48 pearls in oyster dinner

A Victoria man is "shellebrating" after biting into an oyster and discovering 48 pearls.

Eric Bourquin and his wife, Alice Dehen, were enjoying pan-fried oyster appetizers at a friends’ home Saturday evening.

Dehen thought her husband was choking – then she realized he was spitting out pearls.

“I was like: ‘Wow. Look at that.’ We thought it was over, but he kept pulling out these little tiny pieces. It was quite an experience,” she said Tuesday.

Bourquin had already eaten two oysters, and when he bit into the third ... "I thought I’d bitten into a bunch of rocks. They really crunched,” he said.

“I thought: ‘Oh man, this is damage to my teeth.’ So I started picking out what’s in my mouth expecting it to be rocks, and it’s pearls. And there must have been a dozen of them in my mouth and we’re all standing around going: ‘Wow. Unreal.’”

His friend, Ross Wilson, harvested the oysters south of Courtenay.

“We’ve lived on the West Coast all our lives and Alice has found a small pearl once. I wouldn’t want to have the experience of almost breaking my teeth again, but just finding them was pretty neat,” Bourquin said.

The women are planning to pick through the pearls and choose the ones they want to keep, he said.

“My wife was thinking of making a pendant or maybe some earrings or a ring. Lots of possibilities. There’s some big enough there. You could string it up."

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