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paillette (pai-yet) From the French word for "speck" or "spangle." A paillette is a flat, round metal or plastic disk that adds a delicate shimmer and reflects light.

pearl Since ancient times, the pearl has been a symbol of unblemished perfection. It is said to represent wisdom, wealth, faith and innocence. There are many different types of pearls, both real and faux. Rubbing a pearl against your teeth can determine whether it’s real or faux: gritty = real, and soft = faux. Pearls are translucent and usually soft white, pinkish or yellow, but can run the spectrum of color. The exotic and intensely beautiful black South Sea pearls are better known as Tahitians, and are native to French Polynesia. The finest white South Sea pearls come from the tranquil waters of Australia. Most pearls are cultured—formed when an irritant is artificially placed into an oyster.

baroque pearl Baroque pearls are irregularly shaped globes, often with a luster to rival the large, round variety. Baroque refers to an artistic style, common in 17th century, and characterized by complex and curved lines. In jewelry, the term is used to describe irregular or unusual shapes.
coin pearl Coin pearls are real pearls that are found in freshwater mollusks. They are flat and coin shaped (hence the name) with an irregular surface.
freshwater/Biwa pearl Real pearls that are irregular and oval shaped, and found in fresh bodies of water. Biwa pearls are found in Japan’s Lake Biwa.
petal pearl Pearls that form in the cup left by the removal of a pearl in the first harvesting. The nacre forms a depression that takes on the shape of a cup or flower petal. The second harvesting then yields delicate colors in these wonderful petal shapes. These types of pearls can take two to three years to form.
seed pearl A freshwater variety of tiny irregular-shaped pearls.

pebbled leather An embossed and textured leather that feels much softer than its grainy appearance portrays. Small, round prominences give its surface a "tougher" appearance than smoother leathers, but it isn’t necessarily more durable. Care should be taken by a professional leather cleaner.

pick stitch A small, running hand stitch at the edge of a collar or lapel—hallmark of a high-end, hand-made suit or jacket. Amateur tailors need not apply.

pigment-dyed cotton jersey A cotton jersey fabric that is dyed with a pigment that is then partially washed out of the fabric. The process creates a fabric that is very soft and color that is slightly uneven, giving a vintage, worn and well-loved appearance to the garment.

pigment-dyed/printed corduroy A corduroy that is colored or printed with pigment dyes. The dye is applied to the surface of the fabric, then the garment is cut and sewn. When washed in the final phase of the manufacturing process, the pigment dye washes out in an irregular way, creating a beautifully authentic vintage look. The color of each garment becomes softer and more "aged" with each washing. The beauty of pigment printing and washing is that there are subtle color variations from one garment to the next. No two are alike.

pigment-dyed velveteen A velveteen that is woven, cut and brushed and that then undergoes a process of being dyed with pigments whereby color is applied to the surface of the fabric. This creates an irregular surface and is enzyme-washed to create a more aged effect. The color will continue to wash down over time.

pigsuede A suede produced from the skin (flesh side) of a domestic pig that has undergone the usual sueding process. Pigskin has the characteristic grain pattern produced by the hair follicles that are arranged in (roughly) triangular groups of three. These holes remain following the removal of the bristles on both the inner and outer side. Pigskin is tough and durable. It was used extensively for book binding in Germany from about 1550 to 1640.

pima cotton A variety of American Egyptian cotton known for its exceptional quality. This fine cotton may be used for shirts or knits and is particularly soft and lustrous.

pintuck Considered a fine dressmaker’s detail, this time-honored feature employs the technique of creating delicate, narrow pleats of even width in a fabric, and then stitching them in place for a decorative effect on tops, shirts and dresses. Pintucking also adds shape to a garment and enhances the fit where pleated.

pointelle knit A rib-knit fabric made with a pattern of openings formed by the use of transfer stitches—a transfer of loops from one needle to another to form a hole or structural change.

pure silver Pure silver contains at least 99.9 parts silver and 0.1 part copper. This grade of silver is more malleable and scratches more easily than sterling silver (see sterling silver). For everyday use—jewelry and flatware—sterling is a more popular choice. Pure silver is used for bullion bars in international commodities trading. Pure silver is hypoallergenic and is generally used for silver plating.