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Glossary

Looking for a definition used in our website? Here's a list of terms from A to Z (well, A to W) to guide you.
Items with an asterisk (*) next to them are of particular interest to prospective brides and grooms.

Click the letter below corresponding to the first letter of the word for which you'd like a definition.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M O P R S T U V W

View a list of Jewelry terms

*Accent Plate – larger than a standard salad plate, generally 9" in diameter. Used for any suitable purpose such as sandwiches, salads, desserts, or hors d'oeuvres. Generally designed to be more decorative so that it creates contrast on the table with the rest of the placesetting/serving items. Generally sold as individual, open–stock units.

Acid Etching – method of customizing a product via etching; first, the image is transferred from a steel engraving plate with a tissue lifting. Wax resin surrounds the remaining impression, then acid is applied to the immersion and the resin is removed, leaving a permanent etching.

Acid Polishing – process where gray cuttings produced by abrasive wheel are smoothed and polished by acid immersion.

Air Twist Stem – the effect achieved in stemware by entrapping air bubbles in molten glass, then stretching it by twisting.

*Alternative Metal – a metal alloy that is tarnish-resistant and will not chip, dent or crack under normal use. Extremely practical, it retains heat and cold.

Applied Border – a border cast or rolled, then soldered onto hollowware.

*Backstamp – the name stamp or signature of a manufacturer, which usually appears on the underside of the ware. Can be stamped, decaled or incised into the piece.

*Bakeware – serveware items that can generally withstand the heat of the oven, allowing for items to go directly from the oven to the table. Shapes generally include rectangular bakers, pie plates, soufflé dishes, ramekins, and bowls.

Bas-relief – refers to sculpted elements that are raised slightly from their background (note: pronounced bah-relief); see Relief.

Bead – on a tumbler, the rounded edge that results when excess glass is burned off.

Beading – also known as jewelling, a term from the Victorian era, this refers to Lenox dinnerware patterns that feature enameled, raised dots within the design.

Belleek – thin, cream-colored porcelain with a pearly glaze very much in vogue in Victorian times (produced commercially at Belleek, Ireland); see Lenox History.

Bisque – ceramic ware that has been fired once for hardening but has not yet been glazed.

Bobeche – a collar (usually crystal) around the socket of a candlestick designed to catch wax drippings or hold suspended pendants.

Body – in whiteware, the structural portion of the ceramic article, or the material or mixture from which it is made.

Bonded – products, such as porcelain, in which the abrasive and a bonding agent have been intermixed and processed into a relatively inflexible body.

Bowl – in stemware, the cup of the glass.

*Bridal Consultant – a registry expert who helps guide you through the various categories of merchandise from which you can choose wedding gifts and generate a list.

*Bridal Registry – a free service in a department or specialty store (or Internet site) that allows you to list your gift preferences prior to getting married, so that wedding guests may make informed gift choices. Or, the physical gift list generated by a store that lists your gift preferences.

Bright Gold – liquid gold paint that, when fired, appears bright and requires no polishing.

Burnished Gold – a more expensive gold, with a dull appearance, that must be rubbed to a shine.

*Buffet/Service Plate – individual plate larger than a standard dinner plate (also known as "chop plate"). May be used when serving buffet-style for larger surface and volume, or as a decorative accent under the dinner plate. For proper etiquette, use on the table under the soup and appetizer course, then remove prior to placement of dinner plate.

Casting – the process of pouring the slip into a mold to set.

Ceramic – pertaining to products manufactured from inorganic, nonmetallic substances, which are subjected to a high temperature during manufacture or use.

*Champagne Flute – A champagne flute is tall and thin to preserve the champagne bubbles. Hold the flute by its long stem, not the bowl, to keep the champagne cool.

*China – a nonporous type of clayware made of special white clay and fired at exceptionally high temperatures.

Bone China – fine china dinnerware body with the addition of real or synthetic bone ash to add bright white coloring. While bone china is often considered more durable than fine china, modern manufacturing generally creates bodies of equal strength and durability in both bone and fine china.

