Definitions [S-Z]

Sapphires are a very precious stone that has a wide range of colours from blue to white, green to purple. Sapphires are part of the Corundum family and in ancient times Sapphires were worn to protect the wearer from poisonous creatures. The Logan Sapphire is one of the largest faceted gemstones in the world weighting in at 422.99 carats (84.60g). The 3 most famous Sapphires: The Logan Sapphire, The Star Of India and The Star Of Bombay were all mined in Sri Lanka. The finest specimens of Sapphires are now mined in Kashmir. Sapphires have also been mined in Thailand, Australia and China. Sapphire has a Mohs hardnessrating of 9, second only to Diamonds.

Satin finish
A matt finish achieved by sandblasting, brushing with a stiff wire brush, or chemically altering a high shine surface. A Satin finish has a soft, Pearl-like luster instead of a bright polish.

Smokey Quartz
Smokey Quartz is a member of the quartz family; it is brown in colour and has a smokey appearance. Smokey Quartz can sometimes have rutile needle occlusions. Deposits have been found Brazil, Madagascar, Russia, Scotland, Switzerland and the Ukraine. Smokey Quartz has a Mohs hardnessrating 7.

Snake Chain
A snake chain (also called a Brazilian chain) is a metal chain made up of a series of small, linked cups. The body of the chain looks like that of a snake.

Sodalite is a mineral which can contain streaks of many colours some being white, grey or even green. In the past, it has been used for carvings and jewellery. Sodalite is one of the main mineral components that make up Lapis Lazuri. It has been mined in many countries such as Russia, the USA and Italy. The Mohs hardnessof the stone is 5.5- 6.

Spinel classifies a whole group of minerals, some of which are as follows: Flame Spinal, Balas Spinel, Pleoaste, and Picotite. Spinel is a very hard semi-precious stone that comes in a wide range of colours; red to black to yellow. It has been found in various countries around the world including Thailand, Sri Lanka and Burma. Spinal has a Mohs hardnessrating of 8.

Silver gets its symbol (Ag) from the Greek word Argyros. Silver is a fine, precious metal. Its colour is silver-white and it is often used in jewelry. Silver has to be alloyed (mixed) with other metals in order to use in jewellery production. This mixing of metals makes it more durable and rigid.
Jewellery and Silverware are traditionally made from Sterling Silver (standard silver), an alloy of 92.5% silver with 7.5% copper. Britannia silver is an alternative hallmarked-quality standard of the alloy containing 95.8% silver, often used to make silver tableware and wrought plate. Silver is often plated with Rhodiumfor a bright, shiny look which does not tarnish as quickly. However, under normal conditions with no plating, Silver will tarnish - it's the mixture of moisture and sulphur in the air we breathe that causes Silver to tarnish.
The largest piece of Silver ever found was in 1440 in Germany. Its dimensions were 2m x 4m with an approximate weight of 20 tonnes. It was named the "Silver Tableö due to its size and shape.
The main area of the world that Silver is mined today is Russia. The country produces around 15% of the world's total output, closely followed by Mexico. Canada, the USA, Peru, Bolivia and Germany have also have notable deposits.

A stud is a small earring usually decorated with either a small stone, an acrylic design, small shell, etc.

Sunstone is also called Aventurine. It was named after a type of glass that was discovered by chance and was called 'a ventura'. This gemstone varies in colour from golden to orange, from red to brown, and can sometimes contain a green or blue glitter effect caused by light reflections. The stone is usually cut flat or into a Cabochan. It can be found in several countries including India, the USA, Norway and Canada. Sunstone is very brittle with a Mohs hardnessrating of 6.
Tanzanite is a variety of the mineral zoisite. Tanzanite in its roughest form is a reddish, almost brown colour. It has to be treated at a very high temperature to produce that unique blue/purple colour it is famous for. The correct name for Tanzanite is 'Blue Zoisite', Tiffany's (The jewellers), however, thought this name wasn't appropriate, so it was named after the country where it was discovered in 1967, Tanzania. Tanzanite is a rare gem found mainly in the foot hills of Kilimanjaro. Tanzanite has a Mohs hardnessrating of 6.5 to 7.

