LA-Based Startup Gemist Gets Backing from De Beers for Its DTC Jewelry App

Francesca Billington

Francesca Billington is a freelance reporter. Prior to that, she was a general assignment reporter for dot.LA and has also reported for KCRW, the Santa Monica Daily Press and local publications in New Jersey. She graduated from Princeton in 2019 with a degree in anthropology.

Gemist

Online jewelry retailer Gemist announced it's received financial backing from De Beers Group Ventures, among other firms, to grow its "try-and-buy" model, which allows customers to design and test out pieces from home.

Founded in 2019 by CEO Madeline Fraser, the L.A.-based startup allows shoppers to customize rings and earrings on the website and wear them for up to two weeks before deciding to keep, tweak or send back their creations.


The recent seven-figure raise comes from both venture funds and strategic corporate partners like De Beers, a diamond company that shares Gemist's commitment to sustainability and ethically-sourced diamonds, Fraser said.

"We look at this as a corporate investment but really a partnership," she said. "We're going to be working together in more ways than just an investor-founder relationship as we grow."

Fraser got the idea for Gemist after designing her own engagement ring in 2018. At the time, jewelry seemed to her like one of the few industries that hadn't yet embraced customization options for online shoppers.

While the startup launched for bridal consumers, Fraser quickly realized the demand was broader. She introduced casual rings and earrings, and hinted to dot.LA that necklaces might be next.

The 29-year-old founder says her company will focus on scaling its digital platform and expanding the at-home try-on program. As COVID changes in-person shopping, Fraser hopes to bring customers a memorable retail experience from home. Retail isn't dead, she says. It just needs some reinvigorating.

"We're actually bringing the retail store to the consumer," Fraser said. "That's something I assume a ton of in-person retailers wish that they could do."

Since March, Gemist says they've seen an 80% jump in customers trying out their try-on plan.

"Retail isn't going to stay the same," Fraser said. "It's going to innovate, it's going to change. And that, I think, requires intimate connection with consumers — something people will actually come out of the house for."

With this deal, De Beers Group Executive Vice-President of Consumer and Brands Stephen Lussier will join the Gemist board.

Related Articles Around the Web
https://twitter.com/frosebillington
francesca@dot.la

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

Users With Disabilities Can Rent an E-Scooter in Long Beach for Free

Maylin Tu
Maylin Tu is a freelance writer who lives in L.A. She writes about scooters, bikes and micro-mobility. Find her hovering by the cheese at your next local tech mixer.
Users With Disabilities Can Rent an E-Scooter in Long Beach for Free
Courtesy of Bird

Bird is launching its disability-accessible e-scooter and wheelchair program in Long Beach.

Starting this week, users with disabilities can pull up the app, choose one of four electric vehicles adapted to their needs and get it delivered to their hotel or home—all for free. The service is fully subsidized for the day.

The announcement was part of the electric vehicle-focused 2022 Electrify Expo taking place at the Long Beach Convention Center Friday.

Read moreShow less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending