Luxury Pawn Shop Glossary of Terms & Brands


American Gold Eagle: The American Gold Eagle is an official gold bullion coin of the United States. Offered in 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/2 oz, and 1 oz denominations, these coins are guaranteed to contain the stated amount of actual gold weight in troy ounces. By law, the gold must come from sources in America. The front of the coin features Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ full length figure of Lady Liberty with flowing hair, holding a torch in her right hand and an olive branch in her left, with the Capitol building in the left background. The reverse side features a male eagle carrying an olive branch flying above a nest containing a female eagle and her hatchlings.

American Platinum Eagle: The American Platinum Eagle is the official platinum bullion coin of the United States. First released by the United States Mint in 1997, these coins are produced in 1/10, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 troy oz varieties. They consist of .9995 fine platinum. Proof and un-circulated versions of the coins are made for coin collectors. These are unique in the fact that they are the only U.S. bullion coins that feature a yearly alternating design on the reverse side.

American Silver Eagle: The American Silver Eagle is the official silver bullion coin of the United States. It was first released by the United States Mint on November 24, 1986. It is produced only in the 1 troy oz denomination (with a face value of one dollar). The coin is guaranteed to contain one troy ounce of .999 pure silver. The Silver Eagle has been produced at three mints: the Philadelphia mint, the San Francisco mint, and the mint at West Point, New York.

Antique Cushion Cut: A brilliant cut diamond with a square shape and rounded corners. Sometimes called a pillow-top or buff-top cut.

Art Deco: This jewelry movement, considered a protest against the excesses of Art Nouveau, was launched at the 1925 L’ Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes’ in Paris. The Art Deco style features geometric and abstract designs and regained popularity in the United States during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Art Nouveau: The Art Nouveau jewelry period started in the 1890s and ended with the onset of World War I. It featured various free-flowing natural motifs, including dragonflies, butterflies, and curvaceous floral designs, along with female faces.

Ashoka: The original Ashoka diamond was a 41.37 carat D flawless named after the Buddhist warrior-emperor Ashoka Maurya. Due to its unique cut and exceptional beauty, it attained legendary status as it has passed through the hands of countless buyers over the years. In 2000, Saul Goldberg and William Goldberg gemologists recreated the famous cut, which displays sixty-two facets, and trademarked it as the William Goldberg Ashoka.

Asscher Cut: Abraham and Joseph Asscher developed the Asscher cut diamond in 1902. This is a square emerald cut with cropped corners. It was very popular in the 1920s but went out of fashion. Today, it has regained some of its popularity recently, and has used in some celebrity engagement rings.

Audemars Piguet: One of the world’s oldest watchmakers, founded in 1875 by Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward-Auguste Piguet in the village of Le Brassus, Switzerland. Based in the Vallée de Joux, the company has continually adopted innovative techniques, an approach which has earned the company an unparalleled number of world firsts in the field of “Haute Horlogerie.” Audemars Piguet is still independently owned by its founding families.


Baia Mare: Baia Mare (meaning Big Mine) is an important city in northern Romania. The economical activity of Baia Mare has been built around the mining activities located in the surrounding areas. On January 30th 2000, a dam containing toxic waste material from the Baia Mare Aurul gold mine burst and released 100,000 cubic meters of waste water, heavily contaminated with cyanide, into the Lapus and Somes tributaries of the river Tisza.

Michael Beaudry: This Los Angeles jewelry designer combines his experience as a second generation master diamond cutter with his design expertise to create what he calls “wearable sculptures,” often combining platinum and diamonds. His wide array of jewelry is known to have a vintage look, while feeling contemporary. In the past he has partnered with De Beers, in the promotion of his jewelry.

Bingham Canyon: The Bingham Canyon Mine is an open-pit mining operation extracting a large porphyry copper deposit southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, in the Oquirrh Mountains. Bingham Canyon has proven to be one of the world’s most productive mines. Over its life it has produced more than 17 million tons of copper, 23 million ounces of gold, 190 million ounces of silver.

Birkin Bag: The Birkin bag is an exclusive handmade purse made by Hermès and named after actress and singer Jane Birkin. The bag retails from $9,000 to $150,000, as per the type of materials used.

Blue Diamond: Diamonds with a light blue hint of color are often rare and highly coveted. The blue hue is a result of trace amounts of boron in the stone’s crystal structure.

Boucheron: The House of Boucheron is French maker of haute joaillerie, watches, and perfume. The company was founded by Frederic Boucheron in 1858. During the 1900s, America’s wealthiest families (such as the Astors, Vanderbilts, and Rockefellers) all were patrons of Boucheron. Today, Boucheron has 34 boutiques worldwide, including one in San Francisco, which is its only US boutique.

Breguet: French manufacturer of luxury watches, founded by Abraham Louis Breguet in Paris in 1775. Currently part of The Swatch Group, its timepieces have been produced in the Vallée de Joux in Switzerland since 1976. Breguet is one of the oldest surviving watch-making establishments and is a pioneer of numerous watch-making technologies, the most notable being the tourbillon, invented by the company’s founder.

Breitling: Swiss watch manufacturer from the Canton of Jura. This watchmaker offers certified chronometers designed primarily for aviation use, though most are worn as high-end luxury watches. They typically have a large face for better visibility of the information on the analog dials. Many Breitling watches are equipped with additional functions such as the fly-back function, moon phase, split-second, date display, and other complications.

Briolette Cut: A drop-shaped diamond cut with triangular or diamond-shaped facets all the way around. There is no table, crown or pavilion in this cut, which is often found in antique and estate jewelry from the Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco periods.

Buccellati: Master Italian goldsmith Mario Buccellati began a legacy of fine, quality jewelry at the turn of the last century. Today, the Buccellati brand is guided by Gianmaria Buccellati and his son, Andrea Buccellati, who design each and every piece before handing to their staff of skilled artisans. The company also produces exquisite sterling for the table and the home.

