|The pearl farm on Bacochibambo Bay|
Back in the old days—when this body of water was still called the Vermillion Sea, thanks to the red algae that also signals the spawning season for the oysters—people were said to catch Pearl Fever. Legends were born; of divers who lost their lives and maidens who sold their virtue, all in the search for that one special pearl.
So considering that Paula from Endurance hadn’t been to the pearl farm, and it’s my birthday week—we caught the Miramar bus at the Mercado and headed out to visit our friends Douglas, Manuel and Enrique at the farm.
We arrived too late for the last tour of the day (it ran at 2pm) but Douglas is a gracious host and Paula and the girls were shown the pearls and told how they are grown. This is when I also learned that I could buy pearls individually and either take them to a jeweller or have Manuel set them. So Douglas pulled out more pearls and we went to work. I learned about the different grades of pearls, what to look for and then finally selected two baroque pearls that would make up my (shockingly affordable) earrings.
|choosing my own pearls|
While Manuel worked to make my earrings, we chatted with Douglas— and he asked if we’d ever found nice ironwood (we asked him where to shop for carvings on our last visit and he recommended the market for its non-tourist prices). A few minutes later Douglas disappeared and then reappeared with a beautiful carving—a birthday gift.
Each day we’re in Guaymas, we get to know people a little better, and it makes the idea of leaving that much harder. But I think with Christmas approaching and my pearl fever growing more passionate we’d best get going…
You are going to be sooooo prepared for pearl buying in the Tuamotus! I actually really liked (only picked up a couple) the irregular one-off pearls with "flaws" in their shape and color. There was a pearl farm run by a German/Polynesian couple in Fakarava that gave great, small (4-6 person) educational tours...
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