Michael and Maria Spressler recently found a pearl possibly worth thousands inside a clam at The Lobster House Restaurant in Cape May, NJ. The Spresslers have been going to this favorite restaurant of theirs for 34 years, but this is the first time something so exciting like this has occurred. The two had actually first met at this restaurant on President’s Day weekend in 1987, so they commemorate that special day here each year.
They ordered a dozen clams on the half shell, getting ready to chow down when Michael noticed something unusual in one of the clams.
The Spresslers find a pearl in their clam on the half shell—what will they do with it?
“I was down to the 12th one and when I picked it up on the fork it looked kinda heavy, but I didn’t think nothing of it,” Spressler tells CBS affiliate KYW-TV. “Then when I started to eat it, I noticed something was in my mouth. I actually thought one of my tooth broke.” Maria called it a “once in a lifetime event” and said it was shocking what happened considering they frequent the restaurant quite often.
“He’s eaten dozens and dozens of clams and we’ve never found anything like that so it was pretty exciting,” she said. Keith Laudeman, the restaurant owner, shared the same feelings and statements when he did an interview with TODAY Food.
“It’s pretty rare,” he explained. “We’ve seen small ones that aren’t really pearls but nothing like this.” The Lobster House Restaurant has been run by the same family for the past 100 years and says he’s surprised that the story has gone viral so quickly. Laudeman added that people from all over the country all calling, and that it’s obviously been great for business!
The official Facebook page for the restaurant posted about the rare findings, but some people were skeptical as they thought only oysters produced pearls. The restaurant was quick to jump in and clarify: “Both produce pearls. Most common in oysters but clams and mussels too. It’s the bivalve’s reaction to debris or grit,” they wrote.
So, what do the Spresslers plan to do with the pearl? Maria has ideas. “I would like to have it set into a nice piece of jewelry, maybe a mermaid or something nautical,” she said. “It’s a beautiful remembrance of that day and what we have is so special.”