A (somewhat) daily rambling on the life of a polymer Clay metal clay and Fused Glass artist/teacher/author.

Very soon my blog will move to my website...as soon as it is done that is. This blog will be my Theatrical life of directing The Secret Garden

Friday, December 18, 2009

Annoying mis-use of jewelry terms!

It is Carnival Time Again!!!

We are a group of jewelry artists working in various mediums who have chosen different topics to write on as a group.This event takes place about the same time each month. Why not visit the other artists listed below the following blog.

Today's post is on the subject: Which mis-use of a jewelry term most annoys you?

In metal clay it is the term 'Leather Hard'... Hmm? When I think of leather hard I think of supple suede or a fine calfskin jacket or maybe a pigskin purse. I don't think of it as dry. Up until I later learned that it meant bone dry I had always felt that the clay needed some moisture in it to work at the 'leather hard' stage. I am a classically trained goldsmith and the leather hard meant nothing to me. Also, I worked with ceramic clays years ago and felt that greenware was a better term: Dry but not fired. We don't fire leather.

In jewelry sales the term 'Semi Precious' can drive me up a wall. When I was taking gemstone workshops at the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, in San Francisco, the instructor/appraiser made one simple statement that said it all. She said, "If a fine Paraiba tourmaline costs two to three times as a comparably sized diamond, how can one call it semi-precious?" It really is relative to the value of the stone not the beauty. I have seen amazing peridots that were finer looking than, say, a sapphire. Please, do NOT use the term semi-precious in my presence.

Really. Don't.

In polymer clay it is the term 'Faux'. A lot of the artists say, faux ivory, faux turquoises. It gives the buyer the impression that the jewelry has a 'lesser value' because 'it isn't real'. How about polymer coral or polymer lapis lazuli. It says the artist was able to create the look of of fine jade ... and what an amazing talent that is.

See what these other talented jewelry artists have to say on this subject.


  1. I'm right there with ya on the semi precious thing. Although I have to say it's a difficult bad habit to break.

    But there *is* semi precious turquoise and *gem quality* turquoise. It;'s all very confusing for someone without a GG. sigh.

  2. Oh, Lorrene, "leather hard" ... Where's the leather ??? And when is leather really hard, even the thick belt leather ? Ok, a leather sole maybe ;o))))) but like you say, we don't fire it!
    Great post ! Same for the stones, but like Lora said so well, it's a hard habit to break.

  3. I hate the semi-precious the same as I hate the semi-jewelry. Yes, there's such a term in Brazil, often used for cheapo silver from China and gold plated jewelry. And people like to call all silver "semi-jewel". That includes my work. I really have to hold myself when I hear that...
    As one of my teachers says, "Have you ever seen a semi-pregnant woman?"
    The "faux" on pc also annoys me. Why not call it what it is?

  4. You are so clever...Mom and Dad would be very proud of you and who you have become.
    Love, hugs, and energy,