Yemengzhu – the 3 billion dollar rock
What weighs 6.2 tons and costs more than $3.1 billion? Are you suggesting that this is a new high-tech warship or perhaps a new stealth fighter? Well it’s a big glowing ball in the dark fluorite.
Yemengzhus, also known as China’s legendary luminous pearls, are rare glow-in-the-dark fluorite balls.
It is very rare in the mineral kingdom for a specimen of fluorite to glow in the dark without the aid of ultraviolet light. So rare, in fact, that Western geology textbooks still do not recognize this type of fluorite.
This new deposit was first reported in the Chinese press in November 1982. Workers from the Guangdong Provincial Geological Metallurgical and Geological Exploration Company discovered a Yemengzhu fluorite deposit in a tungsten mine in Guangdong, China. The company milled the deposit into a round sphere (Pearl) and had the Chinese government assign an appraised value to it. In 1983, the Chinese government published an estimate valuing this Yemengzhu at $900 million.
What I found interesting in this appraisal report is that the government clearly states their reasons and methods for arriving at the price of $900,000,000. They compare the pearl to the best grade of diamonds. This assessment can be found on the Internet.
Since the first Yemengzhu came into the public eye in 1982, several more pearls have been made, each larger than the last and with an even higher price. Here are two well-documented cases.
On January 15, 2002, the world’s largest Yemengzhu was exhibited in Shenzhen, it weighed 14.35 kilograms and had a diameter of 21 cm. This pearl was valued at 1.2 billion US dollars.
October 2007: A new world record holder is exhibited in Shanghai. Certified by Guinness World Headquarters. Yemengzhu weighs 6.1 tons and is valued at US$3.1 billion. For a stone???
I have found documentation of other smaller pearls coming to market since 1982. They range from the size of an egg to the size of a basketball. Prices range from $64,000 to $108,000,000.
What makes a six-ton stone more valuable than a small country? In fact, there is a lot of debate about this in China right now. National pride and traditions drive the markets. Every child in China knows the story of the Legendary Shining Pearl. It is believed that touching a pearl will bring you great prosperity and luck. The belief has spawned an entire multi-million dollar industry producing and selling artificial Yemengzhus for the home.
There is documentation on the web telling of all the millions that were made and lost by Yemengzhus. My favorite is the one about a Chinese supermarket owner who borrowed $70 million from his shareholders to buy Yemengzhu to display in his chain of stores. When the company went bankrupt, they sold the pearl for only $5 million because the market is now cooling. The press cannot find the owner.
I hope you find this story as fascinating as I do, I am still searching the internet for more documentation and hope to write a book on why a stone ball is worth $3.2 billion.
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