Aluminium - Lightweight, durable, malleable metal becoming increasingly popular in jewellery making because of its low cost. Can be anodised or dyed to produce a wide range of colours.
Annealing (metal) - process of softening metal by heating to a specific temperature and then cooling correctly
Argentium silver - a recent silver alloy which includes germanium. The working properties are different to Sterling silver, and the finished product is significantly more tarnish resistant. Despite being a British invention, it's very hard to source in the UK.
Bail - finding used to attach a pendant or charm to another piece of jewellery such as a necklace or bracelet.
Brass - Alloy of copper and zinc popular as a gold coloured metal. Harder than copper in strength and less easy to work.
Chain maille - the art of linking jump rings into chains or patterns.
Etched (metal) - metal patterened by using acid or other chemicals to eat away unprotected areas. With care, very delicate patterns can be reproduced.
Fine silver - 999% pure silver. Generally too soft for commercial jewellery fabrication. Can be hallmarked '999'
Gilding metal - copper alloy with similar look and working properties to gold.
Hallmarking - British law requires all articles containing silver with a total weight over 7.78g or gold over 1g to be assayed and hallmarked at one of the four Assay Offices.
Hardening - metal can be hardened by working, forging or age hardening using heat.
Metal clay - medium consisting of very small particles of metal such as silver, gold, platinum, or copper mixed with an organic binder and water for use in making jewellery, beads and small sculptures. Can be shaped by hand or using moulds. After drying, the clay can be fired in a variety of ways such as in a kiln, with a handheld gas torch, or on a gas stove. The binder burns away, leaving the pure sintered metal. Shrinkage of between 8% and 30% occurs (depending on the product used). Alloys such as bronze or steel also are available.
Niobium - grey metal which can be anodised to a variety of colours. One of the best ways of introducing coloured metal to maille for example.
Pickle - chemical solution used to remove flux and oxides from metal after soldering or annealing.
Reticulation - process of repeatedly heating and pickling alloys to bring a layer of pure metal to the surface which can then be further superheated to produce texture.
Rolled gold/Goldfilled - base metal (usually brass) with heat/pressure bonded surface layer of gold. More durable than gold plated.
Silver/Gold-plated - base metal with a fine layer of electroplated precious metal. Low cost.
Soldering (brazing) - permanently joining two or more pieces of metal using solder and heat.
Sterling silver - alloy of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. The most commonly used form of silver for commercial use. Can be hallmarked '925'.
Thai/Hill Tribe Silver - fine silver traditionally produced by the Karen hill tribes in Thailand. Usually found in imported findings. Should be assayed if possible before resale.
Tibetan Silver - alloy of copper and sometimes tin nickel or zinc and occasionally some silver. Can contain lead, and frequently contains no silver at all.
Vermeil - sterling silver with gold plating.
Lentil - from the front, the bead looks essentially circular, and is shaped like two domes pressed together.
Pillow - somewhat like a cushion in shape.
Bicone - a traditional three-dimensional diamond shape.
Bumpy beads/bumpies - beads with many short stacks of dots that rise from the bead's surface.
Barrel - thick tube shaped bead.
Nugget - an organic freeform shape resembling rough faceted stones
Focal - a larger than average bead designed as the focal point for a piece of jewellery
Tabs - flattened, shaped beads. Can be circular or squared.
Contributers: continuumdesigns, dawnturnerdesigns, flyingbead, mizgeorge.