LOS ANGELES -- A trial will be held in September to determine who owns one of the largest emeralds in the world.
Tony Thomas told a Los Angeles judge Friday that he paid a dealer $60,000 in 2001 for the "Bahia Emerald" which weighs 840 pounds (180,000 carats).
He claims he was duped into believing the diamond had been stolen before it could be delivered to his home in Northern California.
Several people say they are the true owners of the emerald which is valued at $400 million dollars. Some of them argued that Thomas' claim should be denied because he never actually took possession of the gem.
Los Angeles Superior court Judge John A. Kronstadt rejected that argument and scheduled a trial date of September 8th to resolve the matter.
The stone -- believed to be the world's largest raw emerald -- was dug up in Brazil in 2001 and sold by a trader. It later turned up in a New Orleans warehouse that was flooded during Hurricane Katrina and apparently also had turned up in Idaho and Las Vegas.
The boulder sized gem remains in the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
No criminal charges have been filed in the case.
Trial Ordered to Determine Ownership of 840 Pound "Bahia Emerald"
The Bahia Emerald is valued at $400 million dollars