The word jolla, as in La Jolla, California, is widely translated in that area as “jewel,” but this is in fact a figurative meaning of the term and represents a common confusion with joya, the Spanish word for jewel. Jolla means hollow, which is, apparently, what the settlers of La Jolla originally had in mind. Elsewhere in the Southwest, jolla always means a low, flat place adjacent to water and noticeably richer in vegetation than the area surrounding it. The popular stopping spot on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon called Elves Chasm is a jolla— and for many in that parched landscape a joya.

Luis Verano

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