Record: The Largest Single Shard Of Emerald Ever Discovered
Currently, the largest single shard of emerald ever discovered is the Bahia Emerald, which consists of a huge amount of emerald crystal cylinders, embedded in a host rock that weighs the equivalent of 1.9 million carats. Recently, the Bahia Emerald has received an appraisal as high as $900 million, which would make it the most valuable gemstone in the world. However, most people place the value around $400 million.
It was originally discovered in the beryl mines of western Bahia State, Brazil, on July 9, 2001. After being smuggled to the United States, the Bahia Emerald was eventually moved to New Orleans. After Hurricane Katrina, the Bahia Emerald became submersed under 16 feet of water for two months, before it could be retrieved. The enormous block of emeralds was then stolen by a gem dealer in Las Vegas. After a lead, it was taken into custody by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department in a large operation. According to some reports, the Bahia Emerald was involved in a $197 million banking transaction with Bernard Madoff before he was arrested. After a series of legal actions designed to get the emerald back, Judge John A. Kronstadt announced that he would hear the case, though no official ruling has been made yet.