A poor housewife was set for a windfall after finding a rare orange melo pearl in Thailand.
Sifino Kasemson, 29, ordered seafood online so she could prepare a special meal for her husband at home in Songkhla province near the border with Malaysia on June 7.
The woman bought a kilo of apple snails for 120 baht (2.73 GBP) but after she had cooked them and scooped the meat from the shell, a brightly coloured round object fell out.
Sifino inspected the object and realised that it was a type of rare pearl that would be worth up to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the size and quality.
The housewife said: ‘I am going to keep the pearl safely in my house in the meantime because of its price but if there is anyone interested in giving an offer I might consider selling.
‘I will use the money to build a house for my family. Some neighbours are now coming to our house everyday to touch and watch the lucky pearl.’
The pearl had a smooth orange surface with some white spots on it which will glisten when light shines on them.
Kannikar Siemmai, the shopkeeper who runs the stall where the shell was first bought, said their sales have significantly increased when the pearls were found.
She said: ‘Our sales have gone up after knowing that Sifino bought the apple snails from us. My products were usually fished from Jana district in the province. People have started buying the shells as they hope they will also find a pearl.’
Sifino melo pearl weighed nine carats (1.80 grams) but its price was yet to be estimated.
In January, a Thai fisherman named Hatchai Niyomdecha found a similar pearl in Nakhon Si Thammarat province and was offered up to 10 million Baht (£256k) for his 7.68-gram precious gem.
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.