Glossary of Jewellery Terms

A Glossary Of Terms

Lost among the jewellery jargon?  Our glossary will teach you how to know your carat from your champlevé.



An alloy is formed when two or more different metals are combined, altering the properties of the material.  Pure gold is too soft for everyday wear so it is alloyed with a mix of metals like silver, copper, nickel and zinc to give it strength and durability.  The metal composition is described in carats, indicating the purity of the gold (see carat).



Our Antique Finish is a dark grey plating that is applied to the face- and side panels, if you choose to add them- of the ring, bringing the details of the engraved artwork into focus.  We offer two kinds of finish, either antique or natural.



A technique used to give your ring a more matte effect.  Individual brush strokes are applied by hand to create a contemporary, three-dimensional look.  We also offer a high polish finish, called our Max’s Mirror texture.



This is a dark grey plating that can be applied to your ring.  Like any plated finish, the colour will wear off over time but it can be re-applied whenever needed.  For more information, see our Care & Repair FAQs.



Carat is a term used to describe the purity of gold.  Pure gold is 24 carats but, as it is too soft for everyday wear, it is alloyed (or mixed) with other metals like silver, copper and zinc to make your jewellery wearable.



This is an ancient enamelling technique which carves hollow groves into the surface of a metal, which are then filled with coloured enamels to create patterns or images.



A folding mechanism which is used to attach each piece of jewellery securely to the body.



One of the most precious stones in the world, a diamond is colourless and incredibly strong.  Diamonds are the most popular choice for engagement rings, leading to the well-known motto ‘Diamonds are forever’.



All our band rings can be customised with a personal engraving.  On most of our band rings, you can add up to 50 characters on the outside and up to 25 characters on the inside.



This is an old-fashioned engraving technique, which creates an intricate decorative pattern that is shaped like a dial.



All that glitters is not gold…  Hallmarks are small marks applied to precious jewellery, after independent testing, to indicate and guarantee the fineness of the metal.  All of our jewellery is hallmarked by the London Assay Office.



Our imperial rings feature a natural or manmade gemstone, around which the name of your university is engraved.



This is our traditional high polish texture, popular for its durability.  For information on how to take care of this mirrored finish, you can check out our Care & Repair FAQs.  We also offer a matte finish, called Baltimore Brush.



Our natural finish maintains the organic colour of the metal, without any additional platings.  If you’re looking for a different impact, we also offer an Antique finish.



A piece of jewellery that is worn around the neck.  Necklaces are thought to be one of the earliest forms of adornment worn by humans.



The face is the outward decorative space on your ring, usually customised with an engraving.  On a signet ring, this is the part that is engraved with a shield.



Your ring finger is between your pinky and middle fingers.  Historically, people believed that a vein ran directly from this finger to the heart and so people started wearing their wedding ring on this finger, symbolically declaring the connection between the ring and their heart.



Ring size is the measurement used to denote the circumference of your finger.  Not sure what your ring size is?  You can request a free ring sizer on our website.



A shield is a stylised piece of artwork, otherwise known as a crest or a coat of arms.  Traditionally, a shield is unique to a family, institution or business.  The term ‘coat of arms’ came around because knights used to wear tunics (or ‘coats’) which displayed their shield.  The modern equivalent is a company logo, like the Nike swoosh.



Side panels feature on either side of the ring face, tapering down into the band.  You can choose to customise your side panels by adding your graduation year and/or degree initials, or you can opt for leaving them plain.



Most simply, a signet ring is a ring that has been engraved with letters or a design.  Historically, signet rings are tightly intertwined with their wearer’s identity.  Used to seal and authenticate important documents, the earliest signet rings have been traced back to before the Fall of Babylon.



This is the name of our finest band ring, measuring just 1.5mm in width.  Understated and refined, it can be engraved on both the outside and inside.  To view our band ring collection, click here.



Vermeil refers to a piece of sterling silver jewellery that has been plated with gold.  All of our gold vermeil jewellery is plated with 18ct gold.  This plating can wear off over time but can be re-applied if necessary.  For more information, head over to our Care & Repair FAQs.



White rhodium plating is often added to silver or white gold jewellery to increase its shine and durability.  Its scientific term is an ‘inert’ metal, meaning it does not corrode or oxidise when exposed to fresh air, which means your jewellery is less likely to scratch or tarnish over time, so you can enjoy it for longer.

Annotated Design Projects

Select an Education Collaboration

United Kingdom


Hong Kong

Rest of the World

Annotated Design Projects

Select an Education Collaboration

United Kingdom


Hong Kong

Rest of the World

Annotated Design Projects

Select an Education Collaboration

Rest of the World

The Story of Annotated’s Education Collaboration 

Originally created by three friends at the University of Oxford looking for a different, but elegant way to celebrate and cherish their undergraduate memories,

This project goes back to the beginnings of the small design studio that preceded our company.

Since those earliest days, Annotated has stood for the idea that, by making things well, we could imbue our products with a sense of soul. You can feel it the moment you touch one of our Signet rings.

And being the children of university lecturers and teachers it was natural for us to combine this with the notion of celebrating education and studying for its own sake.

Over the years, the Annotated graduation ring has become our definition of one-of-a-kind and bespoke: completely made-to-order in collaboration with its owner and crafted by hand from precious metals.

Whether a graduand is someone who typically is interested in fine jewellery or not.

Please note, custom-made items cannot be returned but can be cancelled within seven days of order confirmation when production is still at an early stage.

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