Ownership of Giant Emerald in Dispute « KXNT Newsradio 100.5FM | 840AM


LOS ANGELES (AP) — A battle over a giant emerald is heading to court in Los Angeles.

A hearing is scheduled Monday in a Superior Court trial in a dispute over ownership of an 840-pound gem valued at $400 million.

The so-called Bahia Emerald — one of the largest ever found — was dug up in Brazil in 2001 and sold by a trader. It later turned up in a New Orleans warehouse that was flooded during Hurricane Katrina and apparently also had turned up in Idaho and Las Vegas.

At least three people claim they are the owners. A fourth man says he’s no longer pressing his claim because he’s received threats after reporting the jewel stolen from a warehouse in suburban Los Angeles.

The gem remains in the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

BBC News – California ownership battle over giant Bahia emerald


California ownership battle over giant Bahia emerald

By David Willis

BBC News, Washington

A California judge is being asked to determine the ownership of a giant emerald, thought to be one of the largest of its kind.

The Bahia emerald – named after the region of Brazil in which it was discovered – weighs 380kg (840lb).

It is said to be worth more than $370m (£235m) – and at least six people are claiming they are the rightful owners.

A judge will hear from all the parties claiming ownership of the gem before deciding the case in October.

One those at the centre of this dispute is Anthony Thomas, a construction executive from California, who says he paid two Brazilian gem dealers $60,000 for the emerald shortly after it was unearthed nine years ago – a fraction of its current value.

Mr Thomas says he arranged to have the stone shipped to his home in San Jose, but that it never showed up.

He believes he was tricked into believing it had been stolen so it could be resold for more money.

Mr Thomas is just one of those claiming ownership of the giant emerald.

One problem he faces is that – as he awaited its delivery – a fire broke out in his house, destroying his receipt.

The emerald did eventually make it to America, although whose possession it has been in since then is a matter of some doubt.

One thing that is known is that it spent some time in a bank vault in New Orleans which was flooded during Hurricane Katrina, leaving the valuable gemstone underwater for several months.

It was subsequently taken to Las Vegas for inspection by a potential buyer, where it was seized by the Los Angeles sheriff’s department.

Controversy over giant emerald’s owner (Photo)


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