This high jewelry brand cannot be bought in a department store

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A look at fine jewelry from AUrate (Photo: AUrate).

Jewelry can be tricky to buy, especially if you like the glamor of trying on pieces and don’t fancy going to a crowded department store. For those who want drama-free balls, buying online can be convenient, but it lacks the ability to see what a necklace looks like and if a bracelet works with previous purchases.

New startup AUrate New York wants to change the way people shop for fine jewelry, starting with an appearance on Madison Avenue just in time for last-minute Valentine’s Day shopping. The pop-up is on the corner of Madison and 75th Street from Friday, February 5 through March 2, proving that V-Day isn’t the only reason to shop for jewelry. Once spring has arrived in earnest, it’s the perfect opportunity to show off new bracelets, rings, and necklaces that have been hidden behind gloves and scarves.

(Photo: AUrate).
The founders Sophie Kahn and Bouchra Ezzahraoui (Photo: AUrate).

AUrate’s goal is to offer luxury products in a simple way, without the retail markup found in department stores. The company was founded by Sophie Kahn and Bouchra Ezzahraoui, who met while studying at Princeton. Their goal was to offer fine, high-quality, ethically-sourced jewelry, but with a new direct-to-consumer model. They believe affluent customers want personalized service and the ability to shop outside of department stores and typical boutiques.

(Photo: AUrate).
A former pop-up in Soho (Photo: AUrate).

The Observer spoke with the founders about what it takes to launch a startup aimed at rethinking the way people think about buying fine jewelry.

Who are you considering as an AUrate customer? We started AUrate New York because we saw a gap in the accessible fine jewelry market. Our client is a new type of consumer who cares about where their jewelry comes from and wants the best value for money. Jewelry is locally made and designed to last a lifetime. We’ve also created an initiative for those who, like us, believe that every modern business has a responsibility to give back.

How did you decide to partner with Mastery charter? For every piece of jewelry purchased, AUrate New York donates a book to a child in need. We believe that putting books in the hands of children from disadvantaged households helps them read better and strengthens their overall attitude towards learning. We heard about Mastery Charter because of their excellent results in turning around academic performance: their students’ dropout rate was cut in half and the college graduation rate tripled. We spoke with them about our idea of ​​giving a “book for your look” and it turned out that they shared the same philosophy regarding the importance of books and reading. We love attending their school and handing out the books to the students – it really means for the world to see our jewelry make a difference.

Did you always know you wanted to sell jewelry directly to the consumer? At the time, the opportunity in affordable fine jewelry seemed most glaring. We literally couldn’t think of anywhere to buy real gold at a good price, so we knew we had to do something. The only way to make real gold jewelry affordable was to sell it directly to the consumer.

This philanthropic fine jewelry brand can't be bought in a department store

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