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Hit by crisis, million-dollar jewellers out to conquer world

Hit by crisis, million-dollar jewellers out to conquer world

Hit by the crisis, a clutch of France's most exclusive million-dollar jewellers this week staged a joint bid to conquer lucrative markets in emerging nations, unveiling their biggest and best for the first time at Paris couture week.
With crowds of international buyers and press in town for the twice-yearly "haute couture" shows, five venerable old houses clustered on one of the planet's flushest bits of real estate, Paris's Place Vendome, on Thursday opened their doors for a rare day in the spotlight.
"With globalisation, we need to speak with one voice," said Stanislas de Quercize, the head of Van Cleef & Arpels, of the joint move also involving Cartier, Chaumet, Boucheron, Mellerio dits Meller, and newcomers Dior and Chanel.
At the company boutique, a diamond and pink sapphire necklace evocative of a Japanese garden that took more than 3,000 hours of work was selling at 430,000 euros.
Jewels, worn since time immemorial as lucky charms or to protect against evil, are a collector's favourite as well as an investment against troubled times, said de Quercize, citing a 1980 brooch that sold for 400,000 euros, ten times its original price, at auction in 2000.
At nearby Mellerio dits Meller, the first great Paris jeweller with a history dating back to 1613, pieces ranged from 5,000 to 500,000 euros. "The very top start at 100,000 euros," said a spokesperson.
"What we do is comparable to haute couture," Olivier Mellerio, the 14th generation to run the firm, told reporter. "These are unique pieces setting off the highest quality stones."
The "girl's best friend" jewellery market is estimated to be worth between seven and US$10 billion, but 2009 saw a 12 percent slump, according to luxury sector specialist Joelle de Montgolfier, from Bain & Company consultants.
"We've been through other crises in the past, it'll be the fifth already since 1929!" de Quercize, whose firm was established in 1906 and is now part of the Richemont group, told reporter.


Updated : 2021-06-19 21:09 GMT+08:00