Understanding the Difference Between 'Finish' and 'Texture' for the Jeweler

I will begin with my definitions of “Finish” and “Texture” for the Jeweler. Please understand that there is no generally accepted standard for definitions of “Finish” and “Texture”. This is how I describe things to my clients.

'Finish' and 'Texture' are general terms used to describe the condition and characteristics of a jewelry items surface.
'Finish' is defined as the visual quality of the surface of an object-- how it looks.
'Texture' is the tactile quality of the surface of an object--how it feels if touched.
It is the combination of the two that gives each piece of jewelry its own unique look and feel.


Finish is defined as the visual quality of the surface of an object-- how it looks. Generally a very fine and mostly visual component to the jewelry item. When feeling the surface of a jewelry item, different finishes may not be distinguishable from one another without looking at them. How the light interacts with the finish on a jewelry item is the most important consideration during the design phase.

A List of Common Surface Finishes Used on Jewelry

These are the common terms used in the jewelry trade to describe the finishes used on jewelry and as such, most people are familiar with them.


At some point, a finish will become large enough to become easily felt and described as a tactile element of design. This is texture. Roughness, patterns, and lay can be determined with only tactile information.

A List of Common Surface Textures Used on Jewelry

The surface finish of jewelry items can vary significantly, depending on the materials and processes used to make the item.
Education with the client is important as they need to understand what the designer is trying to convey. If there is not effective communication of the surface requirements between the client and the designer, the jewelry item produced will not meet the criteria set by the client. Often the consequences of omitting, incorrectly specifying, or misinterpreting surface finish requirements can have a substantial impact on the perceived value, and cost of the final jewelry item as well. The result is an unhappy client, and added costs to correct the error in surface finish.

Some extra notes about textures.


Surface roughness often shortened to roughness, is a component of surface texture. It is quantified by the deviations in the direction of the normal vector of a real surface from its ideal form. If these deviations are large, the surface is rough; if they are small, the surface is smooth.


A pattern is a regularity in the world. As such, the elements of a pattern repeat in a predictable manner. A geometric pattern is a kind of pattern formed of geometric shapes and typically repeated like a wallpaper design. Any of the senses may directly observe patterns.


Lay is the direction of the predominant surface pattern.

Note: My background is not the same as your average jeweler, so I see many things more from the view of a manufacturing type mindset and not so much from the artistic side. I realize that others may have other opinions about this, and I am ok with it.