|Abalone Pearl: A naturally cultivated pearl from an abalone, which is a univalve mollusk.
Akoya Cultured Pearl: Pearls produced by deliberate human intervention in varieties of saltwater mollusks generally found in the waters around Japan and China. Colors range from cream, white, rose, gold and blue-gray.
Baroque: A cultured pearl that is asymmetrical and free form in shape.
Biwa Pearl: A cultured pearl cultivated in a freshwater mussel in Lake Biwa, in Japan. The term also refers to any pearl cultivated in a freshwater mussel in Japan.
Blemish: Defect found on the surface of the pearl. Can be non-damaging with spots, bumps, pits and wrinkles or damaging with cracks, holes and chips.
Clean: Describes the absence or relative absence of any blemishes on the surface of a pearl.
Conch Pearl: Pearls produced by a conch, a saltwater mollusk from tropical waters. Similar in color to pink coral.
Cultured Pearl: Pearl grown in a mollusk that has been surgically implanted with an irritant, through human intervention.
Cultivated Pearl: Same as cultured pearl.
Freshwater Cultured Pearl: A cultured pearl cultivated in a freshwater mollusk from a lake, river or pond.
Grafting: The insertion of an irritant into the body or the mantle tissue of a mollusk, through human intervention, in order to produce a cultured pearl.
Imitation Pearl: Man- or machine-made pearls.
Keshii Pearl: Non-nucleated pearls produced accidentally as a by-product of the cultivating process. Also known as seed pearls and not considered a natural pearl.
Luster: The radiance of a pearl. The greater the luster the greater the value.
Mabe Pearl: Dome-shaped cultured pearls that are cultivated on the inner shell of a mollusk rather than in its body.
Matching: Using the parameters of luster, surface, shape, color and size to match one pearl with another to create a piece of pearl jewelry, such as a necklace.
Nacre: A calcium carbonate-based crystalline substance secreted by a mollusk as a defensive device against the intrusion of a foreign irritant into its body.
Seed pearls: Tiny naturals weighing under 1/4 grain, usually less than 2 millimeters in diameter.
Semi-cultured: Imitation pearls.
Shape: A quality evaluation, describing the shape of a pearl. While round is the most prized shape, saltwater and freshwater pearls are produced in a variety of shapes and colors.
Size: The diameter of a pearl measured in millimeters and used for quality and price evaluation.
Sorting: Separating pearls by surface, shape, color and size prior to the jewelry matching process.
South Sea Cultured Pearl: Large pearls cultivated in the white-lip oyster. These range in the shades of white, gold, silver, cream and champagne.
Surface: A quality evaluation of the amount of blemishes on a pearl, ranging from clean to heavily blemished.
Tahitian Cultured Pearl: Cultured pearls cultivated in the black-lip oyster found in French Polynesia. These come in the shades of black, silver, gray, green, orange, gold, blue and purple.
Wild pearl: Natural pearls.