No one bids on 'world's largest emerald' at Kelowna auction

The owner of the jewel was arrested by RCMP the day before it went up for sale

Teodora was literally billed as a gift from God. Said to be the world’s largest cut emerald, Teodora was put up for sale on Saturday at the Kelowna, B.C. auction house, Western Star Auctions. Regan Reaney, the man who brought it in, claimed the 11.5 kilogram watermelon-sized, 56,500-carat emerald “is 100-per-cent real” and worth at least $1.15 million. Reaney told media that the gem’s worth was in the “priceless zone.”

But on Saturday, no one bid on Teodora.

That’s because Reaney was arrested Friday by Kelowna RCMP. He faces multiple fraud accusations in Ontario, and there were outstanding warrants for his arrest, The Globe and Mail reported Sunday.

One would assume, based on this alone, that the emerald is nothing more than the crown jewel in some kid’s worthless rock collection. But there’s more. In order to be fully certified, emeralds must have pieces chipped off for internal analysis. Reaney refused to do this. And then there was the appraiser from Calgary, Jeff Nechka, who reportedly took a look at Reaney’s rock. He said it was likely “enhanced green beryl,” meaning that it was dyed green, a tell-tale sign of emerald fakery (emeralds are a rare form of beryl; white beryl is essentially worthless).

As if all this weren’t weird enough—why would Reaney take his prized gem to Kelowna?—the owner of Western Star Auctions, Mike Odenbach, wanted to leverage the emerald sale into something bigger for his business: a reality TV show. On this point, it’s hard to say whether Reaney’s emerald fiasco will be a help or a hindrance.

Vancouver Sun

The Globe and Mail

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.