The enormous pearl is 30cm wide (1ft), 67cm long (2.2ft) and weighs 34kg (75lb). If it is confirmed to have formed within a giant clam, as has been reported, it would likely be valued in excess of US$100m.
According a report in the local Palawan News, a man from Puerto Princesa, on Palawan Island, found it more than a decade ago while out fishing. His boat’s anchor caught on the giant clam and he had to swim down to dislodge it.
He was not aware of its potential value but kept it as a good luck charm.
He has now handed the pearl over to the local tourism office, which has put it on display in the atrium of the New Green City Hall in Puerto Princesa.
Aileen Cynthia Maggay-Amurao, the local government’s tourism officer in Puerto Princesa, told the Palawan News that she had alerted gemologists’ groups to the discovery.
She made a call on Facebook for experts’ help in confirming the pearl’s authenticity.
“The Puerto Princesa City would likely earn another prestigious title and a record breaker for having the world’s biggest natural giant pearl from a giant clam (34 kilograms) after being certified for its authenticity,” she wrote. “Need help from gemologists!
“Just for the info of everyone, all recorded giant pearls in the world came from Palawan waters.”
She encouraged all residents of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, and Filipinos around the globe to raise awareness of the potential record-breaker. The post was shared thousands of times.
If it is found to be real, the pearl is significantly larger than the current record-holder, which as Maggay-Amurao noted was also from Palawan. A local diver from Brooke’s Point in Palawan recovered what is now known as the Pearl of Lao Tzu, weighing 6.4kg, in 1939.
In 2003 it was valued at $93m by Michael “Buzz” Steenrod, a gemologist based in Colorado Springs.