Teodora, the World's Largest Cut Emerald.
Hoax or Fact:
This is a widespread story of a large and beautiful gemstone that is claimed to be the World's Largest Cut Emerald by its owner Regan Reaney, a Calgary gem wholesaler. It is said to be an 11.5 kilograms, 57,500 carat cut emerald by the owner, who planned to auction it for $1.15 million in British Columbia. Let us analyze the authenticity of his claims.
About the Claim
Reaney presented himself as a rare gems dealer from Calgary, and said he acquired the stone from India through an online contact and that it was originally mined in Brazil. The 25-pound emerald of the size of a watermelon was named 'Teodora,' which roughly translates to 'God's Gift.' He advertised the 57,500-carat rock as the world's largest cut emerald gemstone, and appraised it at $1.15-million. The gemstone was kept under tight security for the auction on 28 January 2012 in Canada by Kelowna-based Western Star Auctions. The video is a brief news report of Reaney's claims.
Regan Reaney's Arrest
The night before the auction, Regan Reaney was accused of multiple fraud offenses in Ontario and arrested in Kelowna by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The RCMP had outstanding warrants for his arrest. Despite his arrest the auction went ahead as scheduled, but the massive green crystal did not sell for doubts about its authenticity.
Doubts about the authenticity of the biggest cut emerald of the world existed right from the beginning of the claims, more so after the owner Regan Reaney was arrested under fraud charges. There were speculations that it was a more common, and less valuable, piece of white beryl which was simply dyed green.
One of the Canadian gemologists Jeff Nechka, who examined the stone and appraised it for $1.15 million, said that it was a beryl that had been dyed green and its clarity enhanced through fracture filling. He also said that the stone contained uneven tones, lighter in some areas and darker in others, indicating the gem is an emerald with its color enhanced by dye. “I’m positive it contains emerald but I’m not sure how much of it is emerald,” Nechka told JCKonline.com “It has been dyed to some extent but it’s impossible to tell the intensity of the stone prior.”
To be 100 percent sure that the stone is emerald, Nechka said they would have to conduct a “destructive testing,” which involves chiseling off a piece to examine the inside of the stone -- a procedure the stone’s owner Reaney does not want to conduct. Also, the presence of dye prevents determining whether or not the stone has sufficient depth of color to be considered an emerald. Jeff Nechka could not confirm that the stone is in fact the “world’s largest emerald.”
A gemologist from Vancouver Chris Dirken told CalgaryHerald.com that he was negotiating to buy the very same gemstone for a “few hundred dollars” through eBay before the Indian dealer suddenly called him and said he had a buyer willing to pay more. Reaney said he did not buy his emerald on eBay, but confirmed it was the same dealer and did not say how much he paid for it. Dirken also said he bought a 23,000-carat “emerald” from the same dealer, which the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) later determined was a piece of dyed white beryl.
Shane McClure, the director of GIA’s West Coast Identification Service, who although did not look at the stone, says they would not call it emerald in any case!
Despite the criticism, Regan Reaney stands by his giant, massive emerald, dismissing the statements from other gemologists as jealousy. "This is 100 percent what we say it is," he says. "We know there is emerald throughout it, we don’t know how much. We know it’s not a total white beryl, but it has some white beryl in it. it’s not gem quality, and we know it’s commercial grade. But the size of it is what makes it special.”
From all the aforementioned examinations of gemologists, Regan's initial claim of world's largest cut emerald, his plan to auction it for a million dollar price before he was arrested on fraud charges, and the way he changed his claims thereafter, it is clear that the large green stone was commercially publicized and hyped. Teodora is not world's largest cut emerald; it is not even an emerald in original. The stone, whose precise composition is unclear at this point of time, is dyed green and its clarity-enhanced through fracture filling.