Feb. 28 (UPI) -- A New Jersey man dining out with his wife at one of the couple's favorite restaurants made a surprising discovery inside a raw clam -- a large pearl that could be worth thousands of dollars.
Michael and Maria Spressler said they were dining at The Lobster House in Cape May recently when Michael ate the last of his dozen clams on the half shell and felt something hard in his mouth.
"I thought one of my molars cracked," Michael Spressler told NJ.com.
The couple said they were shocked when Michael spat out the .35-inch pearl.
"He's eaten dozens and dozens of clams, and we've never found anything like that, so it was pretty exciting," Maria Spressler told KYW-TV.
The Spresslers said they have been eating at The Lobster House for 34 years and never heard of anyone finding a pearl in their clams there.
Sarah Stadnicar, an employee at The Lobster House, confirmed the discovery was extremely rare.
"I have worked here for around 10 years now and I've never heard of someone finding one in one of our oysters or clam shells," Stadnicar said.
The Spresslers said their research indicates the pearl could be worth thousands of dollars, but they've decided to keep it for themselves.
"I would like to have it set into a nice piece of jewelry, maybe a mermaid or something nautical," Maria Spressler said. "It's a beautiful remembrance of that day and what we have is so special."