The Indian Maharajah’s treasures have been stolen after an audacious heist took place at the Doge’s Palace in Venice. The jewels were owned by a member of the Qatari royal family. Two thieves stole earrings and a brooch during the final day of the four-month exhibition that displayed 270 items showcasing five centuries of Indian craftsmanship.
According to police, the stolen items were made of gold, platinum and diamonds. However, the jewels that were stolen were not on display during the Treasures of the Mughals and the Maharajahs exhibition. It has been estimated that the stolen jewels are worth millions of euros.
Investigators said the thieves had managed to take the items from a reinforced display case after they deactivated the alarm system and then melted into the crowd and escaped. The alarm was raised several hours later at the Palazzo Ducale palace in Italy.
“We are clearly dealing here with two skilled professionals who managed to pull off their feat despite all the display rooms being fitted with technologically highly sophisticated [alarm] systems,” said the chief police commissioner, Vito Gagliardi. The Al Thani Collection contains 270 pieces of Indian and Indian-inspired jewellery and precious stones that have been around for 400 years from the Mughal period to the present.
The collection was assembled by Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani and now belongs to Qatar’s ruling family. A spokesman for the collection, John Maxse, said it was in contact with Italian authorities and Venice’s Foundation of Civic Museums, which runs the Doge’s Palace.
The foundation said the stolen brooch and earrings were “contemporary pieces and consequently are of less historical value than other items in the collection”