One lucky Bostonian law graduate is about to see a massive payday.
Whilst shucking clams for dinner one evening, the graduate — who wishes to remain anonymous — discovered a 16.64 carat pearl. The rare find is to be auctioned next week at Bonhams. It is expected to fetch between $25,000 and $30,000.
The pink-hued pearl was discovered inside a large varietal of clam primarily native to New England, known as the quahog. The species famously provided inspiration to comedian and “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane, who named the show’s fictional Quahog, Rhode Island setting in its honor.
The student is said to have paid $25 for his batch of quahogs purchased at a market in Brookline, Mass. He found the pearl while making a dish of stuffed quahogs — a regional treat.
Said the anonymous graduate: “It was the most astonishing surprise of my life. Even my untrained eye could appreciate the rarity and beauty of what I had found. I later discovered how lucky I was — had I cooked the clam, the heat might have destroyed its luster.”
Added Claudia Florian, co-consulting director of Bonhams’ natural history department in Los Angeles: “Quahog pearls can be found from Cape Cod all the way down to the mid-Atlantic — but those found in the Boston area are usually the finest. This particular pearl is an exceptional example with a classic New England backstory.”
Bonhams’ lapidary experts say that only one in 100,000 quahogs produce a pearl, and that even then, most “are too unattractive for use in jewelry.”
Bonhams’ Lapidary Works of Art, Gemstones, and Minerals sale — in which this quahog pearl will take part — is to be held on Dec. 7 in Los Angeles. Other lots to be auctioned include a large, yellow star sapphire (estimated to fetch between $60,000 and $80,000) and a large tanzanite crystal (predicted to realize between $200,000 and $300,000).