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Diner Almost Eats a Rare Purple Pearl Worth $600

The pearl was found across a continent from its natural habitat

Wikimedia Commons

One Washington woman's pasta order came with a rare gem garnish a few weeks ago. Lindsay Hasz was dining out with her husband at Montalcino Ristorante Italiano in Issaquah, a town about 20 miles outside of Seattle, when she found a purple Quahog pearl in her dish, reports ABC News.

Hasz reportedly was digging into a plate of frutti di mare — that's pasta with a variety of shellfish — when she bit into something and nearly broke a tooth. "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," she told ABC. "Too perfect." Hasz presented the small object to a gemologist who confirmed it was, in fact, a rare pearl.

Ted Irwin, president of the Northwest Geological Laboratory and director of the Northwest Geological Institute, informed Hasz the Quahog is worth roughly $600. Similar pearls are typically native to the New England area, and Irwin told ABC the chances of finding one are "one in a couple million."

Not only was the pearl a nice find for Hasz, it's resulted in a business boom for the restaurant. The owners told ABC customers are coming in and ordering the frutti di mare with hopes of finding another exotic gem. It's a fortunate turn of luck for Montalcino: Had Hasz bitten into a worthless rock instead of a valuable pearl, one has to imagine she would have been more likely to sue the restaurant than celebrate it.

Finding one pearl in a shellfish dish is exciting, but it's nothing compared to finding 50 in one fried oyster. That's what a woman discovered while dining at a Tennessee restaurant last April. Though, considering the rarity and value of her purple gem, Hasz will surely take quality over quantity.

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