jewelry produced from 1714 to 1830, during the reign of King George III and IV. Georgian jewelry is conservative and lightweight, due to the lack of supply of raw materials during that period. While it has a select market, fine quality examples of Georgian jewelry are difficult to find (particularly on this continent), are often expensive and considered too diminutive for most collectors' tastes.

Inclusion: A naturally occurring element present within a gemstone. Many precious stones have inclusions that are characteristic and help in identifying the stone. See also clarity.

Karat: A unit of measure for the purity of gold, indicated with the symbol 'k' or 'kt.' Pure gold is 24 karat (24k). But pure gold is usually too soft to be used in jewelry, so most pieces are a mixture of gold and other metals. The higher the karat, the more gold. A 14k jewelry piece is about 58% gold, while an 18k piece is about 75% gold (and is therefore more expensive). The fineness of gold is measured on a scale of 1,000 outside the U.S. An 18k gold piece is labeled 750, for instance.

Object ID Checklist Discussions between the Getty Information Institute and leading national and international umbrella agencies and government bodies in 1993 established that there was a consensus on the need to collectively address issues relating to documentation practices and the implementation of international standards. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe (now the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe), the Council of Europe, the International Council of Museums, Interpol, UNESCO, and the US Information Agency.

Paste: Imitations of natural gemstones made of glass from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Retro describes jewelry produced between 1935 and the late '40s, a period that includes World War II. The lingering influence of Art Deco resulted in big, bold, curvilinear jewelry with geometric patterns. At the same time, wartime economic necessities resulted in the replacement of expensive platinum with yellow, green, and pink gold. Retro jewelry also made extensive use of semi-precious stones that helped to complete the big, opulent look.

Treated stones are gemstones that have been treated or enhanced by man through artificial means in order to improve their color or clarity.

Victorian is the period from 1837-1901 that corresponds to the reign of Queen Victoria in England. Because of its long duration, the Victorian era actually comprises a number of distinctive artistic periods in jewelry: Romantic (1837-60), characterized by sentimental, whimsical designs; Grande (1860-80), known for large, ornate pieces; and Aesthetic (1880-1901), in which a return to elegance and simplicity occurred.

Date/Origin 
Describes the country or appropriate period of fabrication, in our opinion.

Attributed 
The jewelry exhibits, in our opinion, a style or partial marking indicating the maker.

Signed/Stamped 
The jewelry exhibits, in our opinion, markings, hallmarks, stamps or signatures of the individual of the firm.

Style 
Term describing jewelry that, in our opinion, was produced as a facsimile of an earlier period.

Metal Weight Conversion:

1 Troy Oz. = 31.1 Grams = 20 Dwts

GIA Scales

See image below:

 



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