Jewelry Guide

Click on the links to go that section of our jewelry guide.

Clasp Types
Metal Stamp
Back Finding
Diamond Clarity
Stone Shape


Lobster Clasp

Lobster clasp is so named because of the "pinching" mechanism shaped like a lobster's claw. A small lever opens and closes the fastening.

Toggle Clasp

A toggle clasp is a kind of jewelry fastener wherein a bar is inserted into a circle or ring to securely fasten a jewelry piece. It is commonly used to fasten the ends bracelets or necklaces.

Spring Ring Clasp

A spring ring clasp is opened when a little lever is pushed backward and slides along a circular ring.

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Pave Setting

Pave - from the French term Pavé, which means "pavement". Pave setting is a jewelry design technique wherein the surface is covered or paved with stones so that no part of the metal is visible.

Bezel Setting

Bezel Set- the stone is held by a metal rim that encloses the sides of the stone. A bezel setting secures the stone and protects it from abrasion.

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14k White and Yellow Gold

14k white and yellow gold are popular and durable metals for jewelry design. 24-karat pure gold is too soft and cannot be used in jewelry, unless alloyed with other metals like silver, nickel, copper, and zinc to increase its durability and strength. 14k white gold is of lesser white color unlike platinum.  Most white gold jewelry are rhodium-plated, this wears away through time, giving it the yellow color.  This yellow color looks  warmer than the grayer white of platinum.


18k White and Yellow Gold

Recent advances in alloy technology has resulted to 18k gold which is considered as durable as 14k gold. 18k gold has a higher quantity of pure gold, hence it has a richer gold color and is heavier. 18k gold setting can cost between 25% to 65% more than the same setting in 14k gold.



Platinum has great durability in holding precious stones. It is 35 times rarer than gold. A platinum jewelry item can cost approximately 60% to 200% more than the same setting in 18k gold, and 100% to 300% more than the same setting in 14k gold.


Pure silver is easily damaged because it is inherently soft. To create jewelry, it is combined with copper to make the more durable sterling silver. Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper.  High-quality silver jewelry is stamped with a quality mark, and, according to federal law, the quality mark should be accompanied by a registered trademark of the maker. Acceptable marks include: sterling, sterling silver, ster, .925.

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Metal Stamp

Most jewelry items made of precious metal are stamped with information about the purity level of the metal content. Generally the stamp is placed in an inconspicuous place on the item so it does not detract from the design. Stamps will usually be located on the inside of the band on a ring, on the post or basket setting on a pair of earrings, on the bail (the part that the chain slides through) on a pendant, and on the connecting ring or the clasp on a necklace or bracelet. All jewelry stamps adhere to strict guidelines set by the Federal Trade Commission.

The table below lists the most common precious metal stamps, their alternative stamps or hallmarks, their purity level, and alloys commonly used.

percentage of pure metal
.925 Sterling Silver

Also: 925 Sterling, Sterling Silver*
92.5% pure fine silver Usually copper

Also: 16, 417, 10KP*
41.6% pure gold (10 parts out of 24) Usually silver, copper, zinc, and nickel

Also: 583, 585, 14KP*
58.3% pure gold (14 parts out of 24) Usually silver, copper, zinc, and nickel

Also: 750, 18KP*
75% pure gold (18 parts out of 24) Usually silver, copper, nickel, and palladium (for white gold)

Also: 916, 917*
91.6% pure gold (22 parts out of 24) Usually silver and copper

Also: 999*
100% pure gold (24 parts out of 24) None
900 Platinum

Also: 900 Plat, Plat 900, Pt900, 900Pt*
90% pure platinum (900 parts out of 1,000) Ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, and other platinum group metals
950 Platinum

Also: PLAT, PT, 950 Plat, Plat 950, Pt950,
95% pure platinum (950 parts out of 1,000) Ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, and other platinum group metals
*Alternate stamp or European hallmark
**May vary depending on desired color, such as white gold or rose gold

    Additional Information
    • The term "karat" (usually abbreviated as "k," "K," or "Kt") refers to the relative purity of gold; pure gold is 24 karats. "Karat" is different from "carat," which is a metric unit of weight for gemstones.
    • In the context of gold jewelry, "plumb" is an old-fashioned term that means that the fineness or purity level of the gold content is precisely what is stamped on the item. The word "Plumb" or the letter P still sometimes follows the metal stamp (e.g., "14k Plumb," "14KP").

