A truck driver claims he found a rare orange Melo pearl inside seafood he bought for lunch.
Monthian Jansuk, 40, paid 50 baht (1.20 GBP) for the ‘apple snail’ shell from a market near his home in Chonburi province, Thailand, on February 10.
The worker and his wife, Wasana, 44, also bought half a kilo of fresh fish, prawns and clams, which they grilled over hot coals. They boiled the sea snail before eating them with their son.
The youngster was tucking into the meat from the large orange shell that was about seven inches long and three inches wide, when he bit into something hard.
The family said they were shocked when he spat out a beautiful orange pearl about the size of a coin and weighing 7 grams.
At first, they thought it was just a ‘snail egg’ but realised it may have been one of the rarest pearls in the world, an orange Melo pearl, after seeing news of another find last month.
The delighted father is now having the suspected pearl authenticated but believes he could earn hundreds of thousands of pounds for it.
He said: ‘My family and neighbours all gathered to take a look at the stone and agreed that it was something we’ve never seen before.
‘Of course, we want to make sure that it is one of the expensive pearls, but I have an instinct that we could earn a lot of money for it.’
Monthian said the orange stone was found inside a snail shell, which he had bought for the first time as he had never eaten them before.
He said the vendor assured him they were edible and said she only had one left.
Monthian added: ‘I’m so glad I bought it. The pearl could change my life.’
Last month, a struggling fisherman found a Melo pearl while picking up oysters on a beach. Hatchai Niyomdecha, 37, was offered up to 10 million Baht (£256k) for the 7.68-gram precious gem.
However, its sale was delayed after he was allegedly caught celebrating the find by having a meth party with friends at his home in Nakhon Si Thammarat province on February 5.
Melo pearls range from orange to tan to brown in colour – with orange being the most expensive shade. They are usually found in South China Sea and Andaman Sea off the coast of Myanmar and are produced by predatory sea snails called Volutidae.