Ah, welcome to my world.
Not only is there no consistency within catalogs, there's no
consistency from one publication to the next. Then there's the
challenge of international variations in spelling -- jewellery vs.
jewelry, for example, or carat vs. karat. Throw in the fact that many
of us are, well, poor spellers and it's a wonder we ever understand
JCK published a jeweler's dictionary at one time, which I used as my
default bible for years. Unfortunately, it's out of print now, and I
don't know where you would find a copy. I like the Jewelers'
Resource by Bruce Knuth because it has an extensive glossary and the
book itself is fairly inexpensive. Oppo Untracht's seminal work, or
Tim McCreight's The Complete Metalsmith could also serve as a
Another suggestion would be to look at industry magazines rather
than catalogs. The folks who put catalogs together aren't usually all
that worried about consistency or "style," as it's called in my
business. Magazine editors, on the other hand, tend to obsess over
it. So you will, normally, find more consistency within these
publications -- although not necessarily between them.
For measurements and other words that exist in the Real World
outside of our little corner of existence, you can defer to either
the Chicago Manual of Style or the Associated Press Stylebook. For a
book, the Chicago Manual would probably be the first choice: the AP
Stylebook tends to be used more often by newspapers and other
periodicals. (I'm newspaper trained so it's my preferred style, but
that's a personal preference.) You should be able to get either style
book through Amazon.com.
For the rest, the editor gets all the power. Pick the style that
makes the most sense to you, and then stick to it! (Writing it all
down on a single sheet of paper helps with this -- it's amazing how
easy it is to forget how you'd decided to handle this word or that
abbreviation the next time it arises.) For example, we just
established a style for Keum-boo at Studio PMC, the newsletter I
edit. The word is a phonetic spelling from the Korean, and appears
in the literature as kum-bo, kum-boo, keum-boo, keum-bo, with
variations on hyphenations and capitalization, just to keep things
interesting. There doesn't seem to be a consensus on the "right" way
to do it. So after surveying other jewelry industry magazines and
books, we settled on "Keum-boo" and that will be the "right" way at
Studio PMC from now on. Bwa-ha-ha-ha, Oh the Power!
If I can answer any specific style questions, fire away -- I'm well
versed in AJM's style, and am pretty familiar with how Lapidary
Journal and Colored Stone handle style questions, as well. And after
paying attention to these issues for more than 10 years, I can
usually at least offer a solid rationale for doing things a
particular way. My direct e-mail is @Suzanne_Wade1.
Phone: (508) 339-7366
Fax: (928) 563-8255