A FILIPINO fisherman in western Palawan island may have discovered what could possibly be the world’s biggest pearl and has been keeping the precious find under his bed for 10 years as a lucky charm, a tourism official said.
Aileen Amurao, Puerto Princesa city’s tourism officer and the fisherman’s relative, said Thursday that the man gave her the 34kg (75 pounds), 2.2 feet-long (67 centimeters) and 1 foot-wide (30 centimeters) pearl for safekeeping. She says she was shocked to learn from the Internet that it could be the world’s biggest.
Media reports say the pearl, if verified, could be worth up to an impressive $100 million. The current Guinness record holder is the 6.4-kilogram Pearl of Lao Tzu, also known as the Pearl of Allah that was discovered in Palawan in 1939 and was valued at $93 million.
The fisherman, his father and brothers found the irregular-shaped pearl inside a giant clam that stuck to their boat’s anchor when they sought refuge from a squall.
The pearl is currently on display in the city hall, and the fisherman will receive a reward from the local government.
Amurao was quoted by the Philippine Inquirer as saying that she had initially mistook the pearl as just another large coral washed ashore in her province.
She said she became mesmerized to know about Palawan’s vibrant collection of natural resources when she tried researching about precious sea pearls and corals.
“I just became aware when I searched the Internet that all giant pearls came from here; sad to know none of those were left in the possession of the city or province,” she said.
This prompted her to allow the rare pearl to be displayed at the Puerto Princesa City Hall.
“Honestly, our officials were amazed, and they also don’t have any idea about natural pearls. We do not have experts here in the province to tell that it’s a real pearl,” she said.
However, despite the hype generated in the international media about its estimated price tag, a skeptic said it may be overvalued.
International School of Gemology Robert James, president $100 million price tag was greatly exaggerated, Inversereported
This is because the pearl that was found is not a traditional, iridescent pearl, like a Mikimoto or an Akoya and is not of gem-quality.
“The $100 million is a great story, a great tourist attraction, but there’s no way someone could actually attach a price tag to that,” James said.
“It’s more of an oddity than a rarity. The Hope Diamond is a rarity; it has a value that goes along with it. [This recent find] doesn’t have that kind of value.”
Additional reporting from the Associated Press