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300-Year-Old Shipwreck With $17B in Gold and Emeralds Positively Identified

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Utilizing an unmanned submersible vehicle at a depth of 600 meters, researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) positively ID’d the San José — a 62-gun, three-masted Spanish galleon that has been called the “Holy Grail of Shipwrecks.” The ill-fated ship had been en route to Spain in 1708 laden with a cargo of emeralds, precious-metal coins and jewelry estimated to be worth $17 billion.

300-Year-Old Shipwreck With $17B in Gold and Emeralds Positively Identified

A quartet of British warships sank the galleon near Colombia’s port city of Cartagena, and for hundreds of years, treasure hunters speculated about the exact location of the wreck and the untold riches it contained.

300-Year-Old Shipwreck With $17B in Gold and Emeralds Positively Identified

WHOI researchers maneuvered the REMUS 6000 robotic submarine to within 30 feet of the wreck — close enough for cameras to capture images of the distinctive dolphins engraved on the ship’s massive bronze cannons.

300-Year-Old Shipwreck With $17B in Gold and Emeralds Positively Identified

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This is not the first time the REMUS 6000 has been called on for a high-profile assignment. In 2010, it assisted in mapping and photographing the Titanic wreck site in the North Atlantic Ocean.

300-Year-Old Shipwreck With $17B in Gold and Emeralds Positively Identified

Researchers believe that all the San José’s treasures remain intact. The Colombian government is currently raising funds for the recovery effort that should yield millions of gold and silver coins, as well as fine jewelry and a bounty of Peruvian-mined emeralds. It also plans to build a museum and world-class conservation laboratory to preserve and publicly display the wreck’s contents.

The San José discovery carries considerable cultural and historical significance because the artifacts may provide a clearer picture of Europe’s economic, social and political climate in the early 18th century.

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Although the exact location of the wreck remains a Colombian state secret, the Associated Press previously reported that the ship was believed to have sunk along the coral reefs near Colombia’s Baru peninsula, about 16 miles south of Cartagena. The San José was part of Spain’s royal convoy taking colonial riches to King Philip V during the War of Spanish Succession (1701–1714). Of the 600 people aboard the doomed San José, only 11 survived.

Image credits: San José battle painting [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Coin photo via Facebook/1715 Fleet – Queens Jewels, LLC; REMUS image by Mike Purcell, courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Ocean floor images courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.


HOWARD COHEN is the Shoreham, NY-based editor of The Jeweler Blog, a daily blog ghost-written for retail jewelers. Cohen, a long-time industry veteran, is dedicated to making social media tasks simple and affordable for every jeweler. For more information, visit thejewelerblog.com or contact Cohen at 631-821- 8867, [email protected]. Websites: thejewelerblog.comthejewelerblog.wordpress.com.

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Gone Fishin’ (Thanks to Wilkerson)

Whether you want to go fishing — or enjoy some of the other good things life has to offer — you can take a cue from Jim Adair and choose Wilkerson to run your retirement sale. After 38 years in business, Adair decided it was time to enjoy some free time. His Missoula, Montana store, Adair Jewelers, will stay in business but without him at the helm. It was the perfect opportunity to call in the experts in retirement sales. Adair says he spoke to a lot of people who have done retirement sales to help him make his decision and he chose Wilkerson. “Wilkerson seemed to have the best set up, the best organization, the most current marketing of any of them,” he says. “If you want to run a successful sale, you have too much money on the line to be screwing around with trying to do it yourself.”

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300-Year-Old Shipwreck With $17B in Gold and Emeralds Positively Identified

mm

Published

on

Utilizing an unmanned submersible vehicle at a depth of 600 meters, researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) positively ID’d the San José — a 62-gun, three-masted Spanish galleon that has been called the “Holy Grail of Shipwrecks.” The ill-fated ship had been en route to Spain in 1708 laden with a cargo of emeralds, precious-metal coins and jewelry estimated to be worth $17 billion.

300-Year-Old Shipwreck With $17B in Gold and Emeralds Positively Identified

A quartet of British warships sank the galleon near Colombia’s port city of Cartagena, and for hundreds of years, treasure hunters speculated about the exact location of the wreck and the untold riches it contained.

300-Year-Old Shipwreck With $17B in Gold and Emeralds Positively Identified

WHOI researchers maneuvered the REMUS 6000 robotic submarine to within 30 feet of the wreck — close enough for cameras to capture images of the distinctive dolphins engraved on the ship’s massive bronze cannons.

Advertisement

300-Year-Old Shipwreck With $17B in Gold and Emeralds Positively Identified

This is not the first time the REMUS 6000 has been called on for a high-profile assignment. In 2010, it assisted in mapping and photographing the Titanic wreck site in the North Atlantic Ocean.

300-Year-Old Shipwreck With $17B in Gold and Emeralds Positively Identified

Researchers believe that all the San José’s treasures remain intact. The Colombian government is currently raising funds for the recovery effort that should yield millions of gold and silver coins, as well as fine jewelry and a bounty of Peruvian-mined emeralds. It also plans to build a museum and world-class conservation laboratory to preserve and publicly display the wreck’s contents.

The San José discovery carries considerable cultural and historical significance because the artifacts may provide a clearer picture of Europe’s economic, social and political climate in the early 18th century.

Advertisement

Although the exact location of the wreck remains a Colombian state secret, the Associated Press previously reported that the ship was believed to have sunk along the coral reefs near Colombia’s Baru peninsula, about 16 miles south of Cartagena. The San José was part of Spain’s royal convoy taking colonial riches to King Philip V during the War of Spanish Succession (1701–1714). Of the 600 people aboard the doomed San José, only 11 survived.

Image credits: San José battle painting [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Coin photo via Facebook/1715 Fleet – Queens Jewels, LLC; REMUS image by Mike Purcell, courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Ocean floor images courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.


HOWARD COHEN is the Shoreham, NY-based editor of The Jeweler Blog, a daily blog ghost-written for retail jewelers. Cohen, a long-time industry veteran, is dedicated to making social media tasks simple and affordable for every jeweler. For more information, visit thejewelerblog.com or contact Cohen at 631-821- 8867, [email protected]. Websites: thejewelerblog.comthejewelerblog.wordpress.com.

Advertisement

SPONSORED VIDEO

Wilkerson Testimonials

Gone Fishin’ (Thanks to Wilkerson)

Whether you want to go fishing — or enjoy some of the other good things life has to offer — you can take a cue from Jim Adair and choose Wilkerson to run your retirement sale. After 38 years in business, Adair decided it was time to enjoy some free time. His Missoula, Montana store, Adair Jewelers, will stay in business but without him at the helm. It was the perfect opportunity to call in the experts in retirement sales. Adair says he spoke to a lot of people who have done retirement sales to help him make his decision and he chose Wilkerson. “Wilkerson seemed to have the best set up, the best organization, the most current marketing of any of them,” he says. “If you want to run a successful sale, you have too much money on the line to be screwing around with trying to do it yourself.”

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