Jeweller sued for return of gems 'worth pounds 500,000'

(First Edition)

AN INTERNATIONAL jeweller was yesterday sued in the High Court, London, for the return of ruby and diamond jewellery allegedly worth pounds 500,000 or the cash equivalent.

Hanya Al Dukair claimed that in July 1987 she asked Boucheron, of New Bond Street, central London, to sell her necklace, bracelet earclips and ring for not less than pounds 500,000. If they fetched more, Boucheron was to keep the excess, she claimed.

She alleged that she was repeatedly told by senior sales staff that the gems had been sold and she would be paid. But she claimed she recieved no money and that the jewellery was not returned.

Boucheron claims that because of the misconduct of a member of staff who has since been sacked the jewels were sold to a London dealer for pounds 115,000 and had to be bought back.

Stephen Silber QC, for Mrs Al Dukair, said she was not told of any such sale.

He told the court that the proceeds were not paid to her but were credited partly to her mother's account and partly to the account of a Saudi Arabian woman with whom Mrs Al Dukair had no connection.

Boucheron has offered Mrs Al Dukair, of Eaton Square, Belgravia, central London, a ruby suite which it says is the one she deposited in 1987.

Mrs Al Dukair claims that the jewels offered by Boucheron are not hers.

Boucheron denies there was any agreement to sell the jewels for 500,000, or that it has liability to pay that sum.

It says it is willing to return the gems, which in its opinion are not worth pounds 500,000.

The hearing continues.