Glossary of Terms
Sterling silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% by weight of silver and 7.5% by weight of other metals, usually copper, to increase its hardness and strength. Unlike fine silver, sterling silver is prone to tarnishing due to it's copper content.
Argentium (originally patented in 1998) is a brand of modern tarnish-resistant silver alloys, containing either 93.5% or 96% silver. Argentium alloys replace some of the copper in the traditional sterling silver alloy with the metalloid germanium. Argentium's patents refer to percentages of zinc and boron present in Argentium silver.
Enameling is basically fusing colored glass powder to the surface of metals to create a permanent bond. Powdered Vitreous Enamels are essentially made from colored glass, crushed and ground, and come in a wide range of transparencies, from Opaque to Semi-transparent to Transparent. Transparent enamels often give an illusion of depth. True Opalescents are prized for their milky effect with reflecting colors, reminiscent of opals.
Hand-made or Hand-crafted
Hand-made or hand-crafted jewelry is fashioned or made by hand or a hand process, as opposed to being fabricated or mass produced by machine. Hand-made items are by their very nature subject to small variations in their design, and it is this unique aspect of the items that makes each piece one-of-a-kind.
This is a very popular type of hand-made jewelry today. Designs are created by hammering a metal stamp impression onto a metal blank with a heavy hammer.
An enamel technique in which a design is created on the base metal using thin ribbons of wire, or cloisons. The areas between the cloisons are then wet packed with enamels and kiln-fired at high temperatures. It may take many layers of enamel to achieve subtle shading and gradations of colors. The finished pieces are then polished to a smooth glossy surface. Cloisonné is sometimes combined with Champlevé.
HISTORIC JEWELRY STYLES
An ornamental style of art that flourished between about 1890 and 1910 throughout Europe and the United States. Art Nouveau is characterized by its use of a long, sinuous, organic line and was employed most often in architecture, interior design, jewelry and glass design, posters, and illustration. Art Nouveau was aimed at modernizing design, seeking to escape the eclectic historical styles that had previously been popular. Artists drew inspiration from both organic and geometric forms, evolving elegant designs that united flowing, natural forms resembling the stems and blossoms of plants.
A movement in decorative arts and architecture in Europe and the United States during the 1920s and ’30s. Its distinguishing features include simple, clean shapes, often with a streamlined look; ornament that is geometric or stylized from representational forms; and unusually varied materials. Art Deco, similar to Art Nouveau, is a modern art style that attempts to infuse functional objects with artistic touches.