(ISSAQUAH, Wash.) — A woman from Issaquah, Washington, recently bit down on a rare purple Quahog pearl while dining at her favorite Italian restaurant.
Lindsay Hasz was on “a rare date night without the kids” with her husband, Christopher, a few weeks ago at Montalcino Ristorante Italiano when she bit down on “something really, really hard.”
“I felt like I almost broke my tooth when I first bit it,” she told ABC News with a laugh. “It was pretty dark in the restaurant, so it was hard to tell what it was, but when I looked at it closer, it looked totally round and perfect. Too perfect.”
Hasz showed the pearl to gemologist Ted Irwin, president of the Northwest Geological Laboratory and director of the Northwest Geological Institute.
“The Mr. Skeptic in me originally may have dissuaded her at first since a lot of pearls people find aren’t really anything most of the time,” Irwin told ABC News. “But I took a look at it, and sure enough, she did have Quahog pearl.”
Irwin explained that the pearl is actually found in clams “indigenous to the Atlantic states, the New England area.” He added that he believed the chances of finding a natural, gem-quality pearl like the one Hasz found is probably “one in a couple million.”
Based on the pearl’s surface attributes, roundness and color, Irwin estimated the purple gem to be a little over one carat and worth $600 in today’s marketplace.
Hasz said when she told the restaurant owners — Fernando and Cindy Nardone — of Irwin’s findings, they were “so excited.”
“We only serve the finest for our customers,” Fernando told ABC News. Added Cindy, “Coming to our restaurant is like winning the lottery!”
The restaurant owners added that they now have guests coming in and specifically asking for the dish Hasz ordered, the frutti di mare, in the hopes of finding another rare pearl.
As for Hasz, she said she plans on turning her pearl into a necklace and keeping it as a good luck charm.
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