Crime

Authorities Recover Some Royal Jewels from Green Vault Heist

CrimeDec 20, 2022

Authorities Recover Some Royal Jewels from Green Vault Heist

Important pieces are still missing following the 2019 robbery of the Green Vault Museum in Dresden, Germany.

20221220_Green Vault.jpg
German police recently recovered several jewels stolen from the historic Green Vault in Dresden, Germany in a November 2019 heist. (Image credit: © Grünes Gewölbe, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. Photo: David Brandt)
Berlin—German authorities have recovered some of the 18th century royal jewels stolen from the Green Vault museum in Dresden, Germany in November 2019, though important pieces are still missing.

In a statement, local police said they found 31 items in Berlin, several of which are believed to be intact, including the Polish Order of the White Eagle breast star and a hat decoration.

An epaulette (shoulder piece) set with the famed “Dresden White Diamond” as well as the large bustle bow of Queen Amalie Auguste remain missing.

SEE: Some of the Jewelry Stolen from the Green Vault


The recovered jewels were returned to Dresden where police can forensically examine them. Specialists from the Dresden State Art Collections will verify their authenticity and status.

Police did not share information about where the jewels were found in Berlin because the investigation, known as “Operation Epaulette,” is still active.

In September 2021, six suspects, German nationals ages 22 to 27, were charged with organized robbery and arson after allegedly breaking into the museum and swiping jewelry with an insured value of at least $135 million.

The suspects are believed to have set a fire before the break-in to cut the power supply to the streetlights outside of the museum. They also set fire to a car in a nearby garage.

Their trial began in January and is ongoing, with another trial session scheduled this week.

 Related stories will be right here … 

Authorities said before the recovery of the jewels, prosecutors and the defense were in “exploratory talks” about reaching a settlement that would include the return of the jewels.

Marion Ackermann, Dresden’s State Art Collections director, said at the time of the theft that the true value of the jewels couldn’t be measured.

“We cannot give a value because it is impossible to sell,” she told reporters. “The material value doesn’t reflect the historic meaning.”

Michael Kretschmer, minister president of Saxony, the German state where Dresden is located, took to Twitter at the time to comment on the heist, stating: “It’s not just the state art collections that was robbed, but us Saxons.”

“One can’t understand the history of Saxony without the Green Vault,” he said.

The Green Vault is one of the world’s oldest museums, created in 1723 by Augustus the Strong of Saxony, who wanted to establish Dresden as an arts hub.

His treasury, on display in Dresden’s Royal Palace, includes 4,000 jewels, objets d’art, and other historically significant items.

The museum’s most famous treasure is the Dresden Green Diamond, a 41-carat green diamond, which was on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for an exhibition at the time of the heist.

Lenore Fedowis the associate editor, news at National Jeweler, covering the retail beat and the business side of jewelry.

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