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Jewelry Dictionary (W)

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"Water sapphire" is not a true sapphire, but is iolite, a more common, softer, and much less expensive mineral. It is a transparent, violet-blue, light blue or yellow-gray mineral. Iolite is pleochroic; a single stone will show many colors (in the case of Iolite, violet-blue, light blue, and yellow-gray). Iolite has a hardness of 7 - 7.5. Iolite is found in Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar and Burma.


Watermelon tourmaline is a tourmaline gemstone that is multicolored, going from pink to green. The Schreiner pin above is made of paste (glass) watermelon tourmaline.


Wax pearls are hollow glass beads that are filled with wax and resemble pearls.


Wedding cake beads are lamp worked glass beads that are decorated with intricate, colorful glass overlays, often of roses and decorative swirls and dots. This type of bead was originally made in Murano, Italy.


Wedgwood is an old pottery company that also makes some porcelain jewelry. The company was founded in Burslem, England in 1752 by Josiah Wedgwood (1730 - 1795), who was Charles Darwin's grandfather. Their signature Jasper ware (white on blue porcelain formed into a cameo) is made into pins, pendants, and necklaces.


The Weiss company made high-quality costume jewelry from 1942 until the 1970's. The company was founded in New York City by Albert Weiss, a former employee of the Coro Company (the largest costume jewelry manufacturer). Weiss' jewelry was often studded with Austrian rhinestones. The Weiss Maltese cross brooch (above left) has red paste stones and a Japanned finish. The paisley-shaped pin has faux emeralds, malachite and pearls.


Welding is a process that joins two pieces of metal using very high heat. Rolled gold is formed in this fashion.


White gold is gold that has been alloyed with a mix of nickel, zinc, copper, tin, and manganese (and sometimes palladium). White gold was originally developed to imitate platinum during World War II (during this time in the US, platinum was considered a strategic material and its use was prohibited for most non-military applications, like jewelry making).