National Geographic: “The $400 Million Dollar Emerald”

National Geographic Emerald

This weekend, National Geographic Explorer just aired a brand-new documentary about the gigantic Bahia Emerald. Watch online video about this amazing gem, view a photo gallery and some fast facts about emeralds.


  • The “Bahia Emerald” was unearthed in 2001 in Brazil. It weighs 840 pounds and contains roughly 180,000 carats of emerald crystals, making it one of the largest emerald specimens ever found.
  • In 2005, the Bahia Emerald was stored in an underground vault in New Orleans so that a prospective buyer could view it. After Hurricane Katrina hit the city, the emerald spent months underwater.
  • The Bahia has been appraised at $392 million. If at all accurate, this number represents its value as a unique specimen, and not a market valuation of its emerald crystals, which are not of a high grade.
  • Legal possession of the Bahia has changed hands several times. In one such instance, it was used as collateral for a cache of diamonds that failed to materialize. The owner of the diamonds claimed that he had been kidnapped by the Brazilian mafia, held hostage in an RV, and driven around Nevada for two weeks.
  • The finest emeralds are worth much more than diamonds; this is due primarily to their relative rarity.