Shortcut Navigation:

La Paz Pearl Oyster

im_lapaz_oyster.gif

La Paz Pearl Oyster shell Pinctada mazatlanica Veracruz, Cameron, Panama


Pinctada mazatlanica

Before Black-lipped Pearl Oysters were first cultured for pearls in French Polynesia in the last century, most of the black pearls seen in Western countries--including many of the larger pearls worn during the European Renaissance--came from La Paz Pearl Oysters in Panama or Baja California. Recent pearl culturing ventures in the Gulf of California are now returning New World black pearls to the market.

Members of the family Pteridae, these pearl oysters attach to hard surfaces with threads called a byssus, rather than cementing themselves as true oysters do. They also require more "open water" oceanic conditions than the edible species.

American Museum of Natural History

Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024-5192
Phone: 212-769-5100

Open daily from 10 am - 5:45 pm
except on Thanksgiving and Christmas
Maps and Directions

Enlighten Your Inbox

Stay informed about Museum news and research, events, and more!