The lure of diamonds and gold has been responsible for countless thefts around the world over the years. Banks and jewellery shops have often been the main targets but museums have become increasingly attractive to thieves. Today we report on museum security news from Germany where some notably unusual thefts have taken place involving gold and diamonds.
Karlsruhe Museum Security Breach – For Diamonds
A diamond-encrusted tiara once owned and worn by the last Grand Duchess of Baden was stolen by audacious thieves who breached museum security at the Badisches Landesmuesum in Karlsruhe.
As the beatiful, historic photograph shows, Princess Hilda Charlotte Wilhelmine of Nassau (1864 – 1952) loved to wear the tiara. One notable occasion when she wore it was in 1938 for the 80th birthday celebration of the King of Sweden.
A stunning piece of jewellery, the tiara was made around 1907 by Baden-based court jeweller Schmidt-Staubof and comprises of gold and platinum with no less than 367 diamonds. It is estimated to be worth around £1 million (USD 1.31m).
At the time of the security breach, the tiara was locked in a cabinet in the museum’s throne room. The thieves have yet to be apprehended and the tiara yet to be found. With a greater importance than just a piece of jewellery, one hopes it will at some point be recovered.
For more details and photographs on this story click here.
Berlin Museum Security Breach – For Gold
One of the largest gold coins ever minted was stolen from the Bode museum in Berlin last summer. It was one of five minted by the Royal Canadian Mint in 2007 and made of 100kg (220 lbs) of pure 24 carat gold. It has an estimated worth of over £3 million (USD 4 million).
The coin was stored in a special cabinet protected by bullet-proof glass and security alarms but the thieves overcame all that and made off with the heavy coin using a wheelbarrow. Although suspects were reported to have been arrested, the coin has sadly not been found. The attraction of the coin was clearly because of the potential to melt it down and sell it on in an unrecognisable form.
Providing Effective Museum Security
As manufacturers of perimeter security systems, we already play a part in the museum security sector. Our Flexiguard™ Warehouse System was installed to protect valuable exhibits in the world-famous Burrell Collection. You can read more on that in our museum security systems case study page.
Diamonds & Gold – The Amazing Scientific Properties
Having our own Research & Development program, we take a great, natural interest engineering science. Diamonds and gold are both used to great effect in that context. So whilst we are on the subject, let’s take a quick look at some of those applications:
Diamonds – The diamond industry has a naturally high profile for gem-grade diamonds but industrial-grade diamonds have an entirely different value. This is primarily based on their hardness and thermal conductivity.
Diamond-tipped drill bits are one of the widest known uses of industrial diamonds but a less commonly known use is as a heat sink for integrated circuits in electronics.
Gold has some surprising capacities and uses within industry. It is good reflector of electromagnetic radiation (infrared, visible light and radio waves). So you can find gold used in protective coatings used for such things as artificial satellites and protective faceplates in thermal protection suits.
Gold is good for shielding against heat – you will find gold foil inside the engine compartment of some Formula 1 racing cars.
Gold can be produced so thinly that it appears semi-transparent. One notable use of this can be found in some aircraft cockpit windows where it acts as an anti-icing agent. By passing electricity through it, the heat produced by the resistance of the gold is enough to prevent ice from forming on the windows.
We have yet to find a use for diamonds or gold in our perimeter security systems but if that ever happens we will let you know!