With Mené, Canadian entrepreneur Roy Sebag deals in pure gold and platinum pieces. Because in the long term, he believes these precious metals are investments that provide the most solid of guarantees.
A piece of Mené jewelry, unlike others, won’t lose its value when it leaves the shop; it could even go up…
The basic tenet of the brand Mené (the name for a counting unit inAramaic) is to offer jewelry containing a maximum amount of precious metal at the lowest possible price, making it an investment. This means that we only use pure platinum and 24 carat gold. The gold is not mixed with silver or copper, as with 18 and 14 carat gold.
How did you get this idea of combining intrinsic and aesthetic values?
Firstly through observation: half the jewelry in the world is sold by weight of gold. In India, inflation means that silver placed in a bank immediately loses value, so women systematically convert their fortunes into jewelry. The idea also arose from my experience in various gold sectors, like mines or a specialist investment fund – one of the few not to have been ruined by the 2008/2009 stock market crash! That gave me the idea of creating a bank, Goldmoney (now Mené’s principal shareholder), where your account is not in euros but in grams of gold: you have 44,000 in Switzerland, 22,000 in Canada, and so on.
In practical terms, how can you buy jewelry?
You need to open an account on the Mené website, which is the only place you can buy the jewelry. You can then sell a piece whenever you like, at the gold price or at the platinum displayed in real time, just by sending it in a specially-designed Mené envelope, via Brink’s. The sale amount (minus a 10% fee) is then credited to your account. You can also exchange jewelry, again according to the precious metal price. It’s a first!
The idea of pure metal is central to everything…
It’s the sort of gold obtained from natural resources, with a very warm yellow color. It is dense, weighs a certain amount and, contrary to what people usally think, is not very malleable: if jewelry is in solid gold, it is very hard, like the torque designed by Diana Picasso, Mené’s co-founder and artistic director. Not forgetting that gold has scientifically-proved energetic properties: during the Gold Rush in America, a piece of gold in a glass purified river water. For me, the difference between pure gold and 18 carat gold is like natural orange juice compared with pasteurized juice.
You emphasize the transparency of your prices – and even see Mené jewelry as a social currency!
Going beyond our ethical charter, we don’t apply the margins of the jewelry industry, which can go up to 1000% with some gold products. Our price breaks down into the weight, the metal price and 15-20% for the design. In a ring of 14.7 grams sold for $717, the gold represents $570 and the design $148; in a chain of 324 grams costing $17,000, the gold accounts for $12,500 and the design $3,500. I think the future of luxury truly lies in transparency and transmission.
It seems so simple: so why didn’t anyone think of it before?
Why would brands change a strategy that consists of maximizing margins using the least gold possible? And then none of them has direct access to the metal, as I do through Goldmoney. And the final advantage is that I can take risks, because if it doesn’t work I can melt down the gold and recover it.
All prices are based on gold price at the time of the publication