Donate now to keep alive!Help|Log In|Register|
Home PageMindat NewsThe Mindat ManualHistory of MindatCopyright StatusManagement TeamContact UsAdvertise on Mindat
Donate to MindatSponsor a PageSponsored PagesTop Available PagesMindat AdvertisersAdvertise on Mindat
What is a mineral?The most common minerals on earthMineral PhotographyThe Elements and their MineralsGeological TimeMineral Evolution
Minerals by PropertiesMinerals by ChemistryAdvanced Locality SearchRandom MineralRandom LocalitySearch by minIDLocalities Near MeSearch ArticlesSearch GlossaryMore Search Options
Search For:
Mineral Name:
Locality Name:
The Mindat ManualAdd a New PhotoRate PhotosLocality Edit ReportCoordinate Completion ReportAdd Glossary Item
StatisticsThe ElementsMember ListBooks & MagazinesMineral MuseumsMineral Shows & EventsThe Mindat DirectoryDevice Settings
Photo SearchPhoto GalleriesNew Photos TodayNew Photos YesterdayMembers' Photo GalleriesPast Photo of the Day Gallery

60 Minutes Sunken Treasure Emerald Find

Posted by Rudy Bolona  
Rudy Bolona April 23, 2012 01:09AM
Was wondering if anyone out there saw tonight's episode of "60 Minutes" and the story about the guy who found the emeralds from Colombia in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Key West. Supposedly they are from some old sunken ship, maybe of Spanish or pirate origin. Some of the emeralds were found to be enhanced with an epoxy. Surely they didn't have this during pirate days. Most of the stuff looks like mine run material and not gem quality. Could this be some kind of scam being run by this guy to try to make a buck after many years and much money invested in trying to make a big find of sunken treasure. What do you guys think?
Phil M. Belley April 23, 2012 01:14AM
I thought the same thing. also, some of the broken crystals looked like Brazilian material rather than Colombian.
Anonymous User April 23, 2012 02:44AM
While that "find" may be a hoax, I believe there have been finds of emeralds from sunken Spanish ships. Why not - they carried all kinds of loot. One ship supposedly had large amounts of very low quality emeralds, gathered by a captain who thought size was the only important parameter. I believe there were some on the Atocha, one of the famous ships on the Treasure Coast. I have a small emerald crystal supposedly from the Atocha. No way to prove it. I believe there are emeralds on display at the Mel Fisher Museum in Brevard County.
Owen Lewis (2) April 23, 2012 12:49PM
An interesting topic to speculate on :-)

Known facts are these:

- For a couple of hundred years, most of the Emeralds from Colombia were shipped to Spain before being sold on elsewhere.

- The practice of the oiling of Emeralds (and the heating of Sapphires) seems as old as their use in jewellery. I.e. The practice stretches back into antiquity.

*If* some of the stones recovered from the sea-bed were filled, that is hardly surprising. If the filler has been properly analysed and identified as an epoxy resin, that is remarkable and suspicions BUT oil lying under the sea for three hundred years or so is quite likely to have undergone some changes to its chemistry and I would not be prepared to shout 'Fraud!' unless I had access to a database on Emerald fillers of similar age and South America sourcing - which I don't ;-)
Tom Klinepeter April 23, 2012 01:34PM
I thought a lot of the material looked low quality but there were some real nice ones also. How can we really telll by seeing a large pile not even close up. Sure would be nice to be able to see them in person. However I did choke when I they said was 10 mil in debt and figured he was still going to become rich!
JOE S. April 23, 2012 03:48PM
Do I think it is a scam? We know it is a scam........ Miscovich is a crook with influential friends - he just got way too greedy with this stock scam. He should get used to small rooms with bars real soon.
Tom Bennett April 23, 2012 04:06PM
I saw the program , too.
Very interesting ....
The one scene where the guy takes the reporter under water to the site seemed odd to me.
The emeralds were just laying there .... to me it looked liked they were just dropped there .... wouldn't they have stuff growing on them if they were in the water that long ? Barnacles ?
Why wouldn't they have been buried after time ?
Wouldn't under water currents have moved them and spread them about ?
Could the emeralds have been illegally removed from where ever they came from and the ' sunken treasure ' story be a cleaver cover ?
This has movie written all over it .....
Rudy Bolona April 23, 2012 04:22PM
So these guys obtained a bunch of mine run emeralds along with some nicer ones from Colombia and or Brazil. They sailed out to sea, established a GPS coordinate and dumped a quantity of emeralds, maybe not all of them. That would be too much work to recover all of them. It seemed suspicious that they were all lying there on the surface so neat. Also, there was no other wreckage material shown at the sea bottom. Any ship would also have had metal , glass and ceramic objects that would still be present, encrusted with sea critters and rust, but still there. They displayed a couple of cannonballs with the emeralds in one of the scenes of the show. They said they were found along with the stones. I'm sure you could purchase some rusty cannonballs in some touristy shop somewhere in Florida. I guess when your 10 million dollars in debt, you start to get desperate.
Maggie Wilson April 23, 2012 05:16PM
I didn't see the show, but from reading these posts it makes me wonder: where were the 60 Minutes fact checkers?
Stephanie Martin April 23, 2012 05:45PM
Maggie, I was thinking the same thing. Hard to believe that 60 minutes would stoop to a staged reality type reveal. But I guess anything goes for ratings. I wonder if Mike Wallace would have gone for that contrived nonsense.

I hope they get enough compaints and issue a retraction or something about the story.

just my 2 cents.
stephanie (td)
Spencer Ivan Mather April 23, 2012 06:19PM
I saw this show, and it seemed to me to be a scam of sorts, but I couldn't really prove it!
Dan Fountain April 23, 2012 06:33PM
The video (and commercials) is available online:;storyMediaBox
David DeCourcey April 23, 2012 06:47PM
I just watched the 60 Minutes interview.