Casual China – generally any dinnerware not made from a fine or bone china body. Often derived from earthenware or stoneware, casual china generally creates a less formal appearance to the table and is heavier with little to no translucency.

Fine China – a vitrified (see Vitreous) dinnerware body that has great translucency and strength - generally refers to dinnerware and giftware. Ivory fine china refers to the hue of the china, not the materials of which it is made.

  • 4-piece Placesetting – includes buffet/service plate, dinner plate, accent plate, and mug
  • 5-piece Placesetting – includes dinner plate, salad/dessert plate, bread & butter plate, teacup, and saucer
  • 12-piece Set – includes 4 dinner plates, 4 salad plates, and 4 mugs
  • 18-piece Set – includes 6 dinner plates, 6 accent plates, and 6 mugs
  • 20-piece Set – includes (4) 5-piece placesettings
  • 50-piece Set – includes (8) 5-piece placesettings, 8 pasta/rim soup bowls, (1) 13" platter, and 1 serving bowl
  • Chinastone® – ivory china with alumina added (sometimes incorrectly referred to as stoneware). Patterns include Poppies on Blue™.

    Clay – raw material formed when rock breaks down either due to the weather or chemical processes.

    Coupe Shape – a plate without a shoulder, flat across the diameter, and slightly rolled up at the rim.

    Crackle – a look reminiscent of antique china and porcelain in which the surface of the work is crisscrossed with tiny lines, a delicate tracery. This effect is achieved by applying a special glaze designed to "crackle" as it cools.

    *Crystal Stemware – footed shapes similar to glass with higher lead content to increase brilliance. Characterized by increased clarity (ability to see through the piece) and a bell-like ring when tapped lightly on the edge. Generally includes the following standard shapes in a suite-wine glass, water goblet, champagne flute, and iced beverage glass.

    Full-lead Crystal – glass with a lead content of 24% or higher.

    Heavy Cut Crystal – crystal whose design is characterized by deep cuts or impressions.

    Light Blown Crystal – crystal whose design is blown into a body that is essentially uniform with no cuts, etching or indentation (see Blown Glass).

    *Date Code – a letter-number code on the bottom of custom-ordered Lenox dinnerware that identifies these unnamed patterns (see Date Code).

    Decal – a design-bearing sheet applied to ware for transfer of decoration; firing makes decal permanent.

    *Dishwasher-safe – items designed to withstand regular cleaning in an electric dishwasher under recommended guidelines (see our Use & Care section).

    *Double Old Fashion/Double-on-the-Rocks – barware pieces usually hold from 6 to 12 ounces and are most often used for straight pours or mixed cocktails.

    *Earthenware – thick, opaque, porous-bodied dinnerware made from clays that cannot sustain as high a temperature as fine china. Earthenware is generally heavier, and its porous body cannot withstand temperature extremes such as going directly from the freezer to the oven. May be dishwasher-safe if fully glazed.

    Electroplate – pure silver or gold coats base metals when electrical currents pass through a plating bath, creating the deposits.

    Embossed – a decoration in relief or excised on the ware surface.

    Enameling – decorating glazed pottery with metallic oxides ground to a fine powder and fired at low temperatures.

    Etching – In the mechanical process, a design is masked off from the rest of the crystal or glass item. The piece is then "sandblasted" (acid is applied), resulting in the finished design.

    Faceting – cutting diamond-shaped or other patterns into product's surface.

    Finial – an ornamental part of a sculpture, such as the handle on a lid or the screw atop a lampshade.

    Firing – heat-treatment in a kiln for the purpose of developing bond and other necessary physical and chemical properties.

    *FLATWARE – although commonly refers to table utensils such as knives, forks, and spoons, the term originally was used to describe any flat or near-flat piece of dinnerware, such as a plate or platter.

