The Purple Pearl
A Newport, Rhode Island man picked this piece up for $14 in 2000 thinking it was a piece of costume jewelry. It turns out that the pin features a rare quahog pearl that could fetch upwards of $250,000 when it goes up for auction in Hong Kong after it has been exhibited in shows and museums. The brooch is suspected to be a Victorian piece. It is made of 18-karat gold, enamel and three small rose-cut diamonds and features two large natural quahog pearls. The quahog is a thick-shelled member of the clam family and so the quahog pearl is not technically a pearl since it does not come from an oyster or mussel. I grew up digging for quahogs on Cape Cod (or at least I sat in the boat while the quahoging was going on) and we never turned up any pearls, perhaps it's time to try again this summer.