Tag Archives: earrings

Outlandish Jewelry Terminology

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Starting with “O”

Objets de Vertu – Here we step outside of the traditional definition of what constitutes jewelry (an object that is physically attached to you in some manner), to include Objets de Vertu.  These are any of the fancy, often gem encrusted and precious metal based items that people typically use to transport functional things.  Pearl inlaid cigarette cases, solid gold lighters, platinum cell phones cases with intaglios of Bernie Sanders, etc. 

Objets Trouvés – While their origins date back to neolithic times, Objets Trouvés are a favorite of environmentally conscious jewelry designers working today.  The term translates from French (which obviously Early Man spoke fluently) to “found objects.”  Ergo, before modern jewelry, which utilizes all manner of technology, had been invented, people made things out of whatever they could find; shells, bones, teeth, pebbles and AOL installation CDs.  

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Oiling – this is a process (which is true to its name) that was designed to improve the overall color and quality of gemstones (mostly emeralds) that have internal fractures that creep to the their surfaces.  By literally oiling them up with a specific lubricant, the cracks are filled and the stones look a little brighter.  Be weary of any oily jewelers trying to pass such slippery stones off on to you. 

Omega Back – while this sounds like the name of a hip, new British thriller on Netflix, it’s actually the back portion found on mostly vintage earrings.  It’s a little loop that holds the earrings in place.  In the shape of the Omega letter of the Greek alphabet (familiar to any of you collegiate toga donning folk), it works with pierced and non-pierced ear earrings; the hoop holds up the pointy part, or just acts as a clasp.

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Opaline Glass – a grand imitator of precious gemstones, Opaline Glass appears in a bluish, cloudy hue.  A metallic, foil backing to the faux fancy stone really makes its color “pop.”   A trendy item during the Georgian period (no, not when the state of Georgia was popular…nor the country…but when 4 consecutive King Georges reigned in England; 1714 through 1830).  It saw a brief rival during the second Georgian period (the two Bush presidencies).   

Opera Length Necklace – the name may be self evident, but the actual length is somewhat specific.  To qualify for this distinction, the necklace must be between 26 and 36 inches in length, and it has to be worn with a fancy dress out to actual operas, hip-hoperas or, in the very least, while watching you favorite soap opera.  

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Opus Interrasile – a golden hit during the Byzantine era, this is a process of puncturing metal with a sharp device in order to pepper it with a multitude of stylish holes.  This translates from Latin to “work openings,” which is exactly what Roman goldsmiths were always scouring Craigius’s List for.    

Oreide – or ‘oroide’ or “French Gold” – this is an alloy which winningly masquerades as gold, utilizing mostly copper, with a little molten zinc and tin thrown in there for seasoning.  

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Ouch – yes…this one is gonna hurt.  Ironically, this describes a piece of jewelry, usually a pendant or brooch, that doesn’t require a sharp pin to hold it in place; rather it is hand sewn onto one’s clothing.  Typically they would feature a central gem surrounded by a fine metal filigree.  Chaps frolicking around during Medieval times would use them as the fastening parts of their flowing cloaks (with a chain that connected them).  The gemstone component would make them valuable, naturally, so if one were to fall off, people would remark “…ouch.”

Ouroboros – one of the coolest ancient symbols found in jewelry.  It’s a snake or dragon that is biting its own tail, thus completing a perfect and eternal loop (great for necklaces, obviously).  It symbolizes the cyclical aspect of nature and self-reflexivity in beings with consciousness and also exemplifies really hungry snakes.  Folks in the 1840’s went mad for these things, sticking winking precious gemstones in the eye sockets and scaring children.     

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Overtone – a property that only certain pearls will exhibit, this describes a secondary, and sometimes even tertiary, hue that is visible over the pearl’s primary color.  These can manifest in light green, blue and pink…overtones.  

Oxide Finish – here we have metal that gets entirely dipped in a black finish, like taking an permanent bath in tar.  Usually strategic parts are buffed to allow for the underlying metal to shine through.  This is a great way to showcase the intricacies of a silver engagement ring with fine filigree or the dented fender of a Ford Pinto.  

