Eric Bourquin holds a handful of the pearls discovered inside an oyster he was eating at a friend’s house in Saanichton. (Photo courtesy of Eric Bourquin)

Pearl-filled oyster surprises Greater Victoria dinner party guests

Oyster, caught in Courtenay, contained almost 50 pearls of varying sizes

A pearl-filled oyster had a Greater Victoria man fearing for his own pearly whites after he bit into the fresh-caught mollusc at a friend’s house on Saturday night.

READ ALSO: Scuba scientists help save endangered marine life off Vancouver Island

Eric Bourquin said his friend trapped the oysters in a “secret spot” near Courtenay, not long before their evening dinner in Saanichton. The oysters were dipped in flour and pan-fried for appetizers while the friends drank a few beers before dinner.

But after one bite, Bourquin knew he had not been given an ordinary oyster.

“It was like biting into a bunch of rocks,” he said. “I almost chipped my teeth.”

Bourquin spit out the pearls in his mouth and started looking through the rest of the oyster. Sure enough, there were dozens more.

Bourquin said he and his wife both grew up in Victoria, often eating fresh local seafood, but neither had ever bitten into a pearl-filled oyster.

“We couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I’ve never experienced anything like that.”

READ ALSO: Two B.C. oyster farms closed by norovirus

The oyster itself was small – barely three inches long – but somehow contained almost 50 pearls of varying sizes. One resembles a molar tooth and some are only one or two millimetres in size.

Bourquin says the misshapen pearls are likely not worth much and he’s given them to his wife and the oystercatcher to make pendants or earrings. Still, biting into dinner and finding secret treasure has left the couple happy as a clam.



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