A Thai woman who found a rare orange Melo pearl inside seafood she bought at a market is trying to sell the precious discovery for her mum's medical bills.
Kodchakorn Tantiwiwatkul bought the sea snails for 70 Baht (A$2.89) per kilogram for dinner in Satun province, Thailand on January 30.
However, when she cut them into pieces, she saw that one of the shells had a round, orange object inside.
Kodchakorn, who initially thought it was a rock, was astonished when she later discovered that it was a Melo pearl measuring 1.5cm in diameter and weighing six grams.
The pearls have been known to sell for more than $200,000.
She said her family kept the precious pearl a secret out of fear that the vendor would ask for it back or someone would force them to sell it at an unfair price.
Three months later, on March 18, Kodchakorn revealed the find, saying she wants to sell the pearl to raise money for her mum's medical expenses.
"I showed it to my mother and she said it’s a Melo pearl and very valuable. We also watched the news in the television where a fisherman sold his for a fortune," she said.
Kodchakorn's dad Niwat Tantiwiwatkul said they were "desperate" for money after he had an accident and his wife needed the treatment for cancer. The medical bills could be more than a million baht (A$42,000).
"We can’t wait any longer. Now, we are desperate. My wife was diagnosed with cancer while I had an accident. This Melo pearl is our only hope to help them access the better treatment," he said.
Melo pearls can fetch as much as $400,000
The family have appealed for help to find potential buyers who could offer them a suitable price.
"I've seen stories of other people who have found Melo pearls and they were able to sell them. I hope we can do the same as the money will be a big help," Kodchakorn added.
Last month, trucker Monthian Jansuk found a similar pearl in Chonburi province on February 10 while fisherman Hatchai Niyomdecha stumbled upon the rare find in Nakhon Si Thammarat province on January 27 and believed it may be worth more than $400,000.
Melo pearls range from orange to tan to brown in colour – with orange being the most expensive shade.
They are usually found in the South China Sea and Andaman Sea off the coast of Myanmar and are produced by predatory sea snails called Volutidae.
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