Climber finds Mont Blanc jewel stash

30th September 2013, by Abi Butcher

A 20-year-old French climber found £200k worth of prescious stones on a glacier

A 20-year-old French climber found £200k worth of prescious stones on a glacier

If you go out climbing in the Alps, the last thing you expect to find is a stash of jewels worth £200,000. But this is exactly what one 20-year-old Frenchman found while climbing Mont Blanc earlier this month — a treasure trove of 100 rubies, sapphires and emeralds believed to belong to an Indian Maharaja.

French officials are currently trying to find the owners of the precious stones, which are thought to have been lost from one of two Air India flights that crashed in 1950 and 1966, killing more than 160 people.

French police commander Sylvain Merly of Albertville Gendarmerie praised the climber. He said: “The young man immediately understood that the precious stones had belonged to someone who died on the ice.

“He could have kept them for himself but instead he chose to bring them to us.”

The Air India flight that crashed in 1966 came down in thick fog and high winds on its way from Bombay to New York, killing all 117 passengers and crew.  At the time, the crash sparked a rash of bounty hunters searching the area — though no jewels were ever found.

But earlier this month, the young climber found the stash in a glacier, nearly 10,000ft away from where they were lost, carried by ice and snow. If police cannot trace the rightful owner, they will be split equally between the climber and French government.

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