Catch of the day: Man finds rare purple pearl in clam appetizer at Delaware restaurant

REHOBOTH, Del. — A Pennsylvania man on vacation got far more than a meal when he ordered clams at a restaurant, finding a rare purple pearl inside his appetizer.

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Scott Overland was eating a $14 appetizer at Salt Air Restaurant when he tasted something hard, he told WRDE.

“This was actually most of the way through the bowl of clams and felt just something hard as I ate one of them and at first I thought it was a shell or something like that and then when I looked at it, it was purple so that was kind of unusual,” Overland told the station.

Overland said that at first, his wife thought it was candy or something else the chef had mistakenly dropped into the dish, WCAU reported.

“As we were looking at the shell, we saw this little indentation on the shell, inside the clam where it was growing, so we figured it was probably something from inside the clam,” Overland told WCAU.

While Overland said he was shocked to see a pearl in a clam, rather than an oyster, pearls grow in both species as well as other mollusks, USA Today reported. The specific clam that Overland ate was a northern quahog, which can produce porcelain-like pearls ranging in color from white to brown to shades of purple, USA Today reported.

“Pearls these days are cultured. … So depending on … the chemistry of the water, the pearl could come out in different colors,” Paul Cheng, the president of a Delaware jeweler, told WRDE.

A spokesman for Ballard Clams and Oysters told USA Today that he hears reports of diners finding pearls in their meals two or three times a year, saying it usually results in a dental claim.

Overland said the pearl was almost never found, because he considered sending the dish back. Overland told WCAU that the dish came with a pepper garnish, and his wife is not a fan of peppers.

“I guess sometimes you get rewarded for not being a pain at restaurants!” Overland told USA Today.

Overland told WRDE that he is planning to get the pearl appraised to know its value, but has not yet decided whether to keep it or sell it.

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