Gemologists confirm stone found in trucker’s lunch is rare Melo pearl worth more than $100,000


Gemologists have confirmed that a small orange stone found in a family’s seafood lunch is a rare Melo pearly that could be worth more than $100,000.

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.

He boiled the shell and ate it with wife Wasana, 44, and their son, who bit into the hard stone.

Officials yesterday (Feb 16) confirmed that the gem is an extremely rare Melo pearl. They said it was 65.57 carats or 13.114 grams.

Gemologists said the stone’s value is as much as someone would be willing to pay – but market prices could be thousands of dollars per carat, depending on the quality. Similar pearls are selling for $1,700 / carat.

However, humble Monthian – whose never had more than a few hundred dollars to his name – said he would accept a minimum of million Thai baht (33,350 USD) for the pearl.

He said: ‘I knew as soon as I saw the pearl that it was special. It was my instinct. So I’m happy that we have the certificate to prove it.

‘I’ve put the pearl in a safe at the bank and we will sell it, but we’re not a in a hurry. This is like winning the lottery, but I will keep working for now. If we can sell for a good price, I will retire and spend the time with my family.’

The certificate of authenticity was issued by The Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand (Public Organization). They confirmed the pearl was 100 per cent genuine and gave it a rating of 65.57 carats.

Monthian said he bought ‘apple snail’ shell from a market near his home along with 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 family said they were shocked when their son was eating the lunch and 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.