  • 2-piece Entertainment Set – 1 casserole spoon, 1 pie/cake server
  • 3-piece Hostess Set (Gorham) – 1 cold meat fork, 1 gravy ladle, and 1 pierced tablespoon
  • 3-piece Serving Set – 1 cold meat fork, 1 butter knife, and 1 tablespoon,
  • 4-piece Hostess Set – 1 sugar spoon, 1 tablespoon, 1 pierced tablespoon, and 1 gravy ladle
  • 4-piece Placesetting – 1 dinner fork, 1 dinner knife, 1 salad/dessert fork, and 1 teaspoon
  • 4-piece Serving Set (Gorham) – 1 sugar spoon , 1 butter serving knife, and 2 tablespoons
  • 5-piece Hostess Set – 1 sugar spoon, 1 butter serving knife, 1 cold meat fork, 1 tablespoon, and 1 pierced tablespoon
  • 5-piece Placesetting – 1 dinner fork, 1 dessert fork, 1 knife, 1 soup spoon, and 1 teaspoon
  • 5-piece Serving Set – 1 casserole server, 1 pierced spoon, 1 cold meat fork, 1 lasagna server, and 1 pie server
  • 6-piece Hostess Set – 1 sugar spoon, 1 butter knife, 1 cold meat fork, 1 tablespoon, 1 pierced tablespoon, and 1 pie/cake server
  • 7-piece Entertainment Set – 1 cold meat fork, 1 butter knife, 1 sugar spoon, 2 tablespoons, 1 pierced tablespoon, and 1 gravy ladle
  • 45-piece Set – (8) 5-piece placesettings, (1) 5-piece hostess set
  • 53-piece Set – (8) 5-piece placesettings, (1) 5-piece hostess set, 8 extra teaspoons
  • 65-piece Set – (12) 5-piece placesettings, (1) 5-piece hostess set
  • 70-piece Set – (8) 5-piece placesettings, (1) 6-piece hostess set, 8 extra teaspoons, 8 iced beverage spoons, 8 cocktail forks
  • Foot – the base of a piece of ware, the area upon which it rests.

    *Frosted – Also known as a satin finish, this refers to a textured, matte surface applied to crystal, glass or flatware to create contrast to the brightness of the overall body. This technique may be used to create specific design motifs or to encompass the entire body of the product.

    *Gift Closet – a designated area of your home stocked year-round with Lenox gifts, so you're always ready for any occasion.

    Gilded – covered with a thin layer of precious metal, such as gold, silver or platinum.

    *Glass

    Blown Glass – glass forced into shape by air pressure, either by hand our automatically, and with or without the use of a mold.

    Carved Glass – sand-blasted areas of glass that take on a soft gray hue (see gray cutting).

    Cased Glass – glassware whose surface layer has a different composition from that of the main body.

    Cut Glass – surface decoration on glass, formed by cuttings created with an abrasive wheel.

    Iridescent Glass – glassware with a special coating which, when struck by light, reflects the colors of the rainbow.

    Milk Glass – white opaque glass, most common in reproduction of early decorative pieces.

    Pattern Glass – pressed glassware originally produced in America from 1890 to 1940.

    Potash Glass – glass containing potassium carbonate, when a certain thickness is desired for cutting.

    Pressed Glass – glassware formed in a mold, the actual pressing being done either mechanically or by hand. Both shape and design may be molded simultaneously in this method.

    Stained Glass – glass sprayed with a colored stain which is fused to the surface via firing.

    Glaze – a ceramic coating matured to the glassy state on a formed ceramic article.

    *Goblet – A goblet is slightly larger than a wine glass. When serving wine, be sure not to overfill the glass. The air above the wine's surface is where the bouquet, or aroma, will accumulate and concentrate.

    Gray Cutting – glass decoration applied by abrasive wheel that leaves it gray and opaque (see acid polishing).

    Hallmark – a mark indicating quality or excellence; in jewelry, a mark used to stamp gold and silver articles that meet established standards.

    Hammered Finish – refers to an uneven finish, typically on a metal such as silver.

    *Highball Glass – typically holds 12 ounces and is used for all standard mixers, such as gin & tonic.

    *Hollowware – any clayware, glass or metal pieces such as cups, pitchers, bowls – generally serving items – as opposed to flatware.

