French Police have reported the recovery of a hoard of highly valuable jewellery - which was hidden in a drain. The jewellery was stolen from a Harry Winston Boutique in Paris just over two years ago, and is thought to be worth €18m.
The daring heist took place in early December 2008. Four armed robbers - two of whom were dressed as women to disguise their identity - stormed the notable jeweller's shop on Avenue Montaigne in the centre of the French capital, making off with more than €80m of stock.
However, after a lengthy investigation, the Police have located at least some of the stolen jewels. The 19 rings and three sets of earrings were discovered at a house in the suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis, stashed in a plastic container and set in a cement mould inside a drain.
The retrieval will come as good news to Harry Winston, one of the leading jewellers in the world. Known for serving celebrities and Royalty, the company celebrates its 80th anniversary next year and has established a sterling reputation, particularly for sales of unique and rare diamonds.
Only last month, a fantastic Harry Winston 16 carat diamond ring smashed its estimate by realising $662,500 at a Sotheby's auction, which we wrote about here. And it's not just Harry Winston that has had a good 2011 so far.
Diamonds in general continue to perform strongly; as we reported in January, prices for the precious stones have 'sky-rocketed' over the last three years. Multiple sales worth tens of thousands have taken place in recent months and there was, of course, the world-record sale of the 'Fancy Intense' pink diamond ring for $45.75m last November.
All this suggests that collectors and investors should consider diamonds an excellent long-term prospect - and you don't have to spend millions to benefit. Last month's Bonhams sale offered diamonds for a range of affordable prices, and this upcoming Fellows auction has similar selection available. Much like a beautiful diamond, it's certainly worth a look.