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19th century jewel-encrusted crown stolen from French museum
This file photo taken on March 20, 2014 shows people looking at relics and reliquaries during an exhibition at the Museum of religious art in the Fourviere Basilica in Lyon, southeastern France. The museum in Lyon was robbed in the night from May 12 to 13, 2017 comprising its main piece in the collection, a crown of the Virgin decorated with almost 1,800 gems, according to the museum on May 13, 2017. PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP


LYON (AFP).- A 19th century crown, encrusted with almost 1,800 gem stones, has been stolen from a museum of religious art in central France, the museum authorities said Saturday.

The thieves broke in overnight Friday and managed to overcome the "sophisticated security system" at the Museum of Fourviere in the city of Lyon, the museum said in a statement.

They got away with the Crown of the Virgin, the centrepiece of the collection, which was created in 1899 with 1,791 precious stones and pearls gifted by well-to-do Lyonese families of the day.

The value of the piece was put at "a little over a million euros". Each gemstone was painstakingly logged last year by a team of researchers, the museum said, a fact that will help trace each part of it.

The robbers got away with two other pieces from the museum's permanent collection, a ring and a chalice.

The museum, situated on a hill next to a basilica, was closed as investigations continued.

The museum displays treasures from the basilica which are representative of the work of goldsmiths in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

© Agence France-Presse






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