Scott Overland, who is vice president of the Phoenixville School Board, was dining out while on vacation in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware last week with his family when he discovered a purple pearl in his clam dish from the seafood restaurant Salt Air, writes Joseph Lamour, for Today Food.
“I was the one mostly eating the clams and towards the end of the dish, I just chomp down on something that felt kind of hard,” said Overland. “I thought it was a shell or something like that, but then looked and it was this little purple thing.”
The clam that it came from is a northern quahog called Mercenaria mercenaria, and it usually produces porcelain-like pearls according to the Gemological Institute of America. Only one in 5,000 quahogs creates a pearl.
Furthermore, due to the extreme process of harvesting, shucking, steaming, and cooking, it is highly unlikely for a pearl–especially a rare one–to survive unscathed.
While his dish cost him $14, the pearl is worth between $600 to $16,000.
“If it’s appraised at a certain value, it may be hard to justify keeping it, but I have a six-year-old daughter who I’m sure would love to have it,” he said.“We might try to turn it into something so we can have a special family heirloom. That, or I have to keep eating clams and find a second one if I want to turn it into earrings.”
Read more about Scott Overland and his new treasure in Today Food.