Glossary of Pearl Terms S

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saltwater pearl: Natural or cultured pearl produced by a saltwater mollusk.

sand pearls: One of four Saxony quality factors used to describe natural German river pearls; sand pearls are of low quality. Also see: light pearls (highest quality), half-light pearls (high quality), and rotten pearls (lowest quality).

sautoir: Pearl strand longer than 36 inches (90 cm).

Saxon pearl necklace: Necklace created from natural freshwater pearls found in the Vogtland (Germany) between 1719 to 1912.

scallop pearl: Non-nacreous pearl produced by any mollusk of the Pectinidae (scallop) family.

Scottish pearl: Natural freshwater pearl from Margaritifera margaritifera found in Scotland.

seabed system: Method of farming South Sea pearls in which Pinctada maxima mollusks are placed in baskets or panels secured to posts on the sea floor. The method is still used today in northwestern Australia but was most popular in the first decades of pearl farming there.

second-generation cultured pearl: Freshwater or saltwater cultured pearl whose growth is started either by implanting a shell bead nucleus in an existing pearl sac from which a first-generation cultured pearl was removed, or by letting the mollusk grow a beadless cultured pearl in an existing pearl sac from which a first-generation cultured pearl was removed.

second grafts: Cultured pearls grown in existing pearl sacs after the first harvest; same as second-generation cultured pearl. The term is misleading because there is no tissue graft involved.

seed pearl: Natural pearl less than 2 mm in diameter.

semi-baroque pearl: Off-round, asymmetrical pearl but not as irregular as a baroque pearl.

semi-round pearl: Off-round pearl having a symmetrical shape or a slight deviation of symmetry. To be semi-round, a pearl's diameters must vary by more than 2 percent. Also called near-round.

shell pearl: Imitation pearl made from a mollusk shell.

shinju: Japanese word for pearl.

shireen: Historical Persian quality factor describing natural pearls of remarkably high luster and excellent shape.

shiro-gai: Japanese term for white shell. It typically refers to Pinctada martensi, which has a strikingly white inner shell layer that produces very white pearls.

sijni: Historical Persian quality factor describing natural pear-shaped pearls.

silver-lip mollusk: Pinctada maxima mollusk that has silver rather than gold inner shell edges; used to culture South Sea pearls.

silver nitrate: Substance used to darken cultured pearls. The compound turns black when exposed to light.

simpatico: A term that describes the relationship, interaction between a person's skin and the differing types; colors/overtones/orient of pearl(s). A specific pearl(s) that interacts with the skin in a positive way and flatters the wearer can be said to be simpatico with that person.

sindaali: Historical Persian quality factor describing a natural, flesh-colored pearl.

sinjabaasi: Historical Persian quality factor describing natural pearls of the finest black color.

slug: Several pearls fused together so they resemble a slug.

sofri: Historical Persian quality factor describing natural pearls of a yellow color.

soufflé pearl: Trade name for Chinese freshwater pearls grown with a removable, earthen substance as a nucleus, creating hollow pearls.

South Sea pearl: Natural or cultured pearl produced by the Pinctada maxima mollusk.

Southern Cross, The: Cross-shaped group of natural pearls found on the Australian west coast in 1874. A vertical line of seven pearls measuring 3.8 cm had a single pearl attached to each side so the group formed a cross. It is now believed the arms were glued on. It was named for the celestial constellation that is visible only in the Southern Hemisphere.

spat: Saltwater mollusk larva old enough to attach itself to a fixed surface.

Spondylus: Natural pearl producing saltwater mollusk otherwise knows as thorny or spiny oysters.

spiny pearl: Natural, non-nacreous pearl found in the Spondylus (spiny) oyster.

Strombus gigas: Queen conch snail from the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

surface: One of the quality factors considered when grading a natural or cultured pearl.

sweet water pearls: Trade term for freshwater pearls.

symmetrical pearl: A pearl that has exactly the same shape on both sides of a central axis.

synthetic pearl: Artificially grown pearl.