Diner finds $4k pearl in his lunch at Grand Central’s oyster bar

A man, who initially thought he’d lost a tooth in a mouthful of shellfish stew at Grand Central Station’s oyster bar in New York, was surprised to discover that the foreign object was actually a pearl worth between US$2,000 to $4,000.

Rick Antosh, 66, is a regular customer at the oyster bar and ordered his usual $14.75 oyster pan roast while dining with a friend on 5 December.

Taking a mouthful of the stew-like dish which combines butter, cream, clam juice and six Blue Point oysters, he felt a small, hard object in his mouth.

While initially thinking it could be a lost or chipped tooth, or a loose filling, it turned out to be a pearl.

Speaking to the New York Post, he said: “This isn’t Joe’s Steakhouse. It’s the most famous oyster place in the United States. I [assumed] it doesn’t happen often, but figured it happens at times.”

Pocketing the pearl, Antosh later contacted the staff at the restaurant who stressed just how rare the incident was.

Executive chef Sandy Ingber told the New York Post“I’ve been here 28 years. This is only the second time I’ve seen this happen. And we sell over 5,000 oysters on the half shell every day.”

Pearls are formed when an irritant, for example a parasite, becomes lodged inside the oyster’s shell. The mollusk protects itself by incasing the irritant in a fluid which hardens over time to form a pearl.

The chances of finding a natural pearl is very rare, with sources usually citing odds of around 1 in 12,000.

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