View Full Version : Apocolypto Pearls
12-22-2006, 03:58 PM
I noticed in the recently released movie Apocolypto, that the 15th century, pre-contact Mayan Indians were wearing black pearls as body jewelry (although not in the same manner we do, naturally).
Was this speculation, or is there some evidence that the Mayans collected pearls and wore them? Would they have been black as depicted?
12-22-2006, 04:09 PM
Although little is taught about it, Mexico used to be known as the land of the pearl for the abundance of pearls collected there for the first several years after the Conquest. I know little about pearling on the Caribbean side, but it was big on the Gulf of Cortez side of Mexico and yes the pearls were black. Pteria sterna and pinctata radiatus were two varieties that produced black pearls from that region.
We actually have a bit of info on this topic. Try searching "Mexican pearls"
In North America, freshwater pearls were valued and worn by many first peoples, foremost may be the peoples of the Mississippi watershed. These pearls would have reflected the range of color their type of mussels produces. I have always thought there was connection between these people and the peoples of Mexico. I believe the Book of the Pearl has some info on this subject. Try looking for in our books and resources section.
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