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New E-Tailer Edges Into Luxury Jeweler Turf With Focus On Custom Engagement Rings |  October 15, 2013 (0 comments)

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London, United Kingdom—Rarepink.com, a new e-tailer founded by two 10-year veterans of the diamond industry, launched September 19. Its premise is to bring the experience of buying a luxury bespoke engagement ring online. While it does offer some finished goods, the site’s emphasis is on custom design.

While customizing jewelry online isn’t new—Ritani launched its highly successful bricks-and-clicks “design online, pick up in store” partnerships with prestige jewelers earlier this year, and e-tailers Blue Nile and James Allen both have customizable options—Rarepink focuses specifically on custom design.

“We wanted to find a niche not already filled by some great competitors like Ritani, Blue Nile and James Allen,” said co-founder Nikolay Piryankov in an exclusive interview with The Centurion. Piryankov and co-founder David Sutton met in high school when both worked part-time in a diamond showroom in South Africa. Sutton went on to become a diamond dealer in South Africa; Piryankov went to university and into online marketing. Other partners in the firm are jewelry wholesalers in South Africa, importing fine Italian jewelry for local retailers there.

Piryankov cites the virtual mountains of research showing that personalization and customization are highly important to younger generation shoppers, the group most likely to be in the first-time bridal market.

“Our core target is not necessarily more affluent customers, but definitely more emotional customers who are invested in the experience rather than the price of things in life. Think of the kind of customer who will make his girlfriend a photo collage video to surprise her on her birthday, or the kind that will learn to sing to propose in song during a flashmob. There is an experience in creating your own engagement ring that reaches far beyond choosing the right diamond and we want to share that with people who get as excited about it as we do,” he told The Centurion.

Rarepink.com doesn’t emphasize low price as selling point, only that its ring selection can be tailored to match the customer’s price point and timeframe. But make no mistake—competitive pricing is key and, as Priyankov says, just the starting point.

“We do not want to establish ourselves as a price-competing brand, but as we have quite a fantastic loose diamond supply chain, our prices are super competitive. We have accepted that people do price compare online, so we take being competitive as a minimum standard and then do our best to convince customers on our service and added value. We try not to mention price, but we are very proud to offer bespoke pieces at close to the price of off the shelf ones.”

The site guarantees its diamonds are GIA certified and ethically sourced, and is celebrating its launch with a limited-time offer of a free one-point natural pink diamond with every custom-made piece. The free pink diamond can be incorporated into the customer’s piece or shipped separately. Piryankov told The Centurion the firm pays a premium to get natural pinks but acknowledges they have to rely on the integrity of the supplier, a large sightholder.  It’s not easy to test a one-pointer, he says.

Though focused on custom, the site isn’t entirely DIY. There’s no click-and-drag design tool (it’s coming, Piryankov says), so right now customers begin by filling out a form stating their preferred style options and a Rarepink designer will get back to them by phone or email for more information and to discuss the design further. Following that, the first design is promised within three days.

Custom pieces are all designed and made in London, says Priyankov. Ready-made pieces include both some that Rarepink makes itself, and others sourced as mountings. The firm’s Hong Kong office—run by David Sutton—deals primarily with the purchasing of loose diamonds.

“As we run a successful diamond wholesale business called JAGS International (the rebranded Sutton Diamonds), we have established suppliers and sightholders in India and Hong Kong from whom we purchase loose and set into our jewelry,” Priyankov told The Centurion.

The site has a 30-day return policy, luxury packaging, and free FedEx shipping. It’s IP-detected, so prices and shipping information are shown in the currency of the shopper’s country.

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