Entrepreneurship has always been about finding solutions to people’s problems. Certainly, the current global pandemic has accelerated change and innovation in many fields, including in the most traditional ones, such as jewelry.
A diverse group of international jewelry experts with different skills has this month launched the world’s first curated b-to-b marketplace for colored gemstones. Called Gemolith, the marketplace currently features 10,000 gemstones, from calibrated to one-of-a-kind, of 28 different types and sourced from over 20 countries.
Gemolith has been created by GemCloud, a Hong Kong-based tech company that develops software solutions for the jewelry industry.
As GemCloud cofounder and chief executive officer Veronica Favoroso explained during a Zoom call from her office in Bangkok, “Differently from the world of diamonds, the colored gems industry is highly fragmented and its supply chain is very diversified, going from small-scale miners to a huge network of traders.”
In addition, she noticed how there is no universally adopted language in the business of gem colors. “This is why we realized that there was the necessity to create a standardized ecosystem,” said Favoroso who, after a career as a lawyer in Milan and in China, cut her teeth in the marketing and social corporate responsibility divisions of Maison Fabergé and the brand’s parent company Gemfields. It was there that she met her future husband, Philippe Ressigeac, who established GemCloud with her and tech entrepreneur Noah Severs, as well as with Junaid Arkhat e Richard Haruni.
Along with offering a wide range of certified gems from vendors, which are subject to strict audits, Gemolith features a set of standards to enable the online trading of gemstones with multiple stakeholders. It also developed educational tools focused on colored gemstones, mainly targeting store vendors.
Asked about the potential users of Gemolith, Favoroso cited miners, international traders, independent jewelry designers and manufacturers, but also big jewelry brands and e-tailers. In particular, for online retailers GemCloud already operates a white label solution, supporting them in the sourcing of gemstones for their programs and enabling consumers to select their favorite gem and create their own jewelry piece. “In this segment, our main clients are in the United States and in the U.K.,” Favoroso said.
Featuring a layout inspired by luxury e-commerce sites, Gemolith gives users the chance to have a detailed view of each gem through 360-degree videos. “We wanted to make the experience fulfilling and engaging,” said Favoroso, who explained that they created a standardized grading system.
In addition, for those users fearing special requests, Gemolith created a dedicated area where buyers can submit the specifications of the gemstone they need.
In terms of current demand, Generoso explained that emeralds are the most requested — “even if they are the hardest gems to photograph,” she said — but there is also increased demand for sapphires, spinels, aquamarines, tourmalines and amethysts.
Gemolith currently operates international offices in New York and London, which are also the target markets for the marketplace’s launch.
In keeping with GemCloud’s attention to sustainability and social corporate responsibility, the company has teamed with Coloured Gemstones Working Group, the alliance among leading companies in the jewelry industry — including Chopard, Gemfields, Kering, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, The Muzo Companies, Compagnie Financiere Richemont, Swarovski, and Tiffany & Co. — to create a set of resources and tools on responsible sourcing for the colored gemstones industry.