Two San Jose men appeared in court yesterday over ownership of an 840 lb. monster emerald found in the emerald forests of the Amazon.
The enormous, 180,000 carat rock was first found in Brazil in 2001. At the time, a mining expert from San Jose named Ken Conetto allegedly made an agreement with the actual miners that proceeds from the sale of the rock would be split between them. He says they shook on it, and that was that.
Some time later, Anthony Thomas of Morgan Hill, flew down to Brazil to examine the rock. He says he was duly impressed and paid $60,000 for it, but rather than take it home with him, he agreed to have it delivered. That’s when the drama began. The gem dealer later informed him that the rock had been stolen. Oops.
The emerald has since been found, after taking a long and winding yellow brick road from Brazil to Las Vegas and back to San Jose. In keeping with Silicon Valley protocol, it even showed up briefly on eBay, with a Buy Now sticker of $75 million.
That was a guesstimate at best. Thomas claims it is worth $60,000 since that is what he paid for it. Other appraisers, many of whom have not seen the gem, say it could be worth a hefty $925 million, which would make the eBay price seem like a bargain.
The problem is that everyone is claiming ownership of the rock—everyone that is except the miners, who are put off by the greedy Americans fighting over their find. A judge in Los Angeles will rule on the rock’s real owner today.
Read More at NBC Bay Area.