Most people would put a diamond worth over $200,000 (£140,000) in a piece of jewelry, but apparently not if it’s being used as part of a promotion for Ocean’s Twelve.
Promoters of the 2004 film starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt thought it would be clever to place a flawless diamond described as “roughly the size of a button” on the front of a car driven by 20-year-old Austrian driver Christian Klien as part of a publicity stunt. Klien was a member of Jaguar’s Formula One team and the diamond was embedded in the nose cone of his car. A similar diamond was placed in the nose cone of a second car driven by Mark Webber.
The insurers knew this was a bad idea from the start, since no one was willing to insure the diamonds that were on loan from Steinmetz, an Israeli gem firm.
To put this into perspective, a certified flawless, VS1 diamond would be roughly five carats in size, according to Tim Savin, owner of Hunt Valley Jewelers.
Formula One cars reach speeds well over 200 mph, so one would think that the diamond, which was set in only a steel ring, would have to be pretty securely fastened to the car for this to work. Apparently it wasn’t.
Klein didn’t even make one lap around the course before he crashed into the guardrail on a hairpin turn. Track safety regulations at the time forced Team Jaguar to wait two hours before they could look for the diamond. When they finally got the car back to the garage, they discovered it was missing that little extra “bling.” Spectators near the area started searching immediately and while no one will admit what happened to it, the diamond was never recovered.
Jaguar spokesman Nav Sidhu said, “Someone here has walked away with more than a motor racing souvenir.”
That’s an understatement.