National Geographic : 1926 Feb
Photograph byPlate, Ltd. WASHING THE OYSTER SHELLS To expedite the process of rotting, so that the pearls may be more easily extracted, the oysters are piled into dugout canoes and covered with matting. At the end of from seven to ten days little is left except pearls, shells, and slime. The canoeisnow flooded tothebrim and thenaked natives, ranging on either side, remove the shells and begin rinsing and kneading the refuse in which the pearls areimbedded.