A lucky woman has discovered a strange object, believed to be expensive ambergris, washed up near her beach house.
Siriporn Niamrin, 49, was walking along the sand after a rainstorm when she noticed the strange mass in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, Thailand, on February 23.
The curious woman approached the substance to have a look and found it had a fishy smell.
Thinking that it could be something she could sell, she dragged it back to her house about 500 metres away.
The woman asked her neighbours for help and was shocked when some of them told her that it could be ambergris, also known as whale vomit.
Ambergris is produced by sperm whales when bile ducts in the gastrointestinal tract make secretions to ease the passage of large or sharp objects. The whale then vomits the mucilage, which solidifies and floats on the surface of the ocean.
The solid chunk has a foul smell at first but after the mucilage dries out, it develops a sweet and long-lasting fragrance, which makes it a sought-after ingredient in the perfume industry.
To further check whether the lump was actually ambergris, the woman and her neighbours held a naked flame to some of its parts, which caused it to melt. It then hardened again after it cooled down.
The waxy lump's fishy smell is another indication that the woman had found a genuine piece of ambergris, according to neighbours.
Siriporn is now waiting for experts to visit her house to confirm that the lump is genuine ambergris.
The oval-shaped lump weighs 7kg and was about 30cms wide and 60cms long.
Based on previous sale prices, the weight gives the chunk of ambergris an estimated value of around A$357,000.
"If I really have the genuine ambergris, I can help my community once I find a buyer for it," Siriporn said.
"I feel lucky to have found such a large piece. I hope it will bring me money.
"I'm keeping it safe in my house and I have asked the local council to visit to check it."
Fishermen become millionaires after 80kg find
In January, a Thai fisherman’s daily trip to catch fish took an incredible turn when he stumbled upon the rare and expensive substance.
The value of the entire lump was estimated to be AUD$371,526.
In December, a couple going for a romantic walk on a Thailand beach found an incredible $792,345 worth of ambergris.
In April 2016, a 1.57kg ambergris ball found in Lancashire sold for A$89,454, while in November of the same year three Omani fishermen found 80kg of ambergris and sold it for A$3,863,880.
The province where the substance was found, Nakhon Si Thammarat, has a coast on the Gulf of Thailand.
Ocean currents from the South China Sea often lead there and the region has a history of pieces of ambergris appearing along the shore.
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