A fisherman from a poverty-stricken village in Thailand has managed to hit pay dirt after finding a stunning and rare orange pearl worth more than $330,000 that was just sitting on the beach.
Hatchai Niyomdecha, 37, was walking along a beach in the Si Thammarat province in the Gulf of Thailand last Wednesday, collecting oyster shells with his family, when he found an abandoned buoy dotted in shellfish that had washed ashore.
Hatchai and his 35-year-old younger brother Worachat Niyomdecha picked three shells from the buoy in hopes of getting a quick snack that they could prepare at home. However, after they took the shells back to their 60-year-old father Bangmad for a cleaning, they soon found out that they were in store for a much more luxurious snack than a few bites of fresh escargot.
It wasn’t long after their father set about cleaning the shells that he found a brilliant orange pearl, roughly the size of a dime and weighing 7.68 grames, in one of the shells. Hatchai immediately fetched his wife and two sons to show them the amazing find before going to have its value appraised the next day.
They eventually found out that the pearl wasn’t just your typical pearl one finds in an oyster, but was an orange Melo pearl. These extremely expensive gems are exclusively formed over the course of many years within the shell of the large Melo Melo or Volutidae sea snail, a gastropod native to the South China Sea. These unusual treasures can be found in shades ranging from a dull tan or brown to the tremendously rare and coveted tangerine-hued orange.
In this case, the pearl could be worth a staggering 10 million baht, or about $332,000 USD.
For Hatchai and his family, who have largely been living a hand-to-mouth existence as fisherfolk in their small seaside village, the discovery of the rare find is nothing less than miraculous – and they believe that destiny played some role in finding Melo pearl.
Hatchai believes that an odd dream that he had just days was actually a premonition of the life-changing discovery.
“An old man in white with a long mustache told me to come to the beach so I can receive a gift,” Hatchai told Viral Press. “I think he led me to finding the pearl.”
For Hatchai, the appearance of the old man wasn’t just a strange nightmare – but may have been divine intervention by a deity intent on improving the lot of his entire family.
Since discovering the rare pearl, Hatchai’s story has gotten nationwide and global exposure, resulting in several potential buyers approaching him with offers.
One wealthy businessman from another province offered to buy the pearl for a miserly one million baht, or about $33,000, but Hatchai’s family declined the offer.
A second luxury items collector boosted the offer to five million baht, but the family remained uninterested.
However, a third potential buyer from China with much deeper pockets is negotiating to buy the pearl for the expected price of 10 million baht, and is expected to fly out to Thailand to see the Melo pearl in Hatchai’s seaside village.
“I want to sell the pearl for the highest price,” Hatchai explained. “The money won’t just change my life, it will change my destiny. My whole family will have better lives.”
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