    *Iced Beverage – An iced beverage glass is designed to hold just that – your favorite beverage on ice. These glasses are generally larger in size, to accommodate both ice cubes and the beverage.

    Jewelling – the application of porcelain enamel, usually of a contrasting color, to the edge or rim of a china piece (also known as beading)

    *Jewelry Terms

    Bezel – the groove that holds a watch crystal.

    Birthstone Gems

    January – Garnet
    February – Amethyst
    March – Aquamarine
    April – Diamond
    May – Emerald
    June – Pearl
    July – Ruby
    August – Peridot
    September – Sapphire
    October – Opal
    November – Topaz
    December – Turquoise

    Birthstone Crystals

    January – Garnet
    February – Amethyst
    March – Aquamarine
    April – Crystal
    May – Emerald
    June – Light Amethyst
    July – Siam
    August – Peridot
    September – Sapphire
    October – Rose
    November – Gold Topaz
    December – Blue Zircon

    Cubic Zirconia – Zircon, the alternate birthstone for December, has traditionally been used as a simulated diamond because of its high degree of dispersion, or fire. After the diamond, zircon has the highest properties of refraction; it also displays an intense luster.

    Diamond – the hardest natural substance known to man and this, combined with its exceptional brilliance, and fire, has made it the most highly prized gemstone. Four basic features can guide you when purchasing a diamond, known as the 4 Cs: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight.

    Cut – The cutting of the diamond is extremely important as it releases the fire (variety and intensity of colors) and the brilliance (liveliness and sparkle) of the stone. The most popular cuts are the brilliant, princess, marquise, emerald, and heart-shaped.

    Color – Diamonds can be found in virtually all shades, ranging from light yellow to near colorless. The more colorless the diamond, the more expensive it will be. Diamonds can also be found in various "fancy" colors including pinks, blues, greens, and even black.

    Clarity – Most diamonds will have slight imperfections, or inclusions. These hinder the passage of light through the stone, affecting the diamond's fire, brilliance, and price.

    Carat – Diamonds are measured in carat weight; each carat is divided into 100 points and weighs 1/5 of a gram. The higher the carat, the higher the value of the diamond.

    Hallmark – a mark used to stamp gold and silver articles that meet established standards.

    Marcasite – A white iron pyrite, it takes on the appearance of "fool's gold." Marcasite is most often set in silver, and the term marcasite is now often loosely associated with cut steel or any white metal cut with facets.

    Gold

    9 Karat Gold – With 9 parts of pure gold mixed with 15 parts of other metals, it is 37.5% pure gold and identified by the number 375 on the hallmark.

    14 Karat Gold – With 14 parts of pure gold mixed with 10 parts of other metals, it is 58.5% pure gold and identified by the number 585 on the hallmark.

    18 Karat Gold – With 18 parts of pure gold mixed with 6 parts of other metals, it is 75% pure gold and identified by the number 750 on the hallmark.

    24 Karat Gold – 100% pure gold; also called "fine gold".

    White Gold – Pure gold is alloyed with other white metals until the final white gold karat is reached. In the case of 18 karat white gold, palladium is used as the other alloy, and with 9 karat, silver is mostly used as the other alloy. The whiteness you see in finished jewelry is achieved in the final polishing process of rhodium plating.

    Silver – Lenox sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver mixed with 7.5% copper, and is identified by the number 925 on the hallmark.

    Kiln – oven used to fire or bake ceramics.

    Legacy Edition – From time to time, Lenox will select from its archives an out-of-issue work for special recognition in a Legacy Edition. To be selected, the work must exemplify the highest standards of Lenox design, artistry and craftsmanship, and be desirable to collectors. Further, it must have been unavailable for more than two years. Each work bears an exclusive, dated Legacy Edition hallmark to distinguish it from any previous or future editions. Each Legacy Edition is limited to no more than 5,000 works.

    Limited Edition – a collectible whose production is limited by number or by a crafting deadline.

