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Article: The $400 million emerald


The $400 million emerald

If there was an emerald in history surrounded by disputes, robberies and money that comes and goes, it would certainly be the 400 million dollar or Emerald Bay that we would have to talk about and that's exactly what we'll do later.

This emerald, found in Brazil in 2001, is the largest raw emerald stone union in the world and weighs 380 kilos. Such was the importance of this stone that five people claimed ownership of the copy worth approximately 400 million dollars.

In this entrance we will delve into its discovery, the conflicts it generated in its path and what is the current destination of this important natural emerald stone.

Discovery Emerald Bahia

As its name suggests, the $400 million emerald was discovered in the city of Bahia, Brazil, in 2001. This stone, which has 9 emerald crystals embedded, has a weight of approximately 180,000 ct.

There are different stories about how this gem arrived in the Brazilian capital. Some say she was taken in a car by a mule to avoid robberies, others say she was even attacked by jaguars and black panthers. Whatever the real version, the truth is that the great stone arrived in the city of Sao Paulo.

Since then five people have claimed it as theirs, toured more than 6 cities and towns between Brazil and the United States and was even involved in a fire, a hurricane, a kidnapping and several alleged thefts.

Owners of the Emerged Bay

  • Evidence in a photo

In the same year of their discovery, two of the Brazilians who claimed ownership of the emerald sold this gem to an American. According to the man, the stone was sold for $60,000 in a word deal.

Once the deal was closed, the American returned to his country by claiming to return as soon as possible, however, when he did, the Brazilians denied everything. What remained as evidence of this alleged deal was a picture of the man with the gem.

  • Buyer who lived a robbery

Another owner who had this gem was an American who was sold the emerald Bay at a party that took place in a hotel where it was celebrated precisely that the stone would be bought. The purchase of the gem was signed through a document and the American returned to his country waiting to send him the stone.

When asked why she hadn't been sent for the next few weeks, she was told she was allegedly robbed. By 2002, the buyer forgot about it.

  • Intermediary owners

In 2005 the emerald arrived in the United States, for several months it was stored at a gas station in California. During their stay there, several intermediaries were hired to try to sell the stone. Without luck to sell, they took the stone to another state.

  • Hurricane Katrina

In 2005, the gem was taken to New Orleans and left underground in the Chamber of the city's central bank. However, in August of that year Hurricane Katrina hit the population of this city and the stone was 5 meters underwater.

  • Warranty for diamonds

One of the last owners of this stone was Larry Biegler, an American who in 2008, seeing that the stone was not sold for a good price, gave half the stone to another buyer.

At the time of selling the emerald, a cross-selling of diamonds was made, as the value of the diamonds could not financially support the value of the diamonds was offered as a guarantee of purchase.

The emerald today

After a fire, in which they tried to forcibly take the stone they believed was in the house of the last owner of the same, the stone traveled for the second time in its history to California, specifically to the city of Los Angeles.

There she is to this day, guarded by the county sheriff in a vault in which with the days passing and because of its history on a national and international scale its value increases day after day.

Currently, after several hearings in the United States, five people claim their ownership of the gem, of which they all claim to have evidence of having bought it at some point between 2001 and 2008.

Paula A. Bonilla 

Social communicator and journalist from Sergio Arboleda University in Colombia. She is also a jeweler and is passionate about constantly learning about precious gems and national high jewelry.

Currently, she is working for one of Bogotá's most important jewelry stores, Emerald by Love. This jewelry store has over 40 years of experience and has 2 physical branches in the capital city of Colombia, located in the city center.


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