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Florida emeralds sunken treasure


#1

65,000 Florida emeralds - what is their history?

If you google 65,000 emeralds florida you will find an amazing story
complete with video. http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1yf

These are merely raw emeralds but the documentary says their value
depends on the history (which is still a mystery). It is interesting
that something as intangible as history which changes the appearance
not one bit could add value to a stone.


#2

One major problem, if you read at the end of the 60 Minutes story on
CBS News… a company who was going to market them sent them out for
testing and found the pieces had been treated with epoxy.

People pay for history. People pay for mysterious origins. People
don’t pay for hoaxes if they’re careful. s

Carol


#3
raw emeralds but the documentary says their value depends on the
history (which is still a mystery). 

Yeah, we saw that last week on some TV show. A perfect example of
fooling oneself, I’m afraid. It could be that some history can be
traced, I think it’s more likely that it was salted. The guy’s $10
million in debt over this, and at best he’s got $10k worth of stones.
Most of it was mine run (tailings), the rest is junk…All of the
"experts" they had on were a little too diplomatic about the inherent
value - none of the stuff ~on~ TV was worth more than $50/ct.


#4

Too bad there is not a way that a barrier can be set up and protect
his investment. There is nothing to prevent the site from being
pilfered. I would like to see a closeup of the stones. blessings pat


#5

Hi there

I am quite sure it is a scam for many reasons and some of the ones
you say as well. I can show you one that is from Colombia and they
want about 110 million for it. there seems to be many emerald scams
out there these days. take care gregg


#6

I saw the TV show too. The emeralds were shown bright green and
sparkling there directly on top of the sand. Of course it had to be
put there recently. It would normally be deeply buried in years of
sand and silt.


#7

Given that he has 65,000 raw emeralds I will pay gladly pay $10,000
to him for the lot and the experts’ bill to confirm that a random
sample of 10 are genuine emeralds. I will also gladly buy the best of
his 65,000 at $50/ct. Please fwd to him if the owner is not on
Orchid.

There is a You Tube video and the colour seems to be highly variable.
As Shekina said, an even better closeup of the stones would be
helpful. The Carol J Bova comment about the epoxy also puzzled me. I
use epoxy-like materials as I use water on stones when I am
prospecting. It brings out the surface colour. Plastic-like surfaces
like this can also be used to implant “glitter” as in “cold
enamelling”. I have a cosmetic product here called California Nails.
The kit consists of tiny (1 mm max) pieces of red, green, blue and
yellow glitter which is set in a clear-coat. My guess about the
epoxy was mainly that it was used to preserve some of the emeralds
from scratching and breakage. Does anyone know of using epoxy for
this purpose in beads for example?

“People pay for history” and for “mysterious origins” are other Bova
quotes. I am banking on the validity of words like that.

Indeed, people pay for words like “diamonds are forever”. Lawyers
and marketers get paid huge amounts for their words.

I was also amazed by a recent documentary on how the words of a
group of young financiers a few decades ago created the
multi-TRILLION dollar market of sub-prime mortgage insurance.

SOME people, anyway bought the words “diamonds are forever”. I
personally do not like clear diamonds very much. I like colour in
stones. In “The Heartless Stone”, Zoelner explains how De Beers
flubbed out in Japan after the initial market of
trend-setters/innovators was exhausted. People in the Orient have
their traditional stones - they pay for history and the “mystery” of
stones historically associated with high character and healing
properties. Words, words, words…


#8

Gregg also was of the opinion that this is a scam and your
observation is a good one Rose. Any divers on Orchid who can give an
opinion? Even if they were found on top of the sand, this is a region
of hurricanes and probably currents and one would expect them to be
extracting every last one 24/7 before the treasure is scattered and
lost (or stolen). Instead they take the tv crew out there and
casually scoop up another handful of emeralds and then leave.

