The brand makes shopping for engagement rings online more accessible – WWD
Direct-to-consumer jeweler Aurate is answering fan calls by jumping into the love and commitment category.
Following what co-founders Bouchra Ezzahraoui and Sophie Kahn described as endless requests for ceremonial jewelry, the company launched “Modern Love” – a line of 20 customizable love and engagement rings plus a service bespoke design.
“She definitely asked for that. We talk to our customers all the time – that’s the point of being a d-to-c brand, and every time we ask, “What should we do?” it was always “engagement rings, engagement rings”. We generally noticed that most of them wanted something in diamond and gold that stood out with very clean lines. A less is more approach. We’ll see how it goes and then potentially develop that,” Kahn said.
Aurate, founded in 2017 and now backed by over $15 million in venture capital, is part of the original wave of d-to-c jewelers that has emerged in recent years. It has carved out a place for itself in the market by offering more luxurious pieces than some of its competitors, with a high average order price. The company’s designs are also a little more refined and feminine than others in the category, but it has recently found success with genderless collections – one recently led by investor and brand partner Kerry Washington.
Admitting the category sits at a “higher price than what you would wear every day,” Ezzahraoui said the line was designed to appeal to a discerning, low-key crowd.
Aurate’s landing page decodes some of the most intimidating myths around the engagement grade – reviewing the classic ‘four Cs’ of diamond grading and how best to make a decision on such an important purchase .
Ezzahraoui said “it’s quite intimidating and it [tries to] remove what’s intimidating about fine jewelry. I think part of that is educating buyers and how that resonates, it’s about, “How do I get started, where do I go, and what does that mean?”
She added that “the first step of the engagement was to educate customers on how to go about it, the carat weight, the color – lots of companies do this, but it can be an overhead, we wanted do it in a more accessible way. as well as explaining the ethical component of it. Our buyers want to look good and feel good, and I think that’s the same thing.
Aurate’s love and engagement category is fully bespoke but is broken down into two categories. There is a bespoke service where buyers can schedule a consultation with in-house ‘diamond whisperers’, as a free service to discuss custom ring designs.
Then there is also an assortment of 20 pre-determined ring designs, some featuring three stones or a halo detail, which buyers can upgrade with their choice of diamond cut and metal type. Aurate has chosen to offer rings in 14-carat or 18-carat yellow or pink gold as well as in platinum. All diamonds offered are approximately one carat in size and are certified G or H color but can be found in cushion, oval, princess, brilliant and other cuts which are rated from very good to excellent.
The company offers buyers the choice between naturally mined diamonds and lab-grown diamonds. Aurate’s website offers its consumers a list of pros and cons behind each choice, allowing buyers to make their own decision. “Our wife is educated and smart, we wanted her to make up her own mind and not tell her what to do,” Kahn said.
The choice between naturally mined diamonds and lab-grown stones, however, has a big impact on ring prices. Pieces made with lab-grown diamonds range from $3,000 to $5,000 while natural diamond rings cost between $5,000 and $15,200.
Depending on popularity, some of the bespoke Aurate creations may eventually become part of the brand’s permanent collection.
“Design-wise, we’re staying very much in line with Aurate’s less-is-more approach, but delivering strong, bold and striking pieces that make a statement in an understated way,” said Kahn, who oversaw the design of the Modern Love collection.
She added that although the line was created with commitments in mind, it could also be easily used to mark other important life occasions – a versatility that Aurate strives to implement in all of its news. collections. “It’s important that the designs are unique and have a story to tell. It could be for an engagement or a completely different occasion like having a kid, getting a promotion, or breaking up with the wrong person. It’s about your choice and being empowered,” she said.
Aurate, which recently launched a children’s collection, is then focusing on scaling up its physical retail business. It currently operates a store in the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan and will open a new store in San Francisco in the first quarter.