Battle Over Ownership of Giant Emerald May be Over

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Bahia Emerald

The 180,000-carat Bahia Emerald has been the subject of a contentious court battle between a colorful crowd of gem traders, miners and a real estate tycoon all vying for the prized jewel - once valued at $372 million. (Los Angeles Sheriff's Department)


A Los Angeles County judge says he knows who owns a 752-pound emerald — and that finding may end a six-year battle over the gigantic gem.

Michael Johnson made a tentative ruling Thursday that FM Holdings had established title to the Bahia Emerald, which has been appraised at $372 million.

The gem — a 3-foot-tall bunch of green rods embedded in rock — is one of the world’s largest uncut emeralds, with about 180,000 carats.

Over the years, various people asserted ownership claims or said the gem was stolen.

An attorney for FM Holdings, Andrew Spielberger, says he expects a final judgment within a month. His client will then be able to seek release of the emerald. It has been held by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department since 2008.

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