The Timeline: Jewellery heists
Friday 30 April 2010
King Sobekemzaf II's tomb, Thebes, around 1100 BC
The Abbott Papyrus records an investigation into the robbery of the tomb of King Sobekemzaf II of the 17th Dynasty. Egyptian kings were buried with lavish displays of wealth, including jewellery. The tomb-raiding scandal emerged in Thebes around year 16 of Ramesses IX's reign, and the papyrus also records the robbers' trial.
The Crown Jewels, London, 1303
Over three days a gang of thieves plundered treasure from a crypt underneath the chapter house of Westminster Abbey, loot valued then at about £100,000. Five men were later executed, and 10 monks from the Abbey who had aided the robbers were sent to the Tower (as were the crown jewels, for future safekeeping).
The French Blue, 1792
King Louis XIV of France bought this blue diamond in 1668. In 1792, during the French Revolution, the French Blue was stolen during a week of looting. It is thought to have resurfaced in 1812 in London, and now resides in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington.
The Irish 'crown jewels', Dublin, 1907
The heavily jewelled insignia of the Order of St Patrick, held at Dublin Castle, were noticed as missing from their safe four days before a visit by King Edward VII. The official who held the keys, Sir Arthur Vicars, claimed that his subordinate was to blame. The jewels have never been found.
Vera Krupp's diamond, Las Vegas, 1959
Vera Krupp, a wealthy American, had her diamond ring literally ripped off her finger. Three men broke into her ranch, snatched the ring, and left her tied back-to-back with her foreman. The diamond at the ring's centre – the size of a marble and then worth around $275,000 – was later found in the lining of the thief's coat. In 1968, the stone was bought by Richard Burton for his wife, Elizabeth Taylor.
Graff Diamonds, London, 2009
Some £40m of jewellery was stolen from a Mayfair jewellers last summer. A young shop assistant, Petra Ehnar, was forced at gunpoint to hand over the contents of the display cabinets to the robbers. The jewellery has not yet been recovered, although nine defendants are in court this week charged with conspiracy to rob.
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