88 PEARL-FISHERIES book ii
but an exception must be made in the case of China and Japan, where they are not valued.1
other locality in the East where there is a pearl-fishery is in the sea
near a large town called Manar, in the island of Ceylon.2
The pearls found there are the most beautiful, both as regards water
and roundness, of all the fisheries ; but one is rarely found which
exceeds 3 or 4 carats in weight.
on the coast of Japan, there are pearls of very beautiful water and
good size, but they are very imperfect; nevertheless they are not
fished for, because, as I have said, the Japanese do not esteem jewels.
the pearls which are found at Bahrein and at Al Katif tend somewhat to
yellow, they are esteemed as highly as those of Manar, as I have
remarked, and throughout the East it is said that they are mature or
ripe, and that they never change colour.
come now to the fisheries of the West, which are all situated on the
great Gulf of Mexico, along the coast of New Spain, and there are five
of them which succeed one another from east to west. ,
The first is near the island of Cubagua,3
which is only 3 leagues in circuit, and is distant about 5 from the
mainland. It is in 10° 30' of N. Lat., and 160 leagues from S.
Dominique 4 in the Isle of Spain. It is a very barren land, wanting in
The Chinese prefer to invest their money in porcelain, lacquer, and
other works of art, and ridicule the craze for precious stones : but
both Chinese and Japanese women wear jade, gold, and pearl necklaces
(Pyrard de Laval, ii. 173 ; Ency. Brit., vi. 173 ; Chamberlain, Things Japanese, 3rd ed. 116). Ornaments are less worn by the Chinese than by other Asiatics (S. W. Williams, The Middle Kingdom, 4th ed. ii. 37).
The best account of the pearl-fisheries in the Gulf of Manaar will be
found in the Report by Prof. Herdman (Royal Society, London, 1903-6).
In 1905 the fisheries realized 25 lakhs of rupees, and have since that
time been leased for £20,000 per annum (Watt, Economic Products, 557 f. ; Ency. Brit., xxi. 24 ff.). For early accounts of the fisheries see Dames, Book of Duarte Barbosa, ed.
1921, vol. ii. 115, 123. Small pearls are found in the Thana creek,
Bombay, and being ground and mixed with lime juice, are used as a nerve
tonic (Bombay Gazetteer, xiii, part i, 55).
Cubagua is one of the Antilles group. It lies between the isle of
Margarita and the coast of Cumana, and belongs to Venezuela. It was
formerly a centre of the pearl-fisheries (Ency. Brit., xxvii. 989).
4 San Dominique, also one of the Antilles.