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Theft in the North Country

Your Attention & Assistance Is Greatly AppreciatedA

A very unfortunate situation had occurred on the 24th of July 2001, at 1330 hours. One of North American Gem Artist Deborah Wilson's sculptures was stolen! The sculpture was stolen from a gallery in the downtown core of Vancouver Canada, on Howe St. The gallery has since moved to a new location in Vancouver.

The details surrounding the theft are as follows:

  • There was Only one employee present in the gallery but she was not in the front room where it took place.
  • The sculpture was glued down to the plinth with white glue, this is their way of "securing" sculptures!
  • It was wrenched off the plinth in a few seconds and whisked out the door in no time. The "get away car" was seen supposedly by the business next door, and that's all that could be reported to the police, who were summoned right away. The owner arrived at the gallery soon after.
  • They have an alarm system in their gallery, but no surveillance camera, which would have helped in this case. BUT the fact that there was nobody in the gallery's main display area at the time indicates a lack of concern for the safety of the work shown in their gallery.
  • This is not the first time this has happened in Vancouver; jade carvings have been targeted before. Incidentally, there were 2 other jade sculptures taken from a showcase at a hotel up the street on the same day the octopus was stolen. The police feel that it was a planned heist, that there was some collector out there who perhaps hired these thieves to go and do their thing all in one day!

Description of the sculpture:
Material: Canadian Nephrite Jade
Dimensions: 6" high x 10" wide x 21" long
Weight: 60lbs.
Signed: D.A.W.
Numbered: #500
Value: $24,000.00 CDN, Approximately $15,500.00 USD (Rate: Converted 3 January 2003)
This sculpture is included in Fred Ward's revised edition of "JADE" on page 49.

Deborah called the gallery on the 27th of July 2001 on another matter, and learned only then about the theft. They thought the piece would resurface!! They told Deborah that "they had no insurance for consignment work" after Deborah asked about it. "They never told me about not having insurance" Deborah states, "they claim they did. None of the other sculptors, who I know, were aware of this either." "WE ALL ASSUME THAT A REPUTABLE GALLERY WILL HAVE INSURANCE FOR ALL THE ARTWORK FOR SALE, BUT NOT SO. THIS HAS BEEN MY LESSON IN ALL OF THIS....ALWAYS ASK THE QUESTION, AND HAVE SOME KIND OF WRITTEN AGREEMENT AS TO THE TERMS /CONDITIONS ETC." Deborah has had her day in court and won! But keep in mind it took a year and a half to resolve this matter. We still need to locate this sculpture!

I personally feel this is a major wake up call for the lapidary art field. First all objects that are created must be fully documented with as much detail as possible. Second, never let any of your lapidary art pieces exhibit or be consigned without full knowledge of how it will be cared for, and a full understanding of who is responsible for what (this includes during transportation as well). Third we, in the lapidary art community must all work together with regards to getting the word out in these types of situations to try to recover these stolen works of art.

Anyone with any information on this sculpture may contact the following:

Charles M. Ellias GG ISA CAPP
North American Lapidary Laboratory
PO Box 1394
Birmingham, Michigan 48012 USA
810-397-7109 / 586-704-7055
Press here to e-mail Charles Ellias at earthartist2006@yahoo.com

Deborah Wilson
6002 Bella Vista Rd,
Vernon B.C. Canada V1H 1B4
Ph/Fax (250) 542-0630
Press here to e-mail Deborah Wilson or email her at evergreenjade@shaw.ca

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