Bulgari: Italian jeweler and luxury goods retailer. The name is usually written “BVLGARI” in ancient Roman style, and comes from its Greek founder, Sotirios Boulgaris (1857-1932). Although the company first made a name for itself with jewelry, today it is a recognized worldwide as luxury brand that markets watches, handbags, fragrances, and accessories. In 2006, Bulgari unveiled the innovative Assioma Multi Complication watch, equipped with tourbillon, perpetual calendar and second time zone.

Burberry: A British luxury fashion house that produces clothing, fragrances, and fashion accessories. Its distinctive tartan pattern has become a widely copied trademark. Burberry is famous for its iconic trench coat, and today is also well known for its highly sought-after handbags. The company was founded in 1856 by Thomas Burberry.


4 Cs: Refers to diamond Clarity, Colour and Cut (proportion), and Carats, upon which a diamond’s value is based.

Carat: A measure of weight used for gemstones. Not to be confused with “karat,” which is a measure of gold alloy purity. Often abbreviated as “ct.” one carat is equal to 200 milligrams (one fifth of a gram). Gemstones are measured to the nearest hundredth carat (known as a “point’). For example, a .25 carat stone would be said to have twenty five points. A carat is one of the 4 Cs of diamond grading. The others being Clarity, Cut, and Color.

Cartier: French jeweler and watch manufacturer, which is now a subsidiary of Compagnie Financière Richemont SA. The corporation carries the name of the Cartier family of jewelers whose control ended in 1964. The company was founded in Paris in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier, and over the next 100 years established a long and distinguished history of serving royalty, as well as stars and celebrities. Today, Cartier is the no. 1 seller of luxury jewelry in the world, and the no. 2 seller of luxury watches (behind Rolex).

Cartier, Louis: Grandson of Louis Francois Cartier, the founder of the House of Cartier in Paris—which fast became one of the world’s leading jewelry firms. Louis was responsible for popularizing the use of platinum in jewelry during the early 1900s. Famous for his garland designs during the Edwardian period, Louis Cartier also was influential during the Art Deco period, as well as the designer responsible for inventing the first wristwatch.

Chanel: Chanel S.A. (popularly known as “Chanel”) is a French fashion house which was established by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. The company is recognized as one of the most famous in haute couture, specializing in luxury handbags, perfumes, cosmetics, and other luxury goods. Its founder got the name “Coco” while maintaining a career as a singer at a coffee shop in France.

Chaumet: Luxury French jeweler based in Paris, founded in 1780. Their flagship store, at Place Vendome in Paris, greets visitors with a portrait of Napoleon’s second wife, the Empress Marie Louise de Habsbourg-Lorraine. Today, the Chaumet brand is part of the Louis Vuitton – Moet Hennessy group (LVMH), and produces high-end jewelry, watches, and perfumes.

Clarity: One of the four Cs of diamond grading (the other three being Cut, Color, and Carat), clarity refers to the perfection of a gemstones crystalline structure. When grading diamonds, the rating scale ranges from I (where visible imperfections—or “inclusions”—can be seen by the naked eye) to FL (meaning “flawless”).

Christie’s: Leading art business and a fine arts auction house, founded in 1766 by James Christie. From 1973 to 1999, Christie’s was a public company, listed on the London Stock Exchange, after which it was taken into private ownership by François Pinault. Christie’s is currently the world’s largest auction house by revenues, having outperformed its longtime rival Sotheby’s.

Chronograph: A timepiece or watch with both timekeeping and stopwatch functions. Pocket watch chronographs were made as early as the 18th century but did not become popular until the 1820s. There are many types of chronographs. An analog chronograph show both time and stopwatch functions with analog hands. Digital chronographs use a digital display for both timekeeping and stopwatch functions, either with separate displays or by switching modes on a single display. Analog-digital chronographs have a standard analog watch with permanent center seconds and a separate digital display that usually operates independently of the analog section.

Collateral: A security or guarantee (usually an asset) pledged for the repayment of a loan if one cannot procure enough funds to repay. At San Diego Jewelry Buyers, this comes in the form of jewelry, diamonds, watches, or precious metal items.

Couture: Highly fashionable clothing and jewelry created by leading designers.

Crown (coin): The British Crown, originally known as the “crown of the double rose,” was an English coin introduced as part of King Henry VIII’s monetary reform of 1526. The first coins were minted in gold. The first silver crowns were not produced until the reign of King Edward VI. No crowns were minted in the reign of Mary I, but silver as well as gold coins were minted in the reigns of Elizabeth I, James I, and Charles I.

CZ: The abbreviation of Cubic Zirconia, the most widespread and inexpensive diamond simulant on the market today. This man-made stone has optical properties very similar to that of a real diamond.


De Beers: De Beers and the various companies within the De Beers Family of Companies engage in exploration for diamonds, diamond mining, and diamond trading. The trading of rough diamonds is conducted by the Diamond Trading Company. In 2001, De Beers entered into a retail joint venture with French luxury goods company Louis Vuitton – Moet Hennessy (LVMH) to establish a De Beers diamond jewelry retail company. The joint venture, called De Beers Diamond Jewellers Ltd sells diamond jewelry in De Beers brand stores worldwide.

Diamond: Diamond is the hardest natural material known. It has been treasured as gemstones since its use in religious worship in ancient India and in engraving tools that date to early human history. The popularity of diamonds has risen since the 19th century because of increased supply, improved cutting and polishing techniques, growth in the world economy, and successful advertising campaigns. They are commonly judged by the “Four Cs”: carat, clarity, color, and cut.

Dior: Christian Dior S.A. (popularly known simply as Dior) is a high-fashion clothing producer and retailer. The Dior label is the namesake of designer Christian Dior who launched the company in 1946. Christian Dior Couture, a division of the House of Dior, designs and produces some of the world’s most desire luxury goods, including ready-to-wear fashion, menswear and accessories. Dior operates over 160 boutiques worldwide.

Philippe Dufour: Celebrated independent Swiss watchmaker who lives in the Valle de Joux, an area considered to be the cradle of high-end mechanical horology. He is one of the most respected, innovative, and talented master watchmakers working today. All of his watches are considered to be a “one man” work of art.