The Emeralds and Amethyst found don't look to be of a very high quality.

I have seen pictures of Emeralds found in the Atocha wreck and they were gem crystals.

What this guy is finding looks like low quality tumbling material.
Owen Lewis (2) April 23, 2012 11:02PM
Looks a bit of a mix? Thanks to Dan, I've now see the vid (barred by Youtube from European distribution!) A lot is junk grade but there's cuttable stuff there too. OTOH, funding to 10 mil could buy a whole heap of seed corn ;-) But that crystal his lawyer came up holding and with his eyes popping looked a bit rich for 'seed corn'.

Bottom line must be that, yes, there's a stack of rough Emerald and, no, there's no evidence that it came from a colonial era treasure ship. Not sure about the 'resin filling since the 50's'.... Oiling, certainly, (since forever). The gem trade has only known of synthetic resin filling of gemstones since the 1980's (Canada Balsam filling for a lot longer).

Any with an passing interest in the business might like to read . The key factors for a filler are that the it must be reasonably stable, it must be transparent and it must have a refractive index that approximates to that of the crystal.The traditional oil was (and still is) Cedarwood Oil. Canada Balsam has also been used for around 100 years. Other oils have also been used too, including paraffin oil. Oiling of Rubies and Emeralds is often routinely done on the rough ( i.e. before first sale). Filling rough with a modern resin (for Emerald) or glass (Ruby or Diamond) can stabilise an otherwise badly fissured stone sufficiently for it to be cut without breaking up. The oiling of Emerald is to be expected as the norm. I know of one Brazil-based dealer who says he has only been offered one untreated Emerald in the last three years. There is some resistance to resin filing, though I believe that it is gaining ground. Oiling is easily removed and should be repeated every few years. There is also a solvent for Opticon, the most widely used resin filler. There is now a filler resin offered with a lifetime guarantee.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/24/2012 11:57AM by Owen Lewis (2).
Harold Moritz (2) April 24, 2012 01:23PM
I stopped watching that program long, long ago, when they did the ridiculous report alleging that amalgam dental fillings were going to kill everyone. It was so off the mark it made me wonder about all the rest of their stories. So this one is no surprise.
Ed Mattson April 24, 2012 03:37PM
I did not see this episode of 60 Minutes, so I cannot comment on it. However, Mel Fisher and the Atocha are real and they have found uncut emerald crystals in the site.

I do not think the Spanish of the would have wasted time and money to enhance uncut rough. That would be up too the jeweler would cut and mount the stones.

Howver, fraud in claiming modern crystals as Atocha salvage or modern treatment of genuine wreck site rough by a later owner is vey easy and possible to do.

In leiu of an ironclad origin cetificate, testing is the only way to prove authenticity.
David Bruno April 24, 2012 08:26PM
Id like to know who "the many experts" were who said "Its almost unheard of to treat raw Emeralds" I thought it was widespread, but then Im no expert.
Bart Cannon April 25, 2012 12:01AM
Local tree pitch is still used in Brazil and Columbia to hide fractures, but if you want a return customer for rough, you don't hide fractures.

Very annoying for the emerald cutter to have a stone fall in half.

I think the inclusions in Brazlian emeralds versus Columbian emeralds is well covered in Edward Gubelin's books.

As usual, I like to include a story.

I had a consulting client who was in the Chicago Mafia. He burned up about an hour and a half of my life during his first phone call. I told him the next call will be billed. He said, in his thick "usual suspects" accent, I'll send you 500 carats of cut emeralds from Columbia. He had them stored in a series of 5 gallon buckets. They were what is known as "jungle cuts", but they are pretty in color and sparkle just fine. I give them away as birthday gifts to my female friends. And I offer waitresses a choice of whether they want a $10 tip or an emerald. They always take the emerald.

A bit later the Mafia Man wanted to start paying me in better quality emeralds. I declined after he boasted that he had been in court 17 times on murder charges, and never spent a night in jail.

He wanted to buy the Utah red beryl locality, and he told me that he could get the Cryo-Genie back for me the same afternoon we were on the phone together. NO ! NO ! NO! I said. Even though I did want it back.

Rudy Bolona April 25, 2012 03:28AM
I guess he made you an offer you could refuse.
Anonymous User April 26, 2012 02:42AM
Here is a photo of my purported Atocha emerald. I have no way of authenticating it, but it appears to be Columbian.
The story behind it is that back when the crews were salvaging treasure from the wreck, they would keep little bits for themselves. This particular crystal was supposedly given as a tip to a musician working a bar that the workers frequented at night. (The second story of emerald as a tip in this post!) Like I said, I make no claim of authenticity, I just relate the story and agree that it is a nice Columbian emerald crystal.
open | download - atocha emerald 1.JPG (379.2 KB)
Tim Jokela Jr May 25, 2012 09:58PM
Am I the only one that thinks it bizarre that on the ocean floor they found emeralds... WITH AMETHYST???

That ain't Colombian. And all of it so very, very clean. No algae or coral growth or anything, very odd.

The whole thing is some sort of scam, and I love it. Sure, it reveals 60 Minutes to be just the same as all US news - entertainment, not news, but still, it's just delicious and I'd love to know the whole story.

If anybody hears more about this, please post.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login

Mineral and/or Locality is an outreach project of the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
Copyright © and the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy 1993-2018, except where stated. relies on the contributions of thousands of members and supporters.
Privacy Policy - Terms & Conditions - Contact Us Current server date and time: January 19, 2018 01:49:46
Go to top of page