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10 Missing Gems and Jewels Yet to Be Found

by Jessica Fleming-Montoya
fact checked by Jamie Frater

The mythical Heart of the Ocean sparked a major hunt in the popular movie Titanic. And while the Heart of the Ocean may not really be a missing gemstone, there are plenty of jewels that really have been lost to time. Here are ten missing gems and jewels which still have yet to be found.

Related: Top 10 Sparkling Legends About Gemstones

10 The Blue Diamond

The Curious Case of the Hope Diamond

The Blue Diamond was a 69-carat diamond found in India and is largely considered the world’s first blue diamond. It was bought by King Louis XIV of France in 1668, and the king cut the diamond down to about 69 carats. From there, he proceeded to mount it in a beautiful Catholic chivalric order called the Order of the Golden Fleece.

Now, while we know a fair amount about where the diamond came from and who owned it, what we don’t know is what happened during the later half of the diamond’s life.

In 1791, King Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette, were arrested as they attempted to flee the country because of the ongoing revolution. Of course, they were captured and imprisoned, and the revolutionaries decided to loot the royal palace. During the looting, thieves laid claim to the French crown jewels—including the famed Blue Diamond. That was the last that was ever seen of the French Blue.

Unlike some of the other gemstones that have been lost to time, the French Blue seems to have been simply remodeled. Scientists have run tests on the Hope Diamond, currently housed in the Smithsonian Institute, and believe it is the long-lost French Blue, although it’s been cut down to about two-thirds of its original size.[1]

9 The Great Mogul Diamond

The Great Mogul Diamond was named as such because it was the largest diamond ever mined in India. The diamond weighed a whopping 787 carats when it was mined in 1650.

The diamond, which was owned by Emperor Aurangzeb, was sent to Venice to be cut by a man named Hortentio Borgis, who reduced the diamond by roughly 500 carats in size. The Emperor wasn’t impressed and fined the jeweler for every penny he had.

That was the last that was ever really heard of the diamond, and many people believe that the diamond was lost in the 1739 sack of Delhi. Although the diamond is officially missing, there are those who believe that the Orlov diamond is the same Great Mogul Diamond. The reason for this is that both diamonds were said to be “the shape of half an egg,” but with little other evidence to go by, we may never know the truth.[2]

8 The Irish Crown Jewels

Christiaan – The Irish Crown Jewels

The Irish crown jewels were once the property of the Order of St Patrick, an aristocratic order in Ireland. They were an important part of swearing-in ceremonies and were worn by the Viceroy in Ireland or the Grand Master of the Order. The order was operational up until 1974, when the last knight of the order passed away.

Unfortunately, the Irish crown jewels went missing far before the order’s end. On July 6, 1901, the crown jewels were discovered to be missing. This was just days before King Edward VII was set to visit Dublin—and use the crown jewels to swear in a new knight of the Order of St. Patrick!

Despite launching a police hunt all over the city, the jewels were never found. In the following years, there were several claims that the jewels had been uncovered, but all of them turned out to be false alarms.[3]

7 The Marlborough Diamond

Chicago mob’s ‘Marlborough Man’ Jerry Scalise wants out of sentence early

The Marlborough Diamond was a 45-carat diamond that was the property of a well-to-do jewelry store in London. The diamond was displayed proudly in the store’s front window, although perhaps this didn’t turn out the be the best idea.

The Chicago mob had seen the diamond in the window, and they were determined to have it. On September 11, 1980, Art Rachel and Jerry Scalise donned disguises as Arab Shikhs and held up the store in broad daylight.

Despite making it out of the store and even out of the country, they were stopped at O’Hare airport in Chicago upon their return to their home country. The two were promptly arrested and spent more than forty years in prison.

What’s interesting is that while the mobsters themselves were caught and made to pay for their crimes, the Marlborough Diamond was never recovered. Police believe that the two mobsters, who are now free, know the whereabouts of the diamond, but if that’s the case, they have yet to spill the beans.[4]

6 The Atocha Star

Lost treasure: The Stolen Atocha Star Emerald and Golden Eagle of The World’s Greatest Treasure Hunt

The Atocha Star is a famous Colombian emerald that was mined during the 17th century. This emerald weighed about 25 carats and was sent from Colombia to Spain on a ship called Nuestra Señora de Atocha in 1622.

Tragically, the ship never made it to its destination. A hurricane sunk the ship somewhere off the coast of Florida, taking with it the emeralds and several chests of gold and silver.

