840-Pound Brazilian Emerald Lands in Court
Detectives puzzle over ownership of 840-pound Brazilian gem
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2009 7:11 AM CST
The Bahia emerald, one of the largest ever found, has been appraised at $372 million.    (Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department)

(Newser) – A colossal emerald valued at almost $400 million is under lock and key in Los Angeles County while detectives try to figure out who owns it, the Wall Street Journal reports. Police managed to track down the 840-pound Bahia emerald after it was reported stolen last fall, but they also uncovered a web of competing claims for its ownership.

After two billion years in the ground, the emerald was unearthed by a Brazilian miner in 2001. It was later shipped to the US by a gem trader and spent weeks submerged in a New Orleans warehouse after Hurricane Katrina before being sent to California. Starting next week, a civil court will hear claims from at least five parties who say the gem belongs to them.