Carlton robbery: unsellable jewels as is

Carlton robbery: unsellable jewels as is

INTERVIEW – This weekend in Cannes, jewels worth one hundred and three million euros were stolen. How to evaluate the value of jewelry? How can criminals resell them without being detected? An update with Marc Boutémy, expert in gemstones and antique jewelry.

Le How are the prices of stolen jewelry evaluated?

Marc Boutémy : If it is antique jewelry, its replacement value is taken into account. For new jewelry, this is the reuse value. For gold jewelry, for example, weight serves as a standard. But what determines the price of a jewel is also the signature of the jeweler who created it. In the case of Sunday's flight, the brand (Leviev, ND) is very young and little known. I don't think the jewelry appears as a signature. Cartier, on the other hand, is a magical name. The quality of the metals and stones, the design, the style and the international reputation mark the value. Prices for signed and numbered jewelry are skyrocketing. A piece made entirely of gold can sell for between 800 and 1,000 euros per gram at Cartier, when on the market a gram of gold is only worth 20 euros.

Does jewelry lose a lot of value on resale?

Clear. To sell the jewelry, criminals will have to completely dismantle it. In fact, the jewels cannot be sold either on the official market or at auction, which considerably reduces the value of the loot. Although precious metals and stones are still expensive, they are no longer worth the price of the creation as a whole. This is how masterpieces disappear.

Is it possible, however, to identify the stones once they have been opened?

If they are small, the stones are usually resold in bags, they are sold by hand and it will be impossible to establish the link with the stolen jewelry. If, on the other hand, they are certified stones, there is a trace of their existence in a gemology laboratory. The certificate specifies the weight, size and position of the inclusions (deformations, editor's note). This usually allows you to identify it. Unfortunately, thieves usually trim the stones. A 3.29 carat diamond will go on sale again after a small cut that will have reduced its weight to 3.27 carats. Therefore, it will be very difficult to establish the connection.

There are several certification laboratories around the world. Are they working together to find the stolen stones?

In addition to the French Gemological Laboratory in France, there is also the HRD in Antwerp and the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) in New York. All of these laboratories are authorized to certify stones. In principle, the same stone must obtain the same certificate in all laboratories. In general, the data on size and weight are at least the same, although the purity rating may differ slightly. Therefore, the request for certification of a stone that already has a certificate should, in theory, alert the laboratory. Unfortunately, the files of the different laboratories do not automatically overlap and, if no request is made in this regard, investigations will not begin. The most surprising thing is that sometimes a stone certified by a laboratory can go unnoticed. This is what happened a few years ago when I requested certification of a diamond brought by a client, which I thought was extraordinary. The laboratory issued a certificate without knowing that one already existed in its files. While the lab should have raised the alarm, it was the ring's former owner who finally recognized the diamond as she flipped through the pages of The Drouot Gazette!

School insurance and guarantee of personal items.

School insurance and guarantee of personal items.

During compulsory and optional school activities, school insurance covers children in case of damage caused or suffered, but also insures certain personal belongings.

School insurance coverage

Extracurricular insurance includes different guarantees that cover children during their school and extracurricular activities. Civil liability compensates victims for damage caused by the child, while individual accident coverage covers costs arising from an accident or damage suffered by the insured. In fact, this ensures reimbursement of hospitalization costs, medical costs, search and rescue, and other expenses incurred by the accident.

School insurance generally offers other guarantees, such as compensation for personal items stolen or damaged within the school and extracurricular context.

Items covered by school insurance

Coverage for personal items varies from one school insurance contract to another. Therefore, it is important to read it before making your choice. Some contracts compensate:

– all personal effects (bicycle, clothing, musical instruments, school supplies, etc.) damaged in an accident that occurred during a school activity,

– Identity documents and keys in case of extortion or assault on the insured within the establishment's facilities or on the way from school to their home.

Annotate: Although school insurance is only mandatory for optional activities, this type of guarantee can also cover damage and theft that occurs during school activities.

Compensation in case of breakage or theft

To receive compensation, the parents of the insured must inform their insurance company of the theft or breakage of personal items. In fact, they must attach to their letter an accident certificate signed by the school director, a copy of the insurance certificate, the child's contact information and an invoice for the expenses to be reimbursed.

In the event of assault and theft of keys or identity documents, a report must also be submitted, as well as quotes indicating the cost of their replacement.

