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Treasure HuntersNews


"40 Carats in a Conch"

Wednesday September 11, 2002


A teacher and diver for Amelia Research & Recovery has found a 40 carat emerald in a conch shell at the site of a wrecked Spanish galleon off the Florida coast. The teacher who is trying to preserve his anonymity, found the emerald as he was cleaning shells in a classroom laboratory. He had found the shells near the wreck of the Santa Margarita about 30 miles from the island of Key West.

Patrick Clyne, vice-president of Mel Fisher Enterprises, a wreck salvage company based in Key West Florida, said this is an excellent indication that the Margarita had raw emeralds smuggled aboard the ship. There were no emeralds listed on its cargo manifest.

The teacher, who works part-time for Amelia Research, Handed the emerald over to his employer, but he will receive a "nice bonus for his find and his honesty" according to a spokesman. The company now hopes for more finds at the site.

While there were no immediate estimates of how much the emerald might be worth, a 77-carat emerald from a sister ship of the Santa Margarita was valued at $1.2 million in 1985.

The wrecked galleons were part of a 28-ship fleet that left Havana in 1622 with a cargo of emeralds and gold from Colombia, silver from Mexico and Peru, and pearls from Venezuela. Three of the ships were sunk by the hurricane.


The ancient conch is placed by a quarter to show its massive size