Pacific Cat's Eye
Pacific Cat's-eye is the operculum of a sea snail called the Turban
Shell (Turbo petholatus, found in the South Seas north of Australia).
The operculum is part of many shelled animals - it is the calcified,
disc-shaped "trap door" that opens and closes to protect the animal
inside its shell. The Turban Shell's operculum is an eye-like disc
with a natural cabochon shape - it is used in jewelry. This jewelry
was popular in Victorian Era Britain.
Padparadscha sapphires (also spelled padparadschah) are a rare pink-orange
variety of corundum or the synthetic equivalent. These gems are
mined in Sri Lanka and are usually heat treated to improve and intensify
the color. The name padparadscha comes from the Sinhalese word for
lotus flower. Hardness = 9, Specific Gravity = 4.
A palette is a board which artists apply paint to when they are
preparing to make a painting. In regards to any medium outside of
painting, the palette simply refers to the group of colors chosen
by a particular factory or decorator.
Palladium is a valuable, durable, and malleable light-gray metal
used in some jewelry; it is related to platinum, but is less dense
and has a lower melting point. Unlike platinum, palladium reacts
when exposed to aqua regia, sulfuric, nitric, and hydrochloric acids.
It also develops a tarnish when it is heated. Pallasium is not a
shiny as platinum. Palladium was only isolated as an element in
1802 by William Hyde Wollaston and Smithson Tennant. It was first
used in jewelry in 1939 (during World War 2, platinum was used for
war purposes, and was not available for jewelry making - palladium
was temporarily used as a substitute for platinum). White gold is
sometimes alloyed with palladium (instead of nickel), resulting
in a gray-white gold. After World War 2,palladium was rarely used
in jewelry making beacuse of some difficulties in working with it.
Palladium was recently discovered to be useful in engine catalytic
converters, and its price skyrocketed to over $700 per ounce (it
had previously been much less expensive than platinum or gold) and
is no longer practical to use as jewelry.
A stylized palm leaf which is a common motif in Greek and Persian
The characteristic spotted look of palmwood is from the rod like
structures found within the grain of the original wood. Depending
upon the angle the lapidary uses to cut the stone, these structures
show up as spots, tapering rods, or lines. Petrified palm wood is
very hard, a 7.5 on the Mohs scale and ranges in color from black,
light beige, yellowish-brown and brown.
A paper roule is a bead made by rolling up paper (usually triangles).
Parenti is a rare mark seen on beautiful, handcrafted silver jewelry
from the early 20th century. Parenti jewelry was made by the two
Parenti sisters, who immigrated from Florence, Italy, to Massachusetts,
USA. The sisters had been trained as silversmiths in Europe, and
later opened a shop at 97 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts.
Pieces from the 1930's to the 1940's-1950's are available. The sisters
had a second shop on Cape Cod.
A parure (meaning "personal adornment" in French) is a
matching set of jewelry, usually containing a necklace, earrings,
brooch and a bracelet (or two bracelets). See demi-parure.
Paste is glass that is cut and faceted to imitate gemstones. The
Trifari set above has high quality paste emeralds, rubies and sapphires.
A form of incense burners popular from 1820-1850 in the form of
cottages, churches, or summer houses, with detachable lids.
Pate De Verre
Pate de verre (also known as glass paste) is glass that is ground
into a paste, molded, and then melted. The final piece is an opaque,
dense glass with a frosted surface.
Patina is the change of an object's surface layer that result from
aging. Exposure to the air for an extended period of time oxidizes
many metals, turning copper and bronze green, and gold reddish.
Artificial patinas can be applied to newer objects by using acids
Pavé settings are stones set very close together. The stones hide
the underlying surface. In better pieces, claw settings are used;
in less expensive pieces, the stones are simple glued in.
The pavilion is the lower part of a cut gemstone, below the girdle.
The distance from the girdle to the culet of a cut gemstone.
