Would you know to react if someone told you that the new gemstone you just dropped a wad of cash on was a strop? Like almost any other industry you can think of, jeweler's have their own set of inside slang that makes up a large chunk of jewelry lingo. Some of it is commonly used, but other phrases are quite obscure.
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Today we'll be taking a look at jeweler slang so next time you overhear someone asking if you want roval diamonds you'll know whether to decline or accept. Most of these phrases have roots in Yiddish, reflecting the historical influence of Jewish craftsmen and dealers but plenty of other languages are included.
From Russian to Hindi and so much more we've tried to include much of the more obscure jeweler lingo into this article. You probably already know what a carat or a rough stone mean, so this will be a deep dive and I can't wait to get started! So let's dive on into all of this jewelry slang.
Bluff stone: Anyone who's played a few hands of poker can probably decipher this one. This is a gemstone (usually a diamond) that looks a lot more expensive that it actually is. Always call the bluff and rigorously inspect your gems!
Chap lagna: A Hindi phrase that is translated as 'to stamp'. Chap lagna is the act of valuing something accurately. This has no positive or negative connotation, the only thing that it implies is knowledge and honesty regarding jewelry pieces and gem.
Faynshmeker: This word can be a term of endearment or frustration, largely depending on if you actually make a purchase. 'Fine-sniffers' can be considered connoisseurs if they're buying, or perfectionists if they aren't.
Fir-kantike eyer: Literally translated as 'four-cornered egg', this is a jeweler slang term for a stone or price that simply doesn't exist. If you receive a request that is impossible to fulfill, you might as well ask someone to go find a four-cornered egg.
Frozen spit: Oh my, this is an evocative phrase. If someone calls my diamonds frozen spit, those are fighting words. Some diamonds do qualify for this classification though. Generally small low-grade diamonds from some mall kiosk.
Gletz: A small crack or inclusion in a diamond. This jewelry slang is a little bit misleading because to me it sounds like 'glitz'. So you'll need to be careful and make absolutely sure that you're getting glitz and not gletz. Got it?
Jalebi: Jalebi is a treat composed of deep-fried flour dipped in syrup, but when it comes to the jewelry market a jalebi refers to a hustler? You know that guy with a trenchcoat full of fake watches and jewelry? He's 100% jalebi.
Links-shtivl: A parcel of gems in which nothing really matches. It roughly means 'left-footed boots'. No matter how much you try and dig through the shlok, you'll never find a decent matching pair.
Mame-zitser: The 'mother-sitter' is an exceptionally large diamond. You can guarantee that you'll be shelling out a bundle to get your hands on one of these babies.
Matzo: A gemstone that is made to look deceptively larger by cutting it flat at it's widest spot. This name is derived from the unleavened flatbread that is an integral part of the Passover holiday.
Mazl un brokhe: This phrase is generally just shortened to 'mazl' and means 'good luck and a blessing'. Many contracts are sealed with this phrase, and in doing so you are staking your honor on fulfilling your end of the deal.
Melee: Calling to mind a brawl, this French word actually just means 'mixed'. In jewelry slang a melee consists of assorted small gems that are sold in bulk and used for accent stones.
Pancake: This is an unappealingly flat stone. Sometimes also called a fish-eye, the name is fairly self-explanatory. Pancakes and fish-eyes still have their uses, but will never be a jewelry centerpiece.
Roval: Derived from 'round oval' this is a fat almost round stone. This is looked down upon. A roval stone is considered undesirable and ugly, and you will have an extremely difficult time finding a serious buyer.
Sailor diamonds: If someone is talking about sailor diamonds, that means the stone in question has I color and I clarity. Get it? Aye, aye. These diamonds are worth very little, so don't get taken for a ride!
Schvimers: Swimmers. Extremely impressive diamonds that seem to swim across the top of lesser specimens. Schvimers might make you think that the entire lot is amazing, but you should always beware of those bluff stones!
Shlok: Yiddish in origin, you've probably hear this word as a substitute for another choice 'S' word. It means exactly what you think it does. Junk, trash, second-rate merchandise. Stay far away from shlok.
Shmate: We have quite a few smates available to clean the schmutz from your more beloved jewelry pieces. The more common name would simply be "jewelry cleaning cloths" but shmate is slightly more evocative.
Strop: Strops are stones that currently won't sell at market. Plenty of semi-precious stones in this category that I still like, so I just hold onto them. When they come back in style people who held onto their strop stones can make big bucks!
Tam: Tam is a somewhat nebulous measure of mass appeal. It can be a hard thing to gauge without many decades of experience, but a truly expert jeweler will be able to instinctively sense which stones have the greatest tam. Stones with a lot of tam will sell quickly.