Tiger's Eye
Tiger's eye is member of the quartz group. This semi-precious stone is dark brown to yellow in colour with red colour being produced by applying heat to the stone. Tiger's Eye that is honey in colour is sometime passed off as the more expensive 'Cat's Eye'. Blue to grey coloured versions of the stone are called ôHawks Eyeö and the dark brown version of the stone is known as ôBull's eyeö or ôOx-eyeö. For jewellery, the stone is mostly cut into cabochans to bring out the streaks of colour that run right through the stone. The biggest percentage of Tiger's Eye comes from South Africa where the export of raw materials is forbidden. Other sources have been documented such as, Brazil, Burma, Canada, China and India. Tiger's Eye has a Mohs hardnessrating of 7.

Toggle Clasp
A toggle clasp (also known as a T-BAR) is a fastener that can appear on either a bracelet or a necklace. It comprises of a ring on one end of the Bracelet/Necklace and a bar shaped like the letter ôTö on the other end which has to be wider that the ring to prevent it slipping out. The bar is passed through the ring which it then sits across to secure it in place.

Topaz in its purest form has no colour. It is usually coloured by the impurities from the surrounding land. Topaz can be found in many colours, some of which do not occur naturally. Take Mystic Topaz for example. This type of Topaz is created by applying an artificial coat to the stone which gives it that magical look. Blue Topaz in its natural form is very rare, so manufactures heat treat colourless topaz to create a deeper blue - more vibrant than a natural stone will ever posses. Topaz can be found in many countries around the Globe including Germany, Japan, Norway, the USA, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and the Czech Republic. Topaz has a Mohs hardnessrating of 8.

Tourmaline is a gemstone with the widest colour range of any gemstone; the lighter colours being the most valuable. There are many variants of this stone which make it easier to break down the colour range. Rubelite can be rose red to pink in colour, Shorl is dark black in colour, Indicolite is light blue to a pale green, Verdelite is green and Achroite is colourless.
Gemstone quality Tourmaline is mainly mined in Brazil and Africa, but there are several other countries that have notable sources: Kenya, Nigeria, Namibia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania. Tourmaline has a Mohs hardnessrating of 7 to 7.5 .

A translucent material will allow light to pass through it, however it will scatter the light across the material/stone. Stones that are translucent include Carnelian, Moonstone and Opals. Certain types of plastic can be translucent.


Tsavorite is a rare member of the Garnet family. Its deep green colour is similar to that of Emerald, however it's a more durable stone and much rarer. Tsavorite stones that weigh over 2 carat are considered to be large and very rare. The gemstone was originally found in 1967 in Kenya. Tsavorite has a Mohs hardness rating of 7.5 .


The name Turquoise means 'Turkish Stone'. It gets this name from the route it took to get into Europe. Turquoise is a porous semi precious stone. It can have either a blue (pure blue stones are very rare) or green coloured surface with veins of black running right through it. Turquoise can be very soft and may be treated with a wax to help preserve the stone's life a little longer. The finest specimens of the stone come from deposits in Persia, Iran. Other well known deposits are in the USA, Israel, Afghanistan, Mexico and China. Turquoise has Mohs hardness rating of 6 to 7.


Vermeil is a French word that was introduced in to the English language in the 19th Century. Vermeil is a process where Sterling Silver is plated with Gold (at list 10K) and the layer has to be 1.5 micrometers thick to be considered true Vermeil.
White Gold

White Gold is a gold alloy that is mixed with at least one white metal usually Nickel or Palladium. Like any other gold its purity is measured in Karats. Almost all white gold jewelry is Rhodium plated since gold alloyed with Palladium or nickel never comes out white, but tinted brown. It is therefore plated with Rhodium to mask the tinted shade and make it a true white colour.




Zircon is a mineral that can appear in many colours from colourless to red to brown to green. Colourless specimens that show gem quality are a popular substitute for diamonds. Zircon is not to be confused with Cubic Zirconia, which is a synthetic substance with a completely different chemical composition. Zircon is a very common mineral that occurs worldwide from Australia to Quebec. Australia leads the way in mining this mineral producing 37% of the worldÆs total output. Zircon has a Mohs hardness rating of 7.5.


Zoisite has three known forms: Anyolite, Tanzanite and Thulite. They are green, blue and pink in colour respectively. Zoisite was named after Slovenian mineral collector Baron Sigismund Zois von Edelstein, who financed the expedition that discovered Zoisite.

Zoisite can be sourced in the following locations. Tanzania (Tanzanite), Kenya (Anyolite), Norway (Thulite). Zoisite has a Mohs hardness rating of 6.5 .