Police officer Michael Serino found a rare lavender pearl in a very unlikely place.
In fact, he nearly swallowed it! And that’s because it was found in a bowl of seafood soup that he had ordered at a Portuguese restaurant.
Serino initially had no idea that the little orb was a valuable and rare pearl. He simply thought it was pretty, and took it home with him. The father of three girls placed it in one of his daughter’s jewelry boxes, and the family pretty much forgot about it.
“We didn’t know the value of it at that time,” Serino said.
The lavender pearl remained forgotten in the jewelry box for six years.
Then Serino and his wife saw a news story on the TV — a woman had found a lavender peal in a littleneck clam that was estimated to be worth about $3,000. Serino remembered the light purple orb he had brought home six years ago, and began to scramble to find it.
Serino found the pearl — still in his daughter’s jewelry box — and shipped what he now suspected to be a lavender pearl to the Gemological Institute of America to authenticate it. His suspicions were correct. According to GIA’s report, the natural lavender pearl is from northern quahog clam and measures 11.43 by 8.36 millimeters.
That makes it a 6.22-carat lavender pearl.
The rare lavender pearl will be auctioned off by Kaminski Auctions, with online bidding kicking off on February 28. Harry Morgan, vice president of appraisal services for the auction house, says the estimated worth of the lavender pearl is between $10,000 and $15,000. But, he added, the sky’s basically the limit for this rare and precious pearl.
“So few of these come up for auction,” Morgan said of the natural lavender pearl. “It is just a stunning color.”
“They are pretty special,” said Dona Dirlam, director of GIA’s gemological library and information center. “All natural pearls nowadays are quite special.”
Gina Latendresse, who is the president of American Pearl Co. in Nashville, Tennessee, said she has known many divers who have been collecting clam shells their entire lives who have yet to find a pearl of any kind, let alone one as large as the one Serino found, and lavender to boot. Latendresse estimates there’s about a 1 in 100,000 chance of finding a natural pearl that is the size and color of Serino’s pearl.
So what will police officer Michale Serino do with the unexpected windfall after his lavender pearl sells?
He wants a new corvette, but his wife and three daughters want a new kitchen, and he’s pretty realistic about where the money will go.
“I’m going to get outnumbered by the girls.”
Serino was lucky that his food find ended up being so valuable. Other unsuspecting diners have not been so lucky. For more on that, click here.
[Image via CBS Local]