For the preparation of the file, the legal representative of the insured undertakes to provide all the information and documents that allow the guarantees of the school insurance to be verified and the amount of compensation to be calculated. Finally, he must inform his insurer of the names of the other companies involved in compensating for this damage.

Good to know: The insured must be in possession of proof of purchase in order to be reimbursed.

To better understand the provisions of a school insurance contract and ensure you choose the contract that best suits your situation, the help of a broker can be invaluable.

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Histoire d'Or acquires 31 Piery jewelry stores

Histoire d'Or acquires 31 Piery jewelry stores

French leader Thom Europe, also owner of Marc Orian and Trésor, is expanding its network in the Southeast.

The jeweler-watchmaker Thom Europe gains volume. Specializing in the sale of jewelry in shopping center boutiques, the owner of Histoire d'Or (more than 300 stores), Marc Orian and Trésor, who each have nearly a hundred points of sale, have just purchased 31 jewelry stores in the Piery network. , a brand born in 1930 that also made its home in shopping centers.

Piery has around fifty establishments whose declared turnover reached 36 million euros last year. Thom Europe, however, will not take over all brands. “Piery wanted to keep around twenty stores, mainly in Rhône-Alpes,” explains Éric Belmonte, general director of Thom Europe, owned by the Bridgepoint and Apax Partners funds. The stores we are buying, mainly in the Southeast, will be renamed in September Histoire d'Or, Marc Orian or Trésor, depending on their location, to densify the group's presence. In addition, we are integrating a dozen stores that are located in places where we were absent.

The leading player in the market.

Born in 2011 from the merger between Histoire d'Or and Marc Orian, Thom Europe, which has a 7.5% share of the national jewelry and watch market, believes it has reached a milestone. “The group, which has 2,700 employees, emerged from this merger stage with a strengthened position and solid commercial and financial performance. We can continue with proactive development in France and Europe,” continues the head of the group, also present in Belgium, Portugal and Italy.

For two years now, the jewelry market (excluding watches) has stagnated in shopping malls. According to the professional committee of Francessentiel, after a year 2013 equal to the year 2012, the year 2014, in the first five months of the year, marks a slight decrease of 1% in shopping centers compared to the same period last year.

In this context, sales in terms of value for the sector (all points of sale combined) show an overall drop of 4%. A context in which Thom Europe is proud to go against the grain, claiming “2.9% growth in 2013”.

In a very fragmented sector (9,000 points of sale), where independent boutiques continue to be the majority, Thom Europe, the leading player in the market ahead of the Synalia cooperative group (Le Guilde des Orfèvres, Julien D'Orcel), today weighs 450 million euros of turnover in a watch and jewelry market whose value amounts to about 5 billion euros.

The jeweler Maty keeps going

The jeweler Maty keeps going

The family business has just renovated its store on the Place de l'Opéra and plans to open another 20 throughout France.

Maty has brought the shine back to the listed building of its flagship store, the Place de l'Opéra, in Paris. Twenty years after offering this establishment, the family jeweler, which has 29 other storefronts in France, does not hesitate to invest several million euros in the renovation of its entire network, an operation that should be completed in three years. And, by then, Maty will also have opened 20 more addresses. A truly new beginning for the brand born in 1951 in Besançon and which experienced its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s.

Its turnover, which has been around 100 million euros for more than ten years, is not expected to skyrocket. “It should be kept at the same level,” explains Laurent Maucort, general director of the brand. In fact, we are accelerating the opening of stores, which currently contribute 40% of our sales compared to 25% two years ago, but our strategy is also to reduce, at the same time, the 35% that is still done by mail. , through paper catalogues.

This change is accompanied by an increase in online sales (they already represent 25% of sales). It constitutes a real revolution for Maty. Old-fashioned distance selling has long been at the center of his business model. “Before becoming a well-known jewelry brand, Maty started selling watches and then jewelry only by mail order,” his manager recalls. Maty, was definitely a bit of “La Redoute” of jewelry. “It was not until 1969 that Gérard Mantion, the now deceased founder of Maty, opened his first store at the company's headquarters in Besançon. Then, the network expanded very slowly and was directed much more to provincial urban centers than to Paris,” summarizes Laurent Maucort.

9 carat gold and made in Besançon.

Maty's price positioning has not changed much since its inception: “We have always been concerned with offering a very wide price range, from 100 to 10,000 euros on average,” he emphasizes. But since 2011 we did not hesitate to offer jewelry in 9 carat gold instead of 18 carat, because with the increasing prices of this precious metal, we felt that some customers could not keep up…” A bold step to win. Despite the crisis, Maty, his director assures, has maintained its market share in the jewelry sector in France at 5%. A market share that reaches, he assures, 8% in the alliance segment. Of the 25,000 sold by Maty in 2012, 40% were in 9-carat gold.