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    Back Finding

    Friction Post Back

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    Diamond Clarity

    Clarity ratings are based on the inclusions such as pinpoints, markings, and cloudings present in the surface of a diamond, and how visible they are. The fewer the inclusions, the better is the diamond clarity. The greater the clarity, the greater the brilliance of the diamond and therefor the higher its value. The diamond rated with FL (Flawless) or IF (Internally Flawless) has the highest clarity rating.

    Clarity GradeDescription

    FL (Flawless), IF (Internally Flawless). No inclusions or surface blemishes is visible under 10x magnification. A diamond with IF clarity, however, may have  extremely tiny surface polish marks.  Diamonds with this clarity are very rare.

    VVS (very very slightly) included. Diamonds with a VVS1 or VVS2 clarity grade contain small inclusions hardly visible under 10x magnification. VVS1 or VVS2 diamonds are very rare.

    VS (very slightly) included. Diamonds VS1 or VS2 clarity have small pinpoints and other inclusions like feathers and crystals that are already visible under 10x magnification. This clarity is still beautiful and comes at lower cost.

    SI (slightly included). Diamonds with a SI1 or SI2 clarity grade have small inclusions and pinpoints like knots, clouds, crystals, and feathers, which are already easily visible under 10x magnification. These diamonds cost even less than VS-rated diamonds.

    I1 (included to the first degree). Diamonds with I1 clarity have many and often large inclusions very easily seen under 10x magnification.  It can even be visible to the naked eye.

    I2-3 (Included to the second and third degree). Diamonds have major inclusions easily visible to the naked eye. The inclusions are large and many, significantly affecting the brilliance of the diamond.

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    Stone Shape

    By far the most preferred diamond shape, the round-brilliant cut is also the most optically brilliant because of its 360-degree symmetrical shape. A round brilliant is a great choice if you want the most sparkle and the most enduring classic shape. The round shape has been cut for centuries, but in 1919, Marcel Tolkowsky defined specific angles and proportions to yield the most brilliant diamond, which form the basis for the modern "Ideal" cut round-brilliant diamond. Round-brilliant diamonds are the only shape to have this ideal proportion defined. The round silhouette works with almost every mounting, from classic solitaires to the most avant-garde designs. Rounds can be set into four or six prongs, based on the design of the setting, or into bezel mountings (a metal band that runs around the edge of the diamond to hold it securely in the setting). In general, if the round brilliant has an Ideal cut or Very Good cut, you want the setting to have the least amount of metal around the stone so that it is held securely but does not cover up too much of the diamond and block light from entering the stone.

    The princess cut is a modern classic of clean, square lines and beautiful sparkle. This shape is the perfect choice if you prefer a square or rectangular outline but want the brilliance of a round. Developed in the 1970s, the princess cut is now second only to the round brilliant in popularity. The cutting of this diamond combines the step-cutting of the emerald cut with the triangular facets of the brilliant cut and is cut with right-angle corners. Although most prefer a square outline, some stones are cut with a slightly more rectangular outline. The princess cut works beautifully as a solitaire but also looks great paired with side stones, especially trillions or smaller princess-cut diamonds. It is important to protect the more vulnerable corners with a V-shaped prong at each point.

    This elegant shape is a variation on a classic emerald cut, developed in 1902 by the venerable Asscher brothers in Holland. The Asscher cut is not a traditional choice but has gained deserved exposure recently because of celebrities wearing the cut. The uniqueness of this shape is defined by the pavilion, or bottom part of the diamond, that has a "scissor cut" with all facets step-cut down toward the culet, or point on the bottom. The blocked corners add to its geometric appeal, making the diamond appear almost octagonal. It is usually cut to a square outline as opposed to rectangular. This diamond shape is beautiful in a simple solitaire or in a setting that has simple geometric lines or side stones such as baguettes. Ideally, the setting for an Asscher cut should not hide the unique blocked corners.

    The marquise cut is a regal, elongated shape with tapering points at both ends. Its shape tends to flatter the finger, making it appear longer. When choosing a marquise cut, the length-to-width ratio should be considered. Usually a ratio of 2:1.0 is preferred, meaning that the length of the stone should be about 2 times the width of the diamond. However, like all fancy shapes, personal preference prevails, and some may prefer a shorter, wider outline or longer, thinner shape. Just look for good symmetry to ensure overall beauty no matter what outline you prefer. This shape works in a simple solitaire setting or looks beautiful with side stones, especially baguette or trillion shapes. A marquise-cut diamond should be mounted with six prongs: four positioned on the sides to hold the body of the stone securely and two V-shaped prongs to protect the points at either end, the most vulnerable part of the diamond.

