Loose diamonds are a jewel thief’s favourite. Or that’s what it seems like in the movies anyway. From the Pink Panther to the Italian Job, countless villains walk off with millions worth of diamonds. All in a snap. Of course, that’s not the real world. But diamond heists do actually happen.
Why steal loose diamonds?
Uncut stones are actually the most popular. These loose diamonds are harder to recognise … so they’re harder to trace. By the time gems have become fine cut diamonds, they may be laser-inscribed with a certified valuation. That makes them much easier to recognise.
Still, that’s doesn’t deter every criminal. And sophisticated heists still happen. Feats of patience and engineering, the loose diamonds are whisked away … never to be heard of again.
How common are diamond heists
When they get it right, stealing loose diamonds is a big pay day for baddies. Every couple of years, there’s a spectacular multi-million dollar theft … or attempt, anyway. Here’s just a few:
Date: February 2013
Place: Brussels Airport
Value: $50 million in loose diamonds & cash
The daring crooks executed this robbery in broad daylight. That was before a joint police effort captured 33 and recovered most of their loot.
Date: August 2009
Place: Graff Diamonds, London
Value: $65 million in diamond jewellery
Stage makeup completely changed the looks of these gangsters. So staff couldn’t recognise them. But they did leave a mobile phone in the getaway car.
Date: December 2008
Place: Harry Winston, Paris
Value: $107 million in loose diamonds & jewellery
This store is in the same block as a Paris police station. But, dressed as women, the rogues entered calmly. It took 20 minutes to clear the cabinets and safes of their precious booty.
Date: November 2007
Place: Millenium Dome, London
Value: $700 million in loose diamonds
This was a well-planned operation. But there was a tip-off. Right when the thieves tried to grab the gems, Police dressed as cleaners swooped in.
Luckily the increased use of technology and recognition technologies means that these heists are getting harder to conduct and thus there is a lower liklihood of theft.
For the rest of us loose diamonds are valuable because they mean individuals can customise and create their very own jewellery designs. Loose stones are particularly popular as they become incorporated into custom engagement rings.
Create your own unique diamond engagement ring here.