Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

A review: The History of Pearls in the Gulf of California, Mexico Part 4

Collapse
X
Collapse
  •  

  • A review: The History of Pearls in the Gulf of California, Mexico Part 4

    ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL IMPACT OF THE CCCP

    There was a positive ecological aspect of this venture: the pearl farm itself acted as a gigantic breeding station for the pearl oysters. When you consider that this farm contained between 8 to 10 million pearl oysters and let us say that at least one-third of these had reached ****** maturity (2.6 to 6.6 million individuals), it is very evident to see the astounding positive impact that this commercial operation would have in restocking the Gulf of California’s pearl beds and even reinvigorate the pearl beds and fisheries.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	Trabajadores con Ostras de Criadero.jpg
Views:	2601
Size:	96.4 KB
ID:	453741


    Figure 1: Workers collecting pearl oyster “spat” from some of the tiers from a “spat collector box”. Photo by Townsend (1914).

    But, on the other hand, the value of human life was not up to the same standards. The period known as “Porfiriato” in Mexican history refers to a timeframe between 1880 and 1910 when Mexican President-Dictator Porfirio Díaz opened Mexico up to large-land owners (Hacendados) and foreign companies and interests, all above the livelihood of the Mexican people, who were slaves in all but word.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	Vista de Jaulas de Crianza y Area de Cultivo.jpg
Views:	92
Size:	264.5 KB
ID:	453742

    Figure 2: A view of one of the work areas of the CCCyP and of the mesh-wire baskets used in the pearl farming canals for growing young pearl oysters.

    The CCCP had a great host of “workers” that were paid poorly and had to purchase their barest necessities from the “tienda de raya” (“company store”) at hiked-up prices, they were also subject to physical and emotional abuse. Let me make clear that this was not just this venture, but quite possibly most enterprises in all of Mexico, such as the “Henequeneras” (Haciendas that grew the Henequén agave, Agave fourcroydes, to produce fiber, extremely popular to produce bags, cots, hammocks, and shoe-soles) were even considered as “extermination camps” for the mostly native-American “workers”. Thus, employees were not faithful to the company and were quite embittered over their situation. It stands to reason as to why the Mexican Revolution took place as a grassroots social revolt and led to open war against this oppressive neo-feudal system.

    On July 18th of 1914, a part of the Mexican Revolutionary force, led by Colonel Cornejo, marched unto the Capital City of South Baja California, La Paz; and by the time they left, Mexico was no longer one of the world’s most important supplier of natural pearls: both the army and the company’s workers seized the farm and all its facilities by storm, blowing up the CCCP’s vaults to obtain pearls and cash first, and then every single of the farm’s oysters were harvested for pearls; these gems would later be used to purchase weapons and ammunitions to continue the conflagration, which raged until its official closure in 1920.

    The Vivès family had been an integral part of the dictatorial regime, receiving abundant benefits both in economic and political power, and was now a victim of this social movement. Gastón Vivès himself barely escaped death at the hands of a lynch mob, by escaping on a dingy and asking asylum to a U.S. Navy vessel that was stationed at the bay of La Paz.

    As fate would have, at around the same time as the birth of Mexico’s pearl farming venture, but on the opposite side of the planet, another man of vision, Kokichi Mikimoto introduced humanity to the modern-day cultured pearl. After this event, the world would no longer remain the same, for pearl oysters could be ‘surgically operated’ to produce considerable numbers of pearls. A series of related events then made it possible to produce cultured pearls in several other species of pearl oysters from around our oceans, but Mexican pearls were never included under these schemes, thus the Pearls from the Gulf of California would remain elusive for most of the 20th century.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	La Paz - Reunión NOM 104.JPG
Views:	97
Size:	343.1 KB
ID:	453743


    Figure 3: Ruins of the pearl culture canals on Isla Espiritu Santo, Baja California Sur. Photo taken by the author in 2012.
      Posting comments is disabled.

    Categories

    Collapse

    article_tags

    Collapse

    Latest Articles

    Collapse

    • VI. Common Mabe Pearl Varieties - Abalone Mabe
      by CortezPearls
      C. Abalone Mabe (Genus Haliotis)

      Abalone (or “Ear-shells” as they are sometimes referred) are not pearl oysters at all; they are, instead, an ancient group of marine “snails” known as Archaeogastropoda (Ancient belly-crawlers). Because they are snails, they move about their environment, living on rocks and grazing on brown seaweeds (kelp). Another interesting difference with pearl oysters is that these animals have a temperate water affinity: they prefer cold...
      07-21-2021, 12:23 AM
    • VI. Common Mabe Pearl Varieties - B. Mother-of-Pearl Oysters (genus Pinctada)
      by CortezPearls
      B. Mother-of-Pearl Oysters (genus Pinctada)

      Black Lip Pearl oysters (Pinctada margaritifera)

      Black lip pearl oysters are known mainly for their beautiful, dark, cultured pearls but they have also been used to produce Mabe pearls, although in not great numbers.

      Part of the production strategy for Mabe pearls in French Polynesia and Fiji is at the very last part of the pearl producing cycle:
      Cultured (loose) pearls are produced for up to three cycles (first,...
      07-21-2021, 12:14 AM
    • VI. Common Mabe Pearl Varieties - “Rainbow Lipped Pearl Oyster”
      by CortezPearls
      “Concha Nácar” or “Rainbow Lipped Pearl Oyster”

      This species of pearl oyster (Pteria sterna) has been used to produce both cultured loose pearls and Mabe pearls in Mexico. The first Mabe pearls were obtained back in 1994 and were the main product for the Guaymas based pearl farm until loose cultured pearls became more common (2002). Since 2010, “Cortez Mabe” have been produced in a steady number between 1 to 5-thousand pearls per year. There is an experimental Mabe pearl...
      07-21-2021, 12:06 AM
    • VI. Common Mabe Pearl Varieties - A. Winged Pearl Oysters (genus Pteria)
      by CortezPearls
      There are several varieties of commercially grown Mabe Pearls that can be found at jeweler’s displays or on online vendors, but many have become rare over the years. The three main sources for Mabe pearls today are:
      1. Winged Pearl oysters from genus Pteria, including the “original” Mabe-gai (Pteria penguin) and the “Rainbow-lip” pearl oyster (Pteria sterna).
      2. Mother-of-Pearl oysters from genus Pinctada, mainly from the larger Silver (Pinctada maxima) and Black (Pinctada margaritifera) lipped pearl
      ...
      07-20-2021, 11:59 PM
    • V. Processing Mabe or Natural Blisters
      by CortezPearls
      Since these pearls are not very useable in jewelry with the entire shell, they are processed: first they are cut from the shell, with the help of a handsaw, Dremel tool, core-drill or tile cutting saw. The type of tool will depend on availability and production volume, the first used mainly by occasional processing and the latter for commercial production.

      A lineup of the Mabe pearl process.

      Once the blister is separated from the shell, these are rinsed to remove grime,...
      07-20-2021, 11:44 PM
    • IV. Mabe Pearl Production Technology
      by CortezPearls
      Ever since those Chinese monks started their first cultured blister pearl, the technique has basically remained the same: an “implant” is glued to the inner shell of the mollusk, under the animal’s mantle. The mantle will cover the said implant and then slowly secrete nacre on top of it until -some months later- the Mabe blister has a good enough coating of nacre to be harvested and processed.

      One of the important aspects of this pearl producing technique is the use...
      07-09-2021, 08:20 PM
    Working...
    X