The FINANCIAL -- The value of diamonds stolen in an armed robbery
in Cannes at the weekend has been estimated at nearly £90m, making it
one of the world's biggest jewellery thefts, and highlighting the risks
of exhibiting precious gems, according to Lloyd's.
The gems were seized from an exhibition by the jeweller Leviev from the luxury Carlton Hotel in the French Riviera resort of Cannes on 28 July. Originally thought to be worth 40m euros ($53m; £34m), authorities in France have revised the value of the stolen jewels to about 103m euros ($136m; £89m). The theft is the largest in a series of high-profile jewellery heists in Cannes, which is famous for its annual film festival, according to Lloyd's.
The Cannes film festival in May this year was hit by two high-profile jewellery heists. In the first, Swiss jeweller Chopard had gems reportedly worth $1.4m stolen from a hotel room and in the second, a diamond necklace worth £1.7m ($2.66m) disappeared during a party, according to the jeweller, De Grisogono.
Lending expensive jewellery to be worn at star-studded events or bringing gems to be viewed at exhibitions is an important way for jewellers to get exposure. However, it also leaves their goods more vulnerable to theft.
“These jewellery companies want to advertise their wares and they do this in various different ways," said James MacNaughton, an underwriter for specie and fine art at Ascot. "This may be through extravagant photo shoots for boutiques, magazines and other advertising, but there is also a strong trend to use some of the high publicity opportunities such as the Oscars, the BAFTAs and the Cannes film festival,” he added.
“At such events it is not uncommon for jewellery companies to lend the models, actresses and actors various pieces to enhance their outfit, look decorative and with each individual piece make a statement as well as perhaps creating a talking point,” he said.
However, there is a risk of loss or theft to whoever owns the goods, and therefore insurance is required, according to Lloyd's.
“Underwriters are prepared to write that risk subject to various security requirements and the terms and conditions of the policy including the necessary clauses. What is unique about writing this class of business is the considerable values now involved in insuring diamonds and jewellery combined with the obvious portable nature of the items,” James MacNaughton added.