Rare Natural Pearl Became a Symbol of Their Journey; Now They're Married

The 9.8mm natural quahog pearl at the center of the engagement ring Ken Steinkamp presented to Sandy Sikorski last summer continues to be a symbol of their love story. The couple just hosted a pearl-themed wedding at the famed Ocean House resort, high on the bluffs of Watch Hill, RI, and Inside Edition was on hand to chronicle the festivities.

Pearl and clam iconography abounded.

There were faux pearls affixed to the place settings, pearl beads decorating the champagne bottles and pearl-like candies streaming down the side of the wedding cake. At the top of the cake was an open clam revealing what appears to be a white meringue treat in the shape of a giant pearl. Guests also enjoyed clam-shaped cookies, and Sikorski's granddaughter got into the spirit by wearing pearls on her shoes.

The couple's pearl-themed adventure began in the winter of 2021.

While sharing a dozen quahogs (pronounced Kwo-hogs) at The Bridge Restaurant and Raw Bar in downtown Westerly, RI, the couple encountered a rare jewel that would forever change their lives.

In an interview with Providence NBC affiliate WJAR, Steinkamp described the scene as only one clam remained uneaten on the tray.

“No, no, no. You have it," Steinkamp said. "You really like these.”

When Sikorski attempted to slurp down the tender morsel, something was not quite right.

“I tasted this big, round thing in my mouth and I was thinking, ‘What the heck is this?” she recounted.

What Sikorski nearly consumed was a very rare natural pearl.

“What were the odds of a pearl being inside the shell?” Sikorski wondered out loud.

A local jeweler later told her that the odds of finding a natural pearl of that size in a perfectly symmetrical oval shape was one in a million.

On July 8, 2023, Steinkamp got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend of four years with a diamond-accented engagement ring featuring their special pearl at the center.

“We felt that [the pearl] was kind of a signal, or an odd bit of synchronicity,” Steinkamp told WJAR. “And we said, ‘This would be a great engagement ring.'”

The natural pearls found in clams are classified as non-nacreous and have a porcelain-like appearance. The cultured pearls grown in oysters present a deeper glow resulting from layers of nacre that refract the light.

A natural quahog pearl is very rare, and a single specimen — depending on the size, quality and shape — can be worth thousands of dollars.

“We’re both romantics and this is the perfect type of ring for that and the perfect place,” Sikorski told Inside Edition. “We feel it’s part of our life’s journey and it’s all come together for this.”

The couple will be honeymooning in Paris.

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com / Inside Edition.