Jewelry often has the ability to disappear from right under our noses. From the smallest stud earrings to the most elaborate statement necklaces, every piece of jewelry is at risk of being temporarily misplaced or lost forever (or “borrowed” by a friend or little sister).
Some items are so enticing that everyone seems to want a taste. Whether stolen in a high-stakes heist or simply lost in the tides of time, the world’s missing treasures continue to dazzle us even in their absence.
Who knew an entire room could just…vanish? In 1716, Frederick I of Prussia gifted the Amber Room to Peter the Great of Russia, where it lived in the Catherine Palace throughout the eighteenth century. Gilded with gold, amber and sparkling, precious jewels, the Amber Room contained mosaics so intricate and beautiful that many called it the eighth wonder of the world.
The famous beauty of the room and its jewels caught the attention of Nazi soldiers, who tore its panels apart and brought the pieces to Germany in 1941. A museum in Königsberg put the panels on display for two years. As the war came to a close, the panels were carted off and hidden away. Once Allied forces bombed the city and destroyed the museum, any hope of discovering the Amber Room’s location was lost.
A replica of the room has since been rebuilt, and there have been multiple claims of the original room’s discovery over the years. Many theories have sprung from the room’s disappearance, from hidden war bunkers to gold trains. Perhaps one day the room will resurface, but for now its whereabouts remain a mystery.
Legend states that in 1477, the Duke of Burgundy wore the Florentine diamond into battle as a protective talisman. The charm apparently failed with fatal consequences during the Battle of Nancy. Afterward, a peasant had mistaken the diamond for a piece of glass, selling it for a florin.
A more legitimate account of the diamond’s origins begins in the sixteenth century. The Portuguese invaded India and took the diamond from a local ruler in Vijayanagar. In the early 1600s, the Medici family acquired the precious stone and kept it until 1743.
Maria Theresa, the last of the Habsburgs, obtained the massive 137-carat diamond and stored it in the Hofburg Palace with the rest of the Habsburg crown jewels. During World War I, in a state of panic, the royal family smuggled their jewels to Switzerland after the Austro-Hungarian Empire fell. Some believe that in the chaos the gem was stolen, sold or broken into tiny pieces, but the fact remains that the diamond has never been seen since.
Ancient rulers took their secrets — and jewels — to the grave. The location of Nefertiti’s tomb continues to perplex archaeologists. Genghis Khan’s final resting place reigns as one of history’s most elusive graves. One ancient grave remains a mystery not because it can’t be found, but because it’s far too risky to see what’s inside.
China’s first emperor rests in central China, but the treasures within remain tantalizingly out of reach. What secrets can we unearth from Qin Shi Huang’s tomb? Surrounded by thousands of terracotta soldiers and a river of poisonous mercury, the burial site isn’t ready to offer any substantial answers quite yet.
Archaeologists hesitate to excavate further, not wanting to jeopardize the tomb or its contents. Digging into the area would also pose a huge health risk, as the mercury surrounding the monument would pose toxic hazards to the excavators and the environment. Still, it’s hard to resist the lure of of this buried palace, which allegedly shines with pearls that resemble the night sky.
Oak Island Money Pit
The allure of buried treasure can become all-consuming — even if the treasure itself doesn’t exist. The Oak Island Money Pit perfectly embodies this constant desire for intrigue and adventure. Fact or fabrication, the abundant fortunes hidden in the Money Pit have attracted treasure hunters for over two centuries, promising the thrill of undiscovered riches.
The Money Pit craze began in 1795, when a group of teenagers allegedly stumbled upon wooden planks buried deep in the ground on Oak Island. Every ten feet revealed yet another set of wooden planks, sparking widespread curiosity in this strange underground infrastructure. More and more people took interest in Oak Island, sending out expeditions to unearth the truth about the mysterious pit. Many believe the pit contains anything from the crown jewels of France to the lost works of William Shakespeare.
Numerous pieces of Money Pit “evidence” have surfaced over the past two hundred years, further fueling the treasure-hunting frenzy. From metal-filled chests to cryptic stone inscriptions, the pit has yielded several noteworthy, head-scratching finds. No one has unearthed vast troves of jewels quite yet, but many still hope to stumble upon a windfall.
The legacies of these missing treasures will continue to intrigue admirers for years and years to come. Create a personal trove of treasures with a sparkling charm collection. Also, make sure to prevent your own hunt for missing jewelry by investing in a personalized jewelry box.