The Incredible, Gorgeous, Irresistible Sea of Cortez Pearl Story

The Incredible, Gorgeous, Irresistible Sea of Cortez Pearl Story

The Sea of Cortez is between Baja, California and Northwestern Mexico. For over 400 years, it has been known for the quality of colorful, lustrous pearls.

To understand why Sea of Cortez Pearls are the most beautiful, you must understand the different mollusks that produce pearls. There are many different mollusks that produce pearls. The family Pteridae oysters, from which the Sea of Cortez pearls are grown, produces the most beautiful pearls of all of them. Freshwater pearls are produced in Unionid mussels and saltwater pearls are produced by three different species of oysters; Pinctada fucata (Akoyas), Pinctada maxima (white and golden south sea), and Pinctada margaritifera (Tahitian). The only saltwater pearl farm that a Pteria oyster is used is the Sea of Cortez. This Pteria sterna or Rainbow Lipped Pearl Oyster produces the most colorful black, blue, pistachio, and purple pearls.

It was at the end of the nineteenth century that the pearl fishing in the Sea of Cortez began to show depletion. When the diving suit was invented, the over fishing of pearls was accelerated all over the world from the Persian Sea to the Sea of Cortez.

Gaston Vives saw a challenge to develop the first pearl farm to breed oysters for pearl farming. The difference between these Sea of Cortez pearl farms and the later developed farms of Mikimoto is that these oysters were not nucleated-the process of inserting a mother of pearls ball or nucleus into the reproductive organs of an oyster-but they allowed the oysters to grow and naturally produce pearls. This pearl farm grew to have 10 million producing oysters and 1000 workers on the island of Espiritu Santa for the Creation of the Company of Shell and Pearl. 

This innovative and successful pearl farm came to a sad end during the Mexican Revolution of 1914. A competitor of Mr. Vivres created an army to destroy his farm, steal the pearls and burn the companies documents.

This is not the end of the story of the Sea of Cortez pearls.

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