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Jewelry Dictionary (F)

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A facet is one of the flat surfaces of a cut stone or glass.


Faceting is the cutting and polishing of the surface of a stone.


Fancy cut stones are cut in unusual ways. Some fancy cuts include the heart, fan, rivoli, trapezium, cathedral window, half-moon (lunette), kite, and triangle.


Fancy diamonds are rare diamonds that are red, blue, green, or purple; these diamonds are quite valuable. Diamonds are precious, lustrous gemstones made of highly-compressed carbon; they are one of the hardest materials known. Diamonds have a hardness of 10, a specific gravity of 3.5, and a refractive index of 2.417 - 2.419.


The fantasy cut is a new way of faceting stones that uses freeform angles - virtually anything goes.


Fashion jewelry is another name for costume jewelry.


Faux means false. A faux gem is an imitation.


A feather is an internal flaw (also called an inclusion) in a gemstone that can start at the surface of the stone and extend deep inside. Feathers can either ruin a stone (by making it fragile and/or changing the color), or add to its beauty.


A fede ring is one that depicts two hands clasped together.


Feldspars are a family of minerals that include moonstone (adularia), amazonite, sunstone, and labradorite.


A fetish is a charm, amulet, pendant or other decoration associated with magical properties; it often represents an animal or person.


A fibula is a brooch (pin) that looks a bit like a safety pin. Fibulas have been used since ancient times to secure clothing.


Figural jewelry is disigned to look like real objects. Common subjects are the human body, animals (especially butterflies, dogs, cat, birds, and shells), flowers, leaves, and everyday objects (like baskets and fans).


Filigree is gold or silver wire that have been twisted into patterns and soldered into place. Openwork filigree is not soldered onto a sheet of metal and is difficult to make. Imitation filigree is made of stamped metal.


Findings are the parts that jewelers use in making jewelry. For example, clasps, hooks, pin backs, jump rings, and earring backs are findings.


Fineness is the proportion of silver or gold in a metal alloy. Fineness is usually expressed in parts per thousand. For example, the fineness of sterling silver is 925.


To size a finger for a ring, a finger-ring gauge is used. The rings are marked with their size and the person determines which one fits well. Another, less accurate method is a cardboard card with cut-out holes marked with the ring sizes. To determine the ring size of a finger using the circumference of the finger, or to determine the size of a ring given its diameter.


A stone's fire is the streaks of brilliant color within it. Good quality opals have a lot of fire.


Fire opals are a type of opal that is firey orange to red in color (but have no opalescence). These opals are rarely transparent - they are usually milky. Opal is a mineral composed of silica (and some water) and is a species of quartz. Many opals have a high water content - they can dry out and crack if they are not cared for well (opals should be stored in damp cotton wool). Opals have a hardness of 5.5 to 6.5 and a specific gravity of 1.98-2.50. Fire opals are found in Western Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Guatemals, and Honduras.


Firestone is an imitation iridescent rainbow quartz. It is made by heating rock crystal until it crazes; it is then put into dye as it cools.


A flaw is a an imperfection in a gemstone. Flaws include: cracks, inclusions of other minerals or liquid-filled cavities. A flawless stone is called "clean." Flaws can greatly reduce the value of a stone, but in some cases, like moss agate or rutilated quartz, the "flaws" increase the value of the stone.


An floater (or invisible) necklace looks as though the beads are simply floating on the skin; the beads or pearls are strung far apart from one another on an almost invisible string (like clear fishing line).


A Florentine finish on a metal's surface reduces the metal's reflectivity. It is accomplished by engraving parallel lines into the surface using a sharp tool, and then making more lines or curves at right angles (cross-hatching).


Flowering Obsidian (also called snowflake obsidian) is a volcanic glass that is usually dark (black or brownish) with white "snowflakes". This glassy, lustrous mineral is found in lava flows, and obsidian stones can be massive. Obsidian is formed when viscous lava (from volcanos) cools rapidly. Most obsidian is 70 percent silica. Obsidian has a hardness of 5 and a specific gravity of 2.35.


Fluorescence is property in which light (or other radiation) is emitted from an object. Many stones (including some diamonds) flouresce when exposed to ultraviolet light.


