Glossary of Pearl Terms P

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PAPPE: Philippine Association of Pearl Producers and Exporters.

Paraffin: A wax often used to fill the cavity of cultured and imitation blister pearls.

Parasite theory: Natural pearl growth theory suggesting that parasitic invasion of a mollusk's shell, typically by a boring worm, catalyzes natural pearl production. Postulated in the mid-19th century, it was the first theory that countered the legend that a grain of sand stimulated natural pearl production.

Part-drilled: Pearl drilled to 2/3 or 3/4 of its diameter for setting in pearl jewelry. See also Half-drilled.

Paspaley, Nicholas: Founder of Australia's largest South Sea cultured pearl production and marketing company: Paspaley Pearls.

Peacock: Color most often associated with pearls produced by black-lip pearl oysters (Pinctada margaritifera and Pinctada mazatlanica). It is a dark green gray to blue gray with rosé to purple overtones.

Pear: Drop pearl shaped like a pear.

Pearl: Nacreous or non-nacreous concretion formed as a progressive secretion of calcareous layers, found naturally and circumstantially within a mollusk.

Pearl Business Act (Shinju Yoshoku Jigyouho): Law passed in 1952 to regulate the cultured pearl industry in Japan.

Pearl factory: Business establishment where pearls are processed, often treated, drilled, matched and often strung or paired before sale.

Pearl Federation of the Cook Islands: Association responsible for technical support to Cook Islands pearl farmers and the development of the cultured pearl industry there.

Pearl of Allah: Natural pearl from the giant clam (Tridacna gigas), it is the world's largest non-nacreous pearl. It measures 23 cm by 14 cm by 14 cm and weighs 6.37 kilograms. The pearl was found off Brooke's Point, Palawan Island, in the Philippines on May 7, 1934.

Pearl of Asia: Natural pearl believed to be from the South Sea pearl mollusk (Pinctada maxima) and to be more than 300 years old. It measures 76 mm by 50 mm by 28 mm and weighs 600 carats.

Pearl of Lao Tse: Another name for the Pearl of Allah.

Pearl eyes: Historical trade term that likely refers to perfectly round pearls.

Pearl of Kuwait: White, drop-shape natural pearl weighing 257.41 grains and measuring 41.27 mm by 19.05 mm.

Pearl of Queens: Pink, 15-mm freshwater pearl weighing 93 grains.

Pearl powder: Ground nacre from pearls, often used in medicines and cosmetics.

Pearl sac: Formed from epithelial cells that envelop an intruder or a bead nucleus, it deposits nacre and forms a natural or cultured pearl.

Pearl sieves: Used to sort cultured pearls by size.

Pearl Peeling: Removing the outer nacre layers of a cultured pearl in the hope of improving its quality.

Pelegrina, La: Two natural pearls of the same name; the first is a perfectly round pearl with brilliant water and weighing 111.5 grains. The second is a drop-shape natural pearl weighing 133.2 grains.

Peregrina, La: Natural drop-shape pearl weighing 203.84 grains taken from a slave on an island in the Gulf of Panama in 1513 by the Spanish conqueror Vasco Nuñez de Balboa. The name means "The Wanderer".

Periostracum: Outer layer of a bivalve mollusk shell, formed mainly of conchiolin.

Perles de Tahiti: See GIE Perles de Tahiti.

Petals: Freshwater cultured pearls in the shape of leaves or flower petals.

Pinna pearls: Natural nacreous or non-nacreous pearls produced in mollusks from the Pinna or Atrina genus; often called "pen shell pearls".

Pinctada: Mollusk genus in the family Pteriidae. It is the most important genus in saltwater cultured pearl production.

Pinctada chemnitzi: Native to China and parts of Japan, the pure species and its hybrid with Pinctada imbricata are used to produce Akoya cultured pearls in those countries.

Pinctada fucata martensi: Historically, the Japanese Akoya pearl mollusk. The species is now used there and in China to produce akoya cultured pearls. It is often cross bred with Pinctada chemnitzi. Now considered Pinctada imbricata.

Pinctada imbricata: Most experts today consider this species name encompasses every pearl oyster species called "Akoya" regardless of geography. As is true elsewhere in taxonomy, other researchers disagree.

Pinctada margaritifera: The black-lip pearl mollusk; the variety Pinctada margaritifera cumingi is used to produce Tahitian and Cook Islands cultured pearls.

Pinctada martensi: Yet another synonym for Pinctada imbricata and Pinctada fucata martensi.

Pinctada maxima: The silver-lip or gold-lip pearl mollusk; used to produce South Sea cultured pearls.

Pinctada mazatlanica: the "Panamic Black Lipped Pearl Oyster" or "Madreperla Panámica", a close-relative of Pinctada margaritifera, it is native to the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez) and the Mexican and Central American Pacific Ocean.

Pinking: Coloring treatment most often associated with akoya pearls where pearls are treated with organic "pink" dye creating a light even hue with pink overtones.

Pipi pearls: Small, yellowish natural pearls produced by Pinctada maculata.

Poe pipi: Polynesian and Maori term for a pearl from the Pinctada maculata mollusk.

Poe rava: Tahitian-language term for dark iridescent pearl. Some use the term to describe peacock-color pearls or deeply black pearls.

Poe Rava Nui: See GIE Poe Rava Nui.

Polishing: Enhances the luster of natural or cultured pearls.

Polymer coating: Synthetic silicone polymer film often applied to lower-quality cultured pearls to enhance their luster.

Poonak: Historical Indian weight unit used to valuate pearls, equal to 0.91 carats. It is also called rati.

Porcelaneous Pearls: Natural pearl lacking a nacreous surface layer. Also referred to as "non-nacreous pearls".

Potato: Oblong freshwater pearls shaped like a potato.

Princess necklace: Pearl necklace measuring 17 to 19 inches (43 to 48 cm).

Provoked baroques: Tradename for baroque pearls grown with a baroque-shaped nucleus.

Pteria penguin: Mollusk originally used to produce assembled cultured blister pearls. In Japanese, its name is Mabe-gai.

Pteria sterna: Rainbow-lip mollusk used to culture pearls in the Gulf of California.