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Theft of the French Crown Jewels
A Lack of Security

During the French Revolution, the French Crown Jewels were stored in the Garde-Meuble, the Royal Storehouse. The room where the jewels were stored was sealed and nominally under guard. A shift system was organized to rotate the guards daily.

The security arrangement was critically flawed. The shift system evetually fell apart, leaving the room unguarded on many occasions. The seal on the door, intended to alert guards to a break-in, also prevented them from patrolling inside the room. Moreover, it only protected the room from someone already inside the Garde-Meuble. The thieves that made off with the crown jewels entered instead by the unbarred windows (Morel 1988).

Most of the stolen gems did not make it out of France. The Order of the Golden Fleece, however, was carried to London by one of the more fortunate thieves, Cadet Guillot Lordonner (Bapst 1889). The two most prominent stones in the emblem, the French Blue Diamond and the Côte de Bretagne spinel, would both eventually turn up in London. The Côte de Bretagne surfaced there in 1797 before rejoining the French Crown Jewels in 1824. The French Blue appeared in London much later, in 1812, although by then it had been recut to a smaller stone.

Creator François Farges
Source Used with permission of creator

The recently fabricated Golden Fleece replica sits on a table in the room in the Garde-Meuble from which the French Crown jewels were taken

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