Glossary of Pearl Terms B
baby pearl: Also called ?indicator pearl.? South Sea pearl from Indonesia grown for a short period to produce a pearl sac. The nacre is typically very thin and the quality low.
baroque: A pearl shape; irregular and not symmetrical.
Basra pearl: Named after the town of Basra in Iraq. Name given by Indian dealers to freshly harvested natural pearls from this area.
baten: Historical Persian quality factor describing a button pearl.
baythawee: Historical Persian quality factor describing an oval pearl.
bead-and-tissue-cultured pearl: A freshwater or saltwater cultured pearl whose growth is started by implanting a shell bead nucleus and a donor-mollusk mantle-tissue piece in the mantle, gonad, or other body part of a host mollusk.
bead-cultured pearl: A freshwater or saltwater cultured pearl whose growth is started by implanting a shell bead nucleus in an existing pearl sac from which a first-generation cultured pearl was removed.
bell pearl: Historical term used to describe a natural, pear-shaped pearl.
Big Pink Pearl: Listed in Guinness Book of World Records as largest natural abalone pearl from the Haliotis rufescens, weighing 469.13 carats.
Bironite: Trade name for a non-organic nucleus composed of dolomite.
bivalve: A mollusk from the class Bivalvia having a two-part shell attached by a hinge.
Biwa pearl: Pearl grown in Hyriopsis schlegeli freshwater mussel in Lake Biwa, Japan. Term is often incorrectly used to describe freshwater pearls in general.
Biwako pearl: The name first given to a Biwa pearl.
black-lipped mollusk: Pinctada margaritifera and Pinctada margaritifera cumingi mollusk.
black pearl: A pearl of naturally dark colors produced by the Pinctada margaritifera, Pinctada margaritifera cumingi, Pinctada mazatlanica and Pteria sterna mollusks.
bleaching: A common whitening treatment applied to most cultured akoya and freshwater pearls, and occasionally applied to cultured South Sea and Tahitian pearls.
blinking: An optical phenomenon created by light reflecting from mother-of-pearl remnants on the shell bead within a cultured pearl. Blinking often proves a cultured pearl is bead-nucleated and often indicates a thin nacre coating.
blister pearl: Pearl attached to the shell of the host mollusk. These can occur naturally when a pearl sac bonds with the upper mantle or by human intervention when a hemispherical nucleus is attached to the inner shell by a grafting technician.
blue pearl: Name given to a cultured mabe pearl grown in the Haliotis iris abalone shell.
bodycolor: The aspect of a pearl?s color that is caused by pigment as opposed to light interference.
Bourgignon pearls: Imitation pearls popular in 18th and 19th century France.
brailing: Technique of using a row of hooks to drag the bottoms of southeastern US rivers to collect mussels.
Brewster?s theory: Developed in 1814 by Sir David Brewster, it attributed the iridescent colors of mother-of-pearl to light diffraction from the surface structure.
Broome pearl: Australian cultured South Sea pearl of the 1960s, exhibited a silver hue.
bu: Historical Japanese linear measure still used today to designate the diameter of a bead nucleus. One bu equals 3.03 mm.
Buddha pearl: The first cultured blister pearl produced by the Chinese by implanting a Buddha-shaped nucleus between the mantle and shell of freshwater mussels in the late 1200s.
buffing: A post-harvest method of removing organic residue from pearls and polishing their surface.
buoys: Used to float lines from which mollusks are hung in net panels or other holding devices.
Burmese pearl: Historic term given to a natural Pinctada maxima pearl with a golden or yellow hue.
burnt gold: Also called burnt orange. The most desirable color of gold South Sea pearls; they exhibit a deep gold to dark orange or reddish bodycolor.
button pearl: A dome shape pearl with a flat side. Button shapes are classified as high or low depending on the height of the dome.
byssus: Structure composed of thread-like tissue that bivalve mollusks use to anchor themselves to a solid external surface.