Lebanese Chef Discovers 26 Pearls

A Lebanese woman working in a restaurant kitchen found 26 pearls in an oyster she was preparing for the table and is to submit the find to the Guinness Book of Records.

Amal Salha, 50, said she was helping out her son in his Al Fanar restaurant on the waterfront in the southern port of Tyre, when she made the astonishing find on Monday evening.

"I couldn't believe it," she told AFP.

"I was in the process of opening the shells when I found a number of shining pearls inside one of them," she said. "I was so startled I screamed.

"It was so beautiful. It looked like a bunch of grapes."

After counting them, there turned out to be 26 pearls of varying sizes. The oyster had been harvested off the Lebanese coast.

Pearl oysters are unrelated to the oysters normally eaten in Europe but Salha said they were still popular with the French and Italian soldiers serving with the U.N. peacekeeping force deployed in south Lebanon.

"We buy these oysters at 10 dollars a kilo (less than five dollars a pound)," said Salha's husband, Raymond.

"Generally we find one or two pearls but 26 is very rare," he said, adding that the couple hoped their find would merit an entry in the Guinness Book of Records.


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