Peacock pearls are a type of black pearls that are dark-green (almost
black). These pearls (like all black pearls) are produced by the
oyster Pinctada margaritifera.
A pear cut gemstone (also called a drop cut) is teardrop shaped
This type of cut is used for pendants, drop earrings, rings, and
other pieces of jewelry.
Pearls are organic gems grown within oysters and a few other mollusks. Pearls are formed when a foreign object (like a tiny stone) has made its way into the
mollusk's shell. The mollusk secretes nacre, a lustrous substance that coats the intruding object. As thousands of layers of nacre coat the intruder, a pearl is
formed; this process takes up to seven or eight years (an oyster's useful life span). The most valuable pearls are perfectly symmetrical, large, naturally
produced, and have a shimmering iridescence (called orient luster). There are many types of pearls, including natural pearls (made with no human
interference), cultured pearls (pearls made by inserting a bit of a mother-of-pearl) into [nucleating] a living oyster or by inserting a bit of foreign tissue),
baroque pearls (irregularly-shaped pearls), freshwater pearls, seed pearls (tiny pearls), Biwa pearls (a type of freshwater pearl from Lake Biwa, Japan from
the freshwater mussel, Hyriopsis schlegeli), blister pearls (grown attached to the shell), black pearls (gray to black pearls), Mabe pearls (cultivated blister
pearls), etc. Pearls can be gently cleaned with mild soap and water. The biggest natural pearl, known as the "Pearl of Allah" or "Pearl of Lao-tse," weighs 14
pounds (6.4 kg).
A term used to describe a surface with lustrous cloudy rainbow-like colors like one might see in an oil slick or mother of pearl. Synonymous with Iridescent
Pearl of Allah or Pearl of Lao-Tse
The biggest natural pearl, known as the "Pearl of Allah" and later, the "Pearl of Lao-tze," was found off the Phillipine island of Palawan in 1934. It weighs 14
pounds (6.4 kg). It was formed inside a giant clam, Tridacna gigas, the only mollusk big enough to create such a giant.
Pearl opal (also called Tabasheer or tabashir opal) is an organic stone that forms in damaged joints (nodes) of bamboo plants. This hydrated form of silica
appears as a rounded mass of opal, and looks like seed pearls.
The term used to describe the surface of a gemstone which exhibits a luster similar to that of a pearl or mica.
Peking (Beijing) glass was first made in China in the late 1600's, during the Quing Dynasty, when a German priest introduced glass -making techniques to he
Imperial court. Early Peking glass was made to imitate porcelain (it often has a translucent, milky sheen). Later (after 1725), an overlay technique was
developed in which two (or more) layers of glass are fused together, and then the upper layer(s) are partially carved away, creating a multi-colored bas relief
(similar to a cameo). Peking glass and overlay glass is used for vases, bowls, dishes, beads, snuff bottles, and other objects. Peking glass is still made, but is
now manufactured in Poshan, China, and shipped to Peking for final finishing.
Peking jade is the same as jade, but often refers to nephrite.
Pell is a costumy jewelry company that was founded in 1941 by the brothers Bill, Joe, Toy, and Alfred Gaita. Pell makes high-quality pieces; older jewelry was
pedominantly figural and made of clear rhinestones; later pieces are primarily gold-plated with faux pearls. The pin above is a older Pell butterfly with clear,
round rhinestones and tiny, red glass eyes.
Penannular brooches are a type of early Celtic jewelry. They are circular brooches with a long pin (oftern hinged to the base of the pin). These pins were
used to fasten two pieces of cloth together (before buttons were invented). The earliest-known piece is the Hunterston brooch from A.D. 700
A pendant is a hanging ornament. Necklaces, pins, and earrings often have a pendant. The Christian Dior pendant shown above is costume jewelry.
A pendelique cut in one that is lozenge shaped. This cut is frequently used for flawed stones. Pendelique cut stones are often used as pendants.