The Mystery Of The Crown Jewels Of Ireland

In 1831 the Irish Crown Jewels were commissioned as symbols of the British Crown's power over Ireland. Whenever the King or Queen visited the island, the jewels, consisting of "a jeweled star of the Order of St. Patrick and a diamond brooch and five gold collars," says History Ireland Magazine, were brought to Dublin Castle and kept there for the monarch to wear on formal occasions; a local jeweler otherwise held on to them. From 1903 onward the castle's safe was moved between towers to the library of Arthur Vicars — who as the Ulster King Of Arms was responsible for the jewels — after it proved too large to fit in a planned strongroom (via IrishCentral). Despite the longevity of his career, Vicars was far from ideal, as he liked showing the jewels to guests and often misplaced his keys. In the case of the latter, they were even once jokingly stolen while he was drunk, according to Dublin Castle.

In early 1907 the jewels were brought to the castle in preparation for a summer visit by King Edward VII. However, things were off from June 28 to July 6. According to Owlcation, in that time Vicars lost his key to Bedford Tower, did nothing when the cleaning woman later found the tower door unlocked, and also did nothing on July 6 when she found a strongroom key both in its lock and on a ring with a library key. Hours later, when the library's sentry was sent to put a repaired collar in the safe, he found it unlocked and almost completely empty (via Atlas Obscura).

The loss of the Jewels became the subject of intense intrigue

The identity of the thief or thieves is not currently known, nor are the whereabouts of either the Crown Jewels or the safe's other contents. It was not for a lack of trying, though, as many became deeply invested in solving the mystery, including Scotland Yard detective John Kane, whose official report was abruptly concealed for reasons unknown. Vicars, himself a prime suspect and desperate to prove his innocence, even went so far as to attend a seance that was recommended to him (via The Vintage News). He then spent time furiously searching a cemetery once it was claimed at this gathering that the jewels were buried there. (They were not.)

Vicars was relieved of his post as the Crown focused on damage control over solving the crime, especially as claims of wild parties at the castle began to become possible explanations for the theft (via History Ireland Magazine). Many, both closely and distantly connected to Dublin Castle and Vicars, were investigated, including the sentry, Vicars' assistants, the cleaning staff, and famed explorer Ernest Shackleton's brother Francis (via British Heritage). Nothing stuck, though, and the jewels, assuming they've survived, remain missing.