Eco-friendly: Any practice which is friendly toward the environment, as well as the people and animals within that environment, such as recycling or using chemical-free products.

Edwardian: This style of jewelry began during the waning days of Queen Victoria’s reign and flourished until the onset of World War I when geometric Art Deco designs took center stage. During this period heavy use was made of garlands and bows, with diamonds and pearls set in platinum to reflect a monochromatic appearance. Delicate filigree can be found in many ring designs from this period as well as graceful, floral motifs and fringed necklaces.

Emerald Cut: This kind of diamond cut is not a brilliant cut, but is called a step cut, which means it has rows of facets. Step cuts are composed of larger facets which act like mirrors and resemble a staircase, hence the name step-cut. The emerald cut has fifty-eight facets (25 crown, 8 girdle, and 25 pavilion).

Estate Jewelry: By definition this term simply means “previously owned,” although many people today have confused the term to be interchangeable with antique jewelry.

Eternity Band (Ring): Traditionally, this term refers to a millenniums old ring design wherein the band has been set with a continuous row of gemstones. Today it is most frequently given to mark an anniversary or the birth of a child, though many have begun exchanging the rings as bridal bands.

Ethical Metalsmiths: An organization formed for the purpose of stimulating demand for responsibly sourced materials as an investment in the future. Members stand for social responsibility, a healthy environment and materials that are consistent with these values.


Fabergé, Carl: The legendary jeweler to the Tsars, this talented Russian became most famous for his world-renowned jeweled eggs. Numbering 56 in total, of which 44 remain, these prized enameled eggs were created as Easter gifts for the Russian court beginning in 1884, each one containing a precious surprise. Fabergé creations are famous for their meticulous craftsmanship and mind-boggling detail.

Facet: The polished surface/plane on a diamond or gemstone.

Fair Trade Gems: Gems that are closely tracked from mine to market to ensure that every gem has been handled according to strict protocols, which include: environmental protection, fair labor practices at the cutting and jewelry factories, and a tight custody chain that eliminates the possibility of treated gems or synthetics being introduced into the supply chain. The program also includes promotion of cultural diversity, public education, and accountability.

Fancy Cut: A gemstone cut into a shape other than the standard round cut. Fancy cuts include oval, emerald, princess, pear, marquise, baguette, heart, and less common shapes such as stars.

Filigree: A delicate metal openwork wherein fine wire is bent into spiral, vine-like, shapes and soldered into the gallery of the piece.

Flawless Diamond: A diamond that shows no inclusions or blemishes under 10X magnification. Truly flawless or internally flawless (F or IF) diamonds are extremely rare.

Fouquet, Georges: French jewelry designer (1862–1957) who is considered one of the leading creators of jewelry in both the Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles. In 1896, when he became head of the family’s Parisian jewelry firm, he introduced a new aesthetic characterized by sensuous forms, dramatic imagery, and a vivid, poetic symbolism. He also replaced the all-white (platinum and diamonds) look of high style jewelry, with gold, colored enamels, and semi-precious stones.

Freshwater Pearls: Grown in the United States and world-wide, freshwater pearls are born from several different mollusks and commonly have an uneven surface or irregular shape. They come in a variety of colors, including rose, lavender, and violet.

Fulco Di Verdura: During the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, Duke Fulco di Verdura was a top designer of glamorous jewelry for Hollywood’s movie stars. The designer is said to have been inspired by working with Coco Chanel in the ’20s. Verdura retired to London in 1973 and died five years later.

Fusee: A cone-shaped pulley with a spiral groove around it, which was used in older spring-powered mechanical watches and clocks. Fusees were used from the 1400s to the early 1900s to improve timekeeping by equalizing the uneven pull of the mainspring as it ran down.


G (in color): When grading diamonds “color” refers to the absence of color in a diamond. The rating scale begins at D (meaning colorless) and ends at Z (meaning having a lot of color). Though some color can be seen when a G diamond is graded, it appears colorless when mounted, thus it is commonly used in fine jewelry.

Garland Style: Popular during the Edwardian era, this style (which includes bows, swags, and tassels) was made famous by the house of Cartier who set the delicate design in platinum.

Gaslamp Quarter: A 16 ½ block historical (Victorian) neighborhood in downtown San Diego, California. Its main period of development began in 1867, when Alonzo Horton bought the land in hopes of creating a new city center closer to the bay. After a period of urban decay, the neighborhood underwent a renewal in the 1980s and 1990s, and is today an energetic business and entertainment district.

Gemstone: Any crystallized mineral structure (natural or synthetic) used in jewelry making. This includes all precious and semi-precious stones but excludes all types of plastics and glass.

Georgian: A period of British history, normally defined as including the reigns of the kings George I, George II, George III and George IV, i.e. covering the period from 1714 to 1830. The jewelry of this period is symmetrical, regal, elegant, and balanced. Gemstones included foil-backed colored stones and rose-cut diamonds.

Girard-Perregaux: Swiss manufacturer of complex timepieces, founded in 1791, making it among the oldest manufactures within the industry. The current name did not appear until 1854 when watchmaker Constant Girard married Marie Perregaux and the modern company was born. G-P is widely known within the world of horology for its “Tourbillon Under Three Gold Bridges.”

Gold: The most malleable, and most ductile of all metals, gold by itself is too soft to be used in its natural state to be used for jewelry making, and it is commonly alloyed with copper, nickel, or other metals. Unlike silver it does not oxidize or tarnish.

Graff: A vertically integrated diamond jeweler, Graff was founded in London in 1960 by Laurence Graff. The company is involved in all stages of jewelry manufacturing: from the mining, cutting and polishing of the diamond, the initial vision and design of the piece through to the final Graff jewel.

Green Jewelry: Another name for eco-friendly jewelry or sustainable jewelry. Green jewelry uses recycled gold, platinum, or silver, and fair trade gemstone or diamonds—thus paying respect to environmental and human health.

