Owning a Picasso is about to become more affordable — relatively speaking.
The artist’s granddaughter, Diana Widmaier-Picasso, is putting her name and talents behind Mene Inc., a jewelry start-up that will sell 24K baubles she will design.
Widmaier-Picasso’s jewelry will go on sale in the fall — with a twist: the prices of the items will fluctuate daily based on market price of gold.
While such a pricing structure is popular in some countries, it has not been popular in the US.
A noted art historian, Widmaier-Picasso is Mene’s chief artistic director and co-founder of the company which hopes to disrupt the jewelry industry with what its calls “transparent pricing.”
The pricing is broken out by the weight of the gold, the gold value — plus Mene’s design fee.
“We’ve been working in stealth mode for a year,” said co-founder Roy Sebag, who also heads up Goldmoney, a publicly-held Toronto company that operates like a Paypal for the jewelry industry, using gold as its currency.
Goldmoney is also Mene’s largest investor.
“Mene is very fortunate to have Diana Picasso,” Sebag added, noting that the family doesn’t put its efforts into anything lightly.
It’s not the first time a Picasso has been involved in selling trinkets, either. Diana’s aunt, Paloma Picasso, the late artist’s youngest daughter, was a designer for Tiffany & Co.
The idea for Mene is inspired by how consumers buy jewelry in Asia.
“In India and China consumers always ask the weight, the value of the gold and its purity,” Sebag said.
A Mene bracelet costing $900 at the beginning of this year, for example, would cost $1,000 today since gold is up roughly 12 percent year-to-date.
Industry experts say Mene’s plan is unique to the US jewelry market.
One jewelry designer, Glenn Bradford, who has two stores on Long Island, said, “We may have things in our shop that are underpriced based on the current price of gold, but I’ve never heard of a retailer repricing jewelry on a daily basis.”
Mene will also buy back its own jewelry at market prices whenever a customer desires — minus a 10 percent fee.
“We want to offer jewelry that preserves its original purchase price and which can be sold or exchanged as easily as it can be bought,” Sebag said.