Custody battle begins for 'one of the largest gem stones ever discovered'
The curious case of an enormous emerald weighing as much as a horse is destined for a Los Angeles courtroom today as a judge tries to determine who owns it.
Dug up in Brazil in 2001 and tipping the scales at 840lb (381kg), the boulder-sized Bahia Emerald is one of the largest gems ever discovered.
Several people have laid claim to the rock throughout the years, and a small army of lawyers will cram into a tiny downtown courtroom where Judge John A Kronstadt will review the case of the man who says he bought it first.
Tony Thomas has said he purchased the emerald from a Brazilian gem dealer for $60,000 (€45,000) shortly after it was excavated. Its worth has since been appraised at almost $400m (€296.8m).
After he arranged to have it shipped home, Mr Thomas says he was tricked into believing the emerald was stolen so it could be sold to someone else for more money. The judge will review other claims later.