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As with any industry, the craft & jewelry business is full of it's own terms and jargon. Also, different  parts of the world use different terms for any number of items. Here are some terms that folks often find confusing. If you have see some other term that you don't understand, please send us a note. We'll not only explain it to you, we'll add it to our glossary to save some confusion for another fellow crafter or beader down the road!

Gross: Unit of Measurement meaning one dozen, dozen -  12x12 - for a total of 144.

Dozen: Unit of Measurement meaning 12 of something.

Mass: Unit of Measure meaning 100 dozen - 100 x 12 - for a total of 1200.

mm: Millimeter - 1/10th of a centimeter, 1/1000th of a meter, about .0394 inches per millimeter. 3mm is about 1/8th inch, 10mm is about 1/2 inch.

Finding: A jewelry term. The category definition of all the "stuff" you use to make jewelry - the jump rings, ear wires, clasps, bead caps, etc


Anodized: The process used to "plate" aluminum. Aluminum can be plated with gold, silver, or colored metal. Anodized gold means the aluminum was "plated" in gold.

Faux Platinum: Im. Rhodium or Imitation Rhodium. Provides a silver color that is similar to sterling, but without the tarnishing characteristics of sterling or silver plate. A great deal of good quality fashion jewelry that has a "silver tone" is plated with IR or Faux Platinum.

GP: Gold Plate, Gold Plating, Gold Plated. Typically preceded by the purity of the gold used for the plating. 24K is the most pure. Other typical plating are: 10K, 14K, or 18K.

Non-tarnishing: Metals that have been treated or mixed in such a way that they do not tarnish or tarnish very little after being exposed to air for a time.  Because of the higher quality of the metal, the products that are non-tarnishing will typically be more expensive than others. Best to use for heirloom quality or for resale products. Please remember that the oils in the skins of some folks may cause metals to tarnish. And the non-tarnish finish may come off over time.

Tri-Bead: An acrylic/plastic bead that has a center hole and three spokes. Colors may be transparent, opaque, or washed with 24K Gold, Sterling Silver, or Copper.

Starflake Bead: Paddle Wheel, Sunburst, Star Beads . An acrylic/plastic bead that has a center hole and multiple separate wings. Colors can be transparent, opaque, or washed with 24K Gold, Sterling Silver, or Copper.

Faceted Bead: Acrylic/plastic bead that has a center hole, round shapes and faceted sides. Colors can be transparent, opaque, or washed with 24K Gold, Sterling Silver, or Copper. Glass beads can also be faceted, though the process  used to facet them is different than for acrylic beads.

Rondelle: Acrylic/plastic bead that has a center hole, round shape and is narrower between the center holes than from side to side. Often used as a spacer. Some think it looks like a flying saucer or UFO!

Iridescent: Opalescent, AB, Aurora Borealis, Bubble - a coating used on plastic beads or glass beads to make the object shimmer and reflect multiple colors - like a bubble when it floats in the air. The coating and extra handling adds to the cost of the items or beads, but they add a special something that can't be duplicated in other ways. Typically, with plastic beads, you'll see Crystal Clear and Opaque White Iridescent beads. In some beads you'll see Opaque Black Iridescent. Sometimes other colors may be available via special order.

Gauge: A measure of metal thickness. The greater the number, the thinner the metal. Example: 20 gauge wire has a thicker diameter than 34 gauge. Typically, the lower the gauge, the stronger the metal too. Used to describe wire and sheet metal. 

To be continued......

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August 2007

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