“World’s Largest Emerald” May Not Be All Emerald

Doubts are rising about the so-called “world’s largest emerald,” with the gemologist who examined it saying he can’t guarantee the stone is 100 percent emerald.

The 57,500-carat stone, said to be the size of a watermelon, is scheduled to be auctioned Jan. 28 by Western Star Auctions.

“I’m positive it contains emerald but I’m not sure how much of it is emerald,” says Jeff Nechka, owner of Calvary-based Premier Gems, the gemologist who appraised the stone, adding that he can’t confirm that the stone is in fact the “world’s largest emerald.”

He says the stone has been dyed so it’s possible that at least part of it could be dyed white beryl.

“It has been dyed to some extent but it’s impossible to tell the intensity of the stone prior,” he says. “It’s impossible to know how much of it is emerald.”

Shane McClure, director of GIA’s West Coast Identification Service, who cautions he hasn’t looked at the stone, says that, if there is any white beryl in the stone, GIA would likely term it “beryl with zones of emerald.”

But the presence of dye brings up further doubts.

“We probably would not call it emerald no matter what,” he says. “They seem to think there is indication of natural green coloration but we wouldn’t call it emerald in any case.”

Regardless, Nechka notes that he feels the stone, valued at $1.15 million, has been priced accordingly.

“If it was solid, untreated emerald, you would be looking at 10 or 20 times the value for sure,” he says.

Gemologist Gary Roskin, publisher of the Roskin Gem News Report, agrees that “any enhancement by dye certainly lessens its value when compared to one that is naturally colored by Mother Nature.”

Regan Reaney, the Calgary gem wholesaler who is selling the stone, says that anyone who questions the stone is welcome to examine it.

“This is 100 percent what we say it is,” he says. “We know there is emerald throughout it, we don’t know how much. We know it’s not a total white beryl, but it has some white beryl in it. it’s not gem quality, and we know it’s commercial grade. But the size of it is what makes it special.”

He says if the stone does not sell, he will send it to the GIA lab. 

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