First reactions are subconscious, not intellectual. So when we first learned that Kim Kardashian had been fleece ofed at gunpoint in her Paris hotel suite, everyone – except the swivel-eyed trolls who chance she deserved it – was horrified.
But later, we started thinking. We couldn’t relief it: the five-strong band of thieves reportedly took jewellery merit more than $10m (almost £8m), including a ring reputedly usefulness between $4m and $5m. Can jewellery really be worth that much?
“The relating to ‘value’ is incredibly ambiguous,” says Max Ullmann, a jeweller at AR Ullmann, a family-run collectable jewellers in London’s Hatton Garden. “Who’s to say what individual fixes are worth? Is the figure retail or wholesale?” He compares the frenzy round Kardashian’s ordeal to the Hatton Garden heist. “They were pronouncing numbers like £400m. It’s impossible to know.”
Valuation is microscopic a science than a form of mysticism, though there are a sure thing criteria. “A name brand affects the value,” Ullmann declares. “Put the Cartier signature on a necklace and it can go from £100,000 to £200,000.” Raw researches matter less than brands: people buy into cultural resonance and pre-eminence.
Provenance is another leitmotif: an interesting legacy increases value. Ullmann cites the 2011 auction of Liz Taylor’s garnering. “There, it wasn’t the brand names – Taylor went for compelling stones. But if the story says it was one of the pieces that Richard Burton exchanged her, that piece is going to skyrocket. It’s like a priceless plan of art.”
It’s all fantastical. Aptly, then, many celebrities are, in fact, playing dress-up: much of the precious stones worn on red carpets is borrowed, not bought. Some designers desire select several celebrity ambassadors; savvy legacy marque Harry Winston typically handpicks Oscar favourites to irritate its jewels.
Peacocking is risky, though, and not just for the very lionized and very exposed. In February, Westminster police announced it was researching a run of robberies in which thieves targeted lone women for their bijouterie, after five incidents in a five-month period. This week, a court perceived that jewellery reputedly worth £1m was stolen from Simon Cowell’s west London refuge. He slept through the robbery.
Accordingly, insurers are cautious about high-value precious stones. They consider the “client’s wearing habits, travel devices, general security, and how the jewellery is stored,” explains Sam Gardiner, an underwriter at warranty firm Hiscox, where they take a forensic look at the chance associated with each item and situation, in order to “grind the chance of the client becoming a target”. Many jewellers obtain block policies covering their collections, and in the case of disgraces such as Harry Winston or Tiffany’s, which habitually confer pieces, this covers loans. Many celebrities organize their own “valuables coverage” policy: it is difficult to insure something for a only event. If the star doesn’t, they will have to warning a contract assuming responsibility for the piece. Critics argue that Kardashian’s sexual media use made her an inevitable target: hours before the set-back she shared a video on Snapchat in which the ring that was reportedly appropriated was visible.
Is it outlandish, then, to suggest that jewels rate their own protection? No – at this year’s Cannes film feast, elite brands including Chopard provided bodyguards to proctor their glittering charges as keenly as covetous magpies.
Is there an equation? If £1m rocks warrant one bodyguard, do £4m rings need four? Lee Turner, the topple over of London Security Syndicate, offers a calculation.“[For] Kim Kardashian, we last wishes a have 10 close-protection officers on day duties, and five at continuously,” he says. “When the client is sleeping we would ensure two non-stop officers are outside the bedroom, [with] the other three t-men patrolling the premises and carrying out surveillance.”
Some clients involve his firm to watch expensive items at secure locations. Apparently, details are confidential. There is no evidence that celebrities step fakes; although, presumably, if they did, they wouldn’t advertise it. “There is evermore a risk when wearing expensive jewellery. You are a potential object for thieves, but also, more worryingly, organised crime,” puts Turner. The props are glamorous, their value inscrutable, and the circumscribes are perilously high.