Sapphire sale may bring controversial gem dealer better luck than Teodora

The Kelowna auction of a one-of-a-kind emerald may have been a bust, but it's not discouraged the controversial man behind the stone.

The scheduled auction of a one-of-a-kind emerald may have been a  bust, but it’s not discouraged the controversial man behind the stone.

Calgary gem buyer Regan Reaney says he will be back at the Kelowna auction house he where he unsuccessfully tried to sell his headline making emerald within the next month, but this time he’ll be packing a new  record breaking rock.

“It will be another worldwide story,” he said. “I’ll have an 83,250 carat blue sapphire from Africa to auction.  First however, we have to deal with Teodora.”

Teodora—a Brazilian word translating to “Gift of God”— was to hit the auction block at the end of January, as the world’s largest cut emerald. It weighed in at  57,500 carats and had an appraised value of $1.15 million.

As Western Star Auctions was poised to put the rock on the block, however, scandal broke.

First gem-experts challenged Reaney’s claim that it was a real emerald. They claimed the stone was likely a garden variety beryl, dyed deep green.

“There were dyes to enhance some of the lighter grays and yellows,” said Reaney. “But that was on the appraisal  from  Premier Gems in Calgary… it was ‘dye enhanced.'”

Then Reaney’s own past came into question when he was arrested on fraud charges, stemming from a bogus cheque scam he pulled in Ontario years earlier.

“I knew there wouldn’t be any bids on emerald once they arrested me,” he said, adding the matter was dealt with earlier this month for a mere $1,600.

The emerald, however, is another matter as it’s been in Western Star Auction’s care ever since.

To turn his luck, and investment around, Reaney is ensuring Teodora is packed up for analysis at the California branch of the Gemological Institute of America.

When it gets the assessment Reaney believes it deserves, it will go back on the auction block. The sapphire will have the same route, he said.

“Sometimes you have to take many steps back to move forward,” he said.

“There’s a success story behind this. Yeah, I was a bad person at one time, that’s not me today. When you make mistakes in life you can correct them and be respected in your community and around the world.”

Western Star Auctions owner Mike Odenbach certainly hasn’t been deterred from working with Reaney.

“I was a little bit disappointed … his arrest put a shadow on the whole auction, but I am glad he’s moved forward,” said Odenbach.

“We’re working together again. Overall there hasn’t been a negative impact.”