It’s not every day that duchesses go around losing diamond tiaras (at least, not that we know of), so when the Duchess of Argyll lost a bag with the tiara and three other precious jewelry items at the Glasgow Airport, she was a bit distraught. She went for years without the items, until one of them turned up for sale.
So how did her blingy baubles make their way to an auction house in 2012? In 2006, when the duchess lost her bag on her way home to Inveraray Castle (a castle!), she reported the loss to police and listed the items on the Art Loss Register’s database. She heard nothing, until spotting her Cartier brooch in a catalogue of a Scottish auction house, reports The Independent.
It turns out the jewelry showed up months after its loss, but the British Airports Authority decided to sell the items and give the money for charity, which is their usual procedure for lost property unclaimed within three months.
According to the Art Loss Register’s lawyer:
“Apparently, the airport found the jewels or they were turned in to ‘lost and found’ by someone… The question remains: what did they do to help find the owner? 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 68-year-old duchess is in a bit of disbelief.
“I’m absolutely amazed. I thought that after six years I’d lost them forever. The tiara was a Victorian family one and the necklace was given to me for my 21st birthday. So everything was very special. “
The BAA has offered to reimburse the diamond merchant for what it paid for the tiara and brooch, while an emerald ring and pearl earrings are still missing.
A rep for the BAA says the agency is going to rethink its procedures as a result.
“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,” he said.