    The emerald-cut diamond is among the most classic of diamond shapes. Its clean lines come from step-cutting, or parallel line facets. It is always cut with blocked corners and is usually cut to a rectangular outline, although a few are cut to be more square. Because of its simpler faceting structure, larger inclusions are sometimes more visible to the unaided eye, so diamonds cut in this shape usually need to be higher clarity (I1 or I2 clarities should probably be avoided). Length-to-width ratios should be considered when choosing an emerald cut: Usually a 1.50:1.00 ratio is preferred, meaning that the length of the stone should be about 1½ times the width of the diamond. However, like all fancy shapes, personal preference prevails, and some may prefer a squarer outline, or longer, thinner rectangle. An emerald cut is loved by purists and looks especially wonderful set in platinum, in a simple setting or a baguette side-stone setting.

    The radiant cut is a beautiful combination of the classic emerald cut and the sparkle of the round brilliant. The radiant cut is similar to the princess cut but is usually (though not always) a more rectangular outline and has blocked corners like those of an emerald cut. The cutting is a combination of the step-cutting of the emerald-cut diamond with some triangular faceting of the brilliant cut. The radiant cut is dramatic as a solitaire but also looks great paired with side stones such as baguettes, trillions, or princess shapes. A radiant-cut stone should be set with special prongs to hold the blocked corners securely.

    The cushion cut is an unusual diamond shape and an interesting alternative to an oval- or princess-cut diamond. Because these are relatively rare, this shape is for someone who wants something few people possess. The modern cushion shape is based on an antique cushion cut, which is a combination of round and square outline with a softened square or "pillow" shape. A cushion-cut may be squarer with length and width in equal proportion, or may have a slightly elongated outline, depending on the individual stone and the wearer's preference. As a solitaire, it makes a statement and also looks wonderful paired with side stones such as baguettes. A cushion-cut diamond setting should have at least four secure prongs.

    The pear shape is a beautiful, feminine diamond shape with a rounded end on one side and a tapering point at the other. It is lovely as the center stone in a ring or outstanding as a pendant or pair of drop earrings. As with many fancy shapes, length-to-width ratio should be considered. Usually a ratio of 1.5:1.0 is preferred, meaning that the length of the stone should be about 1½ times the width of the diamond. Some may prefer a shorter, wider outline or a longer, thinner shape. Good symmetry is a must for pear-cut diamonds. This will ensure that light is reflected evenly, especially in the point. The asymmetrical shape should be considered when setting a pear cut, which looks beautiful as a solitaire, or with side stones, especially smaller pear-cut stones or baguettes. A pear-shaped diamond should be mounted in a special setting with five prongs: two to hold the rounded end, two to hold the curved sides of the stone securely, and one V-shaped prong to protect the point at the other end, the most vulnerable part of the diamond.

    The oval cut is most similar a round-brilliant cut and combines the round's sparkle with a flattering, elongated outline. It makes a good choice for someone who wants a unique shape but loves the fire and brilliance of a round diamond. The length-to-width ratio of ovals can vary based on personal preference. Generally a ratio of 1.5:1.0 is preferred, meaning that the length of the stone should be about 1½ times the width of the diamond. However, like all fancy shapes, personal choice should guide you; some may prefer a shorter, wider outline or a longer, thinner shape. The relatively symmetrical shape lends itself well to a variety of mounting styles. Most oval cuts look great in any mounting meant for a round brilliant as long as the setting that holds the diamond has six prongs properly spaced for security.

    The heart-shaped diamond is the most romantic of diamond shapes. It is similar to the pear shape but has a cleft in the rounded end that forms the lobes of the heart. The complexity of the shape requires skilled cutting to ensure proper brilliance. Symmetry is a big consideration for this shape, as the outline needs to have a pleasing, obvious heart outline apparent in the setting. The lobes should be rounded (not pointed) and clearly defined. Heart-shaped diamonds should be mounted in special settings with five prongs: two at the lobes of the heart, two on the sides of the heart, and a V-shaped prong to protect the point of the heart, the most vulnerable place on the diamond.

    The trillion cut is a dramatic cut that makes a bold statement. It was developed in the 1970s as a variation of the radiant cut, combining step-cutting and brilliant faceting. While often used as side stones, this cut is rarely used for the center diamond, so it is somewhat scarce in larger sizes. The triangular shape needs to be considered with the style of mounting and would probably go best in a simple solitaire or geometric setting that works with the unique shape. The trillion cut will require a special setting that has V-shaped-prongs to protect the corners of the diamond.

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