Glossary G-H-I-J-K terms
Galalith – Derived from sour milk mixed with formaldehyde that softens in hot water, this protein substance is also known as milkplastic.
Garland - A necklace style that has a drape effect.
German silver - or Alpaca, was invented in the mid 1800s in Germany as a substitute for silver. This alloy is made of approximately 60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc & 5 % tin.
Gilt - term meaning gold plated.
Girdle -- The outer edge of a cut stone, the dividing line between the crown and the pavilion. The width of the girdle should be even and proportional to the cut of the stone.
Givre- beads which have a clear or light layer of glass over an inner colored core.
Gold – the purity of gold is defined by karat in the US and fineness in the UK. 24k or 1000 fine is pure gold. For jewelry, pure gold is often too soft so copper, silver, nickel or zinc is added to improve strength. The amount added determines the karat of the gold.
Gold Filled - this is used for a thin layer of gold over a base metal. To be classified as gold filled; a jewelry item must be at least 1/20th gold by weight.
Gold Plated - a very thin layer of gold is applied on the surface, usually by electroplating. Jewelry pieces with this finish are often marked G.E.P, gold plated or gold electroplate.
Gold Washed - jewelry which is finished to look like gold, but has no actual gold content.
Growth or grain lines -- These can be considered internal flaws, and can often be seen only by rotating the diamond or gemstone very slowly. They can disappear and appear almost instantaneously.
Gunmetal – a 90% copper and 10% tin alloy that was popular in the 1890s
Guilloche - phonetically pronounced “gi-'lOsh”, comes from the French and means "engine-turning." This is a process of enameling over a metal surface that has been engraved in some way - often with a spirograph design, where translucent enamel (fused glass) is applied.
Gutta percha – A naturally occurring substance that can be taken from Palaquium trees by hand. When softened in hot water, it can be pressed into many different shapes.
Hallmark - this term is used for official marks made on metal. It can indicate the type of metal, manufacturer and country of manufacture. Sometimes, the year of manufacture will be noted.
Hammered Finish - the process whereby a small hammer is used to make a series of indentations in a piece of metal. Often used with sterling silver and copper jewelry.
Hand Finishing - manufacture of jewelry in which the finish is completed by hand to allow the designer to control the finish on each individual piece.
Hardness- Resistance a material offers to scratching or abrasion. Generally measured using the MOHS scale.
Heirloom - a highly valued possession that is passed down among family members from one generation to the next.
Hematite - an opaque gem which is dark gray to almost place in color. It is non magnetic.
Horn – a natural substance that comes from animal tusks and horns. It is collected, ground, pressed and heated. The heating affects the color and turns it transparent pale yellow.
Inclusion - this is a small particle of foreign matter which is contained in a gemstone. Inclusions can be bubbles, crystals, carbon spots, feathers, clouds, pinpoints, or other impurities, or even cracks and abrasions. Many inclusions devalue a stone, but some are prized and make it more valuable - i.e. Star Sapphire.
Illusion setting- This setting is more intricate than others in that it surrounds the stone to make it appear larger.
Inlay - this is a term for a process in which a piece of material such as glass or stone is partially embedded into another material. The finished result is that the two materials make a level surface. Mother of pearl is often seen as an inlay in jewelry items.
Intaglio - A design made by cutting deeply on the obverse or back side of a stone or gemstone. It is the opposite of a cameo.
Ivory - a smooth, lightweight grained material made from the tusks of elephants, hippopotamus’ and walruses. Creamy white in color, usually with a cross hatching type of grain.
Jappaned - a finish that is a coating of coal tar derivative giving it its black color.
Jet - This is fossilized coal. It is hard and light weight and is a lustrous black color. It was used in mourning jewelry during the Victorian period. A clear test for jet is that it is warm to the touch.
Karat - usually abbreviated as the letter "K", karat refers to the purity of gold. 24K is 100% pure gold. 18K is 18 parts gold with 6 parts other alloyed metals - 75% pure gold. 14K is 14parts gold and 10 parts other alloyed metals or 58.5% pure gold.
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