Watch CBS News

Family finds rare lavender pearl that could be worth thousands in appetizer at Rehoboth Beach restaurant

Family finds rare lavender pearl in appetizer at Salt Air Rehoboth Beach
Family finds rare lavender pearl in appetizer at Salt Air Rehoboth Beach 02:07

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. (CBS) - Summer means lots of time at the shore, and what's better after a long beach day than a seafood dinner? Well, one local man got a lot more in his order than he asked for, and turns out it could be worth a lot! 

A family, while eating at Salt Air in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, found a purple pearl in a clam. 


"It was towards the end of the bowl and I felt something kind of hard and when we looked down I thought it was a piece of shell or something but saw this purple little dot," Scott Overland said. 

The Overlands of Chester County found the lavender pearl surprise while dining with their two kids at Salt Air in Rehoboth Beach on Aug. 9.

"We didn't even know that clams grew pearls, and certainly, I've never seen one this color, this sort of lavender light purple color," Scott Overland said. 

"I was definitely surprised. I was like you're kidding me this is a joke kind of thing," his wife said. 

Experts say the $14 unintentional investment could be worth a pretty penny.  

"Pearls, especially natural pearls are valued on their size, their shape, their color, the surface blemish and their luster. A pearl like that could go for a thousand, $2,000, $3,000 and up," Shawn O'Sullivan, president of Gemological Resources in Glenside, said. 

He says the odds of finding natural pearls are 1 in 10,000.

"The rarity of that, the good fortune for that person, provided they don't break a tooth or something, is really, really, really lucky. It's like a lightning strike. I think that person certainly won the lottery today or yesterday when they found that pearl," O'Sullivan said. 

This isn't just about luck, it's about chance. The couple nearly sent the profitable plate back because it came with peppers.

"It ended up being a very good decision for us and a little lesson that sometimes you get rewarded for not being a pain at restaurants," Overland said. 

As far as what they'll do with it, "it could be a fun family heirloom, certainly a fun memory and I think it'll be a nice thing to hold on to and have for Katie and to give to our daughter as well," Overland said. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.