Diamond Theft at Amberif

GADANSK, Poland –Amberif International Fair of Amber, Jewelry and Gemstones officials are offering a $6,800 reward for information leading to the capture of those responsible for the theft of diamonds from a Belgium diamond dealer, an Amberif spokesperson told JCK.

Polish radio and television report that the thieves got away with $1.5 million worth of diamonds. The spokesperson would not confirm or deny the amount.

The theft occurred early Thursday morning, possibly late Wednesday night, when thieves broke into a safe belonging to Benelux Diamonds NV, said the spokesperson, who requested anonymity. The theft was discovered in the morning as the show was set to begin its second day.

The Antwerp-based diamond company was exhibiting in Hall 4 of the exhibition center, known as the Gold Hall. The safes, for use by vendors, were located in the same hall. While Amber is the focus of the show, it also hosts exhibitors dealing in other types of jewelry including diamonds, gold, silver, pearls, and jewelry making equipment.

The spokesperson said it is the third or fourth year that Benelux has been exhibiting at the show. The person added that this is the first theft that ever occurred in the show’s 14-year history.

Show officials refused to provide details about the theft. They issued a statement that reads as follows:

“On account of the enquiries which we have been receiving about the Amberif Fair, we wish to inform you that the event is proceeding as usual. At the police’s request, we are not disclosing any information related to the theft of a Belgian exhibitor’s diamonds reported today.”

The five-day show began Wednesday and will run till Sunday.

During the opening day, trade fair officials announced that a new exhibition center will be built to replace the existing campus of buildings. They said work is set to start next week and the new center will be completed March 8, 2008.