We publish courtesy of: National Jeweler
Los Angeles–The long-running dispute over who owns the 840-pound Bahia Emerald rough that was unearthed back in 2001 could be resolved by the end of the month.
The Bahia is said to be the world’s largest rough emerald.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John Kronstadt heard arguments Monday from Anthony Thomas, one of the people laying claim to the massive gemstone, according to a press release from the law firm of Greene Broillet and Wheeler, which represents several of the other parties vying for legal ownership.
After hearing the arguments, the judge ordered the parties involved to return to court on July 30 at 8:30 a.m. According to the release, Kronstadt is expected to rule at that time and he won’t entertain any further legal briefs.
Pending the judge’s ruling, if there are any remaining adverse parties, the case likely will head to trial in September.
Multiple people claim ownership of the gemstone. According to an Associated Press report, it was discovered in Brazil and valued at $400 million and then traveled through New Orleans, Idaho and Las Vegas before being seized by authorities.
Thomas, a gem trader, claimed he is the rightful owner of the emerald because he purchased it for $60,000 from the Brazilians after it was first discovered back in 2001, media reports said.
Greene Broillet and Wheeler attorney Browne Green, who is representing another three of the parties involved in the dispute–Kit Morrison, Todd Armstrong and Jerry Ferrara and their companies Market Link Inc. and FM Holdings Inc.–claims that in 2008, those parties obtained valid legal title to the boulder-sized stone. In the release, he and the parties’ other attorneys allege that they have an equitable claim to title as bona fide purchasers of the emerald because they paid seven figures for it.
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department currently has custody of the disputed stone.