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Taiwanese man stumbles across rare 'stone' worth NT$6 million

Resident of Taiwan’s Orchid Island finds 'whale vomit,' or ambergris, on beach while fishing

Fragrance stone discovered on Orchid Island proven to be ambergris. 

Fragrance stone discovered on Orchid Island proven to be ambergris.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A mysterious fragrant stone discovered by a resident of Taiwan's Orchid Island has been verified as a lump of ambergris, which has an estimated market value of NT$6 million (US$210,000).

The man, surnamed Li (李), came across the unique-looking stone in March while fishing on a beach near his home. He said that he was curious about the 4-kilogram black stone since it had a sweet, lingering smell and decided to take it home.

After sharing his discovery with a friend, Li sent small samples of the lump to the National University of Kaohsiung for testing. On Wednesday (Oct. 7), associate professor of life sciences Cheng Shi-Yie (鄭竣亦) confirmed the object to be ambergris through nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) and called it an extremely rare and valuable find.

According to Cheng, ambergris is a waxy substance secreted inside the intestines of sperm whales that is often referred to as "whale vomit" or "floating gold." It is mainly used as a fixative in perfume production and can fetch a handsome price based on its age.

Currently, the international market value of ambergris is around US$50,000 per kilogram. Li said he is considering selling his and using the money for family expenses, reported Liberty Times.

Updated : 2021-12-05 13:58 GMT+08:00