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-Joe Leone 

Noble Jewelry Terms

“N”

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Naif – You’d have to be a real naif to think this term only applies to easily deceived individuals.  In the diamond world, a naif is any unpolished surface on the stone.  In cut and polished diamonds, some naif may be left behind on the girdle (in this case, called a ‘bruted girdle’) to give the stone a lil’ something extra (in terms of carat weight). 

Násfa – Pendants dating back to the 1500’s were affectionately known as Nasfas, that is if you were in the land of Hungary.  Typically fashioned with a flower theme, gallant groom-to-bes would give these to their betrothed beauties from Budpest as an engagement present.  If they waited to gift them to their brides on the day after their wedding, they were then called “Morgengabes,” which roughly translates to “Prisoner’s Brooch.”

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Navette – this is a nifty name you can give to any gemstone cut in the Marquis style (in an oval shape, with pointed tips).  What sets this apart is that it usually describes gems that have this type of silhouette, but are not faceted (meaning the stone is smooth, in the cabochon category).  If a jeweler asks if you would like your gem cut in this manner and you are opposed to it, simply answer “No, no navette.”

Nécessaire – here we have any sort of container that is used to hold essential, every day items.  These can range drastically in fanciness, from ordinary leather satchels that you stick a fork, spoon or spork in, to fantastically designed golden vessels, utilized in transporting elegant grooming devices, styling products, extra cell phone chargers and a birth certificate authenticating your royal lineage.  

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Négligée – much like the French under garment of the same name, this is a style of necklace that is truly naughty.  The defining features are its delicate chain and two pendant pieces, which hang down about the neck.  What makes this so scandalous is that the pendants are hung at different lengths.   The asymmetry embodied here was the talk of the town in turn of the 20th century France.   

Neo-Renaissance – yes, this is the stylistic period most favored by the protagonist in “The Matrix,” but it also represents the time during the mid to late 1800’s when Europeans were reviving Renaissance (1300-1600’s) inspired art, architecture and jewelry.  Pieces popular during this era were often colorful, ornate and intricately designed.  It is widely unconfirmed if anyone attended the “Neo-Renaissance Fair.”

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Nephrite – is a stone type that is so similar to jadeite, that the two are lumped together and collectively called “Jade.”  Some contentious trading of this gemstone between Burma and China for centuries, mostly resolved today.  

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Nicolo – any design etched into the stone onyx that appears light or bright blue is said to be a nicolo.  These little elevated cameos (or their inverted opposites; hollowed out intaglios) were especially popular in ancient Egyptian jewelry.  

Niello – a sturdier alternative to enamel, this is a black, metallic substance which is applied over a metal surface (usually silver).  Then it’s etched and configured into any number of symbols and designs.  Great for knights who like their shields to be extra strong, as well as flamboyant.  

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Noble Metal – if you can successfully fight off corrosion, and stay eternally shiny, you may qualify to be deemed a noble metal.  These include the big three – that’s right, you guessed it – gold, silver and platinum.  Much like the Tin Man, these precious metals are not only noble in name, but in their pure, metallic hearts as well.  

-Joe Leone 

How Much Should You Spend on Jewelry?

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The average U.S. household spends only $167 on jewelry per year, but that number varies greatly by region. The northeastern U.S., southern and central coastal California, and the east coast of Florida, for example, spend the most on jewelry per year, while the northwest region spends less than $50 annually per household.

The popular concept of smarter spending has a lot of people taking a closer look at how much they spend on everyday items, and jewelry is often an impulse buy. Self-help and finance blogs discuss budgeting and making realistic financial plans, which often results in cost-cutting or looking for ways to get some of your money back.

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But when you’re buying new jewelry, how much should you be willing to spend? What’s the price tag on feeling pretty or scoring a compliment from your moody boss? The obvious answer to this dilemma is: spend the amount that makes sense for you, whether that’s based on your region, your social circle, or your personal style. The decision, however, is more complicated than that, and probably varies with every piece you look at. It’s not easy to choose between shelling out more cash for nicer, longer lasting jewelry over less costly, trendier pieces. It’s hard to place a number on the value of the little boost in self-esteem you might get.

