1. Home
  2. / Industry
  3. / The largest emerald in the world weighing 400 kg discovered in Northeast Brazil, worth around R$1,9 billion
reading time 4 min read Comments 14 comments

The largest emerald in the world weighing 400 kg discovered in Northeast Brazil, worth around R$1,9 billion

Written by Flavia Marinho
Published 29/05/2024 às 01:01
emerald - deposit - stone - mining - northeast - bahia - United States
The largest emerald in the world is from Brazil, weighs 400kg and costs R$1,9 billion

Mining: The world's largest emerald found in Brazil is now in the possession of the United States. Discover the saga to decide who has the right to the R$1,9 billion stone found in the Brazilian Northeast.

A revolution in mining in Brazil: The search for riches leads men to the depths of the earth. On their quest for precious stones, Brazilian miners may have discovered the largest emerald on the planet. The history of the gem is full of intrigue and mystery. Found in 2001 in an emerald reserve in the interior of Bahia, the stone is the subject of intense disputes over who actually found it and claims ownership, valued at R$1,9 billion.

Weighing almost 400 kg, the stone was so colossal that miners were unable to estimate its exact value. But they were certain: they were facing a real fortune. Named Esmeralda Bahia, she quickly aroused the greed of many.

the american Tony Thomas claims to have purchased the largest emerald in the world, claiming he paid for the stone but never received it. Therefore, he appealed to the United States Court. The Brazilian businessmen responsible for the emerald claim that they never negotiated the stone with Thomas. Keep reading to find out how this stone ended up in the USA, a story that seems like something out of a Hollywood movie.

The incredible story of Esmeralda Bahia

An emerald weighing around 400 kilos, extracted from the Serra da Carnaíba mining site, in Bahia, remained stored in a safe in Los Angeles, California, for years. With the size of a minibar, the big issue was that no one knew who its real owner was.

The cinematic history of Esmeralda Bahia is marked by lies, betrayal and even a hurricane. Discovered in 2001 in the town of Marota, Bahia, the stone was valued at approximately US$400 million, around R$1,9 billion.

Since 2011, the Brazilian government has entered the dispute over ownership of the stone, claiming that the emerald was illegally extracted from Brazil and smuggled to the United States. In 2014, the Attorney General's Office (AGU) tried to interrupt the trial over the stone, confronting the American company FM Holdings.

Who sold Esmeralda Bahia?

(Source: El País)

AGU hired an American lawyer to intervene in the court responsible for the process, with the aim of defending Brazil's interests and “repatriating” the stone. But how did she end up in the United States?

According to the AGU, the history of the stone involves the illegal trade of mineral goods between countries. Marconi Costa Melo, deputy director of AGU's International Department, stated that “these sales occur without any ownership and the amounts involved are negligible”. Thus, the dispute over the emerald also aimed to serve as an example and curb illegal practices.

There are at least three versions about the sale of the stone.

There are at least three versions about the sale of the stone. The first is reported by Darcy Carvalho, a precious stones dealer in Campo Formoso, Bahia, who claims to have bought Esmeralda Bahia for 10 thousand reais and sold it for 45 thousand.

The second version, investigated by American justice, involves Brazilian traders Elson Ribeiro and Ruy Saraiva Filho. Ribeiro claims that the stone belonged to his family and was taken from Bahia to São Paulo, where it was sold to American Anthony Thomas for around 190 thousand reais. However, the stone was never delivered to California as agreed.

This sale was brokered by another American, Kenneth Conetto. Thomas claims that Keneth said the stone was stolen during transport from Viracopos international airport, in Campinas.

Hurricane Katrina makes history

After its disappearance, the stone was reportedly taken to New Orleans, where it was lost in 2005 due to Hurricane Katrina. Locked in a safe that was flooded, the stone was trapped underground.

She was later rescued by divers and stolen by mobsters, who took her to Las Vegas.

In 2008, the stone was discovered in Vegas by two American detectives, Mark Gayman and Scott Miller. According to them, because it was claimed by several people and companies, it was moved to Los Angeles. Anthony Thomas, the alleged buyer, saw the news of the stone's seizure and suspected it could be his Bahia Emerald. He began accusing his former friend Keneth Conetto of having disappeared with the stone and burning down his house, destroying a document that would prove his ownership.

There was also a third version investigated by the American courts, reported by the partners of FM Holdings, who claimed to have purchased Esmeralda Bahia in 2009, in Las Vegas.

Who owns the almost 400 kg emerald that caused a revolution in mining in Brazil?

In 2015, the dispute over the stone was resolved and, unfortunately, Brazil did not emerge as the winner. The American court ruled in favor of FM Holdings, thus ending Esmeralda Bahia's odyssey.

Regardless of the outcome of this trial and the fact that Brazil was unable to recover a national treasure, one thing is certain: its story is so crazy that it would make a good movie.

Last Most voted
View all comments
Flavia Marinho

Flavia Marinho is a Production Engineer with a postgraduate degree in Electrical and Automation Engineering, with extensive experience in the onshore and offshore shipbuilding industry. In recent years, she has dedicated herself to writing articles for news websites in the areas of industry, oil and gas, energy, shipbuilding, geopolitics, jobs and courses, with more than 7 thousand articles published. Contact us to suggest an agenda, advertise job vacancies or advertise on our portal.

Share across apps
We would love your opinion on this subject, comment!x