Gemist, a new app for creating customized engagement rings, has an interesting conceit — users receive three designs made from more affordable materials to test drive before making a commitment. Gemist then asks users to choose a ring to be the one.
Consumers can use lab-grown diamonds and other gemstones, customizing elements such as the color, clarity and size of the stone; width and color of the band, and style of the setting. For those who prefer mined diamonds, Gemist offers them, as well.
Gemist was launched by Madeline Fraser, an entrepreneur who cofounded Hutch, a furniture company that lets consumers try the pieces in their homes before buying, and cofounder of Zoom Interiors, an online interior design platform.
“My pain point was engagement rings, but what I learned is that women are buying engagement rings for their right hand with gemstones, and asking, ‘Where are the earrings and necklaces?’ This is so much bigger than I though it was.”
Fraser said she asked herself, “‘What rings do you want to design first, wedding or every day?’ What I realized is that the company wasn’t built for the wedding customer only,” Fraser said, noting that wedding rings account for 30 percent of sales, and every day rings, 70 percent.
With Gemist’s On the Hunt program, consumers can work with a gemist-stylist to create any ring they desire. New designs will be introduced every six weeks.
“The try-on rings are very durable, beautiful products,” Fraser said, noting that gold-plate or sterling silver and Swarovski crystals are used. “Engagement customers are using them as actual versions of their ring.” For clients who are afraid of losing or damaging a real ring, Fraser said faux versions look identical to the real thing, to the untrained eye.
“A lot of jewelry companies aren’t affordable for the every day customer,” Fraser said. “Customers can start with a sterling silver and crystal ring for about $100. If they get a promotion at work, they can grow into fine jewelry.”
Pop-up shops rather than stores, are on Fraser’s radar. “I’m thinking critically about stores,” she said. “I’m more interested in pop-up retail and the idea of a road show and bringing the experience to different cities in the U.S. and internationally. It’s how to merge the worlds of digital and reality. That’s something we’re building out now that we’re really excited about.”