The World's Largest Pearl

Pearl of Puerto

As I’m sure you know, the pearl is the birthstone for June or at least the most popular one. In case you missed it, click here to check out our blog article about June’s birthstones which highlights a number of fascinating facts about this fabulous gem. Now, as they say in the infomercials, “Wait! There’s More!”

Do you know how large the world’s largest pearl is?

In order to answer that question, we must first talk about how pearls are formed: nacreous vs non-nacreous pearls. The luster of what we classically call pearls is known as a nacre. Nacre is the substance from which these pearls are formed (a combination of conchiolin and calcium carbonate). It’s what gives pearls that shine. Pearls can also be formed from calcite, but these types of pearls don’t have that shine we love. These are known as non-nacreous pearls. They are, however, rarer because they can only be formed naturally unlike nacreous pearls which can be created in pearl farms.

Now that you know a bit more about how pearls are created we can now talk about the world’s largest pearl because the answer depends on how the pearl was formed.

  • The Pearl of Asia is the world’s largest nacreous pearl. It’s history dates back over 400 years passing through the hands of the King of Persia and the Chinese Emperor Qianlong. It measures 76 mm x 50 mm x 28 mm and weighs 600 carats.
  • The Giga Pearl is currently officially the largest nacreous pearl weighing 60 pounds 15 ounces and measuring 15.5 inches by 9 inches by 8.25 inches. It was officially certified by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and has a value of $60 to $200 million.
  • The Pearl of Puerto is 170,000 carats, 2.2 feet long and one foot wide, and weighs 75 pounds. It had an estimated value of $93 million is 2003 and while it’s received press from CNN to NPR to the Smithsonian Magazine, it has yet to be certified.

The Pearl of Puerto was discovered in 1996 by an unidentified fisherman, but he kept it under his bed for 10 years as a good luck charm not realizing it’s value. He only discovered the pearl after deciding to cook the clam that held it! The true value of the pearl only became known after he gave it to a relative for safe keeping when he had to move.

We don’t have anything quite this large, but we’ve added a few new pearl items to the site.  Click here to check them out.