A seafood lover who bought fresh oysters to cure his hangover has beaten odds of a million-to-one after finding a rare pearl inside.

James Humphries from Newquay in Cornwall found the priceless gem inside one of the oysters he had purchased from his local fishmongers to help ease a headache.

The 34-year-old warehouse manager only realised the discovery when he felt a lump in his mouth while tucking into the shellfish.

"I thought a filling had fallen out. It was only when I spat it out that I discovered it was a pearl," he said.

"It's small, but perfectly formed and I absolutely love it."

Gareth Horner, owner of the E Rawle & Co fishmongers, said they had never seen a pearl in a pacific oyster - in 80 years of trading.

"I've been here for 30 years and sold thousands of oysters - but I've never seen a pearl come out of one.

"My dad has been in the business even longer and he's never heard of it either."

According to experts, the most valuable pearls occur spontaneously in the wild but are extremely rare. They are usually found in pearl oysters - not Pacific oysters like Humphries'.

"It's extremely rare for pearls to occur naturally in the wild," Paul Cox, of the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, said.

"Most of the pearls you see are cultivated or come from pearl oysters.

"I've never come across anyone who has found a wild pearl before. It's extremely unusual and he's a very lucky man."

Heather Bell of Newquay's Little Gem jewellers said: "It's difficult to put an exact price on this but given the rarity, it's a priceless find for James.

"It has a wonderful lustre ­- it's a beautiful pearl."

Experts say that a natural pearl is more valuable than those from oyster farms

Humphries says he now plans to have the pearl put in a piece of jewellery, "possibly a little silver fish with the pearl for its eye".