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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, hscohen60@gmail.com. Websites: thejewelerblog.comthejewelerblog.wordpress.com.

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She Wanted to Spend More Time with Her Kids. She Called Wilkerson.

Your children are precious. More precious than gold? Absolutely! Just ask Lesley Ann Davis, owner of Lesley Ann Jewels, an independent jewelry store that — until the end of 2023 — had quite a following in Houston, Texas. To spend more time with her four sons, all in high school, she decided to close her store. Luckily, she was familiar with Wilkerson and called them as soon as she knew she wanted to move on to bigger, better and more family-focused things. Was she happy with her decision? Yes, she was. Says Davis, “Any owner looking to make that life change, looking to retire, looking to close, looking for a pause in their career, I would recommend Wilkerson. Hands down!”

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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, hscohen60@gmail.com. Websites: thejewelerblog.comthejewelerblog.wordpress.com.

Advertisement

SPONSORED VIDEO

She Wanted to Spend More Time with Her Kids. She Called Wilkerson.

Your children are precious. More precious than gold? Absolutely! Just ask Lesley Ann Davis, owner of Lesley Ann Jewels, an independent jewelry store that — until the end of 2023 — had quite a following in Houston, Texas. To spend more time with her four sons, all in high school, she decided to close her store. Luckily, she was familiar with Wilkerson and called them as soon as she knew she wanted to move on to bigger, better and more family-focused things. Was she happy with her decision? Yes, she was. Says Davis, “Any owner looking to make that life change, looking to retire, looking to close, looking for a pause in their career, I would recommend Wilkerson. Hands down!”

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