|Lab Ruby (Sapphire)
A lab ruby (or sapphire) is a synthetic (laboratory-made) stone. It
has the same composition, hardness, and specific gravity as natural
rubies (or sapphires) but is much less expensive than a natural stone
(since they are relatively inexpensive to create in the laboratory
as comared to mining gemstones). These lab-produced stones can be
legally referred to as "real" stones [as opposed to "natural"
Labradorite (a variety of plagioclase feldspar) is a fairly abundant
grayish mineral that has brilliant flashes of color (usually green,
blue or red) after it is polished (called labradorescence). The
crystals are transparent to translucent. There is a darker variety
of labradorite (called "black moonstone") which has bluish
inclusions. Labradorite is usually cut with a flat surface in order
to highlight the flashes of color. Labradorite was originally found
along the coast of Labrador about 1805; it is also found in Newfoundland,
other parts of Canada, also known as spectrolite, the Ukraine, the
Ural mountains, and the USA. Labradorite has a hardness of 6 to
6.5 and a specific gravity of 2.70. Finnish labradorite is also
known as spectrolite.
Laguna is a mark used on costume jewelry made by Royal Craftsmen
Inc. of New York City. The company was founded in 1944. Laguna pieces
are mostly from low to average quality, and often use plastic beads,
glass beads, or simulated pearls.
Lampworked glass (also called torchwork) is formed from glass canes
and tubes that are shaped by hand over a flame (oil lamps and bellows
were originally used, hence the name lampworking). Lampworked glass
beads are made in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and designs,
including millefiori, rose-like overlay beads (pictured above),
aventurine glass, and many others. Lampworking was invented in the
1700's in Murano, Italy.
A lapidary is someone who cuts and polishes gemstones.
Lapis lazuli is a rich blue opaque, semi-precious stone that has
been used in jewelry since ancien times. Ground-up lapis lazuli
was once used as a pigment for oil paintings. Lapis lazuli is often
dyed to deepen and improve its color. Lapis has a hardness of 5.5;
it chips and scratches easily. It has a specific gravity of 2.4
to 2.9. Water can dull its sheen. Lapis lazuli contains the minerals
calcite (which decreases its value), pyrite (which can increase
its value), and sodalite. Swiss lapis is not Lapis lazuli at all;
it is dyed jasper. Denim lapis is relatively pale, low-grade, inexpensive
lapis from Chile; it is the color of denim cloth because of calcite
inclusions (which whiten the color and lower the value).
A necklace without a clasp, worn looped around the neck with open
ends that may be tied into a loose knot, fastened with a ring or
a brooch, or tied with a "lariat loop".
Larimar is a form of pectolite (with copper) found only in a single
place in the Dominican Republic. It is an opaque sky blue stone
with white streaks. There are often some red to brown impurities.
Larimar is usually shaped and polished (but not faceted). Larimar
has a hardness of 4.5 - 6.0 and a specific gravity of 2.7 to 2.9.
Larimar is not enhanced. Larimar was named for Larisa (the daughter
of Miguel Mendez, a geologist who helped reintroduce this stone)
and mar (the Spanish word for sea).
A lathe is a machine that turns metal, wood, etc. The material to
be turned is held horizontally on the machine and rotated very quickly
while the jeweler applies a sharp cutting tool to the material,
removing excess material, shaping the article. Rings are sometimes
turned on a lathe, but most jewelers do not use lathes.
Lava from the volcano Vesuvius near Pompeii in Italy has been used
to make jewelry, especially cameos. Lava jewelry was popular in
the nineteenth century.
A lavalier is a pendant with a dangling stone that hangs from a
necklace. Lavaliers were named for the infamous Duchess Louise de
La Valliere (1644-1710), a French woman who was a mistress of the
French king Louis XIV (and was involved in many intrigues at court).
Lead crystal is high-quality glass containing at least 10% lead
oxide. Glass containing at least 24% lead oxide is called lead crystal.
Glass containing at least 30% lead oxide is called full lead crystal.
Lead added to the melt produces very clear glass resembling rock
crystal. The process of making lead crystal was discovered by the
English glassmaker George Ravenscroft in 1676. Crystal is colored
by adding various metallic oxides to the melt. When cut and polished,
crystal becomes quite brilliant.
Metallic leaf is paper-thin sheets of metals. For example, gold,
silver, platinum, and copper are rolled or pounded into metallic
leaf which can be applied to surfaces.
