Jewellery, Jewelry ~ Glossary of auction catalog
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
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
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.
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'
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
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
Describes the country or appropriate period of fabrication, in our
The jewelry exhibits, in our opinion, a style or partial marking
indicating the maker.
The jewelry exhibits, in our opinion, markings, hallmarks, stamps or
signatures of the individual of the firm.
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
See image below: