Food seller finds rare orange melo pearl in shell in Thailand

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A lucky food seller found an extremely rare orange Melo pearl in a seafood salad she cooked.

Phenkhae Charoenthanwa, 41, took a bite of the salad before putting them into containers for selling in Krabi province, Thailand.

However, she bit on something hard while chewing on the dish and spat out a shiny, round object that looked like a pearl.

The food seller then showed it to her brother who told her about the extremely expensive orange pearls so they went to gemologists and confirmed that it was a genuine Melo.

Brother Fahas Lanlongsa, 26, said: ‘My sister bought a lot of seafood that day because she was going to cook and sell them in the market.

‘She tasted her dish and bit on the pearl. She was very lucky because the pearl could have been lost in the other containers but she found it in one bite.’

With the help of family members, Phenkhae consulted experts from the Thai Gemological Research Institute where they were granted a certificate confirming that she owned the 2.9-carat pearl.

A Melo pearl could be sold for up to 17,000 USD or a little more than 12,000 GBP per carat depending on the quality and colour.

The woman’s brother added that they would sell the pearl if a buyer could offer a good price but for now, they would like to keep the gem with them.

He said: ‘Our neighbours come here to take a look at my sister’s pearl. We wanted to enjoy it first and then we could sell it later if someone buys it for the right price.’

On February, trucker Monthian Jansuk found a similar pearl in Chonburi province on February 10 while fisherman Hatchai Niyomdecha stumbled upon the rare gem in Nakhon Si Thammarat province on January 27. Hatchai was offered up to 10 million Baht (£256k) for the 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.

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