Despite this tragedy, all was not lost forever. A man named Mel Fisher led a diving group to the wreck site in 1985 and found six pounds of ship cargo dating back about 400 years. One of the treasures found in the cargo was the Atocha Star.

You’d think that after the re-discovery of the emerald, it would have gone on to live in a museum. However, that’s not quite the case. Mel Fisher had the Atocha Star cut down to around 12 carats and mounted to a golden statue of an eagle.

In 2016, the Golden Eagle was stolen from its owner in Vancouver while on display at the Art Vancouver Exhbit. Despite the fact that police have been actively hunting for the statue and the emerald for years, its whereabouts are still unknown.[5]

5 Akhbar Shah

The Akbar Shah is a pear-shaped diamond that originally weighed around 119 carats and was set into the Peacock Throne of Emperor Akbar of the Mughal Empire.

Being part of the throne, however, the jewel didn’t survive very long in the Mughal emperor’s court. The throne was plundered and taken to Iran, where it remained hidden for nearly a hundred years.

Then, in 1866, the Akhbar Shah reappeared in the hands of a merchant named George Blogg. Blogg called the stone “The Shepherd Stone” and took it to London, where he had it reshaped. He then sold the stone to Malhar Rao in India.

Today, heirs of the Rao family have filed tax returns that show the gemstone may still be in the family’s possession. However, this is unverified, and there is still some suspicion that the stone was sold or traded hands at some point. In short, the stone’s whereabouts are unknown.[6]

4 The Florentine Diamond

The Florentine diamond was a yellowish diamond that weighed around 137 carats. Although no one is sure of the diamond’s origins, it’s thought to have belonged to Charles, the Duke of Burgundy.

When the Duke of Burgundy was felled in battle in 1476, a nearby soldier picked up the gem and sold it for cash. Later, the gem turned back up in Tuscany in the care of the de’ Medici family, although he, too, sold it in 1657.

The jewel changed hands a number of times in the following years, eventually making its way into the hands of Charles I of Austria. During Charles I’s exile in World War I, the gemstone was stolen. Although no one knows exactly what happened next, many believe that the gem was sent to the United States, where it was recut and sold to mask its identity. Despite these rumors, historians have yet to corroborate the story.[7]

3 Hawaiian Crown Jewels

The disappearance of King Kalākaua’s crown jewels

Although Hawaii is currently a state of the United States of America, it was once its own sovereign nation with a royal family. And, as you might expect, that royal family had its own set of crown jewels. These jewels are shrouded in mystery.

On April 3, 1893, Queen Liliuokalani was deposed, leaving the state in shock. However, that was just half the surprise when the new government discovered that the trunk containing King Kalakaua’s crown had been broken into and the crown itself had been stripped of its jewels. In total, officials discovered that more than 600 jewels had been stolen from the Hawaiian treasury.

Some of the jewels were discovered in the pockets of the royal guards, but many of them were distributed on the black market, never to be recovered.[8]

2 The Romanov Crown Jewels

Jewelry Mystery: What Happened to the missing Romanov Crown Jewels?

The Bolshevik Revolution is famous for the mystery surrounding Princess Anastasia and Prince Alexei. However, these two royals weren’t the only things to go missing during the kerfuffle. The Romanov crown jewels also disappeared during this regicide.

Interestingly enough, the Romanov crown jewels were thought to have all been accounted for until a book turned up in 1922, alluding to previously unknown pieces from the collection. One of the pieces was eventually discovered, but the other three continue to be missing.

While we don’t know where the remaining crown jewels are, we do have a good idea of what happened to them. Some experts believe that Soviet agents stole some of the jewels, while others believe they may have been hidden during the royal family’s exile in Siberia.[9]

1 The Eagle Diamond

Lost Treasure: The Eagle Diamond

Unlike many precious gems and jewels which come from Europe, South America, or the Far East, the Eagle Diamond was actually discovered in Eagle, Wisconsin. The stone, which weighed somewhere between 15 and 16 carats, was found in 1876 while workers in the area were building a well.

A woman named Clarissa Woods picked up the stone and took it to a local jeweler. The jeweler, thinking the stone could be worth something, sent it to Chicago for analysis. What the analysis discovered was that it was actually the largest diamond found in the U.S. up until that point in history.

The stone was sold to Tiffany’s in New York City, and from there, it eventually made its way into the American Museum of Natural History. Years later, in 1964, the Eagle Diamond was stolen by a famous thief called “Murph the Surf.” Even though many of the jewels in the heist were recovered, the Eagle Diamond remains lost to this day.[10]

fact checked by Jamie Frater