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Spotlight on: the Pearl of Lao Tzu

Spotlight on: the Pearl of Lao Tzu

According to legend, Lao Tzu, the famous philosopher, once owned this gigantic pearl. Lao Tzo is best known for being the author of the Tao Te Ching. Whether or not the famous Lao Tzu actually owned the pearl or not, the Lao Tzu pearl is impressive in its own right.

This pearl is the largest known pearl in the world. It measures 24 centimeters in diameter, and weights 14.1 pounds. It was most recently appraised for $93 million in 2007 .

It is not just the size of the pearl of Lao Tzu that makes it so unique and interesting. Unlike most pearls, it does not have a shiny, iridescent surface. Instead the pearl is a clam pearl and is made by a giant clam. As a result it has a lumpier, longer shape. It is instead porcellenus, much like a china plate.

The unusual shape of this pearl lends itself to its other name, the pearl of Allah. The odd shape made people think that the pearl looked like a Mohammad wearing a turban.

No matter the name of the pearl it is certainly impressive. The most accurate record of the history of the pearl dates back to 1934 off the coast of the Philippines. The diver who originally found the pearl was killed by the clam when he tried to remove it from its jaws.

After being discovered, the pearl was obtained by William Cobb who said he had been given it after saving the Dayak chief’s son from malaria. Cobb later claimed that while the pearl was being exhibited at the Ripley Museum, he was approached by a man named Lee who claimed that the pearl was the lost Pearl of Lao Tzu. While unlikely, it does make for an incredible story.

Cathy C for Raymond Lee Jewelers, premiere fine jewelry and luxury watch boutique and buyer.

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