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Websites like Pinterest and Instructables make Do-It-Yourself a viable option for saving money on a lot of important items including jewelry, but there are certain pieces that are essentially impossible to DIY. And that’s one element of DIY that people often overlook before diving in to a project: the cost of the materials and tools, which is one part of what goes into jewelry-making. When you’re deciding how you want to better your budget, consider how original you would like your jewelry collection to be. If originality is important to you and you want handmade jewelry from an artist or smaller manufacturer on a site like etsy, plan to spend a little bit more than you might for a similar piece from a larger manufacturer, like Forever 21, who outsource their work and user cheaper materials specifically so they can offer their products at a low price point. Some smaller companies even begin to outsource once they gain popularity so they can manage the costs and offer their product to more customers, saving 400-500 percent by having someone else produce their designs.

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Choosing how much to spend on jewelry may also depend on the materials you are looking for. If you’re more concerned about the look than the actual material, sterling silver is a good substitute for silver and white gold, and purchasing gold-coated jewelry can save you a lot of money if you prefer the darker color. In addition, synthetic gemstones can be created to look like a natural gemstone, so if you are here because you are aiming to sell your diamonds, a man-made stone might be a great replacement.

Another consideration for choosing an amount to spend on jewelry is whether you value the experience of going into a physical store and trying on the jewelry or whether you are comfortable buying it online. Online stores are often cheaper, simply because renting a brick-and-mortar space is expensive for the business.

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If you are not looking for a specific piece, buying jewelry at an overstock or auction site can be a way to find great deals. Sale jewelry is typically marked down temporarily, while clearance and overstock jewelry are usually marked down because the manufacturer or retailer wants to make room for other products. Because there is an incentive to get rid of it, clearance and overstock jewelry can offer a steeper discount, but the selection may be limited.

One great rule of thumb for a jewelry purchase is the dollar-per-wear rule. To follow this rule, ask yourself how many times you anticipate wearing a particular piece, and if that number is the same as or lower than the price, then it is probably a good purchase. However you decide how much money to spend on jewelry, remember to make the choice for your own reasons, not someone else’s.

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Glorious Jewelry Terms

Starting with “G”

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Gallery – much like the photo galleries you are ‘click-baited’ into viewing online, a gallery in the jewelry realm typically aids in making the main attraction (gemstone) look even cooler.  A series of designs or repeated patterns, usually accompanying a center stone or other precious material, is what constitutes a gallery in this sense.

Gardinetto – if you’ve got a bunch of sapphires, rubies and emeralds you need to show off, you need a practical way to present them; luckily the enterprising Italians came up with the gardinetto.  This is a little jewelry basket (or pot or coffee can) of flowers, where the gems can reside.  Most commonly used as a trinket to trade amongst lovers during the mid-1700’s, gardinettos rose to fashion once again during the extravagantly fabulous Art Deco period (the roaring/raging/raving ’20’s).

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Gaud – this is a very neat little orb that hangs from, typically, a rosary.  This tiny ball can be opened and inside there are often entire scenes carved within, usually straight from the Bible, replete with sacred saints and other symbolically significant peeps.  Mostly made of wood and resembling walnuts (these kind are actually referred to as ‘nuts’ – hence the term “religious nut”), gauds can sometimes show up in metal forms.

Georgian Silver – around the inception of the Baroque period (referring to 1600’s Europe, not necessarily when poor people were feeling especially ba-roke), people began to notice that setting white diamonds in silver made them really sparkle.  Fast forward a bit to the Georgian era, when silver mines in South America were booming and India was popping out and polishing more diamonds than e’er seen before; thus, the perfect recipe for silver Euro-ring fun!

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Germanic Jewelry – when you think of Goth jewelry, you probably imagine black bats, big pewter crucifixes and scary goblin pendants, not ornately decorated gold with glorious, colored gems inlaid.  The jewelry of the Germanic tribes (the 5th century Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals …Hoodlums, etc.) greatly resembled that of the Romans, as these tribes had been under their resplendent rule for generations.  Basically a lot of colored glass, precious stones and intricate designs on gilded materials.

