In a bizarre incident, a woman in the US found a very rare pearl worth USD 600 in her seafood dish while dining at an Italian restaurant.
Lindsay Hasz and her husband were recently enjoying an evening when they decided to dine at Montalcino Ristorante Italiano in Issaquah, Washington.
Hasz ordered the frutti di mare, a traditional Italian medley of seafood and shellfish. Then she bit into something unexpected.
"It was quite jarring. In fact, I thought I almost broke my tooth it was so hard," she was quoted as saying by KOMO-TV.
Inside the meat of a clam on her dish she found what looked like a pearl.
"I thought maybe it was an earring from an employee in the kitchen and it fell into my dish," Hasz said.
She did not tell the restaurant and took the item home to do more research.
Hasz matched the deep purple sphere against pictures she found online and found news articles of people finding what looked like a Quahog purple pearl in their food.
"I wanted to take it to a gemologist to find out if it really was that type of pearl," she said.
Hasz took her find to Ted Irwin of Northwest Geological Laboratory in Bellevue. He was skeptical at first.
"I have heard that scenario in my 35 year career and it has turned out to be nothing much," Irwin was quoted as saying.
"He thought it looked so round and perfect that someone was playing a joke on me," Hasz said.
After sending the pearl out for analysis, Irwin called Hasz with good news.
"He said you have a Quahog pearl, it's real," she said.
The Quahog clam is found primarily along the East Coast of the country and has been known to produce a pearl on a rare occasion, but it is even more rare to find one that was near perfect in its symmetry and produced naturally.
"One in a couple million is of gem quality, so it is a very rare occurrence," said Irwin.
He estimated the wholesale cost for the 1 caret, deep purple pearl would be USD 600. But there are several listings online for larger Quahog pearls going for thousands of dollars.
The husband and wife owners of Montalcino Ristorante Italiano could not be happier that it was not a pearl from an employee, but something that occurs naturally in the Quahog clams that are part of the menu.
"It was a big surprise. I think we've used up our million to one odds of that happening again," said co-owner Fernando Nardone.