Tomahawk-wielding bandits smashed their way into an exclusive Gold Coast jewelry boutique on Tuesday night and escaped with more than $1 million worth of designer jewels.

The two identically dressed, balaclava-clad robbers made off with gold and diamond necklaces, rings and bracelets from high-profile Gold Coast jeweler John Calleija's store in what police said is one of Queensland's biggest jewelry heists.

Calleija and female staff were trapped inside the store for more than an hour after the robbery by locked security doors. They were freed by firemen using pneumatic cutting equipment.

Sgt. Peter Gray said the robbers struck just as Calleija and his staff were locking up and the shopping center was undergoing major renovations. They used the tomahawks to shatter the front door and glass display cases, and they took valuable jewels from the safe, as well.

"They were only in there a matter of minutes. They knew exactly what they were looking for and had obviously cased the premises prior to the robbery," Gray said.

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