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Giacomo Raffaelli – if there is a name synonymous with the mastery of mosaics, it’s Raffaelli.  This 18th century born italian artiste was so adept at crafting mosaics, he eventually was able to create a ‘micro mosaic.’  These tiny masterpieces could then be used in jewelry design, much to the delight of late period Settecento (1700s) donne everywhere.  Thankfully, this concept would become mass produced and is now responsible for breathtaking Cosplay jewelry items everywhere.

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Gimmel Ring – is basically two bands that are twisted together to form one complete ring.  Used as symbols of betrothal during the Renaissance, where the groom would wear one ring and the bride to be the other (essentially, his and her engagement rings), which the bride would absorb into one fused ring on the day of the wedding.  A little gimmicky, these gimmel (which is actually derived from the Latin word, gemellus, for ‘twin’) rings would sometimes contain a secretly inscribed baby and skeleton under the main stone, as an eerie reminder that you are born with nothing and you die with nothing, and that nothing is forever.

…How romantic.

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Girandole – All the rage during the 1600s, these are earrings that consist of three teardrop shaped gems which hang down from a fanciful bow design.  Once the 1700s rolled around and people started to view these as “le lame” the earrings would typically be broken down into their component parts and redesigned into less heavy (and not so gaudy) earrings and other jewelry types.  Hence, we have the first instances of “jewelry repurposing” on record.

Girasol – Ok, this is the name ascribed to any type of gemstone that exhibits a milky luster that appears to drip along and mosey inside the stone as it is moved (or as the sun or Smurf nightlight or whatever light source hitting it is put into motion).  Girasols should never be given as a present to lactose intolerant individuals.  That’s just cruel.

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Glyptography – What do intaglios engraved into metal and cameos etched from a stone have in common?  Why, they are both are shining examples of glyptography, the ancient art of sending messages through jewelry.  Duh.  Long story relatively short, people were trying to text each other by carving things (called petroglyphs) into cave walls around 15,000 BC – Cut To a few thousand years later and folks were using these etchings to identify personal property with – these became “seals” and were eventually worn, for good luck, favor from the gods, and all that jazz.

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Gold à Quatre Couleurs – one can never have too much gold; or too many gold colored varieties at once.  This term, coined in the 1750s, means you have four different gold hued alloys all employed in one jewelry piece.  A repetitious pattern is often created to give the overall golden design symmetry, beauty and super ultra uber goldiness.

Gorget – getting gorged on a gorgeous gorget is just glorious, no?  This guy started out as a metal collar that had an open back (we’re talking during the ancient European times of roughly 800 BC), and would go through numerous iterations over the centuries.  It would eventually become more of a military thing, as soldiers would wear them for protection.  Various cultures changed gorgets up a bit, crafting them from bones, shells, leather, ribbon, etc.  Certain designers working today have thrown the style back to the elder times, resorting to full on metal once again.

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Grisaille – this French expression means “in the grey,” and is not nearly as cryptic in jewelry practices as the idiom makes it sound.  It’s an enameling technique where first a black, or “noir” (again, really not mysterious), layer of enamel is applied to a surface, and then white enamel is later layered over it.  Depending on the degree of thickness of the white enamel, the various “shades of grey” are then expressed (again, really, nothing clandestine, mystical or seductive going on here; just boring enameling).  Some jewelry glazed with this process is said to be cursed (alas, there it is!)

Grotesque – is a vile piece of jewelry, like something purchased at “Hot Topic,” right?  Nope.  Stemming from the Latin “grotto,” translated to ‘hollow,’ this refers to the Roman practice of encircling a main figure with a bunch of finely carved out scrolls.  For instance, a #troll with #scrolls.

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Guilloché – if you are good with a lathe, you can probably bang out a really cool guilloché design.  Just in case you aren’t a jeweler, a ‘lathe’ is a deluxe engraving tool, and the guilloché technique involves forging a concentric pattern, that originates from the center of a piece and appears to ripple outward.  It looks like a water droplet in a pond, or a really angry cartoon character with those squiggly lines coming out of his head.