Gruen: American watch company founded by Dietrich Gruen in1876, and initially called the Columbus Watch Manufacturing Company. The company introduced the first stem-wind watches sold in the U.S. market. In 1935 Gruen introduced the most famous Gruen wristwatch: “The Curvex.” These watches are one of the best examples of 1930s streamlined design. Fred Gruen retired in 1940 and died in 1945. In 1953 the Gruen family sold their interest in the company.

Gucci: Gucci is an Italian fashion house renowned for its leather goods, such as handbags, totes, wallets, luggage, and shoes. For decades, Gucci was the pinnacle of chic, thanks to icons such as Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Jacqueline Onassis. The brand started losing its luster in the ‘80s due to certain marketing practices and an influx of cheap knockoffs, but in the late ‘90s Gucci regained its reputation as one of the finest luxury fashion houses.

Gurhan: Pioneering jewelry designer and master goldsmith who works exclusively in 24 karat gold (a rarity in the jewelry world, because pure gold is hard to work with due to its softness). Turkish born, the designer’s full name is Gurhan Orhan.


H-I (in color): When grading diamonds “color” refers to the absence of color in a diamond. The rating scale begins at D (meaning colorless) and ends at Z (meaning having a lot of color). Though some color can be seen when an H-I diamond is graded, it appears colorless when mounted, thus it is commonly used in fine jewelry.

H. Stern: Brazilian fine jeweler and jewelry manufacturer, founded by Hans Stern in Rio de Janeiro, 1945. The brand is widely respected, and counts among its patrons heads-of-state around the globe, as well as modern celebrities such as Lucy Liu, Eva Langoria, Teri Hatcher, Beyonce Knowles, Finola Hughes, and Sandra Oh. The H. Stern company is recognized for looking outside the jewelry industry for style influence and behavioral trends to guide its creative process.

Stefan Hafner: Italian jewelry designer and couture jeweler founded in Bologna, 1967. Today, it is one of the most exclusive brands in the world. Hafner is a multiple winner of the prestigious American Jewelry Awards Gala, having for three years in a row won the prize for Best Design in Diamond and Best Design in Show at the Couture Jewellery Collection, Las Vegas.

Vianney Halter: A recognized master in the modern field of horology. Halter left Paris about 20 years ago to work as a restoration expert in St. Croix and later started his own company. His designs are celebrated for their remarkable imagination and include the Antigua, Contemporaine, Trio, Goldpfeil, and Opus 3 (for Harry Winston).

Hamsa: A five finger symbol of Jewish origin used in amulets, charms, and jewelry to protect against the “evil eye.” In Judaic tradition, fish are considered to be a symbol of good luck, so many hamsas are also decorated with fish images.

John Hardy: Bali-based jewelry designer whose line of handmade jewelry and home accessories were inspired by his idea of “sustainable luxury,” a belief that a business can be successful while still respecting the natural and human environments and planning for future generations. In July 2007, John Hardy sold his stakes in the firm, but remains the company’s “visionary.”

Hearts on Fire: Popular diamond jewelry brand that promotes itself as producing the world’s most brilliant diamond, cut to maximize sparkle, fire, and scintillation.

Hercule (coin): Popular name among traders for a French franc coin possessing an image of Hercules. Produced in a gold version and silver version.

Hermès: A French couture fashion house founded in 1837. It manufactures leather, ready-to-wear, lifestyle accessories, perfume, and luxury goods. The company’s logo is of a Duc carriage with a horse. The use of high-quality materials and the finest hand-craftsmanship has driven the prices of some Hermès merchandise to extremely high levels. For example, some Hermes handbags are worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Oscar Heyman & Brothers: New York manufacturer of the very finest precious stone jewelry, founded in 1912. One of a handful of family-owned shops still dedicated to European-style craftsmanship and “by hand” fabrication. To this day, OH&B continues to make its own tools, alloy its own platinum and gold, as well as design and create each piece of jewelry to demanding specifications.

Holloware: Also spelled “hollowware”, this refers to metal tableware (usually fashioned from sterling silver) that is hollow or concave, including pitchers, trays, bowls, cups, soup tureens, tea sets, etc.

Horology: The art or science of measuring time. People interested in horology are called horologists, and includes people who deal professionally with timekeeping apparatus (watchmakers, clockmakers), as well as aficionados and scholars of horology.


Indigenous People: Any group of people native to a particular country or area, such as the United States Native-Americans.

Invisible Silver: A transparent coating of silver, often used on double pane thermal windows.

Isle of Mann: A self-governing Crown dependency, located in the Irish Sea at the geographical centre of the British Isles.


JAR: Born Joel Arthur Rosenthal, the American designer born in the Bronx in 1943 affects to be known, in the manner of Prince, by a single name: JAR (no periods). His shop in Paris’s Place Vendôme has no display window, no regular hours. It does not advertise and opens its doors to only a select few, usually royalty or celebrities. As such, a cult like image has descended upon him. Studied art history at Harvard.

Jaeger-LeCoultre: Luxury Swiss watch and clock manufacturer which traces its history back to 1833, when Antoine LeCoultre (1803-1881) founded a small workshop. The founder is celebrated for having measured the micron (μ) for the first time. He also invented the world’s most precise measuring instrument, the millionometer—a device capable of measuring to the nearest thousandths of a millimeter. In 1903, LeCoultre’s grandson Jacques-David joined with Parisian watchmaker Edmond Jaeger to produce ultra-thin watches and the modern-day company was born. Jaeger-LeCoultre accomplishments include the thinnest pocket watch (1903), the first automatic alarm wristwatch (1956), and the first quartz wristwatch (1967). Its Géographique (1990) features 24 time zones, day-night indication, power-reserve, and a high-frequency balance.

Georg Jensen: Danish jewelry designer associated with the Art Nouveau era, who started his first workshop in 1904. In 1913, Johan Rohde was hired as a designer for Jensen, and his popularity increased, as the company produced jewelry, as wells as flatware and hollow-ware. Since Jensen’s death in 1935, the company has continued to do business with its great reputation intact.

