De Beers Group invests in jewelry brand Try-and-Buy Gemist – JCK

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The possibility of a “Warby Parker for fine jewelry” debuting and disrupting the status quo of jewelry retail has been anticipated in the industry for years.

Why? Despite impressive individual efforts to push it forward, fine jewelry retail — which represents the last of independent retailers in many American cities and towns — overall is in need of modernization.

Direct-to-consumer digital jewelry brands such as Frank Darling, Rocksbox, and AUrate have pioneered the space with sleek, easy-to-navigate websites that allow for limited customizations. All three offer jewelry boxes to try at home, in the style of pioneering eyewear designer Warby Parker.

Corn gemmista direct-to-consumer jewelry brand and digital platform founded by tech industry veteran Madeline Fraser in 2019, took these innovations one step further.

Direct to consumer offers jewelry lovers the opportunity to “design” their own engagement ring (and other jewelry) by choosing from a wide selection of options. Any An engagement ring or fine jewelry piece can be altered in many ways, choosing from a menu of metals and gemstones and sometimes manipulating things like the amount of pavé diamonds on a shank.

Once the style is finalized on screen, customers can request that a silver prototype of the design be sent to them free of charge, so they can live with the piece before committing to pay for the ring, which will be crafted in 14 karat gold.

Even without its customization machinations, Gemist’s sleek, sterile interface and free home trials make it a true high-jewelry Warby Parker. And like the disruptive eyewear brand in its early days, Gemist attracted venture capital, which, in Warby’s case, allowed it to open stores in nearly every “A” mall in America.

Does the Los Angeles-based jewelry startup have the potential to expand so widely? The world’s largest diamond producer seems to think so.

Gemist announced on Thursday that it had secured an undisclosed investment from De Beers, through its venture capital subsidiary De Beers Group Ventures.

The startup is already backed by several top venture capital firms, including Legendary Ventures, Lightspeed Scout, and Luma Launch. But De Beers’ investment goes beyond financing. As part of the agreement, the diamond maker will work with Gemist on consumer engagement approaches, “particularly with respect to the responsible sourcing of natural diamonds,” the statement said.

And Stephen Lussier, De Beers Group Executive Vice President and brand thinker, will join the Gemist Board.

The brand has gathered leading supporters since the beginning. JCK‘s Amy Elliott wrote about Gemist in November, shortly after her debut. And at the time it was noted that the former She editor Robbie Myers, who is highly respected in editorial and fashion circles, acted as an official adviser to the Gemist team.

“Gemist is a pioneer in giving Gen Z and Millennial consumers a unique shopping experience with fully customizable designs through a simple, engaging and fun platform – key features we know these consumers are looking for. “said Neil Ventura, Executive Vice President. of strategy and innovation for De Beers Group, in the press release. “We look forward to working with Gemist to share mutual information as the business continues to grow.”

And we can’t wait to see how Gemist, backed by substantial capital and now the biggest hitter in the diamond industry, continues to change the game.

Top: Image courtesy of Gemist

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