What might the scam be? They put the ownership of 65,000 emeralds
into question because the courts have said they cannot sell them
until that matter is settled. So if they are seeding the ocean floor
with their own emeralds it backfired in a huge way. And what value
could they add to raw emeralds by doing this? We agreed in this
discussion that history and mystery could add value. Enough to risk
your investment in 65,000 emeralds of unknown origin? Also think of
the elaborate (and fraudulent) hoax to connect this treasure with a
pirate vessel for example. Who would believe it?

The story started with the purchase of a treasure map from another
diver. But the treasure map was not connected with any known history
and did not say what the treasure was at the spot identified. Let us
say they somehow connect this map to Ahab the pirate in the year
1600. Even if that is a proveable claim, does anyone think it adds a
huge amount to value? Then they have risked loss of their treasure
in the court system for this vague gain which now seems like a stupid
gamble.


#9
65,000 raw emeralds I will pay gladly pay $10,000 to him for the
lot and the experts' bill to confirm that a random sample of 10 are
genuine emeralds. 

You would lose your shirt. Almost all of what they showed on TV was
unsaleable junk. Technically emerald but nothing anybody will buy.
The BEST piece they picked up and showed – “ooooh look, it’s
emerald” was worth $50/ct at best. There was not a single stone shown
that was worth buying except as some sort of bulk sale for QVC or
some such. He said he’s $10 million in debt over this. There could be
some connection to history but at this point there is none. Add in
the fact that there is epoxy in some of them and as another said they
are just laying on the ocean floor (they showed them, underwater) and
you have a salted mine - a way to sell the unsaleable with hype.

There’s a time to stand and a time to run, this is the latter. It’s
just the gem business to me - most of them were fine for the bottom
of an aquarium.


#10

Let me guestimate that he has at least 30,000 carats all told so this
is 30 cents/carat or less. Please tell me where I can buy low grade
emerald for 30 cents/carat. And while we are at it, why not low grade
rubies and sapphires and diamonds at the same price?


#11
Then they have risked loss of their treasure in the court system
for this vague gain which now seems like a stupid gamble. 

Not that it really matters, but I think my scenario os probably
close to the truth.

You’re a tourist or just an amateur looking for “the big score”.
Maybe in Columbia where they see you’re Bermuda shorts as a target
on your back.

“Hey man, we have this HUGE LOAD OF EMERALDS (many or which are
actually white beryl) but we can’t get it out of the country/my
mother is sick/we can’t pay the taxes/we just need financing in
general/we just think you make a good mark. It’s worth millions of
dollars but we’ll sell it to you, because you’re such a good person,
for $50,000 cash, just because we are desparate”.

Eyes light up and gleam with greed. “We’re rich, we’re rich! Unntold
wealth! We have 65,000 emeralds!” First off, emeralds are traded by
the carat, and second how would they know they had 65K of them when
they are on the ocean floor?

Then you try to sell it and find that nobody wants to buy it at any
price. It’s the stuff they shovel out of the way to get to the real
emeralds, and they have been had.

So - remember the Titanic. Dinner plates for a thousand bucks,
toothpicks for a hundred, because people want a piece of history.

Imagine if somehow we could concoct some history - then we could
sell these rocks… Or maybe we’ll just get $10 million from
investors and declare bankuptcy…

Even decent emeralds look like a 7-Up bottle. Green, reasonably
clear. None of those on TV were remotely like that. Even a 17th
century trading ship wouldn’t waste the cargo space to carry them
across the ocean.


#12
Not that it really matters, but I think my scenario os probably
close to the truth (J&J-A Donivan). 

It matters because we are interested in keeping the jewelry business
honest and your scenario is plausible and the best I’ve read yet on
the scam theory side of it. It may be correct and the test is simple

  • a random (or even selective) sample of stones from the 65,000 to
    determine if they are bona fide emeralds. It is the Kelowna emerald
    story in a different package and the test is the same. What is the
    definition of emerald? Does it test out as emerald?

#13
And while we are at it, why not low grade rubies and sapphires and
diamonds at the same price? 

