The Great Pearl Heist: London’s Greatest Jewel Thief and Scotland Yard’s Hunt for the World’s Most Valuable Necklace – Molly Caldwell Crosby

Joseph Grizzard was finely dressed, extremely intelligent, affluent, with a family and a nice home.  He was also a master criminal, quietly controlling a large gang of jewel thieves. The unique pink pearl necklace proved to be irresistible.  Scotland Yard’s Chief Inspector, Alfred Ward, knew Grizzard must be the mastermind behind the theft and he was determined to prove it.

In 1913 the necklace was insured with Lloyd’s of London for 135,000 pounds, about $750,000 USD.  Today, the purchasing power of that amount would be close to $18 million USD, making it the most valuable necklace in the world. Before cultured pearls entered the trade in the 1920s it could take years to compile a necklace of pearls similar in shape, color and quality.  It took ten years to find the 61 pearls of pinkish golden hue that made up the necklace.

I enjoyed this thoroughly researched account of the complicated plot to steal the necklace, and the equally complicated sting operation to catch the thieves.  It is a page turner as engrossing as any crime novel, with interesting characters and detailed descriptions of life in London in the early part of the twentieth century.

eGalley Review       Publication date 11.27.12

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