Jewelry & Watches

"Priceless" 18th Century Jewels Stolen from Dresden's Green Vault Museum

The heist-which was caught on video-is being described as the worst burglary since WWII.
IMAGE PICTURE ALLIANCE / GETTY IMAGES
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Thieves broke into the Green Vault museum in Dresden, Germany on Monday, stealing jewels of "immeasurable worth." The country's media is proclaiming the heist to be the worst burglary since World War II.

The director of Dresden’s state art collections, Marion Ackermann, told the Guardian that the pieces taken were "priceless." She added, "We cannot give a [specific] value because it is impossible to sell... The material value doesn’t reflect historical meaning."

Among the items confirmed stolen are a diamond-laden hat clasp, worn by Frederick Augustus III in the late 1700s; a sword and scabbard bejeweled with nearly 800 diamonds; and a necklace made with 177 pearls. See all of the confirmed missing pieces below.

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Photo by JÜRGEN KARPINSKI.
Photo by JÜRGEN KARPINSKI.
Photo by JÜRGEN KARPINSKI.
Photo by JÜRGEN KARPINSKI.
Photo by JÜRGEN KARPINSKI.
Photo by JÜRGEN KARPINSKI.
Photo by JÜRGEN KARPINSKI.
Photo by JÜRGEN KARPINSKI.
Photo by JÜRGEN KARPINSKI.
Photo by JÜRGEN KARPINSKI.

In a security video, the thieves can be seen entering the museum at 4:58 a.m. local time, shortly after a power outage—believed to be caused by arson at a power station, per Today—provided them with cover. The staff called the police, but before they could arrive, the criminals used an ax to break open a display case and run off with the jewels.

Experts note that despite the pieces' value, the thieves may have trouble selling them, as they're simply too recognizable. Some fear that they may try to sell them for parts. "But as soon as the works are destroyed, they are of course lost forever," Dutch "art detective," Arthur Brand told Der Spiegel.

Fortunately, one of the museum's most famous treasures, the 41-carat Dresden Green Diamond, happened to be on loan to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art at the time of the break-in.

*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com

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*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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