Woman finds rare pearl in oyster dish

March 10, 2011 4:24:06 PM PST
It's not something you expect to bite into at a restaurant. A Houston woman says she found a rare purple pearl in her oyster at a restaurant this week.

It was a lucky lunch for a local woman with a love for the bivalve mollusks and now she trying to decide what to do her new find.

Working at a downtown law office, Amanda Jernigan and her boss went to lunch for Fat Tuesday at Mardi Gras Grill.

An oyster lover, she ordered two dozen, and minutes in she felt a crunch.

"I also got some oyster shell in my tooth, so at first I was trying to dig that out and put that aside and he kind of pointed it out and said, 'what is that?'" Jernigan said.

It turned out to be a purple pearl, something many don't have the luck to find.

When she returned to work, she began researching and found they are rare, with about one in two million people discovering one.

"They call them a qauja pearl they are rare purple pearls, they can't be cultured so it's a natural pearl that came from the ocean," she said.

A local jeweler says they're so rare, you typically won't find any natural ones carried in a jewelry store.

In the meantime, the tale of the purple pearl has spread the Mardi Gras Grill.

Other oyster lovers are wondering if orders of half shells ice are hiding another gem.

As for Jernigan she's going to keep researching on the possibilities this rarity of nature could bring, but is definitely not ruling out the thought of turning into a family heirloom.

"Maybe I'll put it in a ring and give it to my daughter, keep it, I don't know," she said.

Jernigan says she plans on getting the purple pearl appraised, and actually found one on eBay for $6,000.