• France's news in English
Paris robbers will find it hard to sell on Kardashian gems

Paris robbers will find it hard to sell on Kardashian gems

AFP · 5 Oct 2016, 08:21

Published: 05 Oct 2016 08:21 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Pulling off a $10 million dollar jewel heist is one thing -- but finding a buyer is another, say experts, predicting that the robbers who targeted Kim Kardashian would struggle to dispose of their loot.

Kardashian, the world's highest paid reality television star, was held up at gunpoint in a luxury Paris apartment in the early hours of Monday.

The robbers made off with a ring worth €4 million ($4.5 million) and a case of jewellery with a value of €5 million ($5.6 million).

French police sources say they believe Kardashian was targetted after flaunting her jewels on social media sites.

Sandrine Marcot, acting president of the French union of jewellers and watchmakers, said the value of the haul would "crash" due to the media hype around the heist and the recognisability of the stolen goods.

"Everyone knows that ring. It won't be easy to get rid of it," a police source said.

Last week, Kardashian had posted a Twitter photograph of her left hand sporting a huge diamond sparkler -- reportedly a 20-carat ring by Lorraine Schwartz given to her by her husband, rap superstar Kanye West.

"These are not everyday jewels. These are unique pieces," Marcot told AFP, predicting the spoils of the raid would be cut into smaller gems to conceal their origin.

Laser tracing

Precious stones often come stamped with a laser mark, making them "extremely easy to trace", Marcot said.

Some laser marks are so deep they are impossible to cover up but others can be concealed by savvy polishing, making the stone "difficulty to identify, unlike, for example, a stolen painting," the police source said.

In most cases, the robbers work with several intermediaries, including a shady jeweller in charge of whittling down the gem into less conspicuous stones.

But a gem that has been recut is worth only a fraction of its initial value.

Kardashian's ring could lose three-quarters of its value after being reworked, according to police.

And yet despite the difficulty in disposing of eye-popping jewels, they still exert a powerful pull on thieves, with Monday's robbery the latest in a string of brazen heists around France in recent years.

"You will always have customers who want stones or to melt down the metal," the police expert explained.

Story continues below…

Just stealing precious gems and rendering them unrecognisable does not make for the perfect crime, however.

Robbers also need to have connections in the jewellery business to get a good price for their spoils.

The gang that walked into the exclusive Harry Winston store in Paris in 2008 disguised as women, walking away with loot worth up to €85 million, failed miserably at the final hurdle.

Knowing nothing about jewellery, the leader of the gang from the Paris suburbs entrusted the sale to a friend.

His friend's gem trading acumen proved rudimentary. In four deals, he managed to amass only €483,000.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available