Good luck charms come in all shapes and sizes. Some people use a rabbit’s foot while others have lucky socks or underwear. Rarely are these items worth very much fiscally, although they may be rich in sentimental value.
However, a Filipino fisherman may have found the largest and most valuable pearl in the world and then kept it hidden under his bed for over a decade as a good luck charm.
Its value was only discovered when he asked a relative to keep it safe for him during a move.
According to the Naples Daily News, over a decade ago the fisherman, his father, and his brothers were stuck in a squall and sought refuge on a small island.
They found a giant clam with a giant pearl stuck to their anchor when they pulled it up from the reef and had to swim down to free it.
Unaware of its value, from then on the pearl sat under the fisherman’s bed in Puerto Princesa on Palawan Island, the largest island in the southwest of the Philippines. The fisherman and his family would rub it for good luck when they went out to sea.
His small house burned down in 2016 but the pearl survived, and when he was moving he asked his aunt Aileen Cynthia Maggay-Amurao to watch over it for him as it was too heavy to transport.
It sat on a bench in her home for a while before she became curious and decided to investigate its worth.
It was then she discovered that the 12-inch by 26-inch pearl that weighed about 75 pounds was a potentially life-changing find.
The gem needs to be certified, but it is possibly worth over 100 million dollars, according to Forbes, and would be about 170,000 carats according to NPR.
Furthermore, pearls, the only gems to grow inside a living organism, typically grow inside oysters. Therefore, this pearl, found inside a clam, is even rarer than its size alone would suggest.
If authenticated, it would be officially the largest discovered pearl in the world.
Up until now, the largest clam-grown pearl, also found off the coast of Palawan Island in the 1930s, weighed only 14 pounds and was valued at 93 million dollars but cost a local man his life when it was retrieved.
According to The Atlantic, this older pearl is known as the “Pearl of Allah” because the local chief saw the face of the prophet Mohammed in it.
Alternatively, it’s called the “Pearl of Lao Tzu” after an ancient Chinese philosopher and is claimed to contain the faces of Confucius, the Buddha, and Lao Tzu. It is on display in New York at Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Museum.
This new find has been named the “Pearl of Puerto” by the local government. After discovering the good luck charm’s potential worth, Maggay-Amurao, who works for the government as a local tourism officer, offered the pearl to the local mayor.
Mayor Lucilo R. Bayon, wanted to use it as a tourist attraction, with the fisherman’s permission. It was then displayed in the New Green City Hall in Puerto Princesa. Maggay-Amurao has put out a call on Facebook for gemologists to come to certify her nephew’s find.
According to The National, the fisherman, who was previously poor and wishes to remain unnamed, has not signed the pearl over to the local government. He may soon be in for a large change of fortune once the actual value is able to be assessed.
Generally, the hope is that good luck charms will influence their owners’ life for the better, but it is rare for one to be as valuable as this fisherman’s pearl.
It is unbelievable that something so valuable lay under a wooden bed for a decade, but now that it has come to light, it is poised to be even luckier for the fisherman than it was before.