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Cannes festival hit by second suspected jewelry theft

CANNES (Reuters) - The Cannes film festival was hit by a second suspected jewelry heist on Thursday after a diamond necklace worth 2 million euros ($2.6 million) disappeared during a star-studded party, according to upmarket jeweler De Grisogono.

Fawaz Gruosi, the founder of the Swiss firm, said the necklace was part of the company's 20th anniversary collection paraded by 20 models at the glitzy event at the Hotel Du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes outside Cannes on Tuesday night. Sharon Stone and Paris Hilton were among the guests.

Gruosi said 80 bodyguards, local police, hotel security, and De Grisogono staff had been on duty but when a check was made at the end of the night the diamond necklace was missing.

"We don't know exactly what happened ... it was one of the most beautiful items we had," Gruosi told Reuters Television.

"The police are trying to figure out what happened."

A Cannes police source said authorities were investigating whether it was a theft, a problem of inventory or a loss, the source said.

Another Swiss jeweler, Chopard, had gems worth $1.4 million stolen in the first week of the 12-day festival on the glamorous French Riviera, which attracts thousands of actors, filmmakers and journalists.

Police said the Chopard jewelry had been in the safe of a room at the Suite Novotel hotel in central Cannes, which had been rented by an employee of the jeweler.

The entire safe was removed from the wall and taken during the night of May 16. Someone entered without forcing the door or using the magnetic key card, a police source said.

A spokesman for Chopard, a sponsor of the Cannes festival, later played down the report, saying the value had been exaggerated.

Jewelers and fashion houses use the world's largest film festival at Cannes as a promotional showcase, lending gowns and accessories to celebrities who are photographed on the famed red carpet and at parties along the palm-lined Croisette waterfront.

(Reporting by Rollo Ross and Matthias Galante Writing by Belinda Goldsmith; editing by Michael Roddy)

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