Diamond heists do not only happen in Hollywood movies, they occasionally happen in real life too. Diamond heists, albeit not always successful, are not simple operations that have been set up in a couple of days. They are the result of months of preparation, of patience and clever engineering. Here are the top three most important heists in numbers, that have occurred over the past 2 decades.

  • Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, Holland
  • Harry Winston, Paris, France
  • Antwerp Diamond Center, Belgium

Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, Holland

118 million $ - that is the estimated value of all the gold and diamond jewellery that has been stolen in February 2005 at the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

It took just 4 men and a stolen KLM cargo vehicle at the airport to ambush an armoured truck that was transferring the precious goods to the Antwerp diamond district. The thieves, who were armed with guns, apparently forced the drivers to leave the armoured truck and then just left. To this day this heist remains unsolved and is considered the largest diamond heist in history given the estimated value of the goods.

Harry Winston, Paris, France

108 million $ - worth of gold and diamond jewellery and watches were reportedly stolen from the Harry Winston boutique in Paris in December 2008. What appeared to be 3 normal women that casually walked into the boutique, turned out to be 3 men in disguise. The thieves carried handguns and attacked the employees by surprise. They stole as much as they could and just walked out and drove away like nothing had happened.

It is believed by the Police that this particular heist is the work of the so-called Pink Panthers, an international gang of thieves that have been implicated in other heists around the world.

Antwerp Diamond Center, Belgium

100 million $ - is the estimated value of all the precious goods that were stolen from the infallible vault of the Antwerp Diamond Center in February 2003. Although the value of the gold and diamond jewellery stolen may not equal that of other heists, it is believed to be the diamond heist of the century. That is because of the 10 layers of security mechanisms that supposedly made the vault impossible to enter. There were infrared heat detectors, a seismic sensor, a magnetic field, an untraceable key and a lock with millions of combinations possible. But that did not stop the thieves from emptying over 100 safe deposit boxes overnight and leave unnoticed.

The only reason they actually found the thieves is because of a garbage bag that contained all the incriminating evidence that was thrown on the side of a motorway outside the city.

BAUNAT is a leading online jewellery company with its headquarters at the heart of the Antwerp diamond district. Do not hesitate to browse through our online collection of exquisite gold and diamond jewellery or to book an appointment in one of our private showrooms.

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SANDER MICHIELS