A nice trade in tiaras: Glasgow Airport sells off Duchess of Argyll's very posh lost property

 

A diamond tiara is not among the usual items handed in to the lost and found department at Glasgow Airport. But when £100,000 of jewellery, including a Victorian headpiece, was found by the British Airports Authority (BAA), they sold it on rather than tracking down its distraught owner who had reported it missing several months before.

The Duchess of Argyll lost four items of jewellery in a bag in Glasgow Airport in 2006 as she returned from London to Inveraray Castle, Clan Campbell's ancestral home.

She reported the incident to police and the Art Loss Register (ALR), which listed it on its database of stolen antiques but the trail went cold. That is until earlier this year when the Duchess happened to spot one of the pieces – a Cartier brooch – in a catalogue of Scottish auction Lyon & Turnbull (L&T).

The ALR's lawyer, Christopher Marinello, investigated and discovered the jewellery had actually resurfaced just months after its loss, but BAA did not inform the police. It simply sold it off to a diamond merchant for less than £5,000 – a fraction of its value – and gave the proceeds to charity, its usual procedure for lost property unclaimed within three months.

Mr Marinello said: "Apparently, the airport found the jewels or they were turned in to 'lost and found' by someone... The question remains: what did they do to help find the owner? They didn't call the police even though the airport police had a record of the theft. They didn't call ALR. The only thing they did was sell them." He established the brooch was consigned to L&T by someone who bought it in good faith from the diamond merchant.

The Duchess, 68, voiced "disbelief" at BAA's action over the case. The authority has since offered to reimburse the diamond merchant in order for the tiara and brooch to be returned to her although an emerald ring and pearl earrings are still missing.

She added: "I'm absolutely amazed. I thought that after six years I'd lost them forever. The tiara was a Victorian family one and the necklace was given to me for my 21st birthday. So everything was very special. "

The Airport Authority says they no longer have records relating to the incident but a spokesman said they would rethink their procedures as a result of the case. "We have since assisted the police with their recent enquiries and paid a sum equivalent to the money raised from the sale to enable the items to be returned to their rightful owner," he said.

Gavin Strang, L&T director, said he was "delighted" that the jewellery was being returned to its "rightful owner".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before