Pearl Diver and Pearling
For thousands of years, pearl has been a symbol of honor, wealth and purity. However, behind the bright pearl, there is a painful reality. In the world famous work twenty thousand miles under the sea, the brave Captain Nemo once rescued a poor pearl diver. What we are talking about today is the pearl diver.
- Pearl Hunting
Pearl hunting, also known as pearling, is a kind of activity of collecting pearls from wild mollusks in the sea or fresh water, usually oysters or mussels.
- Pearl Hunting Technology
The earliest pearl gatherers in China used long ropes to bind their waists, carried bamboo baskets to the bottom of the sea, and put the collected oysters in bamboo baskets,. Then the pearl picker shakes the rope tied to his waist, indicating that the people on the sea can pull the rope to pull the pearl picker back. The people on the sea quickly dragged the Pearl pickers and bamboo baskets onto the water. The above-mentioned method was very dangerous, but it was also a necessary method under the conditions of science, technology and environment at that time.
- Pearl Hunting Risk
For pearl diver, hunting pearls in the vast sea requires strong cardiopulmonary function - they need to hold their breath. In order to collect more pearls, pearl pickers often hold their breath to the limit before sending out the signal of floating. Once the person in the boat did not pull the rope in time, the pearl diver would have the risk of bleeding to death. The cold water is also a huge challenge. And Pearl gatherers may encounter dangerous creatures like sharks.
- Colonial Pearl-hunting Slaves
Because of the high risk of Pearl picking, slaves were often used as divers during the colonial slavery period in northern South America. Under the great risk, if the slave found a huge pearl, he might use the pearl to exchange his freedom.
- Current situation of Pearl Hunting
Nowadays, pearl farms have largely replaced pearl hunting, and pearl farms adopt the technology widely promoted by Japanese entrepreneur Kōkichi Mikimoto. The particles implanted in oysters can promote the formation of pearls and make pearl production more predictable. Although there are still relevant pearl gatherers, most of them are tourism performances.