Puerto Princesa Tourism Office/EPA
August 25, 2016

After spending 10 years underneath a fisherman’s bed, the world’s largest pearl is starting a new career as a Filipino tourist attraction.

The pearl, which has an estimated worth of $100 million, weighs in at 75 pounds and measures over one foot wide and two feet long.

The lucky fisherman came across his record-breaking pearl about a decade ago when he dropped anchor of the coast of Puerto Princesa, a city on Palawan Island in the Philippines. When the anchor caught on a large shell during a storm, he swam down to unlodge the anchor and brought the shell up with him. When he opened the shell, he found the massive pearl inside.

The man kept it underneath his bed for 10 years as a token of good luck.

The fisherman, who has not been identified, apparently had no idea the value of his pearl. He kept living every day as normal, with the valuable pearl tucked away inside his wooden shack, until tragedy struck and his home set on fire.

The man cleaned up his remaining belongings and decided to give the pearl to tourism officials in Puerto Princesa. They were, understandably, shocked when he brought in the gargantuan clam pearl.

Tourism authorities in Puerto Princesa hope that the pearl will draw crowds to Palawan Island. It already drew much attention on display at the city’s town hall.

“We were amazed when he brought it to us. We now need help from gemologists to fully certify it,” tourism official Aileen Cynthia Amurao said in a statement. “We're waiting for authentication from Gemologist Institute and other international authorities.”

The previous record-holding pearl was found in 1934, also off the coast of Palawan Island. The Pearl of Lao Tze, as it was called, weighed only 14 pounds and was valued at $35 million. For a while, the pearl was displayed in Ripley’s Believe it or Not! in New York City.

Cailey Rizzo writes about travel, art and culture and is the founding editor of The Local Dive. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @misscaileyanne.

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