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The collection reportedly belonged to a passenger aboard one of two Indian aircraft
The collection reportedly belonged to a passenger aboard one of two Indian aircraft

$350,000 buried gemstones found in Alps

A 20-year-old French climber could be about $350,000 richer after finding a metal box containing a treasure trove of emeralds, rubies and sapphires that had been buried for decades in the French Alps.

The collection was discovered accidentally while the climber was ascending a glacier on Mont Blanc. It is thought the haul was originally on board an Indian plane that crashed in the desolate landscape about 50 years ago.

The man immediately reported the find to French authorities but, under French law, if no-one claims the bounty, the gemstones could become a case of “finders keepers”. Climbers are reportedly constantly finding debris from plane crashes.

It is believed the collection, estimated to be valued up to €246,000 (A$356,435), were in possession of a passenger aboard one of two Indian aircraft that crashed into Mont Blanc in 1950 and 1966 respectively.

Local police chief Sylvain Merly said, "This was an honest young man who very quickly realised that they belonged to someone who died on the glacier.

"He could have kept them, but he preferred to give them to the police," Merly said, adding that some of the sachets containing the precious stones bore the stamp “Made in India”.

French and Indian authorities are currently working together in an attempt to trace the owner or heirs of the horde.

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Monday, 26 August, 2019 11:42am
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