Gemfields, the London-based mining and marketing company that specializes in Zambian emeralds and colored gemstones, is amping up its Stateside presence through a series of initiatives.
This story first appeared in the October 29, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
With a new office in Manhattan’s Chelsea, plans to build an American division, a revamped Web site launching in January, its first official U.S. ad campaign and a slew of high-end designer collaborations, Gemfields aims to establish itself as an ethical, fashion-forward luxury brand.
The firm, which provides about 20 percent of the world’s emerald supply, has sought to create a stable and centralized market for emeralds and other gemstones.
It prides itself on its consistent use of conflict-free mines and a full disclosure certification program, which guarantees the provenance of every gem.
“We want to highlight the landscape of where [the stones] are mined and the natural, transparent way in which they’re brought to market,” said Randi Molofsky Lithgow, head of marketing and communications in the U.S. “We’re giving buyers not only an ethically sourced stone, but also a consistent source of these stones. Any treatments are fully disclosed. Anyone who works with us knows they’re getting what they pay for.”
Beyond ethics, Gemfields is also determined to raise its appeal to luxury consumers with an emphasis on its emeralds and Mozambique rubies. The brand secured advertising space in Robb Report, Vanity Fair and other fashion publications for spring with a campaign shot by Mario Sorrenti — its first major U.S. advertising push.
The company has been working with a series of designers, including Fabergé, Hannah Martin, Dominic Jones, Kimberly McDonald and others over the past year to collaborate on special pieces using its Zambian emeralds in various forms.
Prices range from $1,890 to $512,000, and while the brand only sells via auction with a select group of international dealers, it plans to bulk up its retail partnerships and digital presence in the U.S. Its new Web site will contain a mix of educational and editorial content, including videos, photos of the collaborations and retailer information.
“We want [Gemfields’ Web site] to be a place where people can go to get real information on colored gemstones and then be inspired by colored gemstones,” said Molofsky Lithgow.