    Luster – an iridescent decorative surface appearance

    Matte Finish – flat glaze finish without gloss.

    Metal Serveware – Lenox serving pieces made from alternative metal.

    Micaceous – Mica is frit (glass particles that are the base component for ceramic pigments) that are not ground quite as fine as a standard frit. The particles are coated in titania. This is what gives the mica its reflective qualities. The larger particles give it the rough texture. Pigments are added to this mica base to create color variations. Micaceous colors are textural, reflective ceramic pigments.

    *MicroSafe™ – a collection of patterns from Lenox that combine the beauty and quality of Lenox fine china with the functionality of being dishwasher- and microwave-safe. Includes Continental Dining™ Gold and Platinum, and Williamsburg® Boxwood & Pine dinnerware.

    Millefiori – Literally translated, this means "a thousand flowers." It refers to a complex art glass technique in which artisans first form a shape such as a star or flower out of a cylinder of hot glass. Many layers of colored glass cover the shape, and the cylinder is stretched thin to form a long cane. Then the glass cane is sliced horizontally into thin pieces - murrine - to reveal the intricate patterns within each piece. Molten glass can now be rolled onto the murrine to create the distinctive mosaic surface pattern so valued by collectors.

    *Multifunctional – items that may be used in more than one way, creating greater options for use in the home - for instance, a bottle coaster that doubles as a candy dish or a candleholder

    Opacity – the property of reflecting light diffusely and nonselectively.

    *Open Stock – the ability to purchase items as individual units rather than in a placesetting - for instance, one teacup vs. a teacup and saucer or 4-piece placesetting. Many items sold in "placesettings" are also sold open stock.

    Ovenware – ceramic whiteware for culinary oven use.

    Overglaze – design applied after firing and glazing resulting in more vivid colors than those beneath the glaze.

    Patina – a soft luster on silver, caused by tiny scratches that come with frequent use.

    Pencil Style – a tall, thin stylized sculpture reminiscent of "Old World" folk art.

    Pewter – a silver-gray alloy of tin with various amounts of antimony, copper, and lead (Note: Lenox pewter products contain no lead.)

    *Placesetting – any formal configuration of merchandise sold as a package to serve one person - generally refers to dinnerware or flatware.

    5-piece Placesetting – in dinnerware, generally refers to dinner plate, salad plate, bread & butter plate, teacup, and saucer. In flatware, generally refers to dinner fork, salad fork, dinner knife, soup spoon, and teaspoon. A five-piece placesetting is an individual service for one person.

    Polished Cutting – design technique cutting glass with an abrasive wheel, then polishing with acid or a buffing wheel.

    *Porcelain – a hard, translucent (see Translucency) clayware body that differs slightly from china in ingredients and manufacturing processes; the terms can be used interchangeably

    Relief – the projection of figures or forms from a flat background (see Bas-relief).

    Remarque – an artist's mark, generally on hand-painted items, featuring a specially created icon and the artist's initials (note: pronounced like "remark").

    Repousse – process where metal is embossed from the back by hammering, then the relief is further refined by chasing up from the front.

    Resin – a clear to translucent (see Translucency) yellow or brown solid or semisolid viscous substance of plant origin.

    Sand Blasting or Sand Etching – forcing sand or grit through high pressure to etch a pattern, usually onto crystal or glass.

    Satin Finish – on silver, a subtle surface luster produced by a revolving wire wheel.

    Seam – a line caused by the minute crack between two parts of a mold; also called a mold mark.

    *Satin – Also known as a frosted finish, this refers to a textured, matte surface applied to crystal, glass or flatware to create contrast to the brightness of the overall body. This technique may be used to create specific design motifs or to encompass the entire body of the product.

    *Second – a piece of ware which, because of an imperfection, does not meet certain quality standards and is withheld from shipment to retailers. Sold at Lenox outlets, seconds can be recognized by the backstamp "L" in a circle.

