17 August 2015

Jewel History: Treasure from Airplane Was Saxon Crown Jewels (1919)

Carola of Vasa, the last Queen of Saxony (source)

"Treasure from Airplane Was Saxon Crown Jewels"
(originally appeared in the New York Times on 12 Aug 1919)

London, August 12 -- The Saxon crown jewels [1], including a pearl necklace valued at £39,000, were contained in the two packages dropped last week near Malmö, Sweden, from an airplane and taken charge of by the police of Malmö, says The Mail's Copenhagen correspondent.

Queen Carola of Saxony wearing a tiara that belonged to her grandmother, Stephanie de Beauharnais (source)

In the packages were also gold heirlooms and securities worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, making it the biggest customs haul on record.

Queen Carola of Saxony, ca. 1902 (source)

"Two Germans who picked up the packages and claimed the valuables as their own were arrested and taken to Stockholm," says the correspondent. "One is a countess and the other was formerly a court official at Dresden. The German minister at Stockholm claims that the jewels are not liable to confiscation, as they are 'royal property.'" [2]

1. Saxony, which is today a state in Germany, was ruled by a line of dukes, electors, and kings. The remaining Saxon crown jewels, including the famous "Saxon White" (a diamond weighing more than 49 carats), are held in the Grünes Gewölbe, a museum in Dresden.
2. Note the date of the article; the jewels were dropped from the airplane only a few months after the end of World War I, a time when Germany was forced to pay billions of dollars in reparations.