Gilver: This is a unique precious metal alloy created by jewelry designer Yossi Harari. It is composed of 75% silver and 25% gold, and then oxidized to give the jewelry and edgy look or is gold plated.

Green Gold: This colored gold is made by combining gold with silver at a ratio of about 3 to 1. The color is rather a greenish-yellow than a pure green. There is also a naturally occuring green gold called electrum, which was first dicsovered in ancient times.

JIC: Abbreviation for the Jewelry Information Center, founded in 1946 as non-profit trade association funded by its members to serve as the public relations arm for the entire fine jewelry and watch industry in the United States.


Karat: Abbreviated with the letter “K,” karat refers to the purity of gold, which is often alloyed with silver, nickel, copper or other metals to improve its workability and make the soft metal more durable. This is what the following marks mean:

24K = 100% pure gold

18K = 18 parts gold and 6 parts alloyed metal(s) or 75% pure gold

14K = 14 parts gold and 10 parts alloyed metal(s) or 58.5% pure gold

Scott Kay: For over 30 years, Scott Kay has been recognized as an authority in bridal jewelry. He is credited for helping to resurrect platinum jewelry, introducing 19KT fine gold, and increasing the popularity of palladium jewelry. He writes a popular guidance column “Ask Scott Kay,” which is published monthly in many bridal and fashion publications.

King Louis XVI (1754-1793): Reigned over France from 1774-1792. Married to the Archduchess of Austria Marie Antoinette, he sent forces to assist the American colonies during the revolutionary war. Is quoted famously as stating that platinum was the only precious metal fit for Kings.

Koala (coin): The Silver Koala was the first coin in an iconic series produced by the Perth Mint, Australia. Launched in 2007, the coin is struck from 1oz of 99.9% pure silver in specimen quality and features on the reverse a cuddly koala clinging tenaciously to the branch of a gum tree.

Koh-I-Noor: Among the world’s most famous diamonds, the Persian name is translated to mean “The Mountain of Light.” The origin of the diamond, according to legend, dates back 5000 years in ancient India. The diamond weighed 186 carats until it was re-cut, by the demand of prince Albert, to its current weight of 108.93 carats. Today the diamond adorns Queen Elizabeth’s crown.

Krugerrand: A Krugerrand is a South African gold coin, first minted in 1967 in order to help market South African gold. Although the coins have legal tender status in South Africa, they are not actually intended to be used as currency. Since the Krugerrand is minted from gold alloy that is 91.67 percent pure (22 karats), the actual weight of a “one ounce” coin is 1.0909 troy ounces (33.93 g), to provide one troy ounce of pure gold.


Libertad (coin): The Silver Libertad is a silver bullion coin originating from Mexico. It has been sold in 1⁄20, 1⁄10, ¼, ½, 1, 2, and 5 ounce varieties. It was first struck in 1982.

Longines: Luxury Swiss watch company founded by Ernest Francillon, with its origins tracing back to the 1830s. It holds the oldest registered logo for a watch company (a winged hourglass). Longines is famous for its “Aviators” watches, having produced a watch designed by Charles Lindbergh, after his transatlantic flight, and which it still makes today. In 2001, Longines produced the 30 millionth watch, and the following year celebrated the 170th year of the flying hourglass logo. The company is currently owned by the Swatch Group.

Lonmin: A major South African producer of platinum group metals. The Company was incorporated in the United Kingdom in 1909 as the London and Rhodesian Mining Company Limited. It currently has two mines: Marikana and Limpopo.

Lord Elgin: Founded in Elgin, Ill. in August of 1864, the Elgin Watch Company became a legendary American watch manufacturer. Originally known as the National Watch Co., the company had a long and celebrated history as a manufacturer of pocket watches. The company’s railroad-approved pocket watches and military issue watches from WWI and WWII continue to be classic collectibles. Lord Elgin eventually fell victim to cheap imports and closed its last plant in 1967.

Louis Vuitton: Louis Vuitton Malletier (commonly known as Louis Vuitton or simply LV) is a French fashion house founded in 1854 that has become synonymous with ultimate luxury products, ranging from luxury trunks and leather goods to ready-to-wear, shoes, watches, jewelry, accessories, sunglasses, and books. The brand stands as a testament to fine handcrafted manufacturing with the highest quality materials.


Marcus & Co.: American jeweler best known for its Art Nouveau jewelry and silver, founded in 1892 by Herman Marcus and his son William. Inspired by French designer René Lalique, the firm exhibited beautiful orchid-motif brooches, featuring plique-à-jour enameling, at Paris’s International Exhibition, 1900. Marcus & Co. grew in popularity throughout the 20th century, until in 1962 it merged with Black, Starr, & Frost.

Maple Leaf (coin): The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf and Silver Maple leaf are official bullion coins produced by the Royal Canadian Mint. The gold issue is one of the purest gold coins of regular issue in the world, with a gold content of .9999 millesimal fineness. The silver issue mostly comes in a 1 troy oz of silver variety.

Mechanical Watch: A watch that uses a non-electric mechanism to measure the passage of time. Mechanical watches first appeared in Europe in the 1600s, and were derived from spring-powered clocks, which appeared in the 1400s.

Merensky Reef: A layer of igneous rock in northern South Africa which contains most of the world’s known reserves of platinum group metals: platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and osmium.

Michael B: Michael Bogosian is one of California’s most prominent designers of platinum and diamond jewelry. He is best known for his bridal jewelry, wedding bands, and engagement rings adorned in meticulous lace and pavé diamond settings.

Mikimoto: Among today’s foremost fine pearl brands, which traces its history back to 1888, when founder Kokichi Mikimoto obtained a loan to start his first pearl oyster farm in Japan’s Ago Bay. Mikimoto is often and accurately described as the father of the modern cultured pearl industry.

Millgrain: The raised beaded edge of piece of jewelry created with a knurling tool. The effect resembles antique embroidery.

Modern Brilliant Cut: A diamond cut aimed at maximizing the brilliance of each stone. The common form includes fifty-eight facets and has been used since the early 20th century. Shapes range from the traditional round cut to heart, marquise, teardrop, and non-traditional forms.

