The story of the discovery of the Pearl of Lao Tzu is surrounded by mystery, myths and legends, but the true origin of this gem has remained elusive. It also became the central player in the biggest wrongful death ruling ever handed down in Colorado, USA.
The Pearl is not on public display and is presently included in the probate history of Victor M. Barbish. Pearl farming is a major industry in Palawan. Several pearl farms currently operate in the municipalities of Balabac, Taytay, San Vicente, Dumaran, Busuanga, Culion, Linapacan and Coron.
A former pearl farm in Samal Island in Davao was converted into what is now a world-class private retreat.
The pearl came from Brooke's Point, Palawan in the Philippines. Wilburn Cobb, an American who brought the pearl from the Philippines in 1939 and owned it until his death in 1979, published an account of how he came to own it in Natural History magazine. According to Cobb, he wanted to buy it from a Philippine tribal chief when he first heard of it in 1934, but the chief, a Muslim, did not want to sell because he considered the pearl sacred, in part because of its resemblance to the turbaned head of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. However, Cobb relates, he saved the life of the chief's son, who was stricken with malaria, in 1936 and was given the pearl as a token of gratitude. Because of its sacred associations, the pearl came to be known as the Pearl of Allah. Today the Pearl of Lao Tzu is valued at $3.5 Million.