    *Serveware – items used for serving food at the table vs. placesetting pieces from which individuals eat. Also known as Serving Accessories. Most common pieces include vegetable bowls, platters, gravy boats, sugar and creamer sets, and coffeepots or teapots. Additional items can include salt & pepper shakers, two-tiered servers, cake plates, butter dishes, divided servers, and trays.

    Sham Bottom – on a tumbler, a heavy solid base designed to add weight and highlight glass clarity or color.

    Shoulder – raised rim of a plate.

    Silica – an abundant mineral, and a main component of dinnerware and glazes.

    *Silverplate – a base metal of nickel, silver or brass coated with a layer of silver by electroplating; has a tendency to tarnish with regular use in an electric dishwasher.

    Slip – clay and water mixture used to produce china or porcelain body and decoration.

    Solder – to attach bases, bowl bodies, fittings or handles by fusing metallic surfaces together with a soldering iron.

    Special – non-standard production pieces available only through Lenox retail outlets.

    *Stainless Steel – silver flatware that contains a mixture of chromium and nickel to silver.

    18/10 Stainless – stainless flatware that includes at least 18% chromium and 10% nickel for exceptional durability, shine, and stain resistance; generally considered the "best" quality stainless, easy to care for and dishwasher-safe.

    *Sterling – fine silver composed of at least 925 parts real silver to 75 parts copper (for strength and durability). All silver must be marked .925 to be sold as sterling. Attributes include beautiful shine and classic design. Is dishwasher-safe if not mixed with other metals. (also see Silver listing in Jewelry Terms).

    *Stoneware – a hard ware made of a single light clay and fired at a high temperature. It is non-porous, microwavable, dishwasher-safe, and very durable but does not have the translucency of china. Also referred to as earthenware.

    *Suite – a placesetting of crystal; generally includes a wine glass, water goblet, champagne flute, and iced beverage

    *Table Setting – generally refers to the combination of dinnerware, flatware, and crystal coordinated on a table.

    Tableware – all utensils and decorative articles used on the table for meal service.

    Temper – a process designed to increase the strength of glass by reheating it after it's formed then cooling rapidly.

    Temper-Ware – a discontinued line of Lenox ceramic dinnerware with a colored glaze. Alumina was added to the clays to make the china more durable. Temper-Ware is dishwasher-safe and has been safely used in the microwave.

    Throwing – forming clay manually by shaping it as it's rotated on a potter's wheel.

    Transfer Printing – decoration similar to decal applying, but permitting only one color applied at a time.

    *Transitional – products appropriate for a wide variety of occasions, bridging the gap between formal and casual.

    *Translucency – the quality by which light passes through an object. In quality fine china, your hand will be visible through the back of the plate when held up to a bright light. Translucency is a sign of vitrification (see Vitreous) and, consequently, signifies a high–quality piece of china with strength and durability.

    Tumbler – drinkware without a stem or foot.

    Underglaze – decoration applied directly to the bisque and then covered with a protective glaze coating making it resistant to wear.

    Verdigris – a green crust or patina of copper sulfate or copper chloride formed on copper, brass, and bronze because of exposure to air or sea water over a long period.

    Vermeil – silver that has been gilded.

    *Vitreous – literally, like glass, meaning the ceramic body is nonporous (won't absorb water). All fine china is vitrified because its ingredients include silica, which literally turns to glass when fired at high temperatures, giving it strength. Most stoneware, Chinastone®, porcelain, and bone china is vitrified. Vitrified products are usually dishwasher- and microwave-safe, though it also depends on the decoration. Vitrified china is also much more chip-resistant and stronger. A few examples of Lenox patterns, Winter Greetings™ Everyday is vitrified stoneware, Butterfly Meadow® is vitrified porcelain, and Butler's Pantry® is porous earthenware.

    Whiteware – ware having a white or ivory body when fired, prior to being decorated.

    *Wine Glass – Some people prefer wine glasses for each varietal; others use separate patterns for red and white wine. Lenox Wine Glasses are more appropriate for white wine, and our balloon wine glasses or large wine/water goblets are more appropriate for red.

    For additional information, please refer to our FAQ.