June 21, 2012

The Missing Tiara

Six years ago, a British duchess despaired over the disappearance of her bag of jewelry in Glasgow Airport. No ordinary jewels, the contents of the bag included a Victorian diamond tiara and totaled $157,000 (£100,000).

She reported the missing items to the police and to the Art Loss Register (ALR), and as the years passed, her hope of recovering them dimmed. But she was surprised when she spotted the tiara and a Cartier brooch in a Scottish auction catalog, slated to be sold on May 30.

As it turned out, rather than informing police, when the airport found the jewels it simply sold them to a Glasgow diamond trader for less than $7,500 and donated the proceeds to charity – its standard practice for lost items unclaimed within three months, spokeswoman Sharon Morrison said.
After the duchess informed the London-based ALR of the impending sale, lawyer Christopher Marinello contacted the auction house, Lyon & Turnbull, to negotiate the jewels' return to their rightful owner.