Elon Musk is denying claims that his family owned an emerald mine, even though he was bragging about it less than a decade ago.

"The fake emerald mine thing is so annoying (sigh)," Musk tweeted over the weekend. "Like where exactly is this thing anyway!?"

As many pointed out, the mine was in Zambia — at least, according to Musk himself back in 2014.

"Musk and his family seem particularly sensitive about shaping the narrative about their history lately, especially around the emerald mine," tech critic Paris Marx tweeted in response. "They act like they’ve never heard of it before, even though he bragged to Forbes about it in 2014."

Included in the post is a screenshot a 2014 Forbes interview conducted by freelancer Jim Clash in which Musk, then more broadly considered a wunderkind, shared an off-handed anecdote about his now-estranged father Errol Musk's alleged mine.

"This is going to sound slightly crazy," the multi-hyphenate billionaire is quoted as saying, "but my father also had a share in an Emerald mine in Zambia."

Curiously, the interview in question is no longer live on Forbes' website, though it is backed up by the Internet Archive. There's no note explaining why it was taken down, and the original link leads to a 404 error page — though Futurism has reached out to Forbes, the freelancer, and Musk himself for further details.

The open question surrounding the alleged existence of the elder Musk's Zambian emerald mine is made all the murkier by the way it's spun out of control online, with dubious takes claiming the mine existed in the neighboring country of South Africa (where the Musks are from) or that the money gained from those "blood" gems acted as seed capital for the younger Musk's many business ventures, or at least paid off his student loan debt.

As the conspiracy-debunking site Snopes reported back in November, many of those claims don't hold up. But reporting over the years does seem to corroborate that the mine existed, contrary to Musk's latest claims.

Among those many mine mentions is the infamous anecdote from another Insider piece in 2018 about Elon and his brother Kimbal pocketing some of their father's emeralds before walking around New York City with the gems in their pockets, where they sold them to Tiffany & Co. for a couple thousand dollars.

The Forbes writer, Clash, told us he was unsure why the magazine had taken the interview down.

"I did interview Elon, he said what he said, and I don’t know why they’d take it down," Clash told us in an interview.

Like everything about this story, that just serves to further complicate the whole debacle, though if we were to wager a guess as to why Musk now claims his family never owned any mines, it would be similar to Marx's: that he thought it was cool to brag about it back in 2014, but it's significantly less politically expedient to do so now.

As with other outlandish Muskian claims, there is, of course, another possibility: that he (or his father) completely or partially made it up for clout, and Elon is now backtracking because the concept of a white South African co-owning an emerald mine has the stench of apartheid regardless of the specifics.

Updated with comment from Jim Clash.

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