Farley Cahen, 46, the founder and CEO of MyBellyRing.com, is a third generation jeweler/gemologist. His family had five stores in Cleveland, OH, before his father retired. Shortly after, Cahen moved to San Diego, CA, to head up the US Fine Timepiece Division of luxury jeweler manufacturer Phillipe Charriol. A few years later, he relocated to Los Angeles to run a luxury retail location in Beverly Hills.
Cahen started his own wholesale fine jewelry company in Beverly Hills and started a b2b dot com for wholesale jewelry. A few years later, he launched MyBellyRing.com, which is still the first and most popular luxury body jewelry site on the web. He has serious questions about what transpired in Paris. Life & News speaks with the jewelry insider.
Would you say you are very well versed in how the jewelry business works?
Extremely. Growing up in a family business, you learn all facets of the business, from sales, marketing, product design and development, location build-outs, and, of course, security policies and procedures. Additionally, I have the expanded knowledge of being involved with fine jewelry organizations based in one of the worlds wealthiest communities, Beverly Hills. I can tell you that jewelers in that neighborhood take security extremely seriously.
To be fair, you also have a bit of history with the Kardashians, right?
During my tenure at the b2b media company, I was introduced to Ray J, Kim’s then boyfriend and eventual co-star of the best selling adult sex tape ever. I helped advise Ray how to navigate through the industry to eventually sell the tape, and, of course, they both became wealthy (along with the members of Kim’s family). And Kim has become arguably one of the biggest celebrities in the world due to the popularity of that tape.
“Why were there no armed guards? Why weren’t the jewels secured in a vault or, for that matter, offsite in a secure location? How is that in the middle of a $10 million-plus jewelry heist, the Paris police allow the victim to leave the country just a few short hours after the crime occurred?”
When you first read the story of Kim’s robbery what were your thoughts?
At first I was immediately concerned that she and her stylist were okay. As someone who is familiar with high risk situations due to the nature of the jewelry industry and whose family has been victimized by robberies, I know first hand how traumatic that type of situation can be. My second thought, like many, was that there appears to be a number of questions surrounding the circumstances of the robbery.
When a jeweler lends out that much jewelry what is the normal protocol?
If, in fact, some of the jewels were lent to her by jewelers for Paris fashion week, it would be common practice to deliver the goods to the celebrity with armed security. Then security would escort her, or, at the very least, shadow her during the event. Then they would take back possession of the pieces and secure them in their vault for safekeeping, ensuring that a robbery of this type was virtually impossible.
I imagine she was courted by a number of Parisian jewelers to wear their jewelry during fashion week. If all of the jewelry was, in fact, hers, then other questions arise. Why does she need to travel abroad with $11million in jewelry? Furthermore, why would she be so relaxed about safeguarding her possessions? I’m sure she and Kanye have a vault and security systems with cameras in their home and possibly around the clock armed security personnel. At the very least, she should have had 1-2 armed guards on the premises with her at all times.
What about the events that transpired tell you something doesn’t add up here?
Again, there are a multitude of questions that need to be answered: Where was the hotel security? Why were there no armed guards? For less than the cost of a single nights stay she could have had 5 armed guards in and out of the apartment. Why weren’t the jewels secured in a vault or, for that matter, offsite in a secure location? How is it possible that no cameras caught the thieves coming or going? One report said the cameras were pointing in the wrong direction. How is that in the middle of a $10 million-plus jewelry heist, the Paris police allow the victim to leave the country just a few short hours after the crime occurred? Where is the detailed itemization of the stolen goods? It would help police and, for that matter, jewelers from around the world detect the items if they surfaced for resale. Where is the concierge? It was reported that he was extremely calm during the robbery. How is it that Kim was able to free herself from restraints applied by assumed professional thieves? And, for that matter, why wasn’t she handcuffed like the concierge? Why would her security team leave her all alone with or without that amount of expensive jewelry in her apartment? She’s again, one of the biggest celebrities in the world. Was she traveling with her kids—if so, where were they? Reports have the body guard Pascal Duvier arriving at the hotel just two minutes after the thrives left. This, plus numerous other questions would cause anyone to question what really occurred.
“I hope I’m wrong, but many of the details point to it possibly being a PR stunt or an inside job. There may be multiple suspects. But whoever it may be would have had to have an intimate knowledge of her whereabouts and the location. Possibly the Kardashians themselves, people on the security team, the hotel staff or even the jewelers who may have lent her items. We’ll just have to wait and see what transpires with the investigation.”
Do you think it could have been a PR stunt?
It’s possible, anything is possible. I read her show’s ratings are at an all-time low. There’s been reports of Kanye’s financial troubles. Between all of their travel, luxury purchases, and expensive lifestyle they must have an incredible overhead. That notwithstanding, I think the Kardashian’s credibility has been in question since before the release of her sex-tape which has been reported that she, Ray, and her mother were all involved in negotiating for its release, all the while denying they wanted it on the market.
Do you think it could have been an inside job?
I hope I’m wrong, but many of the details point to it possibly being a PR stunt or an inside job. There may be multiple suspects. But whoever it may be would have had to have an intimate knowledge of her whereabouts and the location. Possibly the Kardashians themselves, people on the security team, the hotel staff or even the jewelers who may have lent her items. We’ll just have to wait and see what transpires with the investigation.
What else about the event feels odd to you?
A good friend of mine recently commented to me in general about current affairs: “Farley, trust your eyes to see what’s really going on.” When I see all these reports about how slack the investigation appears to be, how little evidence has been found, how nearly zero basic security measures were in place it gives me and everyone else following the story pause.
If I was one of the jewelers that gave Mrs. Kardashian West millions in fine jewelry, I’d like her to stick around a few days to answer questions and assist with any information that could help the investigation. Additionally, I just read that her security guard Pascal Duvier filed for bankruptcy 10 weeks ago sighting debts in excess of €1million. This plus all the points I’ve made and the reports I’ve read over the past few days causes me to questions what really happened.
Finally, who/why do you think did this?
The why is easy—money, publicity or both.
Unfortunately, this is all speculation. Keeping in mind that no one was hurt. I hope for her and her family’s sake that the story is true and that it wasn’t some sort of stunt or inside job.
I think the entire family would lose all credibility and be outcast by fans and the media alike. Whether it was the work of incredibly cunning thieves or people on the inside, they will have a difficult time liquidating the goods as-is. I’m sure many of the items are laser inscribed so that if any piece ever turned up it could be traced back. They would need to disassemble and sell off the gems in pieces to lessen the trace-ability, which I imagine would be a tremendous shame as many of the pieces are undoubtedly spectacular if they are worth in excess of $10 million. In any case, I along with millions of others, will have to keep our eyes open and watch what develops…
Feature image source: nbcnews.com