The plant leaf is a common motif in jewelry. The leaf pin pictured
above was made by the Trifari jewelry company.
Leather Cord Jewelry
Jewelry strung on a thin leather cord has become popular recently.
Pendants, beads, shell, feathers, and/or sharks teeth are strung
on leather to make interesting necklaces and bracelets.
A lentil cut stone is a cabochon cut in which the upper and lower
portions of the stone are identical.
Liberty & Company
Liberty & Co. was a British jewelry manufacturer that combined
the Arts and Crafts style and the Art Nouveau style in their mass-produced
pieces. Liberty & Co. was founded in 1975 by Arthur Lazenby
Liberty (1843-17). Archibald Knox (1864-1933) was the chief designer
for Liberty and Co.
A French company that produces fine china. The miniature plate pin
pictured above is made of porcelain that is accented with gold.
Linde Star Sapphire
Linde star sapphire ("Linde stars") are synthetic star
sapphires that were first made by the Linde Air Products Company
in 1947 (they also developed star rubies that year). The Linde company
later became a division of Union Carbide. Star sapphires are sapphires
that have a six-sided asterism.
Lisner was a costume jewelry manufacturer. D. Lisner and Company
of New York, New York, USA, first produced jewelry from 1935 (they
first used the mark Lisner in 1938) in the the 1970's. They made
necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and pins aimed at the medium- to
lower-priced costume jewelry market (although many Lisner pieces
are very high quality and beautifully designed). Lisner pieces often
have colorful rhinestones (including aurora borealis stones) and
molded plastic stones. The Lisner pin above has delicate enamel
work, an aurora borealis stone, and imitation pearls. L/N
The marks L/N and L/N25 "Nemo Gold Seal Quality" belonged
to the Brier Manufacturing Company (L/N perhaps standing for "Little
Nemo"). This company produced brooches, necklaces, bracelets,
dress clips, earrings, tiaras, hair clips, etc., often featuring
colorful rhinestones in gold-plated pot metal. Nemo was another
mark of the Brier Manufacturing Company, a costume jewelry company
located in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. The Nemo mark was first
used in January, 1913.
Lobster Claw Clasp
A lobster claw clasp is a jewelry fastener that resembles the claw
of a lobster. A tiny spring keeps the arm of this clasp closed.
It is used to attach two other rings or links of a necklace or bracelet.
A locket is a pendant that can open up. Lockets can hold photos,
hair, a charm, or other small, precious object.
London Blue Topaz
London blue topaz (Aluminum silicate fluoride hydroxide) is the
darkest blue variety of topaz. Most blue topaz is silver topaz that
has been irradiated and heat treated, but some stones are blue naturally.
London blue topaz is found in Brazil, U.S.A., Sri Lanka, Myanmar
(Burma), Russia, Australia (including Tasmania), Pakistan, Mexico,
Japan, and Africa. Topaz has a hardness of 8 and a specific gravity
Lorgnettes are glasses (or opera glasses, which are small binoculars)
that are mounted on a handle. This type of glasses was used a long
Lost Wax Casting
Lost wax casting is a process of casting metal in which the original
model is sculpted in wax. The wax is then enclosed in clay and the
wax is melted out, making a hollow mold. The mold is then filled
with molten metal. The clay is broken off and the cast metal remains.
This method of casting has been used for at least 4,000 years.
A lozenge has a diamond shape. A lozenge cut stone is a step-cut
gem with a diamond shape.
Lucite is a clear (transparent), strong plastic (a thermoset acrylic
resin) that was patented by the DuPont company in 1941. Lucite has
a specific gravity of 1.19. Although it is clear, it can be colored.
The bangle above is made of transparent confetti lucite.
A stone's luster is its sparkle or sheen - the way it relects light.
The luster depends on the nature of the stone's surface reflectivity.
Some types of luster include: adamantine (also called brilliant
or diamondlike, like a faceted diamond), earthy (with little reflectivity-
also called dull, like shale or clay), greasy (like nepheline or
apatite), metallic (also known as splendent, like pyrite or marcasite),
resinous (like amber), pearly (with an iridescent reflectivity,
like pearls or mica), pitchy (tarry minerals that are radioactive,
like uraninite), silky (with a fibrous structure, like some tiger's
eye or satin spar), vitreous (also known as glassy, like olivine,
transparent quartz, or obsidian), and waxy (like halite or turquoise).
A pearl's luster is derived from its nacre.