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Natural Pearls from the Gulf of California-Mexico

CortezPearls

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Aug 26, 2005
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Hi everyone,

I started this thread to post everything related to Natural Pearls from the Gulf of California or Sea of Cortez.

As you all know by now...we produce all varieties of cultured pearls in our Pearl Farm in Bacochibampo Bay: Mabe, Keshi and Beaded Cultured Pearls. All these pearls are grown using our native "Rainbow Lipped Pearl Oyster" or Pteria sterna, an oyster capable of producing some of the most unusual colored pearls. And, just to STATE this clearly: NO, WE DON'T GROW PEARLS FROM OUR NATIVE BLACK LIP OYSTER Pinctada mazatlanica.

Every year we ALSO obtain some NATURAL PEARLS from our Pearl Harvest. This number varies from year to year, for instance: year 2009 was bad, we only found one natural pearl...but 2007 was a good year with some 37 "large" pearls. This year (2010) seems to be a good year but the harvest is not yet over.

This link will take you to a video of a natural pearl harvest.

But now, some photos of this year's natural pearl harvest: a beautiful pair of pearls, one a deep blue color, the other one a light gray with intense violet overtones. Will continue to add more photos to the thread as they become available.
 

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CortezPearls

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We grow the P. mazatlanica just for "Environmental Purposes": they are considered a threatened species in Mexico and many researchers consider them to be "key species" or "habitat identifier species" and as such they represent a form of "biological wealth". Our main objective is to grow a yearly quota of these animals in our farm, in order to allow them to breed (we also keep other endangered native species under the same scheme: the "Lion's Paw Scallop" (Lyropecten subnudonusus) and the "Pen Shell" (Pinna rugosa)).
We sometimes perform experiments on some black-lips...but we focus our 100% attention on our Rainbow Lips. Found some more naturals today... hope I'll be able to post them later...
 

Caitlin

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Thanks for that interesting information! You guys do so much for the Bahia de Bacochibampo! I am about to break out in Haiku -again!
 
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Bodecia

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Jan 25, 2007
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Hi, do you X-ray them from time to time just in case they have pearls growing in them. What would be the percentage of natural pearls found from the number you grow for ecological reasons? That is a great idea by the way.

Love the pearls. Great video too. Will that oyster be okay. Looked like you were taking a lot of trouble to make sure it would be but then I don't know how these things are done.

Thanks,
Dawn
eBay ID dawncee333
 

Bodecia

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Jan 25, 2007
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Hi Douglas,

Meant to ask. What do you do with your natural stash of pearls. Do you sell or make up a super duper necklace when you have enough? Or just hold them and drool over them now and again. :)

Dawn
eBay ID dawncee333
 

CortezPearls

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Hello Again!

Got some more photos of today's natural pearl harvest... but before the photos...answers:

1) For Caitlin: doing what we do does not only help our local area (Bacochibampo Bay) but it actually helps the ENTIRE Gulf of California. Why? Because larval dispersal (or "future baby oysters") in bivalves can be of over 1000 kilometers in distance. Since Guaymas is in the mid-section of the Sea of Cortez we can help to repopulate the entire area (although many other factors also affect): the Gulf of California is 1,612 Km long and 241 Km wide (at its mouth).

2) For Bodecia: Never occurred to me that we could X-ray the black-lips for pearls... Thanks!!! (we do have an X-ray machine).

3) Bodecia again: These natural pearls are PRE-SOLD. They have an owner since before we even know we will get them. So, we don't keep any except for those that become mingled with the keshi (in case we are not 100% sure of their origin we cannot sell them as Naturals, and they become "keshi").

Now, for more pearls...first we have a funny pearl: it looks like a toon-type turtle/tortoise to me (notice it's "eye"). Then we have a pair of 7 mm, then we have 3 very nice ones in 5 mm and finally another trio with splendid overtones in about 3 mm size.

Let's see what happens tomorrow!
 

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Bodecia

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They are all gorgeous. I am drooling. What wonderful things pearls are. :) You are lucky just to have them for a while.

Dawn
eBay Seller ID dawncee333
 

Orient

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Feb 20, 2009
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Hi Douglas,

Great photographs. Thanks for sharing them and your information. Would you just clarify exactly which mollusks produced these please, the Pinctada mazatlanica or the Pteria sterna? The overtones are very Pinctada sterna like. I would also be interested in knowing how you are certain they are natural? Are they found in wild oysters from the ocean, hence have never been near a farm and also obviously never been operated on?

Thanks again.
 

Caitlin

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Pinctada Sterna? LOL!! that would be a perfect hybrid!

I got that the pearls from the Mazatlanica are natural. They encourage the mollusks to grow in their waters, but they don't use them for pearl cultivation. therefore any pearls found in them are natural. If they were cultured, they'd be Pteria sternas and in another thread?

As always, correct me where I am wrong.
 
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Orient

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Feb 20, 2009
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LOL as you say Caitlin! Note to self: always check text before submitting quick reply. I believe that you are correct but as I said the overtones look very Pteria sterna (okay as a eant to say before the typo!) like and hence the query to be sure. I didn't see anywhere in the text that made it absolutely clear so wanted to be so in my mind. Thanks for your thoughts and for pointing out the typo.
 

smetzler

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I got that the pearls from the Mazatlanica are natural. They encourage the mollusks to grow in their waters, but they don't use them for pearl cultivation. therefore any pearls found in them are natural. If they were cultured, they'd be Pteria sternas and in another thread?
I got that the naturals Douglas refers to are precisely from his farmed P. Sternas, and the colors agree. His statement that those he cannot absolutely prove to be natural are folded into his keshi lots gives further indication.

Just the opposite of the keshi/natural crisis currently facing the pearl labs (integrity vs. criminality).
 

CortezPearls

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Hi Douglas,

Great photographs. Thanks for sharing them and your information. Would you just clarify exactly which mollusks produced these please, the Pinctada mazatlanica or the Pteria sterna? The overtones are very Pinctada sterna like. I would also be interested in knowing how you are certain they are natural? Are they found in wild oysters from the ocean, hence have never been near a farm and also obviously never been operated on?

Thanks again.

These that I have posted are all from our Harvest of Rainbow-Lips (Pteria sterna). All farm-raised animals, but that have never been operated. You see, when the oysters are 2 years old -ready for operation- we examine them and sometimes find natural pearls...so we just keep these animals aside for 2 more years. Easy.
We know we should obtain naturals in our oysters because we ARE in a rich pearl yielding area.

I will post a natural Pinctada mazatlanica pearls in this post...and you will see how more "typical" they are. Rainbow Lips produce amazing pearls.

So, the pearl below is a very nice drop, great luster...but color wise... bland. It was obtained from a Mexican Black-Lip, here in Guaymas. Measured 10 mm at its widest.
 

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CortezPearls

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The way we ascertain their natural origin is because we find them inside their natural pearl sacs. If the sac breaks and the pearl falls from it before we can shoot photos or a video, then...it has become a "keshi". So, it is very important that we are careful when harvesting the Natural Pearls.

You can see how we obtain the natural pearls on this VIDEO.
 

Caitlin

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Thank you for the clarification. I did not understand that you were seeing the natural pearls in the pteria sternas before grafting, so I concluded they had to be Mazatlanicas- in spite of their color. Silly me.
 
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