14 February 2023
The low-down on Castafiore
Launched last year by two jewelry world insiders, Castafiore is the leading platform in the second-hand jewelry market.
By Sandrine Merle.
1/ Castafiore, a name tinged with humor
Castafiore is the name of a platform for selling and buying jewelry that’s antique (pre-1950), vintage (over 20 years old) or preowned (recent). Founders Anne Borne and Charlotte Rey chose the name in reference to Hergé‘s colorful Bianca Castafiore character, an archetypal singer with a mad passion for jewelry, which she wears with great exuberance, totally lacking in inhibition.
2 The two jewelry industry insiders behind Castafiore
Light years away from the whimsical character of the Tintin albums, the founders have all the credentials they need to earn our complete trust. Charlotte Rey spent 20 years with Cartier in retail and as head of high jewelry in France, Europe and the Middle East. She has worked with the most extraordinary pieces imaginable and the most demanding clients. For her part, Anne Borde spent 30 years in the world of auctioneers where she inventoried and appraised furniture, paintings, and books, with a particular predilection for jewelry. Her infallible eye has witnessed thousands of pieces of jewelry passing through her hands, be they designer or not, antique, vintage, or sentimental, amongst many others. The two founders’ two career paths are therefore perfectly complementary.
3/ The Castafiore business model
Their business model led them to raise one million euros, just a year after the creation of the brand. They started from an observation: sellers are usually completely left to their own devices, not knowing whether their piece is made of gold, who made it, what the stones are worth, etc. Buyers are of course faced with the same questions. Castafiore is there to accompany them, guide them and reassure them through certification – a real luxury experience in the second-hand jewelry sector. This allows them to sell some pieces that fetch almost 30,000 euros (such as Georges Lenfant’s necklace) and to have buyers become sellers and vice versa.
4/ Castafiore, exclusive curation
The luxury experience also includes Castafiore’s own curation – the selection of jewelry (starting from 500 euros) is carried out in the utmost taste. “In the second-hand jewelry world, the worst and the best tend to get mixed up together,” they point out. Their company currently lists 5,000 pieces of jewelry from all periods, and they aim to reach 10,000 next year. They come from individuals or antique dealers seeking greater visibility, including in the United States, where Castafiore is growing. “Each piece of jewelry is chosen for its perceived value,” explains Charlotte Rey. In other words, for its aura, the effect produced by the design, the quality of the know-how and the way it resonates with the intangible desires of the times – above and beyond the intrinsic value of the actual materials (stones and metals).
5/ Castafiore, a predilection for non-brand jewelry
Castafiore also wants to do justice to the non-brand jewelry that represents half of their selection and still accounts for the majority of the market. “We have to escape the brand straitjacket because these unique pieces, very well made by anonymous craftsmen (generally French), give people a chance to stand out. And they’re far less pricy,” says Anne Borde. This category includes for example the very beautiful chain in corded mesh featuring a coral, onyx and gold pompom, but also the brooch formed by two large leaves in two-tone gold, both pieces deserving of the utmost respect.
Branded/non branded jewelry: the low down
6/ Castafiore, the new vintage jewelry trendsetters
Always with a view to supporting and guiding private buyers, the two founders also produce images of contemporary wearables. They use their Instagram posts (@Castafiore) to shine a spotlight on jewels that have been overlooked for decades, such as 19th-century filigree gold chains, or textured gold brooches from the 50’s, etc. to be worn with jeans, baggy sweaters, etc. Modernizing second-hand jewelry is turning out to be a highly successful bet!