That is certainly what I’ll try next time, @JKoopmans.
I actually lost all the VIP emails… Here’s how:
Created a mail folder (in iCloud, not sure if that matters), named VIP Folder
Moved VIP emails to that folder
Select All and deleted the remaining messages
*At this point, VIP messages still existed…
Selected All VIP messages and drag to Inbox
*Process seemed to be hanging. So…
Rebuild Index (oops! This empties all deleted items in On My Mac I believe)
Somewhere in the last set of steps, my VIP messages were in motion but didn’t make it back to the Inbox. And are nowhere to be found in iCloud Mail, or on my Mac.