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Guirlande – usually showing up in the form of a gem encrusted floral wreath, the guirlande is a broach-like pendant.  Totally en vogue during the Renaissance period amongst the nobles, the NeoClassics dredged this style up and wore it with tons of throwback flare.

Gutta-Percha – this makes this list just because it is fun to say.  Aside from the fact that is sounds like a colorful Italian curse word, it’s a rubber-esque organic material that comes from “pantropical” trees.  It’s a stygian substance, and was used primarily in the ever-uplifting-to-wear ‘mourning jewelry.’

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Gypsy Ring – we conclude with the beautifully bohemian gypsy ring.  Key characteristics include a single stone, in a bezel mounting, that often is elevated just a hair above the band.  The cabalistic center gem can be of any variety, but cool stones like obsidian, onyx or dark amethyst make it all the more mysterious.

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-Joe Leone 

How Much Jewelry is Too Much to Wear at Once?

9 Guidelines

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Coco Chanel once advised, “When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on.” It is commonly understood that jewelry overkill is a fashion no-no, but sometimes it’s hard to tell when you’ve crossed that line. What’s more, it’s hard to tell if you should take off the last two or three things you put on instead of just one.

There is no set rule about the number of pieces one should wear, but there are a few guidelines to follow when making the choice about whether to slip on that bracelet or to put it back on the velvet lining in your jewelry box and save it for next time.

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Guideline 1: Don’t allow your jewelry to distract from yourself and your outfit. When choosing what jewelry to wear, you should ask whether it will add or detract from your natural look and your outfit. For example, don’t wear a stack of bangles and a stack of necklaces. Opt for one stack if you’re a fan of the look. Wearing too much jewelry confuses onlookers and can ruin the beauty of your favorite piece. (source: Alexandra Styles)

Guideline 2: Although this contradicts the above statement that says there are no rules for how much jewelry to wear, there is at least one rule: Don’t wear big earrings and a big necklace. Instead, choose a focal piece to centralize your look and coordinate other pieces with it. (source: Wall Street Journal)

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Guideline 3: Coordinate your jewelry with the material you’re wearing. Thin silks and sheers do not go well with chunky jewelry, and the chunky jewelry can appear to be too much adornment. Similarly, tiny, thin chains on your necklace don’t usually suit a chunky sweater. (source: Street Directory, Wall Street Journal)

Guideline 4: Think about the vibe you’re aiming to achieve. If you’re going for boho, you can wear more jewelry. If you’re going for elegant, stay away from lots of jewelry, unless you have figured out how to layer necklaces like Coco. (Harper’s Bazaar)

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Guideline 5: Pay attention to your hair. If you have long hair and you plan to wear it down, dangly earrings may look chaotic or messy. If you have short hair or thin hair and you wear huge earrings, they may stand out too much and be distracting. In this case, the size of the jewelry makes it look like you are wearing too much. (source: Street Directory)

Guideline 6: Dress for the occasion. If you’re going to a fancy fundraiser dinner, match elegant jewelry and go big, but not too big. But if you’re going to the grocery store, class, or work, you might want to opt for less jewelry. (source: YouQueen)

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Guideline 7: No matter where you are, don’t wear jewelry that is noisy. Literally. While bangles are great, jingling bangles in a quiet library or at the workplace or not. Don’t be the annoying cubicle neighbor; quiet your jewelry. (source: Street Directory)

Guideline 8: If you’re wearing statement jewelry, wear one piece. Matching sets are usually too much. Save the necklace, bracelet, or earrings for another occasion. (source: Harper’s Bazaar)

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Guideline 9: Remember that jewelry isn’t a must-wear. Sometimes your clothing does all the work and you don’t need to add anything to it. For example, if you are wearing a top or dress with a low neckline, you don’t need jewelry. Your pretty collarbone is enough. However, choosing a pair of look-at-me statement earrings is a great idea to bring balance to your look. (source: Alexandra Styles)

Jewelry is a lot of fun, and well-placed jewelry can make you stand out. However, wearing too much jewelry at once or wearing all the wrong kind can make you stand out in a way you don’t want to. If you’ve got diamond jewelry you know is too much, contact us to find out more about your options to sell it!

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