Well, Peter, it’s not 30 cents but you can buy diamonds for around
$5/ct.Try Rio Grande under the abrasives section.


#14

Hi All,

I saw that you were looking for a diver to weigh in on the matter so
I thought I’d throw my 2 cents in. I’ve been a diver pretty much all
my life and to say that I am fascinated with sunken treasure would be
pretty much an understatement. In fact, I was even offered a job by
Mel Fischer working on the Atocha back when I was 16. Unfortunately,
my parents were not too keen on the idea of me moving down to Florida
at that age and working on a salvage boat (probably quite wise of
them).

To answer the question about emeralds or anything sitting on the
surface, it is certainly possible though not all that common. I would
expect for a number of them to be sitting on top just due to water
currents and storms, but I wouldn’t expect a significant majority to
be there. On the Atocha (sunk 1622) most of the emeralds that were
found were discovered by using a hand-held dredge that sent the
material to the surface where it was run through screens and the
resulting gravel was sorted… They couldn’t just go around picking
them up off the bottom, though seeing them on the bottom is what
first tipped them off to their presence in the first place.

I took a look at the video and a couple of things stand out as odd
to me.

  1. I’ve never known the manifest of a treasure galleon to ever
    contain rough amethyst and quartz. It simply wasn’t valuable or rare
    enough to merit the space on the ship to transport it across the
    Atlantic. That doesn’t mean it they didn’t do it though…just that
    I’ve never heard of it or even seen one example from the many
    shipwrecks I’ve heard/read about.

  2. A number of the emeralds looked more like mineral specimens with
    host rock or matrix still attached. Again, I’ve never seen or heard
    of this before. Ships were relatively small and there just wasn’t any
    reason to bring the host rock along. All they cared about were the
    emeralds themselves. Of course, having said that, I can say that I’ve
    seen a number of the rough emeralds that came off the Atocha and many
    were of a quality similar to what is seen in the video (not all, but
    a significant amount of them). It was surprisingly low quality stuff,
    but you have to remember that they mined everything by hand back then
    and also didn’t have any means of treating the stones. Chances are
    any emerald, as long as it was green, was a good emerald to them…
    which isn’t to say that they didn’t value exceptional gems… just
    that they may not have been as picky about the material they shipped
    back due to relative scarcity.

  3. Finally, the lack of any significant portion of a ship nearby is
    quite odd. Normally, treasure and the like was stored down low near
    or with the ballast. If the emeralds are from an actual wreck (not
    just dumped over), there should be more than just a timber. There
    should be significant portions of the ship’s hull along with a pile
    of ballast stones and similar things (cannon etc.). The fact that
    there are just a few cannon and musket balls is quite circumspect to
    me. Those items could easily be purchased and set on the bottom to
    lend “validity” to the site… or just claimed to be from the site
    since I don’t think there is footage of the cannon balls actually
    being found. Either way it is very strange to find some things, but
    not significantly more…especially in conjunction with supposed
    "treasure".

As to the value of “Ahab the Pirate’s” treasure from 1600… it
suprisingly can add a HUGE amount to the value of the stone. Look
online for any Atocha emeralds and you’ll see what I mean. I’ve seen
Atocha stones over the years that are $35-50/ct material (tops) sell
for anywhere between $500-1000/ct. Absolutely crazy the premium that
history adds.

Well, that is just my 5 minute thoughts on it. From what I’ve seen,
I’m quite skeptical, but I don’t claim to be any sort of authority on
the matter.

Hope you have a wonderful day!
Sincerely,
Erich C. Shoemaker
Erich Christopher Designs, LLC
Granulated Art Jewelry
www.ErichCDesigns.com


#15
30 cents/carat or less 

Go for it, Peter! Maybe you can compete with Stauer. Here’s a 50ct
necklace with a genuine 14K clasp:
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1z8

Better yet, this one is 200ct!
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1z9

Al Balmer
Pine City, NY


#16

I’ve been a diver since 1957. I am certified advanced diver, rescue
diver, deepwater diver, night diver, dive master, asst. instructor.
Logged over 3,000 dives, with over 350 in the Florida waters south of
Palm beach to Key West. I have dove before and after storms including
Hurricane Andrew. I specifically dove some of the know wreck sites
and some suspected sites with metal detectors I found nothing on the
surface. and as far as metal objects? Mostly junk dropped by boaters
or divers but nothing older than about 1950 or so.

