A 49-year-old woman in Thailand found whale vomit worth almost £190,000 while walking near her beach house. Siriporn Niamrin was taking a stroll along the beach after a rainstorm when she spotted a strange-looking huge mass wash up on the coast of Nakhon Si Thammarat province in southern Thailand on February 23.
Siriporn, when inspected the mass, found that it smelled like fish and assuming that it could be worth some money, brought it back home with her. After speaking to her neighbors, she discovered that the weird-looking oval-shaped find was whale vomit aka ambergris which is a valuable ingredient and used in perfumes. Her neighbor informed her that the fishy smell could indicate that it’s a genuine piece of ambergris, hence, to check its authenticity, they held a naked flame to the 12 inches wide and 24 inches long mass, causing it to melt and then harden again after cooling down.
The mass weighs almost 15lb with an approximate value of £186,500 and to confirm if it is genuine, she is waiting for experts to visit her house. Talking to Daily Mail, Sairiporn said that she would help her community if it is genuine ambergris. She added that she felt lucky to have stumbled upon such a large piece and has asked the local council to visit to confirm.
Also called ‘floating gold’ and ‘treasure of the sea’, Ambergris is produced by sperm whales when bile ducts in the gastrointestinal tract make secretions to ease the passage of large or sharp objects and when the whale vomits, it solidifies and floats to the surface. It has a foul smell at first but once it dries out, it develops a sweet and long-lasting fragrance, hence it has ahigh value in the high-end perfume industry.
In December last year, a fisherman came across 220-lb whale vomit. Naris Suwannasang was walking on the beach in Nakhon Si Thammarat, southern Thailand, when he noticed several rocks washed up ashore and it turned out to be one of the biggest ever whale vomits.