While dining at a local BBQ restaurant in Phayao, Thailand, a couple discovered a rare Melo pearl inside of a grilled spotted Babylon snail.
The man, Sittidate Chaiwan, took his 27-year-old girlfriend Patjariya Gatip to the restaurant to celebrate her birthday. While Patjariya was eating a snail, she bit on something hard, and when she spat it out she discovered a round, orange stone resembling a pearl.
A friend dining with the couple joked that they might become millionaires while commenting that the stone looked similar to a Melo pearl.
After searching the internet, the couple were shocked to discover that real Melo pearls can cost over 1 million baht (approximately $27,747).
A daily dose of Asian America's essential stories, in under 5 minutes.
Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories to your inbox daily for free.
Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive.
The couple sent the pearl to the Chiangmai Testing Lab the next day, where it was confirmed that the stone was a genuine Melo pearl.
Melo pearls have a natural orange to brown hue and can take decades to grow inside a Melo snail. They are typically harvested in the Andaman Sea off the Burma coast and South China Sea. They can also be found in Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Sittidate immediately posted about the pearl to Facebook and asked interested buyers to send inquiries. Patjariya hopes that the pearl will help her with her money problems and pay off her family’s debt.