So no I do not believe what I saw presented on the TV show. My
personal thoughts are that at least for the show the location was
salted.

John (Jack) Sexton


#17

Peter, There is one simple explanation for all the questions that
you ask. The emeralds are modern so some (or all) of them have been
treated with epoxy. Of the emeralds that were shown sitting on the
sand, they were scattered there a few moments before they were
"found". This way there was only a very small loss of some that were
not picked up at that moment.

The rest of the emeralds that were claimed to be recovered never sat
on the sand. So, you ask what could the scam be. It is simple.

Take a few pounds of worthless emeralds, place a few ounces on some
sand so you can claim that they are historical stones left by pirates
from hundreds of years ago, and by giving them a historical, romantic
context, these worthless emeralds are suddenly worth a small fortune.
Next, you fight over then in the courts. The publicity generated by
the court proceedings will increase the value further. If you win in
the courts, you win a fortune and the only significant investment is
lawyer fees. Of course, you can choose a lawyer who agrees to work on
a percentage of recovery and you have only a small investment in the
whole plan for buying the original cache of worthless emeralds. So,
don’t try to make this more complex than you have to. Apply Occam’s
Razor. The simple explanation tends to be true. Of course, I am not
actually accusing anybody of committing a fraud. I am only saying
that this is a simple explanation of the facts at hand. If more facts
come to light, a different explanation may be needed. Please consider
the simple explanation when you ask further questions of the group.


#18
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1z8
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1z9 

Do you believe these are genuine emeralds at that price Mr. Balmer?

As I recall from the Kelowna emerald discussion, nobody said, This
is a scam because it is LOW grade emerald. They said it was a scam
because it did not meet the criteria for emerald. IOW there is a
clear difference between the emerald mineral CRYSTALS and the complex
aluminous ore/rock in which they are embedded. One could say the same
for countless other crystals vs their host rocks.

Suppose I have found microscopic diamond crystals in a mantle host
rock. I could sell it as diamond-bearing rock x but not as diamond
per se. No scam there. As Zoellner says “Somebody had finally
learned how to sell rocks” (page 66… might be more entertaining if
it was page 666).


#19
So no I do not believe what I saw presented on the TV show. My
personal thoughts are that at least for the show the location was
salted. - John Sexton 

So far that is my conclusion as well. If I were buying I would
expect the stones to pass the testing of expert gemologists and from
discussion of the Kelowna emerald story on Orchid there seems to be
agreement that the emerald host rock is mineralogically very
different from the emerald mineral crystals.

The televised story reported a court order that whatever they are,
they are not to be sold yet. Maybe the court is awaiting those tests
and one has to wonder then if it will turn into a fraud case before
the same court.


#20
As to the value of "Ahab the Pirate's" treasure from 1600... it
suprisingly can add a HUGE amount to the value of the stone. Look
online for any Atocha emeralds and you'll see what I mean. I've
seen Atocha stones over the years that are $35-50/ct material
(tops) sell for anywhere between $500-1000/ct. Absolutely crazy the
premium that history adds - Erich C. Shoemaker 

Thank you for that and your other interesting comments on this story
from the perspective of an expert diver.

Conversely, history can take away from stone value. Zoellner writes
in “The Heartless Stone” that diamonds did not have historic value
in Japan. They were illegal imports until 1959 (Zoellner does not say
why but I would guess they symbolized western decadence). The simple
legalization of imports did not sell these stones. De Beers sold
diamonds in Japan by targeting the younger trend-setting population
but they still had to link them to historical associations (eg as
another wedding gift in the gift giving tradition).