Police are hunting for thieves behind the biggest jewellery heist ever in France when they made off with diamonds and other valuables worth up to €80 million (102 million dollars) from a luxury boutique in Paris.

The three armed robbers burst into the Harry Winston jewellers on the exclusive Avenue Montaigne in the centre of the French capital yesterday. They made off with almost all the valuables in the shop.

The value of the diamonds and other precious stones and metals taken was first placed at €50 million by French police, before being revised to €80 million.

The Harry Winston chain, which was founded in New York in 1988, likes to describe itself as the king of diamonds. The Shah of Iran and Jackie Kennedy were amongst its customers. So too was Richard Burton who bought a 61 carat diamond luminary for Elizabeth Taylor, his wife, in 1969.