|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" (mined) stones].
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
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
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 of 3.5-3.6.
Lorgnettes are glasses (or opera glasses, which are small binoculars)
that are mounted on a handle. This type of glasses was used a long time
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.