Quahog pearls (pronounced KO-hog) are extremely rare organic gems produced naturally by the bivalve clam, Venus mercenaria or Mercenaria mercenaria.
Quahog pearls are found by fishermen off the eastern coast of the United States, typically in the New England region, where clams are harvested for their delicious meat for use in popular dishes such as clam chowder. It is estimated that only 1 out of every 100,000 quahog clams will produce a pearl of any kind and the majority of them are not attractive enough to be used in jewelry. Purple and lavender are considered to be the most valuable shades of quahog pearls.
Famous Quahog Pearls:
In 2005, a Rhode Island jeweler named Alan Golash purchased a brooch from an antique store for $14, that was believed to be costume jewelry. This brooch turned out to be a Georgian Era enameled high karat gold brooch, circa 1835, set with one of the world's largest, and finest quality, quahog pearls along with an additional quahog pearl dangle. The brooch was later named The Golash Brooch after its discoverer. The large, center pearl was named Pearl of Venus by Golash.
In 2015, a 6-plus carat lavender Quahog pearl was found by a policeman while eating a seafood soup. This pearl received national media attention and wound up selling at Kaminski Auctions for $16,500.00.