NJ man finds huge pearl in oyster: How rare are they?
If a New Jersey man needed to reaffirm his love of shellfish, this did the trick.
Rick Antosh recently discovered a pearl the size of a pea while eating lunch at Grand Central Oyster Bar in Manhattan (located at Grand Central Station).
The 66-year-old Edgewater resident told The New York Post he first worried that a filling or tooth had broken loose in his mouth, before realizing it was a 'gift' of sorts from one of the Blue Point oysters in his pan roast.
The oysters in question were harvested from Virginia, according to Executive Chef Sandy Ingber.
It's a story bound to inspire New Jersey seafood lovers to look extra carefully at their appetizers from now on. But, don't be too disappointed if you come up empty-handed.
Dr. Allison Fitzgerald of the NY/NJ Baykeeper confirms it was a pretty rare find for an East Coast variety. Fitzgerald is the NY oyster program coordinator for the organization's Oyster Restoration Program.
"Any bivalve can make a pearl," she said. "It’s what happens when sand or grit gets inside the body, between the mantle and the shell. The mucus (essentially) builds up around the irritant (sand usually) and forms the pearl. Our local varieties (Crassostrea virginica) don’t form pearls as easily as some others, but they definitely can."
Fitzgerald added Pinctata oysters, harvested in the Pacific Ocean and more exotic regions of the world, are known as pearl oysters.
Another member of the Baykeeper adds there's a theory that the way the calcium carbonate is produced is what makes pearls a rarity around the Atlantic Ocean.