Four men stole 10 items from TEFAF Maastricht including a 114-carat yellow diamond necklace. 

Image: Jitske Nap, courtesy of TEFAF.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

On June 28, 2022, four men in suits and flat caps gained entry to the fair at the MECC in Maastricht and smashed the glass display of London gallery Symbolic & Chase’s stand using a hammer.

They fled the scene in rented vehicles with 10 items including a 114-carat yellow diamond necklace worth tens of millions of pounds.

In March 2023 Dutch police recovered one of the diamonds from the necklace and now two other diamonds have been seized after being recovered from Israel and Hong Kong. The most valuable yellow diamond is still lost.

The perpetrators are still on the run. However, Dutch police have claimed to have made significant progress recently and are focusing their search on three women possibly in hiding in Serbia, as well as the four armed robbers. One female suspect has been photographed in the passenger seat of one of the getaway vehicles while police are also investigating the role of two other women after they returned a getaway vehicle to a car rental company near Frankfurt. The gang made use of rented cars throughout their post-heist journey to Serbia.

In March 2023 Dutch police identified the perpetrators of the robbery as members of a criminal organisation called the Pink Panther Gang based in the Balkans.

The gang has history: in 2003 they stole £23m-worth of diamonds from London jewellers Graff - the largest diamond heist in British history at the time. Ten years later they targeted a diamond exhibition in Cannes, making off with an estimated £89m in precious gems and in 2018 £4m of jewellery was stolen from the Ritz Hotel in Paris - all of which were later recovered.

It has been reported they have stolen around £300m over the course of four decades.

Investigation agency Charles Taylor Adjusting is offering a £500,000 reward for information that leads to the return of the jewels. Police in the Netherlands have a dedicated email address for the case: tefaf@politie.nl