Fluorite is a mineral that comes in many colors, including purple, clorless, red, pink, yellow, green, blue, black, and multi-colored stones. Crystals are transparent to translucent. Fluorite is relatively soft - it has a hardness of 4 and a specific gravity of 3.0 - 3.3. The chemical formula for fluorite is CaF2. Fluorite is frequently fluorescent (various varieties fluoresce red, blue, green or yellow light). Fluorite is found all around the world. Some varieties of fluorite include: Blue John (purple with bands of white or yellow), Chlorophane (thermoluminescent - emitting bright green light when heated), Yttrofluorite (yttrium replaces some of the calcium - formula = [Ca,Y]F2), Yttrocerite (cerium and yttrium replaces some of the calcium in its structure - formula = [Ca,Ce,Y]F2, Antozonite (contains uncombined fluorine ions - when fractured or cleaved, it gives off an odd odor).


A fob is a short chain or ribbon that attaches to a pocketwatch; it frequently had a decorative medallion or other ornament attached to one end. Fobs were worn hanging from a pocket. Fob is also the word for the small pocket in trousers that held a pocket watch. The word fob is also commonly used for the fob charm itself.


A foilback (or foiled stone) is a stone that has a metallic foil backing; this thin metallic backing is frequently composed of mercury and tin. Silver-colored, gold-colored, or other-colored foil is applied to the back of a stone to make the stone more reflective. Before scintillating cuts (like the brilliant cut) were invented, even precious stones were foiled to enhance their sparkle. Moisture can damage foil and make the stone "dead," losing its brilliance. Stones are rarely foiled any more.


A fold over clasp is a jewelry fastener that is composed of a device that opens and closes with a hinge, and latches shut. It is used to attach the two ends of a necklace or bracelet.


Fool's gold is pyrite, a shiny, metallic mineral that looks like gold, but is actually a a form of iron. Marcasite stones come from pyrite.


Fossil ivory is the tusk of the extinct Woolly Mammoth (an elephant-like animal that lived during the last Ice Ages).


Fossils are the remains of ancient animals and plants, the traces or impressions of living things from past geologic ages, or the traces of their activities. Fossils can be used to make beautiful jewelry. Fossils came in many different mineral and organic forms, including plain-looking rocks, marble-like casts of ancient animals, opals, and amber (fossilized tree resin).


A fracture is a crack in a gemstone (also called a feather).


French enamel refers to fine enamel work (like the work of Faberg?) the was first developed in France. In this technique, many thin layers of translucent colored enamel (glass paste with colorants) are applied to a metal surface. After firing the piece at temperatures of up to about 820?C, the work is polished. A final layer of clear enamel often covers the piece. Fine miniature paintings in enamel on a white-enamel ground have been produced in France since this technique was developed in 1620-1630 by the French goldsmith Jean Toutin of Chateaudun and other French goldsmiths.


"French Ivory" is synthetic (imitation) ivory. It is molded from plastics (like celluloid) and is also called Ivoride, Ivorine, and "Genuine French Ivory."


French jet is black glass (pyrolusite glass) designed to imitate real jet. It was frequently carved.


A freshwater pearl is a pearl that was harvested from a freshwater mussel (a mollusk). These pearls are frequently shaped like crisped rice cereal, and are less valuable than oyster pearls. Biwa pearls are very good quality freshwater pearls.


Frost agate is agate with white markings (that look like frost).


"Fruit Salad" jewelry is costume jewelry that is set with colorful, molded stones. The stones are glass or plastic, and can be transparent or translucent.


Fuchsite is a deep emerald green variety of the mineral muscovite that is rich is the chromium. It has a glassy luster. Fuchsite is relatively soft; it has a hardness of 2-2.5 and a specific gravity of 2.77-2.88. The chemical formula for fuchsite is K(Al,Cr)2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2.


A full cut stone is a gemstone with 58 facets.


Furnace glass (also called furnace worked glass) is made by working (shaping) hot glass by hand (the glass was heated in a glass furnace). Long tubes of glass are drawn from molten glass, then beads are cut from the tube (and later tumbled and reheated to smooth the edges of the beads). Furnace glass beads are made in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and designs.