Introducing the Giga Pearl - the World's Largest Natural Pearl!
Updated: Apr 15
One of the more interesting projects I am currently consulting on is the Giga Pearl. The Giga Pearl is the world's largest GIA (Gemological Institute of America) certified natural pearl. It weighs in at a massive 27.65 Kg, which is four times larger than the next competitor, the Pearl of Lao-Tzu (formerly the Pearl of Allah) which weighs 6.4 Kg. It is mounted within a giant gold-leafed bronze octopus, specifically designed by artist Bethany Krull.
The Giga Pearl is a family heirloom passed down to my client Mr. Abraham Reyes. Mr. Reye's grandfather gave the specimen to his aunt in 1959.
Resembling a giant tooth, nobody really knew what the object was until a couple of years ago when it arrived in Canada. It was quickly taken to New York City where it was tested and certified by the GIA to be a natural blister pearl from a rare giant clam (tridacna gigas).
These giant clams are most often found in the Palawan regions of the south-western Philippines, and a blister pearl is one that grows along the interior shell of a clam (as opposed to pearls that grow within the mantle of a clam).
This growth occurs when a foreign body (usually a parasite) enters a clam between the mantle and interior shell and induces an irritation. As a result, the clam secretes protective layers (nacre) over the irritant, forming the pearl. We estimated the growth of the Giga Pearl would have taken more than 1000 years!
I have been working on this project for over 2.5 years as an art advisor, and it was only this past March that we decided to go public with the Giga Pearl. The reaction in the news has been quite stellar so far!
It all started with a write-up in the CBC titled "Mississauga, Ont., man's been hiding what could be the world's largest pearl — now he wants to show it off".
This was followed up by numerous other articles including a really cool video put together by BBC Canada - "A pearl as you've never seen it before".
This past June, we were featured in a 14 minute video put together by Fairchild TV Canada. This segment titled "家傳珍珠 (全世界最大粒的珍珠) (Family Pearl: The World's Largest Pearl)" targets more of a Chinese speaking audience and provides a thorough history about the Giga Pearl and Mr. Reye's involvement as the designated family guardian of the heirloom.
One of the questions I am most often asked is whether or not we want to sell the Giga Pearl. At the moment Mr. Reye's mandate is to showcase the pearl to the world - whether it is in a museum, gallery or public space. Mr. Reye's is an avid supporter of the environment and wishes to use this opportunity to start dialogues about issues including global climate change and water pollution.
Anyways, I have attached some additional from taken during our interview with Fairchild TV Canada. We were kindly hosted by Stunning Arts Gallery in Richmond Hill (just north of Toronto).
1. Interview with reporter Sherona Leung from Fairchild TV on June 2, 2019. We were sitting on a pair of Chinese rosewood 'southern officials hat' chairs that were over 100 years old!
2. Another view of the interview with Chinese antiques as a backdrop.
3. Image of me and the Giga Pearl in its bronze Octopus mount. Abraham Reyes is to my right, and the gallery owner, Benson Lin, is to my left.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions of comments about my work with the Giga Pearl, or anything that is Asian Art related.