Good Company: The Luxury Online Retailer Keeping the Fine Jewelry Industry Honest

Finematter creates an online jewelry shopping experience, as if consumers are physically in a physical store, meeting the designer in person, and seeing the jewelry made first-hand.

Fine material

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Throughout the pandemic, the fine jewelry industry has seen surprising growth in demand, while most other sectors have seen at least some downturn. It was an equally surprising time to start a business when many others closed, but two Danish entrepreneurs, Mie Ejdrup and Caroline Chalmer, saw this unprecedented moment in the industry as an opportunity. In November 2020, Fine material was born.

“We both saw what an opportunity there was to rethink distribution in the jewelry market and create an alternative to the broken wholesale model for independent brands,” Ejdrup says of the early days of the new online marketplace for independent fine jewelry designers.

With an approach often compared to that of mega-retailers like Farfetch, Ejdrup explains how they constantly look to start-ups and successful business models for ideas on how to improve the jewelry space, but clarifies that this list of sources is not limited to Farfetch. “On the retail side, Farfetch has definitely been an inspiration, but the list goes way beyond that. Netflix, Spotify, Treatwell are all examples of companies that have revolutionized their respective categories, and we got ideas from,” she says. “We want to do the same for the jewelry industry.”

But more so, says Ejdrup, “Covid-19 has underscored this need for online distribution in an industry otherwise characterized by incremental change and bricks and mortar. With Finematter, we want to help independent jewelry designers to digitize and evolve beyond physical distribution.

THE PRODUCT

Finematter creates an online jewelry shopping experience, as if consumers are physically in a physical store, meeting the designer in person, and seeing the jewelry made first-hand.

The platform includes a brand page for each of the designers with in-depth interviews, images and editorials on model photos and jewelry packshots. “We want people to know who they’re buying from and what they’re buying.”

Additionally, Finematter presents each piece of jewelry with a digital “certificate,” listing provenance markers, specific metal and gemstone characteristics, techniques used to make the piece, what it means for the piece, and more. “This is the first step towards technology-based certification, and we are also starting to explore the possibilities of blockchain.”

The company’s ambition is to change the way people view and buy jewelry. Jewelry is often presented online as a fashion accessory, a pure consumer item. However, unlike typical fashion items, jewelry has inherent value and can be viewed as an asset or an investment.

“We want customers to be able to buy jewelry as long-lasting, meaningful purchases that will retain or even gain value over time, elevating it to a status similar to that of artwork and watches,” says Ejdrup.

THE PRICE

Prices for fine jewelry, of course, vary greatly depending on the piece. Currently, prices on the site start at around US$120 and increase up to US$20,000. Ejdrup and Chalmer, who are not currently interested in including costume jewelry styles, keep the market focused solely on fine jewelry pieces.

WHAT IS THE GOOD?

Fashion has long been under scrutiny for sustainability issues, but the jewelry industry is often overlooked. The challenges, however, are just as real in the fine jewelry sector as in any other. “As a central platform for individual designers, we believe Finematter is in a unique position to bring real change and impact across the industry,” says Ejdrup. “We were born from this mindset and seek to think sustainable in everything we do.

As consumers move towards conscious consumption and demand traceability of what they buy, Finematter aims to help brands meet these needs. For consumers, the company has developed a sustainability method to rate each piece of jewelry based on seven sustainability labels offering the ability to buy by specification, including materials and production practices, Ejdrup says, noting that this type of transparency is new in the jewelry industry. . The brand also offers sustainable packaging and CO2 shipping offsets.

Finematter applies sustainable best practices such as attention to clear material provenance (knowing exactly how materials are mined, mined and refined); fair trade, fair trade or recycled valuable materials; fair trade, recycled or lab-grown diamonds and gemstones; local production (pieces are made in the designer’s workshop and no aspect of production is outsourced); direct and carbon neutral shipping; and recycled and compostable packaging.

“We want to set and influence industry standards. And as we grow, we hope to become a place for open-minded discussion,” says Ejdrup.

AND AFTER

As for the next ongoing task, the secondary market is a priority for Finematter. “The aftermarket is very much tied to our strong focus on sustainability and technology jewelry certifications,” says Ejdrup.

And always, “Our ambition is for Finematter to become the leading online platform for fine and high fashion jewelry globally.”