Diner finds valuable pearl in his oyster while eating at Manhattan restaurant

/ CBS News

A man eating oysters at a Manhattan restaurant got quite a surprise when something unexpected and precious went from the plate to his mouth. It was a pearl worth thousands of dollars.

Rick Antosh of Edgewater, New Jersey, walked in to the Oyster Bar inside Grand Central Terminal for lunch with a friend on Dec. 1 and walked out with something quite extraordinary.

"That was the best oyster pan roast I ever ordered," Antosh said with a laugh.

At first, Antosh didn't even know he had found a pearl.

"We were engaged in conversation and all of a sudden, whoop, what is that?" he told CBS New York. "I didn't bite on it, but I sensed something was odd. I thought maybe it was a filling or a tooth."

Antosh examined the pea-shaped treasure, noting that it was not perfectly round. And another thing about it jumped out at him.

"When I saw the black dot, that really intrigued me. What is that? I first thought, is this something that broke off a utensil from the kitchen?" he said.

The restaurant confirmed that, yes, it was a pearl, adding that finding one this way is extremely rare.

"The one chef in the restaurant said he's been there 28 years and this is only the second time this has happened," Antosh said.

Antosh said he's heard the pearl is likely worth thousands of dollars, but he won't have it appraised because he won't be selling it. As long as his crafty cat doesn't somehow swipe it, he expects it will stay with him and bring him luck.

"The end of the year, you know, for next year, this is a sign," Antosh said.

He said he loves oysters and will eat them even more often now, hoping to beat the odds again and make it a set.

The chance of a pearl forming in an oyster is estimated at 1 in every 10,000. It usually occurs when a piece of sand gets in the shell.

First published on December 17, 2018

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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