Big Find Atop French Alps: Jewels

Best guess is that the treasure is from a decades-old plane crash

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 26, 2013 7:14 PM CDT

(Newser) – A very honest mountain climber in the French Alps has stumbled upon an amazing find: a small box crammed with emeralds, sapphires, and other gems, reports the AP. The loot has been valued at about $330,000, but the anonymous climber handed it over to police upon his descent from Mont Blanc, reports the Guardian. Authorities speculate the jewels belonged to a passenger aboard one of two Air India flights that crashed decades ago—one in 1950 and the other in 1966. They will now try to figure out who that was so they can give the treasure to relatives.

The climber found the box, labeled "Made in India," while scaling one of the mountain's glaciers. "He saw very well that what he had in his hands was something very valuable, realizing straight away that it was precious stones that had been very carefully wrapped," says a local police official. "Maybe he didn't want to keep something that had belonged to someone who died." If police can't trace the original owner, the jewels could go back to the French climber, reports AFP. (Closer to home, an explorer says there's sunken treasure off Massachusetts.)

File photo of Mont Blanc in the French Alps.
File photo of Mont Blanc in the French Alps.   (AP Photo/Keystone/Arno Balzarini, File)
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