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Glossary > N
Nacre
Nacre is a usually whitish crystalline substance which oysters, mussels, snails, and other mollusks secrete around a foreign object (like a tiny stone) that has made its way into their shell. As layers of nacre coat the intruder, a pearl is formed over a period of many years.

Naja
(or "Najah") From the Navajo word "Najahe", meaning "crescent". A crescent-shaped silver ornament believed to go back to Moorish designs that was originally a forehead pendant on horse bridles. It is now commonly found pendant from the bottom of a squash blossom necklace.

Napier
Napier was a costume jewelry company that made a wide range of pieces. The company began operations in 1875 in Attleboro, Massaachusetts, making silver products; it was then called "Whitney and Rice." When the company was sold in 1882, it was renamed "Carpenter and Bliss," and soon after, "E. A. Bliss and Co., Inc." In 1890, the company moved operations to Meriden, Connecticut. During the 1910's (after Word War 1), the company began making costume jewelry. In 1920, when James H. Napier was president of the company, the company name was changed to "Napier-Bliss." (Napier headed the company until 1960.) In 1922, the name was again changed, this time to "Napier." "Victoria & Company Ltd." (now called Victoria Creations) bought the company in the late 1980's (it also bought Richlieu and Givenchy). The "Jones Apparel Group" bought Victoria in 2000, also buying the Napier brand (which is no longer manufactured). The Napier apple pin above is gold plated metal with a translucent plastic apple.

Natural Pearl
A natural pearl (also called a genuine pearl) is a pearl that was produced in an oyster, freshwater mussel or other mollusk as a reaction to a tiny invading object that happened to be caught inside its shell.

Navette
A navette is a gemstone which is cut as a marquise.

Necessaire
Necessaire is another word for etui, a tiny, decorative, cylindrical-shaped case that was often carried on a chatelaine. The necessaire/etui was used to carry small "necessary" items like pencils and scissors. The etui was first used in the 1720's.

Necklace
A necklace is a peice of jewelry worn around the neck. Necklaces of perals of different lengths have different names: A choker is 14" to 16" long; a princess necklace is 18" long; a matinee necklace is 22" to 23" long; opera is 30" to 35" long; a rope is over 40 " long. NEMO
Nemo was a 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; the marks L/N and L/N25 "Nemo Gold Seal Quality" also belonged to this 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.

Needle Point
Stones shaped to a fine point at both ends.

NEGLIGEE PENDANT
See Lavalier.

Neoclassical
New designs inspired by artistic elements from classical antiquity, such as urns, garlands, greek key, palmette.

Nepal Diamond
Nepal diamond is a huge flawless, pendeloque diamond that probably came from the Golconda mines in India. The Nepal diamond weighs 80 carats. It was originally owned by the Nepalese government but is now owned by Harry Winston, an American jeweler.

Nephrite
Nephrite is a semi-precious stone, a variety of jade (sometimes called greenstone). Two different minerals are known as jade, jadeite and nephrite. Nephrite is slightly softer that jadeite and is often veined; it is used in carvings and for making beautiful bowls and vases.

Nevada Diamond
Nevada diamond is a misleading term for artificially-colored obsidian (a semi-precious stone) - it is not a true diamond.

Nevada Topaz
Nevada topaz is a misleading term for obsidian (a semi-precious stone) - it is not a true topaz.

Nickel
A hard, bright, silver-white metallic element of the iron group that is malleable, ductile, and resistant to corrosion.

Nickel Silver
Nickel silver (also know as German silver) is an alloy consisting of mostly copper (roughly 60 percent), and approximately 20 percent nickel, about 20 percent zinc, and sometimes about 5 percent tin (then the alloy is called alpaca). There is no silver at all in German/nickle silver. This alloy was invented around 1860 in Germany as a silver substitute.

Niello
Niello is ancient technique in which an engraved design in metal is filled with powdered niello alloy (a black/dark gray metal alloy composed of silver, copper, lead, and sulphur). The niello alloy is melted (the entire metal piece is heated in a kiln) and it fuses with the underlying metal. The object is then polished - the result is an enamel-like effect. Niello has been made at least since the time of ancient Rome. In older pieces, the niello alloy fills an engraved design in metal. In newer pieces, the nilello forms the backround - the niello alloy is simply "painted" onto the metal (this process is simpler, cheaper, and less durable).

Night Emerald
Night emerald is a misleading term for peridot (a semi-precious stone) - it is not a true emerald.

Nizam Diamond
The Nizam diamond was a huge Indian diamond that may have weighed from 340 to 440 carats uncut. After being cut into an elongated, convex shape with irregular facets, it was 277 carats. This diamond was owned by the Nizams of Hyderabad in the 1830's. This diamond was "lost" or broken up during a battle.

Noble Metals
The noble metals are gold, platinum, and silver. These are metals that are relatively impervious to chemical action.

Nonmetallic
A material which is not composed of metal.

Non-Precious
Any metal that is not considered to be a precious metal or any gemstone that is not considered to be a precious gemstone.

Nose Stud
A simple style of jewelry for pierced nostrils that has a single stone, pearl, or metal ball on a straight post.

Nugget
The term used for a lump, or irregularly shaped mass, of precious metal.


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