Jeweler Jim Stein hoped to make an 8,500-carat ruby — the largest ever mined and which had been carved into an replica of the Liberty Bell — into a centerpiece for a large foundation or museum when he took it into his Wilmington, Del., store in 2010.
But perhaps the four-pound jewel-turned-sculpture is cursed. About a year after it arrived from a West Coast jewelry family's cache to Stein's Stuart Kingston Jewelers, the ruby was at the center of what Stein now believes was a heist targeting the unusually massive rock.
Two months ago, four armed robbers burst in and stole the ruby sculpture valued at roughly $2 million, among other valuables from a safe inside the store.
"They knew what was going on bec they left behind other stuff," Stein said yesterday. "They knew what they were doing."
The case, which FBI agents in Baltimore are now investigating, will be featured on "America's Most Wanted" next month. Video of the robbery shows the four minutes it took for the robbers to make off with the high-priced jewel.
Known at the the "Liberty Bell Ruby," it was found about half a century ago at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa and was sculpted in the mid-1970s. Stein said he had hoped to sell it to a philanthropist who could then donate the rather patriotic piece to a Philadelphia museum.