An aigrette in the form of a peacock, bought in 1905 by Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala from Paris-based jeweller Mellerio dits Meller.

THE ITALIAN JOB: Venice’s Palazzo Ducale museum, or Doge’s Palace, was robbed on Wednesday morning, during visiting hours.

The theft took place during the last day of the “Treasures of the Mughals and the Maharajas: the Al Thani collectionexhibition, which opened back in September. Retracing five centuries of Indian jewelry art, the exhibit was showcased for the first time in Italy displaying nearly 300 pieces from the precious collection assembled by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani, a member of the Qatari royal family.

According to Italian media reports, two unidentified thieves stole a valuable brooch and a pair of earrings, forcing the glass display in which they were showcased. The duo blended in with the rest of the visitors and had about a minute to exit the venue after the robbery before the alarm went off. The space was then closed to permit further investigation, but the thieves were already on the go.

Italian authorities have started investigations, analyzing the images from the security cameras in the area, which show a person operating directly and putting the stolen jewelry in his pocket while another acted as the lookout, covering him.

The value of the robbery has not been quantified yet, although the stolen pieces’ value registered at Customs is around 30,000 euros. Italian media estimate their real worth to be a couple million euros.

Nevertheless, the stolen goods are considered minor pieces compared to key jewelry of the collection, which include Cartier creations for Maharaja Digvijaysinhji such as the Tiger Eye, a gold-colored diamond mounted into a turban ornament, and an Art Deco necklace made with rubies, in addition to The Idol’s Eye, the world’s largest cut blue diamond.

Tiger Eye turban ornament by Cartier, 1937.

Tiger Eye turban ornament by Cartier, 1937.  Courtesy Photo

Previously the exhibition hit other international locations, debuting in 2014 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The Al Thani collection was consequentially housed at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in 2015, the Miho Museum in the Japanese city of Koka in 2016 and at the Grand Palais in Paris in spring 2017.

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