TV Highlights

$400 Million Emerald Mystery

National Geographic - 9pm

Who's in it?

The hapless humans embroiled in one of the strangest treasure hunts of all time give their takes on the saga of the Bahia Emerald. Except "treasure hunt" isn't quite the right word – it's not the emerald itself that they're trying to find, but its rightful owner.

In a nutshell

In 2001, miners in Brazil dug up something spectacular. Not that it looked all that great. A big grey rock, with ugly lumps of green poking out of it. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and boy have there been a lot of beholders. Because its discovery has led to a bemusing battle for ownership, with different people making claims on the rock. With good reason – thanks to the giant emeralds embedded within it, it's worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The story of the Bahia Emerald is impossible to summarise without sounding like a gibbering idiot. How could something so vast and almost priceless have gone repeatedly AWOL? It's turned up in an old petrol station in San Jose. It's been found in a submerged vault in post-Katrina New Orleans. It's even even popped up on eBay, with a Buy It Now price of $75 million. A relative snip, then. But how did all this happen, and who really does own the now legendary object? This programme seeks the answers.

What's the verdict?

Well, this makes no sense whatsoever, which is why a programme about the Bahia Emerald should be utterly gripping. A tale of human folly and greed and confusion, and one of the most precious things ever dug out of the Earth… surely a movie has got to be made.

Record $400 Million Emerald Mystery now on Virgin TV Anywhere

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