The Complete History

of Pearls in Mexico

General History of the Pearl.

Romans wearing pearlsPearls are almost as old as Mankind. Pearls were the first gems that primitive peoples used to adorn themselves with, because they could be extracted with relative ease and because it wasn't necessary to cut or polish them in order for the piece to look beautiful.

Later, in the world's emerging civilizations, pearls took on a much bigger role, personifying virtue, wisdom, power and wealth.

Nowadays, pearls are considered the "Queen of Gems" (second only to diamonds), and many people from all over the World possess and price these singular jewels.

The Discovery of "Black Pearls".

Queen Isabella of SpainThe commerce of pearls in Mexico is as old as the pre-columbian era, when Mayan and Aztec dealers went wide and far within the confines of their Empires to fetch magnificent pearls for their grand rulers and gods.

After the Conquest of the New World by the Spaniards, many expeditions were sent to discover the "sea of pearls", later christened as the "Mare Bermejo de Cortés" (loosely translated to "the Vermillion Sea of Cortez"), and now known as the Gulf of California, to obtain the biggest and darkest pearls known at that time.

The fist pearls to be known as "black pearls" and also as "South Sea Pearls" where the ones fished out of the Mexican -and Central American- waters of the Pacific Ocean (christened by explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa as the "Mare del Sur" -"The South Sea").

Later on, merchant ships from Holland, England and Russia, started appearing in these waters, trading whatever valuables they could for the Pearls of the Sea of Cortez...


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Last Updated 06/2000

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