Franck Muller: Celebrated Swiss watchmaker (born 1958) known for creating complicated timepieces. His brand of watches carries the slogan, “Master of Complications,” and is famous for its fusion of “modern” style with traditional Swiss watch manufacturing. Each year, the manufacturer launches at least one new line of timepieces featuring something that has never seen before in the watch-making industry. The first such world premiere occurred in 1993, when the company debuted a watch that had a split seconds chronograph minute repeater, a perpetual calendar, and an internal temperature indicator.


Noble (coin): The first English gold coin produced in quantity. It was preceded by the Gold penny and the Florin, produced during the reigns of King Henry III and King Edward III, which saw little circulation. Throughout its history this coin had many varieties of inscriptions, mintmarks, and (to some extent) design.

NoDirtyGold: Organization that supports the efforts of groups working to end dirty gold mining practices, as well as the rights of communities to determine their own futures–not to have it decided for them by corporations.


Old European Cut: A form of brilliant cut diamonds with a variety of facets (usually numbering fifty-eight). Key features are a large table, an open culet, and a round perimeter or shape.

Old World: Term often used to refer to the hand-manufacturing practices employed by master artisans in Europe before the industrial revolution.

Open Pit Mine: Any excavation made at the surface of the ground for the purpose of extracting ore and which is open to the surface for the duration of the mine’s life. With these types of mines, it is generally necessary to excavate and relocate large quantities of waste rock, thus they have been the focus of protests by environmentalists.

Oxidize: The process wherein a metal mixes with oxygen and becomes rusted. Platinum and gold do not oxidize. Impurities in any alloys containing gold or platinum may oxidize but the actual metals do not.


Palladium: A member of the Platinum group of metals, palladium is less expensive than platinum. Used in jewelry it is most commonly combined with gold to create white gold. However, due to recent price surges in platinum, many designers have been introducing creations made from 950 palladium. The metal is much lighter in weight than platinum, but has a similar natural white color, which means it does not require plating, the same as platinum. Currently palladium is trading at about 20% the price of platinum.

Panerai Luminor: Famous watch produced by the Swiss-owned Panerai brand. The company was founded in 1860 by Giovanni Panerai in Florence, Italy. Panerai has four major lines of watches, Historic, Contemporary, Manifattura, and Special Editions (issued yearly). Aficionados of Panerai are popularly called the “Paneristi.”

Parmigiani Fleurier: Luxury Swiss watchmakers founded in 1975 by Michel Parmigiani. In 2006, Parmigiani produced the Bugatti 370. This driver’s watch was inspired by the Bugatti Veyron and won Japan’s 2006 “Watch of the Year Award.” The company was among the first to offer a luxury mechanical watch line that caters specifically to women.

Patek Philippe: Luxury Swiss watch manufacturer founded by Antoni Patek and Adrien Philippe in 1868. In 1989, Patek created the Calibre 89 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the company. It holds 33 complications, including the date of Easter, a thermometer, time of sunrise, equation of time, and sidereal time. Patek Philippe is currently owned by the Stern family and is led by Henri Stern and his son.

Pavé: From the French, literally meaning “paved,” occurs when gemstones are set very close together to resemble a paved cobblestone road.

Pavé set: A time-consuming style of setting produced by drilling tapered holes in a metal base to seat the gemstones, then securing them with tiny beads formed from the surrounding metal. In current usage it has often come to mean any type of bead setting.

Pawnbroker: A person or business (for example, a pawn shop) which offers loans to individuals where items of personal property (such as gold, diamonds, rare watches, etc.) are used as collateral. The word “pawn” comes from the Latin pignus, which means pledge.

Pear Cut: A fancy diamond cut where the stone is cut into the shape similar to that of a teardrop, rounded on one end and pointed on the other.

Pennyweight: A measure used to weigh precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum. A pennyweight (dwt) is equal to 24 grains, and there are 20 pennyweights in a troy ounce. In relation to grams, a pennyweight is equal to 1.55 grams.

Piaget: Luxury Swiss watch manufacturer and jeweler founded in 1874. The company began simply as a manufacturer of watch movements. It was not until 1940 that they began marketing their own line. Piaget is a recognized master of ultra-thin movements, with its 9P and 12P calibres launched in the 1950s.

Pink Diamond: An exceedingly rare color of diamond. Historically, India was the principal source of pink diamonds. In 1989, a 32.34 light pink diamond was sold at auction for almost $7 million.

Pink Gold: Also known as rose gold and red gold, this colored gold is made by combining gold with copper. The shade of red depends on the amount of copper used. Pink gold was popular in 19th century Russian jewelry, as well as in jewelry made by other European manufacturers during this period. Recently, there has been a resurgance of pink gold in fine jewelry, especially vintage-inspired rings and pendants.

Platinum: The rarest and strongest precious metal. Platinum jewelry is usually 90-95% pure platinum. The metal rarely causes allergic reactions and resists tarnishing.

Platina: The name that Spanish conquistadors first used for platinum, which they mistakenly believed was worthless. It means “little silver.”

Prada: A high-end Italian fashion label specializing in luxury goods for men and women (including clothing, leather handbags, shoes, luggage, and hats), founded by Mario Prada in 1913. Prada’s originality has made it one of the world’s most influential fashion houses and a premium status symbol. The signature Prada look features luxurious fabrics in mostly black, grays, browns, creams, and greens to create simple, yet provocative styles.

Precious metal: This metal group is generally defined as referring to platinum, gold, and silver, which are valued for their rarity, color, and malleability.

Princess Cut: A square kind of diamond cut. It is facetted similar to an emerald cut above the girdle and like a Round Brilliant Cut below the girdle. Popular today in engagement rings.


Rapaport Report: The jewelry industry standard for the pricing of diamonds, found by Martin Rappaport. The report is published weekly and distributed to jewelers and diamond merchants to help them set prices for consumers.

