A look at jewels worth $1 billion euro recently stolen from German museum

Thieves smashed display cases and grabbed priceless jewels from an eastern German museum in the early hours of Monday in a lightning raid on one of Europe’s greatest collections of treasures.

18th Century jewellery lost

They forced their way into Dresden's Gruenes Gewoelbe, or Green Vault Museum and got away with at least three sets of early 18th-century jewellery, including diamonds and rubies, museum staff told reporters.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Largest collection of Treasures

Green Vault city palace, a unique historic museum that contains the largest collection of treasures in Europe after a robbery in Dresden.

(Photograph:Reuters)

'Immeasurable cultural value'

"We are talking here of objects of immeasurable cultural value," museum director Dirk Syndram told a news conference. It would be impossible to sell such unique, identifiable items on the open market, added Marion Ackermann, director of museums in the surrounding state of Saxony.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Security Camera Footage

Security camera footage showed two men breaking in through a grilled window, police said. The alarm sounded just before 5 am and officers were there five minutes later. But the burglars had escaped.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Cultural value far outstrips any material value

"It would be a terrible thing," she said when asked whether the jewellery might be broken up or melted down. Its cultural value far outstripped any material value, she added.

The haul was worth up to 1 billion euros, Bild newspaper reported earlier, without giving a source. It said a nearby electricity junction box had been set on fire, cutting the power supply to the whole area before the heist.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Augustus the strong

The collection was founded in the 18th century by Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony and later King of Poland, who commissioned ever more brilliant jewellery as part of his rivalry with France's King Louis XIV.

(Photograph:AFP)