About 10 years ago, a fisherman from Puerto Princesa, on Palawan Island near the Philippines, snagged his anchor during a squall at sea. When he swam down to free the anchor, he saw it was lodged in the shell of a Tridacna gigas (aka, the giant clam). From it, he recovered a large natural pearl that he kept in his home as a good luck charm – until one day in 2016 when he showed it to his aunt Aileen Cynthia Amurao, who is also the City Tourism Officer of Puerto Princesa.
Amurao knew the pearl must be special because of its sheer mass: 1ft wide, 2.2ft long, and 75 pounds (170,000 carats). Using her government connections to raise awareness of the pearl in the scientific community, Amurao sought a professional appraisal of the pearl. Via officials in the Philippines, the pearl was recently verified as the new record-holder for “World’s Largest Pearl.” The fisherman (who wishes to remain anonymous) granted permission for the pearl to be displayed in the atrium of the New Green City Hall in Puerto Princesa as a tourist attraction for the city. Although the “Pearl of Puerto Princesa” is not gem-quality, it’s been valued at $100 million.
The previous world-record was held by the “Pearl of Lao Tzu,” which measures 9.45 inches in diameter, weighs 14.2lbs, and is valued at about $35 million. Just like the Pearl of Puerto Princesa, the Pearl of Lao Tzu also came from a giant clam in the waters surrounding Palawan Island. It is currently on exhibit at Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Museum in New York.