When Aileen Cynthia Maggay-Amurao discovered the secret her nephew had kept under his bed for a decade, she could not believe her eyes. Unlike most people who toss junk or large collections of porn under their mattress, Aileen’s nephew stored his good luck charm. On its own, that is not anything special. However, when that good luck charm ends up being the world’s largest pearl, the situation changes dramatically.
The Filipino fisherman found the massive gemstone off the coast of Palawan Island in the Philippines in 2005. While at sea, the man’s anchor stuck inside a giant clam, which can weigh up to 450 pounds. As he freed his anchor from the massive mollusk, he found the pearl inside. Understandably, the exact location of the pearl’s discovery remains a closely guarded secret. Weighing in at over 75 pounds, and measuring over 2 feet wide and one foot long, the pearl initially served as a sign of divine fortune. Upon its discovery, Maggay-Amurao’s nephew and his friends rubbed the pearl for good luck. Eventually, however, he hid the pearl under his bed and forgot about it.
Surrounded by junk and dust balls, the pearl sat for 8 years. Then, however, his house burned down. Fortunately, the pearl survived unscathed. At that point, he told his aunt, a tourism official for Puerto Princesa City, about the pearl. After consulting with local gemologists, she put the gemstone on display in the atrium of New Green City Hall. Also, capitalizing on social media, she made a call for gemologists from around the world to confirm the pearl as the world’s largest.
After months of extensive tests, a team of experts concluded that this was, indeed, the largest pearl in the world. In total, the gemologists estimate the gemstone’s worth at $100 million. The World Record size of the pearl dwarfs the previous record holder. The Pearl of Lao Tzu, also known as the Pearl of Allah, was discovered off the west coast of the Philippines in 1934. It weighs only 14 pounds, with a diameter of 9 inches, and is valued at $35 million. Its name comes from the discoverer’s belief that the pearl looks like a turban-clad, bearded face. The Pearl of Lao Tzu is on display at New York’s Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum.