Ownership Dispute for 180,000-ct. Emerald

An 850-pound emerald said to be worth as much as $370 million is in the hands of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department while a court decides who really owns it, CNN reports.

Known as the “Bahia Emerald,” it was reported stolen in September from a secured vault in South El Monte in Los Angeles County, CNN reports. The report was made by someone who claimed to own the gemstone, according to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.

Federal court papers showed the emerald has been at the center of a dispute between a California man who claimed ownership, a company he contracted with to sell it, and a potential buyer, CNN reports.

Detective work traced the Brazilian stone to a Las Vegas, Nev., warehouse, where the person in possession claimed to be the rightful owner, according to the Sheriff’s department.

A federal judge ordered the sheriff to hold the 180,000-ct. emerald until he can sort the case out, CNN reports.

While the sheriff’s department said the stone had been appraised at $370 million, its value is unclear, according to the report.

The company hired by the owner to sell it said in court papers it had received a $19 million offer, which the company wanted to accept, CNN reports.

It alleged the gemstone’s owner then tried to go around the broker to sell the emerald to the same buyer for $75 million, CNN reports.

At one point, the emerald was listed for sale on eBay for a “buy it now” price of $75 million.

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