Three diamond jewelry sets dating back to the 18th century were stolen from the Green Vault at Dresden’s Royal Palace on Monday morning, according to a report by the BBC. The Green Vault, which holds some 3,000 precious objects and jewels worth millions, is part of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen consortium.
Each set taken reportedly consists of 27 components, and police and museum representatives are still in the process of assessing how much was stolen. The collection in the Green Vault was established by the Saxon ruler August the Strong. An official investigation into the matter has been opened.
The number of people involved in the theft is still being determined, and police are examining CCTV footage. The burglars gained entry to the vault by removing a section of an iron grille from a ground-floor window and then smashing its glass.
Marion Ackermann, head of the Dresden state museums, told the BBC that the stolen jewels are “priceless—we can’t put a figure on it.” She added, “the items cannot be sold on the art market legally—they’re too well known.”
Michael Kretschmer, minister president of Saxony, wrote on Twitter, “Not only have the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen been robbed, but also we Saxons! The history of Saxony cannot be understood without the Grünes Gewölbe.”
The New York Times reports that one of the Green Vault’s treasures—the 41-carat “Dresden Green Diamond”—is currently on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. A notice on the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen’s website said that the Green Vault would be closed on Monday for “organizational reasons.”