A resident of Orchid Island found a mysterious stone while fishing on a beach in March this year, and it has been confirmed that the object is a lump of ambergris worth an estimated NT$6 million (US$209, 300).
Mr Lee, a resident of Longdao Village said that he was drawn to the four-kilogram stone by a strong fragrance. Suspecting it may be ambergris, Lee took the stone home.
Mr Lee subjected the stone to a simple test at home – heating a needle with a cigarette lighter, then inserting the red-hot needle into the lump. The substance emitted a grey, fragrant smoke.
Lee then sent some samples of the lump to National Kaohsiung University for testing. Associate Professor of Life Sciences, Zheng Jun subjected the samples to nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and confirmed the substance to be ambergris.
Ambergris is a rare substance formed in the digestive systems of whales, and is highly valued in the manufacture of perfumes, and in Chinese medicine. The estimated market value is around US$50,000 per kilogram.
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