Glossary of Pearl Terms W

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Wada method: Developed by Dr. Koji Wada of Japan, a method of choosing donor-mollusk mantle tissue to help determine a cultured pearl's color.

wampums: Cylindrical beads made from quahog shells by native Americans and used as jewelry or money.

Wan, Robert: Founder of the Tahiti Perles Company, which became the largest producer of Tahitian cultured pearls.

warm hues: Colors from purplish red to orangey yellow to greenish yellow, as defined by the GIA color-reference chart.

water: Historical trade term used to describe the translucency of a pearl.

wax pearls: Imitation pearls made from hollow glass spheres filled with wax, popular during the early 20th century.

waxing: Application of wax to a pearl's surface to enhance its luster.

wings: Natural pearls shaped like wings.

Winston Pearl, The: Natural freshwater pearl measuring 44 mm in diameter and weighing 601.24 grains purchased by New York jeweler Harry Winston in 1987. It is believed to be the largest freshwater pearl in the world.

Wedge: Used to separate the valves of a host pearl mollusk so a donor-mollusk tissue piece or bead and tissue piece can be implanted. Can be made of bamboo wood, other woods and now mostly plastic.

working: Removing layers of nacre from a natural or cultured pearl.

World Pearl Organization (WPO): Formed in Japan in November 1994, it engages in public relations and caters to the interests of pearl producing and consuming countries.