Bakelite: A trademarked name for a synthetic resin named after Belgian chemist L.H. Baekeland in 1909. Bakelite is a combination of phenol and formaldehyde, which makes for a very hard plastic.
Baguette: A narrow, rectangular-cut stone.
Bail: The connector at the top of a pendant, enabling the pendant to hang from a chain or cord.
Baroque: Bold, ornate, heavy looking ornamentation. When the term is used to describe a pearl, either real of fake, it means that the shape of the pearl is irregular.
Basse-taille: (pronounced bass-tie) This describes a technique of applying glass enamel to a metal surface that has been engraved deeply enough to hold the enamel when heated, with sides high enough to keep the enamel colors separate.
Bezel: A setting for a stone that has a collar instead of prongs to secure the stone
Blue Topaz: A topaz that is light brown or colorless when mined, but turns a vivid blue when exposed to heat. Blue topaz is an alternate birthstone for December
Bog Oak: Wood that was preserved over thousands of years in the bogs of Ireland, which was hard enough to be carved and used as jewelry; popular during Victorian times.
Book Chain: A Victorian style of chain made in gold, gold-filled and sterling silver, in which each link is a rectangular, folded piece of metal resembling a book. They were often elaborately engraved and had large lockets attached.
Box Setting: A stone enclosed in a box-shaped setting with metal edges pressed down to hold the stone in place; also referred to as a “gypsy” mounting.
Brass: An alloy made up of roughly half copper and half zinc which has a nice yellow color.
Brilliant Cut: The standard round brilliant cut consists of a total of 58 facets: 1 table, 8 bezel facets, 8 star facets and 16 upper-girdle facets on the crown; 8 pavilion facets, 16 lower-girdle facets, and usually a culet on the pavilion, or base. Although the brilliant style was devised to give maximum brilliance and fire, many stones cut in this fashion do not have ideal proportions or angles for that purpose. Modifications of the round brilliant include such fancy shapes as the marquise, half moon, pear shape and many others. See also “Round Cut”.
Briolette: A pear-shaped stone that is faceted and drilled to hang like a bead.
Brooch: A large pin; an ornamental piece of jewelry with a pin and clasp to be attached to clothing. It’s from the French word “broche” which means “to pierce,” or an object/weapon made for piercing.
Bronze: A very dense and heavy alloy of 60% copper and 40% tin. It has a dull brown color and is not favored for jewelry because of its weight.
Brushed Finish: Brushed finish, also known as “satin” finish, is a texturing technique that can be used on metals where a series of tiny parallel lines are scratched onto the surface with a wire brush or polishing tool. The finish is semi-matte and may or may not show brushstrokes.
GLOSSARY OF JEWELRY TERMS INDEX