Red Diamond: A rare and very valuable fancy-colored diamond. In 1987, a 0.9 carat red diamond, known as the Hancock Red, was auctioned for $867,580.

Renaissance: Stretching from the 15th to 17th centuries, this European period experienced rapid advancements in the Arts and Sciences. The jewelry of this period feature engraved gemstones, portrait cameos, hat badges, and finger rings, in a style heavily impacted by the Medici in Florence, Italy and the Pontiffs of Rome.

Judith Ripka: American designer recognized for producing elegant fine jewelry that can be worn every day. She has won the DeBeers’ Award for Diamond Design, and has been inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Her jewelry is sold in 11 Judith Ripka boutiques, fine department stores, and independent jewelers nationwide.

Ritani: Luxury jewelry manufacturer founded by Harout Ritani in 1999. Since that time the company has emerged into a major player in the platinum and bridal jewelry market. The company is noted for offering a PerfectMatch feature. This allows almost all of Ritani’s engagement rings to fit any wedding band, so that they fit together perfectly. A talented diamond setter since the age of 17, he worked for prestigious jewelry houses including Tiffany’s. In 2000 he began marketing his own designs under the Ritani brand name.

Rolex: Swiss manufacturer of luxury watches and accessories. The company traces its history back to 1908 when founder Hans Wilsdorf registered the trademark “Rolex” and opened an office in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Today, Rolex is the largest single luxury watch brand, with estimated revenues of around US$ 3 billion (2003). In 2007, BusinessWeek magazine ranked Rolex #71 on its annual list of the 100 most important global brands, and top among all watchmakers. Rolex is credited with inventing the first waterproof watch case; the first wristwatch with a date on the dial; the first watch to show two time-zones at once; and the first watchmakers to earn chronometer certification for a wristwatch.

Rose Cut: A diamond cut also known as the rosette cut or Dutch rose cut. It was invented in the 17th century and is popularly found in some antique jewelry. The rose cut has 24 triangular facets: 6 star facets that meet at the top and 18 cross facets. Because there is no pavilion, many rose cuts have a silver foil reflector back.

Royal Asscher: The official makers of the Asscher-cut, a unique method of cutting rectangular diamonds developed by the Asscher brothers in 1902. This diamond cut is a distinctive variant on the Emerald-cut. The top proportions and special arrangement of facets create a stone with enormous warmth and elegance. In 1995, a flawless Asscher-cut diamond in a Van Cleef & Arpels ring was auctioned at Sotheby’s for US $1,067,000. The diamond weighed 16.27 carats and was of D colour.


Sapphire: This extremely hard gemstone is from the Corundum class of minerals. It is one of the four precious gemstones, the other three being diamonds, rubies, and emeralds. Available in a multitude of eye-catching colors, sapphires of blue and pink hues are the most popular kind used today.

Satin Finish: A textured finish produced by brushing the metal surface to produce tiny parallel lines. Today it is popularly used in platinum jewelry, and is sometimes referred to as matte finish. Satin finish can also be achieved through a type of sand-blasting process.

Schlumberger: French jewelry designer famous for his work at Tiffany & Co. Schlumberger began working for Tiffany in 1956 and maintained a workshop at the company until his retirement in the late 1970s. The designer’s whimsical interpretations of natural forms attracted many admirers, including: John F. & Jacqueline Kennedy, the Duchess of Windsor, Greta Garbo, Gloria Guinness, Françoise de la Renta, Gloria Vanderbilt, Elizabeth Taylor, and Audrey Hepburn.

SI (clarity): SI grade diamonds are frequently found in jewelry, especially in multi-stone diamond earring, rings, pendants, and bracelets. The grade signifies that inclusions cannot be seen by the naked eye but can be seen under 10x magnification.

Silver: One of the three “precious metals” along with gold and platinum. It is the shiniest of the three, and has been used to make jewelry for thousands of years.

Silversmith: A person who handcrafts objects (such as jewelry) from the precious metal silver. This craftsman also usually makes objects from gold, as well.

Sotheby’s: The world’s second oldest auction house in continuous operation, founded in London by Samuel Baker in 1744. The company was bought in 1983 by American millionaire A. Alfred Taubman, who took it public 5 years later. An intense rival of the auction house Christie’s, the company currently has annual sales of approximately $3 billion, with offices located on London’s New Bond Street and Manhattan’s York Avenue.

Spot Price: The current market price of an actual physical commodity or a security, such as gold, silver, and platinum.

Star of Africa: Now among the British Crown Jewels, the Great Star of Africa, weighing 530.20 carats, is mounted in one of the British Royal Sceptres, while the Lesser Star of Africa, weighing 317.40 carats, can be found in the Imperial State Crown.

Sterling Silver: 92.5% pure silver alloyed with 7.5% copper. Sterling silver was adopted as a standard alloy in England in the 12th century when King Henry II imported refiners from Easterling, Germany.

Sustainable Luxury: The philosophy that luxury products can be created while sustaining the health of the environment and the health of the local communities which produce the materials and talent that go into making those products.


Tacori: American fine jewelry manufacturer founded by the Romanian born Haig Tacorian in 1975, as B & T Jewelers. In 1990, the company name was formally changed to Tacori. All Tacori jewelry is made with 950 platinum (95%), and all engraving, millgraining, and filigree is performed by hand. The company often promotes their jewelry in popular magazines such as Town & Country, In Style, and Marie Claire.

Tiffany & Co.: Fine jewelry and silverware company founded in 1837 by Charles Lewis Tiffany and Teddy Young in New York City. Since 1940, Tiffany’s flagship store has been located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street. The company is strongly associated with its trademark Tiffany Blue color and the Tiffany setting, which is a set of prongs (called a claw, crown, or coronet) that hold a gemstone and attach it to a plain band ring. Tiffany & Co. currently operates stores worldwide, including 64 in the United States.

Tiffany, L.C.: The son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, who founded the legendary jewelry firm which bears his name, designer Louis Comfort Tiffany was an early exponent of the Art Nouveau movement and later moved on to become famous for his Favrile iridescent glassware.

