Industry dictionary

Question: I’m writing a book and am having a hard time coming up with
the industry standard names for things. Well, more than that, the
grammatical rules for how words are spelled and what things are
properly called. Things like the word gauge. When its
abbreviated, do the abbreviations change according to situation like
bullet points vs… sentences. When to use hyphens: gold-filled
vs… base metal, etc. etc. etc. Its driving me crazy. I’ve been
using Rio Grande’s Catalogues for reference and consistent usage.
Even they have different versions of needle-nose pliers vs…
chain pliers vs… needle nose chain pliers. It will say one
thing in the index and another in the topic pages. Get the picture?
Is there the ultimate industry dictionary that I can buy? Or a
source that is even more reliable than Rio’s catalogues? Thanks a
bunch! -Iris


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
each other.

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 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 The Chicago Manual of Style or the 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

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! :wink:

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.

Good luck!


Suzanne Wade
Phone: (508) 339-7366
Fax: (928) 563-8255

My impression over 20+ years of writing is that it is the writers
choice. I have never seen a definitive work on this subject. Usage
and proper English often vary greatly by school, region, state and
country. The only thing you can try to do is remain consistent within
your own work. That in itself will be difficult enough believe me.

Reactive Metals Studio, Inc. PO Box 890 * 600 First North St. *
Clarkdale, AZ 86324 Ph-928/634-3434 * Ph-800/876-3434 *
Fax-928/634-6734 E-mail- Catalog-

Back in the Jurassic, when I went to G.I.A., our textbooks included
The “Dictionary of Gems and Gemology” by Robert M. Shipley (founder
of GIA.) My copy is Sixth Edition, 1971. I don’t know if it is still
in print, (check GIA Bookstor) or you might find it on ebay. David
Barzilay, Lord of the Rings

One dictionary with a limited focus is the Dictionary of Gems and Gemology by Robert M. Shipley, former Director of Laboratories of the
GIA. Joel Schwalb @Joel_Schwalb

Good Luck!!! In my 25 years of doing repair work, I have heard so
many different ways of describing the same thing that I’m not sure
you could ever come up with an accurate dictionary. I’ve heard
different definitions from different generations. I’ve heard
different definitions as I’ve moved around the eastern US, first
moving around New England and then through the southeast. 2 that
come to mind quickly (and these might not be right anywhere else)
french back - some use that term to describe the shepard hook style
of wires for pierced ears. some use it for the non-pierced screw
back earrings. head or crown - I’ve heard both terms used for the
ready made stone settings. Many of my current customers (western NC)
even call these ‘sets’. Took me a while to figure out what they were
asking for on that one. With so many variations within the industry,
and so many misunderstood terms from the public, no wonder we are
all confused half the time… Jim in the mountains, where it is
raining again! Yesterday,though, was beautiful and we got the
motorcycles out for about 150 miles of twisty mountain roads.


I don’t think there is an absolute standard for this as different
manufacturers use different names for there products.

Even the English and American ways of spelling are different at
time: jewellery vs. jewelry and gemmology vs. gemology f.i.

If it was me writing such a book, I would include them all and
cross-reference or something like that.

Alain van Acker FGA

  • and don’t even get me started on the pliers names!!! Another
    piece that drives me crazy… [thanks Kenneth :> ] I have noticed
    a regional (east coast, west coast, deep south) difference in what
    folks call them. And the plier “to hyphen or not to hyphen, that is
    the question” issue too. I’ve decided to make an executive decision
    and refer to them in this way (still training myself): Round-nose

    Bent-nose chain pliers

    Needle-nose chain pliers

    Short-nose chain pliers

    Whatever-nose whatever pliers.

Also, thanks to all those who emailed me directly. Its nice to know
I’m not the only one who noticed these discrepancies and was
wrestling with them.-Iris Sandkuhler
in the San Francisco Bay Area