A destitute Thai woman’s fortune may have changed forever after discovering an orange Melo pearl in her seafood that is said to be worth tens of thousands of pounds.
Kodchakorn Tantiwiwatkul had bought 70 baht (£ 1.65) sea snails from a local market for dinner in Satun province, Thailand, on January 30.
While cutting the snails into smaller pieces, she discovered that one of the snail shells contained a round orange object – which she initially thought was a rock.
Kodchakorn Tantiwiwatkul discovered a rare Melo pearl in one of the snail shells she bought for 70 baht (£ 1.65) for dinner on January 30 from a local market for dinner in Satun province, Thailand.
She was shocked to discover that the object was a six-gram Melo pearl, 1.5 cm in diameter, which could be worth a small fortune depending on its quality.
Fearing that the seller who sold her the snails would request the pearl back, Kodchakorn and her family kept it a secret.
But now, three months later, Kodchakorn has revealed that she plans to sell the pearl to raise the money needed to pay for her mother’s medical expenses.
She said, ‘I showed it to my mom and she said it is a Melo pearl and very valuable. We also watched the news on television where a fisherman sold his for a fortune. ‘
Fearing that the seller who sold her the snails would ask for the pearl back, Kodchakorn and her family initially kept the pearl a secret.
Kodchakorn has revealed she plans to sell the pearl (pictured) to raise the money needed to pay for her mother’s medical expenses
Kodchakorn’s father Niwat Tantiwiwatkul said they were “desperate” for money now that he had been in an accident and his wife needed cancer treatment. The medical bill can exceed one million baht (23,500 GBP).
He said, ‘We can’t wait any longer. Now we are desperate. My wife was diagnosed with cancer when I had an accident. This Melo pearl is our only hope of helping them access better treatment. ‘
On March 18, Kodchakorn and her family hope to make their request for help public and hope to find potential buyers who will offer them an appropriate price.
Kodchakorn added, ‘I’ve seen stories from other people who found Melo pearls and they’ve been able to sell them. I hope we can do the same as the money will be of great help. ‘
Kodchakorn discovered the Melo pearl, with a diameter of 1.5 cm and a weight of six grams, in this sea snail shell
Melo pearls range from orange to tan to brown in color – with orange being the most expensive shade.
Mostly found in the South China Sea and Andaman Sea off the coast of Myanmar, they are produced by predatory sea snails called Volutidae.
Kodchakorn isn’t the first lucky person to change his fortune thanks to the lucky discovery of a rare Melo pearl.
Last month, trucker Monthian Jansuk, 40, discovered a similar pearl worth £ 70,000 nestled in his £ 1 sea slug snack.
What are Melo Pearls?
Vibrant orange Melo pearls fetch the highest prices
Melo pearls are naturally occurring gemstones produced under the shell of a large sea snail species known as Melo Melo.
The gemstones are formed when an irritant gets under the shell of the snail causing the animal to produce secretions to ease the discomfort.
For several years, the layers of separations form a Melo pearl.
The pearls vary from brown to yellow or orange, depending on the color of the cochlea in which the gem was grown.
Orange Melo pearls come in just one of thousands of shells, which means that these gemstones fetch the highest prices.
Melo pearls cannot be grown like other pearls because the gem has not yet been successfully grown to be grown in foreign mussels or mussels.
This means that the Melo pearl is only found if it occurs naturally.
The gems are found in the South China Sea, in shallow waters off the coast of Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar.
Source: Obsessed with pearls
Officials confirmed that the gem is indeed an extremely rare Melo pearl, weighing 65.57 carats (13.11 grams).
Experts said the stone’s value is as high as anyone would be willing to pay, but market prices can reach thousands of dollars per carat, depending on the quality. Similar pearls sell for $ 1,700 (£ 1,226) per carat.
But the humble trucker, who never had more than a few hundred dollars to his name, said he was eager to sell the pearl for $ 33,350 (£ 24,047), just a third of its estimated price.
The worker and his wife, Wasana, 44, found the orange stone after cooking and eating the snail with their son biting into something hard.
Another £ 250,000 Melo pearl was discovered by poor fisherman Hatchai Niyomdecha, 37, while collecting shells with his family in Nakhon Si Thammarat province on January 27.
He found a discarded buoy washed up with a number of grenades, including three snail shells stuck to it, that his 35-year-old brother Worachat Niyomdecha was taking home.
They gave the snail shells to their father, Bangmad Niyomdecha, 60, who was cleaning them when he discovered the pearl – which is about the size of a 10 pence piece.
Hatchai called his wife, Worachat Niyomdecha, 35, and his two boys to inspect the beautiful 7.68 gram precious gem with him and decided to check its value the next day.
They asked about the pearl among their neighbors who flocked to their house after finding out that what they found was an extremely expensive pearl.
A few days later, a wealthy businessman from another province heard about the pearl and offered to buy it for a million baht (£ 25,000), but the family refused.
Another staunch luxury collector raised the offer to five million baht (£ 122,000), but the family still declined, believing they could get a much higher price for it.
A third potential buyer, this time from China, negotiated with the family to purchase the pearl for 10 million Baht – the expected price – but he wanted to see for himself if it was a real Melo.