Glossary of Terms

Natural Opal: 

An Opal that has not been treated or enhanced in any way other than being cut and polished.

Black Opal:

Is a natural opal with a body tone or background ranging from semi-black to black.

Boulder Opal:

A natural opal mined in the veins of sedimentary rock in Queensland, Australia.  Boulder Opals are cut with the host rock intact, and often display an undulating surface.

Rough Australian Opal:

Opal specimens extracted from the mine and left in their natural form, neither cut nor polished, are considered rough opal. They may be left in this state and sought by collectors, purchased by cutters, or even used as rough in finished jewelry. 

Carat - Diamond: 

Carat refers to the weight of the diamond (or other gemstone). Diamond pricing is based on weight combined with the color, clarity, and cut of the stone.


Clarity - Diamond:

Clarity describes how "clear" a diamond is to the naked eye and with a microscope or jewelers loupe. There are different ranges based on the number of inclusions within a diamond and visibility of the inclusion. There are 6 levels of clarity.

Flawless (FL) - No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification

Internally Flawless (IF) - No inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification

Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) - Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10× magnification

Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) - Inclusions are minor and range from difficult to somewhat easy for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification

Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) - Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader under 10x magnification

Included (I1, I2, and I3) - Inclusions are obvious under 10× magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance

The 10X magnification is usually done with a jeweler's loupe. Which is basically a magnifying glass.

Cut - Diamond:

The shape of the diamond combined with the precision in which it was cut from a rough gemstone into the brilliant piece of jewelry. This includes proportions, symmetry and polish. All of this combines to minimize or maximize the brilliance of the piece. 

Round - which is as it sounds, a circular shaped diamond and when cut and polished the right way it will have the highest amount of brilliance out of all the cuts.

Oval - an oval shape

Princess Cut - this is a square cut stone

Emerald Cut - is a rectangular cut stone

Marquise Cut - this called the "diamond cut". 

How do I care for my Jewelry

Fine jewelry is delicate; that’s part of what makes it so beautiful. Like all delicate things, it needs to be treated with care. There are a number of things you can do - and avoid doing - to help keep your jewelry in its best shape.


When ordering cuff rings or bracelets, please order in the size you need and do not bend them open or shut.  These rings are not created as “adjustable” pieces.  Bending them open and closed will put your pieces at risk and can release any set stones.


We recommend removing your jewelry when hand washing or during exposure to abrasive cleaning agents or chemicals (ie: showering, swimming, house cleaning, applying lotions or perfumes). We also recommend removal prior to rigorous activity where your jewelry may catch or hit against another surface. It’s even prudent to remove jewelry while sleeping, and avoid exposure to rapid shifts in temperature.


Periodically check your stone settings. If a prong is broken, a gemstone is rattling, or fabric catches on a prong, contact for support. When putting on necklaces and earrings, be sure clasps and backings are securely in place.


Different stone types tolerate different types of cleaning. Don’t ever hesitate to send us an email to ask about your specific piece and how to most appropriately clean it. There are many soft and or porous stones, such as opals, turquoise and pearls, that require much gentler care than the standard diamond. We are pleased to offer NIXIN Jewelry Cleaner in a Foam at Home Version so you can clean your jewelry at home, and in a Jewelry Cleaning Pen that you can take with you. More on opal cleaning on our blog: How Do You Properly Care for Opal? We do not recommend using ultrasonic cleaners or chemical cleaning agents as they may damage some of our pieces and are known to release pave diamonds from their setting.


We always recommend storing delicate jewelry carefully so that it is protected from damage. Storage in a hard jewelry box is ideal. Putting each item in its own soft pouch or ziplock bag, within the box, helps protect the surfaces from scratching one another. Storing chains clasped, with the very ends sticking out of the bag is the best way to prevent tangling. Wearing your Opal Jewelry will be the best way to keep it in good shape, but if you plan to store it for extended periods, consider keeping a gently moistened cloth alongside it.


We want you to be able to enjoy your goods, and are happy to help you with repairs at a reasonable repair rate, should you ever need assistance. Just reach out to for assistance.


Each Australian Opal used in NIXIN Jewelry is personally selected by Nicki. Whenever possible, she handpicks her stones in person. She is also fortunate to have access to a trusted network of gifted miners, cutters, and other industry professionals from whom she can source her Opals remotely.

One of her favorite places to cultivate these relationships is at the Tucson Gem Show — the largest gem show in the world — which attracts vendors from around the globe. This allows for face-to-face meetings to bridge new and enhance existing relationships between our suppliers and ourselves. The opportunity to shake the same hand that extracted an Opal from the Earth or shaped it for Nicki to design around leaves us feeling that much more connected to these magnificent gems. It brings you one step closer to the origins of your Australian Opal Jewelry.

  • There’s no singular way we create our Australian Opal Jewelry. Each piece is specially tailored using nuanced techniques to best achieve Nicki’s end vision. However, there is a general process Nicki follows for most of her work.

  • Our Opal Jewelry is inspired by the unique stones procured. Nicki personally sources the stones, seeking not perfection, but rather idiosyncratic elements of beauty. It's this unique personality of the gems that holds the character she finds so inspiring — where she visualizes the story of the stone.

  • With the design concept intact, Nicki reverse engineers the best production method to bring her vision to life. For some items that may mean hand-carved waxes or fabrication; for others, CAD modeling may be better suited.

  • Many of our pieces are crafted over a period of weeks – sometimes months – until they are ready for release. They need to be just right for their intended owner. Our goal is not to create mass-produced jewelry; we dream up One of a Kind works of Art.

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