Diamond stolen from Natural History Museum recovered

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – You hear about diamond heists at jewelry stores in New York and London, but the Museum of Natural History here in Albuquerque?

It happened on Wednesday with a diamond a lot of people have checked out over the years in the museum’s most popular exhibit, Age of Volcanoes.

The museum website says it shows off examples of every major type of volcano and volcanic rock but not anymore.

“A specimen, a small diamond, a rough diamond about the size of my fingernail was taken out of the display case,” said Charles Walter, the museum’s executive director.

Walter said the three-carat rough diamond sat in its display case when the museum opened at 9 a.m. Wednesday, just like it has for the last 28 years.

At 9:30 a.m., someone noticed a thief had removed the lock on the display case, opened it and took the diamond.

Walter said he is disappointed.

“This museum is here for this community and it is for the children and for the families and so you are actually taking from the citizens of New Mexico when you do this,” Walter said.

There aren’t any surveillance cameras inside the exhibit.

Getting a replacement could take a while. For now, everyone is counting on Albuquerque Police to catch the culprit.

“Our number one concern is that we get the specimen back,” Walter said. “We really hope that whoever did this realizes that taking from a museum, it’s just not right and that they will return it to the authorities. That is our concern. We’d love to get that specimen back.”

The volcano exhibit will be closed until the museum repairs the display case.

No word yet on when that will happen.


The three carat diamond stolen from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science was returned to the museum Thursday morning.

“I would like to thank the gem and mineralogy community in the Albuquerque area – they really came through for us,” said Charles Walter, Executive Director, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. “We are pleased to have the diamond back. It’s now locked in the museum’s vault.”

The Albuquerque Police Department authorized museum officials to pick up the missing diamond Thursday morning after it was examined at a local gem and mineral shop. The diamond had been “shopped around” to several stores in the metro area yesterday. The store that surrendered the diamond would like to remain anonymous.

The museum is upgrading the security in the Volcano exhibit, repairing the exhibit glass, and will return the gem to its original place in the exhibition case following all repairs.

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