More than 6,600 Venezuelan Pearls Found in Spanish Shipwreck

These pearls are from a rare species of oyster found in seabeds off the coast of Venezuela

These pearls are from a rare species of oyster found in seabeds off the coast of Venezuela

More than 6,600 Venezuelan Pearls Found in Spanish Shipwreck


More unusually, the site features more than 6,600 pearls being exported to Europe from the coast of Venezuela.

The gems came from a type of oyster which was unique to South America but which was nearly extinct by the early 17th century thanks to over-exploitation by colonial traders.

More unusually, the site features more than 6,600 pearls being exported to Europe from the coast of Venezuela.

The gems came from a type of oyster which was unique to South America but which was nearly extinct by the early 17th century thanks to over-exploitation by colonial traders.

The Buen Jesus y Nuestra Senora del Rosario was one of a fleet of 28 Spanish merchants hit by a hurricane on September 5, 1622.

Eight were sunk, killing 500 people on board and hiding their treasure for nearly four centuries.

The Spanish economy had been relying on the boost it would have received from the ships' arrival, and the disaster contributed to the eventual downfall of the formerly all-powerful colonial empire.

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