British Airports Authority Sells Duchess’ ‘Missing’ Jewels

Want to know what happens to your lost airport items? If you’re the Duchess of Argyll, you find them in an auction catalog six years after they went missing.

The duchess lost four pieces of jewelry valued at more than £100,000 in 2006 when traveling from London to her family’s home, Inveraray Castle, via Glasgow Airport.

Following proper procedure, the duchess reported the pieces missing to the police as well as the Art Loss Register.

We can only imagine her surprise when she found one of the items, a Cartier brooch, in a Scottish auction catalogue.

What happened?

A lawyer for the Art Loss Register, Christopher Marinello, told The Independent that the jewels had resurfaced several months after they were reported missing, but the British Airports Authority had simply sold the pieces and donated the profits to charity, as is their policy with any items returned to the lost and found after three months.

Of note, the pieces were sold for less than £5,000, but it has been confirmed that whomever purchased the pieces and then re-listed them with the auction house came across them fairly.Mr Marinello said: “Apparently, the airport found the jewels or they were turned in to ‘lost and found’ by someone… They didn’t call the police even though the airport police had a record of the theft. They didn’t call ALR. The only thing they did was sell them.”

The Duchess has expressed “disbelief” at the handling of the case, although the BAA has offered to pay the diamond merchant who currently holds the goods – a Victorian-era tiara and brooch – so that they can be returned to her. An emerald ring and pearl earrings are currently still missing.

“I’m absolutely amazed. I thought that after six years I’d lost them forever,” said the Duchess.

The Airport Authority says they no longer have records plan to re-think their policies in light of this case. “We have since assisted the police with their recent enquiries and paid a sum equivalent to the money raised from the sale to enable the items to be returned to their rightful owner,” the BAA told the paper.

We’re glad to hear that the Duchess got her jewels back, and we hope she locates the rest soon.

But really, we have two questions. Who was the idiot who just thought, oh, I’ll just sell this massive diamond tiara instead of trying to find the owner, and who travels with a $100,000 tiara in their checked baggage?

[Image via The Telegraph]