Kelowna is basking in the green glow of a one of a kind gem.
The world’s largest cut emerald, which weighs in at 57,500 carats and has an appraised value of $1.15 million arrived in the city Tuesday, although it will go to the highest bidder after it is put on the auction block later this month.
It will be a bittersweet sale for Regan Reaney, the Calgary gem buyer who brought the stone to Okanagan-based Western Star Auctions.
He took possession of it Jan. 13 after working out a deal with a contact in India that introduced him to the potentially lucrative investment opportunity. But was taken aback by the visceral reaction he had once the football-sized gem was placed in his hands.
“I was stoked, it’s amazing … phenomenal. There are not enough things you can say to describe it,” said Reaney, noting it was a once in a lifetime acquisition.
“Anyone who has been around the stone has their jaw drop and eyes open wide— it’s just a huge emerald. I am so lucky to have it in my possession, even for a short time before it goes to auction.”
The stone was mined from Brazil, although Reaney can’t speak to the exact location it came from, when that may have been, or the places it’s gone since that time.
He can, however, offer a theory as to who the gem named Teodora, a Brazilian word translating to “Gift of God,” came from.
“Emerald hunters or miners in Brazil and Colombia, are mostly farmers who mine the stuff and take it to market to make extra money,” he said. “So the miner who found it was a fortunate individual. We know it was not mined from a big mining company because they would have kept it.”
It’s his hope that a Canadian buyer will see the value in the stone, and keep it in Canada. If not, it could be bound for anywhere from Texas to Dubai, where offers up to $1 million have already been floated out.
Its final price, however, should be much higher.
“Because it’s a rare piece it’s hard to price. It’s in the priceless zone,” he said. “The winning bidder will set the tone of the appraisal.”
Teodora is actually the fifth largest emerald ever found, but the biggest that’s been cut with facets.
It’s also easily the most valuable item to go on the block at Western Star Auctions.
“Far and above the most precious item we’ve ever had,” said Western Star Auctions owner Mike Odenbach.
“It’s stunning, a thing of beauty. We’re excited to have it here and honoured to have the opportunity.”
It’s a chance that came to be after he floated out a business idea to Reaney, who he’d been dealing with smaller gemstones for quite some time.
He explained that he’d like to launch a Canadian version of the US TV series, Auction Kings, and Reaney jumped on the idea.
Networks have yet to contact them about filming the Jan. 28 sale, but “the word is out,” said Odenbach.