Among the most expensive jewelry sold by Maty, some, which represent between 15 and 20% of the total supply, are manufactured in France, in the factory that Gemafi, the brand's parent company, owns in Besançon. It employs 70 people of the 593 that the group employs in France. And this factory also works for famous jewelers on Place Vendôme. They trust Maty's Made in France products. “We are not only going to further reaffirm this made in France, but also reinforce it, manufacturing 100% of our alliances at home this summer,” announces the director.

Jewelry: Histoire d'Or and Marc Orian offer the Italian Stroili

Jewelry: Histoire d'Or and Marc Orian offer the Italian Stroili

The French Thom Europe will buy its competitor. The new group has 940 stores.

Italian wedding of the French king of affordable jewelry and watches. Thom Europe, the result of the merger at the end of 2010 of Histoire d'Or and Marc Orian, and number one in France, has just signed an agreement with Investindustrial and L Catterton to acquire the entirety of Stroili, the leader in Italy.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the fall, following approval by competition authorities. It is carried out using equity and debt. The financing of the operation is provided by Goldman Sachs International, Credit Suisse International and Société Générale.

The owners of Thom Europe – the majority private equity fund Bridgepoint, Apax Partners, Altamir, management and Qualium Investissement (subsidiary of the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations) – are carrying out a very strategic operation. It ensures them a leadership position in a still very fragmented European market, almost half made up of small independent jewelers. Together…

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Real estate loans: how are real estate interest rates changing?

Real estate loans: how are real estate interest rates changing?

According to Interhyp, the stable level of interest rates, the (still) low prices and the bargaining power make the purchase of real estate attractive at the moment – the development of interest rates depends more on the property markets capital than the monetary policy of central banks.

The real estate market is increasingly stabilizing into a “new normal” and interest rates are stabilizing at a constant level, says Mirjam Mohr, commercial director of credit broker Interhyp, in the latest interest rate update. interest. This leads to better affordability and planning for potential property buyers.

“A new, healthier balance has emerged with greater real estate supply than in previous years and greater price negotiating power for buyers,” Mohr said. Property prices remain lower than before the interest rate reversal.

ECB key rate: effects on the real estate market

However, the key interest rate policy of the European Central Bank (ECB) is less important for the development of construction interest rates than the development of capital market interest rates, as Carsten Brzeski, chief economist for Germany and Austria at ING direct bank, explains. Already in autumn 2023, financial markets assumed that the ECB would lower its key rate relatively quickly during the year 2024. Since then, interest rate cuts of around 125 basis points are expected by end of December and integrated accordingly. This resulted in a significant drop in building interest rates below the 4 percent mark.

“Financial markets have now given up their aggressive expectations of falling interest rates, which has led to rising interest rates in the capital markets,” Brzeski said. If the ECB is expected to slowly reduce its key rate from the summer onwards, capital market interest rates should no longer react. “Only if the ECB moves towards more monetary support for the economy next year could capital market interest rates fall further.”

Forecast: three ECB interest rate cuts of 25 basis points each

At a conference, Brzeski stressed that financial markets' expectations of the ECB had changed slightly since then. These would currently imply a reduction in key interest rates of only around 100 basis points in 2024, which has recently led to a slight increase in interest rates in the capital markets.

The expert also said he expected the ECB to cut interest rates three times, by 25 basis points each, by the end of the year. According to Brzeski, central bankers will be reluctant to cut the key interest rate too quickly until they are certain that inflation will remain consistently near 2 percent. “If the inflation rate remains constant over the next two months and wages do not increase, the first cut in key rates could take place in June,” predicts ING's chief economist. Most credit institutions see this in the same way from the monthly panel of Interhyp interest rates.

Construction interest rates range from 3.5 to 4 percent

If the ECB remains on track towards a first interest rate cut in June 2024, loan interest rates should initially continue to move sideways. The majority of experts in Interhyp's interest rate panel estimate that construction interest rates for ten-year loans will be in the range between 3.5 and 4 percent in the coming months.

However, Interhyp CEO Mohr also notes that real estate prices have increased slightly again since the start of 2024 due to increased demand. “This overall positive image of the real estate market provides a very good incentive for potential buyers to realize their dream of homeownership now,” says Mohr.

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