Thieves Nab Diamonds From Russia's 'Fort Knox'

A 23-carat diamond among those to vanish in apparent bait-and-switch
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2015 12:01 PM CDT
Thieves Nab Diamonds From Russia's 'Fort Knox'
A stock photo of raw diamonds.   (Shutterstock)

Rough diamonds worth millions have vanished from the repository that holds Russia's supply of gold, silver, diamonds, and gems even though it is "supposedly impenetrable," in the words of NBC News. State-owned diamond mining company Severalmaz says it gave 150,000 carats, or 66 pounds, of diamonds to the State Precious Metals and Gems Repository, also known as Gokhran, to be sorted, reports NBC, citing Russia's Kommersant paper. Sixty-six pounds of diamonds were returned, but the four largest diamonds, including an uncut 23-carat stone, had been replaced with a bunch of smaller ones, reports the Moscow Times.

Though insured for $500,000, the diamond trove is probably worth several million dollars, a diamond analyst says. A state commission has now been created to investigate, reports the Times. Despite the Gokhran's reputation for impenetrability—it is sometimes referred to as "Russia's Fort Knox"—it has been the site of thefts before, including in 1921, just a year after the facility was built by the Bolsheviks to house their confiscated jewels, notes NBC. (More diamonds stories.)

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