Antique & Estate Jewelry / Industry / Security & Crime

British Museum Seeks Public’s Help in Finding Missing Jewels


The British Museum is asking the public to be on the lookout for thousands of antique gems and jewels it says were stolen from its collection.

The museum said that 60 pieces have already been recovered and another 300 pilfered items have been identified and will likely be returned soon.

Museum chairman George Osborne told the BBC in August that “around 2,000” objects had been taken, but added that’s a “very provisional figure.” Most of the items were used for research purchases, and none had recently been on public display.

A page on the museum’s website contains details about the types of objects that were taken, including pictures. The museum has also placed the pieces on the Art Loss Register.

Missing items include gemstone jewelry from the Classical and Roman eras. Some of the jewels may be mounted and feature images of famous individuals from the period, mythological scenes, animals, or objects. Some may be fragmented or damaged.

Other missing items include gold rings, earrings, and jewels from the late Bronze Age (about 15th to 11th century B.C.) and the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

A missing gold chain

According to U.K. news sources, officials believe a senior curator at the museum took the items over a period of years. The man’s son has denied the charges. Reports say that some of the stolen items were later found being sold on platforms like eBay. The matter remains under police investigation. The theft is considered the worst in the 264-year museum’s history.

Anyone with information about the information about the missing items should contact

Top: A gold ring with a glass setting, believed to be stolen from the British Museum (photos courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum)

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By: Rob Bates

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