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Newly Minted Millionaires Are Buying Gold And Diamonds, Not Bitcoin

Chaumet, the French luxury jewelry house’s airy workshop in Paris, overlooks Trajan’s column in the center of Place Vendôme. The jeweler that made pieces for Josefina Bonaparte, Eugenia de Montijo and Olga Picasso, has its artisans hard at work creating a tiara for a young and wealthy Chinese entrepreneur. That’s all we know about this important customer who demanded the tiara be ready for her company’s final board meeting of the year. Adorned with a resplendent gold and diamond tiara worth over $3 million, the businesswoman aims to exude an aura of divine elegance, assert her dominance in the boardroom, and leave no doubt as to who’s in charge.

Prototype of a Chaumet tiaraPrototype of a Chaumet tiara. Léa Crespi

Who orders a custom-made tiara these days? For Chaumet, founded in 1780 and owned by LVMH since 1999, the answer is all sorts of people — queens, princesses, brides and businesswomen. Thibault Billoir, the keeper of Chaumet’s archives, says they made Queen Victoria Eugenie’s tiara adorned with fleurs-de-lis, Josefina Bonaparte’s wheat-ear diadem, and wedding rings for illustrious figures like Eugenia de Montijo (Empress of France from her marriage to Emperor Napoleon III), and Olga and Pablo Picasso. However, Chaumet strictly upholds a policy of safeguarding clients’ data for a minimum of 75 years. The decision to disclose information about their jewelry remains solely with the clients. But Chaumet CEO Jean-Marc Mansvelt smiled and said, “We’re getting more orders for tiaras than ever before.”

Benoît Verhulle, head of Chaumet in ParisBenoît Verhulle, head of Chaumet’s workshop 13 overlooking Place Vendôme in Paris. Léa Crespi

The Chaumet house gained fame during the first French empire (1804-1815). According to Claire Gannet, the brand’s heritage director, in 1805 Napoleon appointed Chaumet founder Marie-Étienne Nitot as the imperial jeweler. Nitot then embarked on a mission to revive the ears of wheat, laurel wreaths and other symbols of the Roman Empire. “Just like a new European Caesar, they wanted the empress and ladies of the court to wear diadems as fashion accessories,” said Gannet. But how can we explain the popularity of a heavy tiara in today’s fluid times? Gannet says they’ve never gone out of fashion. “During the art deco period, which lasted just 10 years, the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg acquired some stunning stones and commissioned a very modern tiara. Surprisingly, Maria Theresa, the current duchess, still wears it. It’s actually the tiara that inspired Wonder Woman’s iconic headpiece. She’s the first female comic book character with superpowers, all centered around her tiara, by the way.” Gannet won’t go as far as saying the tiara has become a feminist symbol, but offers her perspective on why it remains so popular. “The weight actually affects our body balance. Just try putting one on and notice how your posture changes and your attitude gets lifted. It’s the same when you try on a tiara, instantly transforming you into someone with a regal and graceful stride. It’s fascinating to see how these accessories make us stand taller and exude elegance, like a dancer or a queen.”

Chaumet high jewelry workshop in ParisSketch of a diadem that Eugenia de Montijo commissioned for her goddaughter Victoria Eugenia de Battenberg on the occasion of her wedding to Alfonso XIII. Léa Crespi

Making a tiara typically takes about a year and a half, but Chaumet’s wealthy clients are often impatient and want them in eight months. To meet these deadlines, Benoît Verhulle, the head of the workshop, has to pair up his artisans — two jewelers, two setters and two polishers. “It takes nine months for a baby to be formed. That’s what I need to do things right.”

Chaumet jewelry workshop in ParisCEO Jean-Marc Mansvelt at the Chaumet location in Paris’s Place Vendôme. Léa Crespi

Since its founding in 1780, Chaumet has had 13 workshop managers. On average, each manager has held the position for 20 years. Verhulle is the current workshop manager, overseeing the cutting and setting of diamonds, as well as the creation of the house’s collections and special orders, like a diadem with moving wings made from heirloom jewels. “It was a bit like Asterix’s helmet,” said Verhulle, invoking the indomitable French comic book character. His team is currently working on the tiara for the Chinese businesswoman and also a diadem for a woman from a notable European family. “She wants to pass it on to her daughter-in-law, who’s finally going to bring a baby boy into their lives after having several girls,” he said. In certain families, traditions remain as they were 250 years ago.

A Chaumet artisan creates a piece of jewelry.A Chaumet artisan creates a piece of jewelry. Léa Crespi

The artisans use a combination of modern technology like computers and 3D printing, alongside traditional iron and wooden benches and tools that can last more than 150 years. They seamlessly transition between digital measurements and manual adjustments, showing the intricate process of creating fine jewelry today. “When it comes to luxury, we believe in the importance of human touch and time. Whether it’s crafting the center of a tiara, necklace or ring, we always rely on our skilled hands. We save 3D computer design for the repetitive aspects of the pieces,” said Verhulle.

Claire Gannet, Chaumet's heritage directorClaire Gannet, Chaumet’s heritage director, with a prototype of an emerald tiara. Léa Crespi

A life-size model of a head sits on a jeweler’s table. Verhulle explains that they scan the heads of tiara clients. This helps with testing and ensures a perfect fit for each individual, because not all heads are the same — European heads tend to be oval, while Asian heads are rounder. Some customers wear tiaras as a crown, while others wear them on their foreheads. But in nearly every case, customers want their tiaras to be imposing.

Old photo of the Chaumet jewelry workshopAn old photo of the Chaumet jewelry workshop. Léa Crespi

Chaumet is the only major jewelry brand that still has a workshop in Place Vendôme (number 12, to be exact). But during the 19th century, the area had the highest concentration of goldsmiths per square meter in France. “In the past, jewelers used to travel to the Versailles palaces and Parisian mansions of their clients. However, this changed in the 19th century when many opened their own shops and customers flocked to Place Vendôme,” writes Marie Claude Sicard in her 2007 book Luxury, lies and marketing.

Thibault Billoir, curator of the Chaumet archivesThibault Billoir, curator of the Chaumet archives. Léa Crespi

Chaumet’s tiara room is located on the first floor. It serves as a fitting room and is adorned with countless prototypes that have been crafted for illustrious heads for over two centuries. In 1849, Chopin passed away in this room, a few days after composing his final mazurka, as he gazed down at Place Vendôme. Chaumet’s artisans work one floor up and enjoy the same breathtaking views. “To work with gemstones, natural light is essential,” said Mansvelt. “Opening up the workshops to the square has been like inviting everyone to peek into the kitchen of a great chef — a way of showcasing our savoir faire,” said Verhulle.

Modern computers and 3D printers in Chaumet workshopModern computers and 3D printers coexist with traditional tools used for over a century. Léa Crespi

Chaumet primarily targets the Asian market nowadays. In addition to their traditional clientele of royal houses and illustrious European families, they now cater to “new money clients” from technology companies. Surprisingly, these customers prefer tangible and stable investments like gold and diamonds, rather than virtual and volatile assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum cryptocurrency. Jewelry has a timeless aura about it. “If there’s a war or a revolution, people abandon everything and run away with the jewels, right?” said Mansvelt. Money is a coward, always looking for a safe haven.

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Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by Savills reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.

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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.

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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.

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