Trossi Leggenda: A yellow gold Patek Philippe with a 46mm enamel dial, which makes it one of the largest Patek Philippe wristwatches ever made. The timepiece was once owned by Count Carlo Felice Trossi, an Italian nobleman who was a pioneer of various forms of racing. Trossi also was the president of Scuderia Ferrari in the 1930s. It was sold in 2008 by Sotheby’s for a record $1.9 million.

Troy Ounce: A unit of measure used to weigh metals, equal to 31.08 grams. Not to be confused with the 28 grams in the avoir ounce used to weigh food and other materials.

Tudor: An English royal dynasty that lasted 118 years, from 1485 to 1603, an era known as the Tudor period. The fine jewelry of this period included flat table-cut diamonds and gemstones (both precious and semi-precious) in settings made of gold, silver, copper, gilded metals, and ivory. Gold-work enameled with colored glass or featuring cameos was also popular.


Urwerk: Swiss watch-making company founded by horologists Felix and Thomas Baumgartner and artist Martin Frei in 1995. The company name is derived from the ancient Sumerian city of Ur (where over 6000 years ago people used giant sundials to measure time) and the German word Werk (meaning to work, create, evolve, shape). The company teamed with luxury retailer Harry Winston to produce the Opus V, which made its debut in 2005.


Vacheron Constantin: Swiss manufacturer of prestige watches, founded by Jean-Marc Vacheron in 1755, making it the oldest watch manufacturer in continuous operation. In 1819, François Constantin joined the firm, thus creating the combined company name. The company is recognized for creating one of the world’s most expensive watches, the Kallista. Manufactured in 1979 with an initial retail price of $5 million, the watch is today valued at about $11 million. The Kallista features 118 emerald-cut diamonds, and took about 6,000 hours (20 months) to complete. The company is currently owned by The Richemont Group.

Van Cleef & Arpels: Famous French Jewelry House established by Alfred Van Cleef and his father-in-law, Salomon Arpels in 1896. Nature is a recurring theme in the company’s jewels, including: flowers, four-leaf clovers, butterflies, dragonflies, ice crystals, and fairies. They have also been a technical innovator, introducing the patented Mystery Setting in 1933 (more commonly known as “invisible setting” today). The company’s jewelry from the Art Deco period is especially prized by collectors. Today there are more than 45 Van Cleef & Arpels boutiques in Europe, USA, Middle East, Japan, and South East Asia.

Victorian: The period under the reign of Queen Victoria. The longest serving British monarch, she ruled from 1837 until her death in 1901. During her sovereignty England experienced many political and social reforms and a rapid expansion of the British Empire.

Vintage Jewelry: A classic, characterized by excellence, maturity, and enduring appeal. When used to describe jewelry, it can mean collectable period jewelry originating from the Georgian period (1714-1837) to the Retro period (1940s).

VS (clarity): VS clarity diamonds are of superior quality and frequently used in fine jewelry. The grade signifies that minor inclusions are difficult to see, even under 10x magnification.

VVS Diamond: A diamond that has only very, very, small inclusions, which can be viewed under 10X magnification. A VVS diamond is often used in the finest jewelry.


Cathy Waterman: Popular California jewelry designer recognized for her diamond lacy floral and vine-like jewelry designs. Cathy Waterman promotes her jewelry in magazines such as Town and Country, Vogue, Bazaar, Elle, and InStyle.

David Webb: American fine jewelry brand founded by designer David Webb and Nina Silberstein. The company is widely acknowledged as a standard bearer in American fine jewelry design. Before Webb’s untimely passing in 1975, the company had produced an incredible repertoire of fine jewelry, with design influences ranging from Etruscan culture to 18th century jewels from Jaipur. Among the most coveted vintage David Webb pieces are animal cuff bracelets (featuring interlocking dragons, roaring crocodiles, slumbering turtles, and regal lions). Today, the company’s flagship store is located at 789 Madison Avenue. All pieces remain handcrafted in their New York workshops under the watchful eye of Ms. Silberstein.

Stephen Webster: Celebrated British jewelry designer. Since the turn of the 21st century, Webster has been selected four times as the U.K’s “Luxury Jeweller of the Year” and twice the “Jewellery Designer of the Year.” He has conducted many famous commissions, including the De Beers Diamond Stakes Trophy. Stephen Webster currently operates out of his London boutique, and a New York office.

White Gold: Created most commonly by alloying yellow gold with palladium and silver, or nickel, zinc, and/or silver, white gold is often selected as a less expensive alternative to platinum. It is often plated with rhodium (a member of the platinum family of metals) to give a platinum-like sheen.

Harry Winston: Widely respected American jeweler (1896-1978), who donated the famous Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958. Today, the Harry Winston Diamond Corporation operates seven boutiques in the U.S. (New York, Beverly Hills, Las Vegas, Dallas, Honolulu, Bal Harbour, and Chicago), as well as ten boutiques in other countries.

Wyler Geneve: Luxury Swiss watchmaker founded by Paul Wyler. The company is known for pioneering anti-shock technologies. In 1956, Wyler famously proved the effectiveness of his own invention, the Incaflex balance wheel, by throwing his company’s watches off the Eiffel Tower. Today, The Wyler Genève Tourbillon features the world’s only tourbillon cage mounted on springs.


Yellow Diamond: Fancy-colored diamond whose yellow comes from the element nitrogen. Extremely rare and expensive, the most famous yellow diamond is the Tiffany Yellow Diamond, which weighs 287.42 carats and is the one of the largest of its kind.

Yellow Gold: In its natural state gold comes in varying shades of yellow. Relatively pure when initially mined, gold is usually alloyed with copper, zinc, and/or silver when used in jewelry making.

David Yurman: Contemporary American jewelry designer whose works can be found at upscale department stores such as Saks 5th Avenue and Neiman Marcus. David Yurman originally studied as a sculptor but eventually turned to jewelry, building his fame and fortune with a signature twisted cable design.


Zircon: A natural mineral not to be confused with Cubic Zirconia, which is a synthetic gemstone grown in a lab.