Anthony Thomas of Morgan Hill appeared in a Los Angeles court on Friday to stake his claim to the 840-pound, 180,000 carat found in Brazil. Thomas claims that he paid $60,000 for the gem, now valued at $327 million. He also arranged to have it shipped back to San Jose, but the gem dealer later informed him that the rock had been stolen.
Since then, the emerald has appeared in a variety of locations, including Las Vegas. It was in New Orleans in a warehouse that was flooded during Hurricane Katrina, and it even appeared on eBay briefly, with a Buy It Now sticker price of $75 million.
When he took the stand on Friday, Thomas faced a barrage of questions from lawyers representing all the other people who claim that the emerald is theirs. These include the owner of the Las Vegas warehouse whether the emerald was located briefly, and several other men. Thomas’s lawyer points out, however, that “Mr. Thomas is the only person who has ever paid a cent for the Bahia Emerald.” However, Thomas also claims that the bill of sale was lost in a fire, something that lawyers from the other parties have jumped on.
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