A woman bit down on a rare pearl while dining on a clam dish at an Issaquah restaurant.

Share story

Even at the fanciest restaurants, it’s rare to take a $600 bite.

For Lindsay Hasz, who was dining with her husband, Chris, at Montalcino in Issaquah, it was a rather jarring experience.

“I ordered a seafood dish that was clams and mussels with linguine in a white-wine and lemon sauce,” Hasz explained. “About midway eating through my meal, I bit down on something hard. I almost broke my tooth, it was so hard.”

In the dark restaurant, Hasz couldn’t quite figure out what caused the crunch.

This week, save 75% on select subscriptions.

“It was so perfectly round, it looked like a pearl,” Hasz said. But it was darker than your typical white pearl. “So dark, I thought it was black in the light … I basically just put it in my pocket and finished dinner and didn’t even think about it.”

Back at their Issaquah home, the mysterious sphere looked purple. After some Internet sleuthing, Hasz realized she’d chomped down on quite the surprise.

“When I Googled this pearl, I found a very specific kind of pearl called a Quahog pearl. They’re very rare. I saw some on sale online for thousands of dollars,” she said.

She took the pearl to an Issaquah gemologist, who confirmed it was created by a Quahog clam.

“I rarely see them here at all. This is really more indigenous to the East Coast,” Ted Irwin, of the Northwest Gemological Laboratory, told the Issaquah Press, which first reported the story.

He told the Issaquah newspaper that the pearl, which is worth at least $600, was created by natural processes inside the Quahog clam.

Hasz told the Times she has no plans to sell, and is in the market for a jeweler.

“If I put it in a necklace, what a neat story.”