It has been reported that an uncut, 3-carat diamond reported stolen has finally been returned. The gem was originally reported stolen Wednesday morning from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science located in Albuquerque. The following day, a local gem and mineral shop, which asked to remain anonymous, surrendered the diamond back to the museum after recognizing it.
The diamond had been kept on display in a case as part of the volcano exhibit and was primarily used to show how rocks and gems are formed. A custodian working at the museum first reported that it was missing at around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning after seeing that it was gone and the lock was broken.
According to authorities, whomever had stolen the 3-carat diamond from its case had actually shopped it around to various stores before the anonymous gem and mineral shop eventually bought it, and then returned it after recognizing it to the museum Thursday. Arrests have not yet been made.
Carrie Moritomo, director of communications for the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, said that the museum opens during weekdays at 9 a.m. Due to this fact, the alarm system was not armed during the time of the robbery. The area of the museum in which the 3-carat diamond is displayed does not have any cameras, and the case where it is held does not have its own alarm system.
Moritomo said that the diamond has been in the museum for the past 28 years and she did not know the exact value. A certified gemologist appraiser with the American Gem Society and the co-owner of a jeweler and gemologist business located in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, Karen Fitzpatrick, gave the estimated value of the diamond, despite not knowing the color or clarity, to be between the range of $8,500 and $35,000.
Fitzpatrick also aided with the search for the missing diamond. After hearing news about its disappearance, she put posts on websites warning other jewelers to be on the lookout for the diamond, as someone could be trying to sell it. Fitzpatrick later mentioned that there had been news that someone had attempted to sell the diamond to Beauchamp Jewelers located in Albuquerque and to a gold and silver store.
The diamond is now safely locked within the museum’s vault. The volcano exhibit in which it had been displayed has been temporarily closed down for repairs, and security in that area of the building is also being improved and upgraded.
Executive director of the museum, Charles Walter, said of the stolen 3-carat diamond’s return: “At the museum, we try our best to present an educational experience using real specimens. It was very disappointing when we found out someone had actually stolen something that is there for learning and entertainment purposes. It is for the community. The gem and mineralogy community in Albuquerque helped us out a lot when the diamond went missing and for that, I must thank them. We are extremely happy to have the diamond back and have secured it within the museum’s vault.”
By Jessica Cooley