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Giant Emerald at center of custody battle

It’s green, it’s the size of a suitcase, it weighs the same as a fair-sized horse, and it’s worth $400 million. And no one knows who owns it.

That doesn’t mean no one’s claiming it, though. The Bahia Emerald is 840 pounds and it’s being claimed by a crowd of people, all of whom will meet in a Los Angles court house on Friday to hammer out the issue.

The emerald is a bit of a mystery. Tony Thomas claims that he bought it for $60,000 from a Brazilian gem dealer just after it was discovered. He claims that it was stolen while he was having it shipped home and the he was told it had gone missing. Thereafter, it had an interesting life, popping up on eBay (for a ‘buy now’ price of $75 million), narrowly avoiding flooding in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, before being seized by Los Angeles police, where it remains under lock and key. That is, until Judge John A. Kronstadt works his way through the conflicting reports of ownership, the tangled journey the big rock took from Brazil, and finally decides who, exactly, owns the Bahia Emerald.

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