New site Gem Privé seeking votes to produce jewels

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Concept hosts design competitions to gauge consumer preferences.

A new jewellery manufacturing business titled Gem Privé has launched, connecting jewellery designers with consumers through a global crowd-funding platform.

The concept asks designers to submit CAD designs for fine jewellery products which are then voted for by an audience of jewellery lovers, with the winner designs then manufactured and sold through the Gem Privé website.

The UK-based company will provide the winning jewellers with royalties for their design and PR and marketing to promote their products.

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The concept is the brainchild of jewellery designer Miranda McCarthy, who has previously worked under her own brand London Bird, as well as creating designs for the English National Ballet and Paul Smith.

She told Professional Jeweller that, having watched the fine jewellery retail market remain relatively stagnant in its approach to new products, she realised upon an idea whereby designs are presented to consumers to choose and comment on what they would buy, rather than the costly process of producing collections first, which might not sell.

McCarthy said: "[I thought] why not use the internet to get feedback from the public to tell me if my designs would sell before I put them into production?

"I posted a 3D CAD image of a ring I had designed onto my Facebook wall and asked the question ‘Do you like this design – should I make it?’. The response was overwhelming. Luckily most were positive, but interestingly, comments on the colour of the gemstone ultimately changed the design before I produced it."

Now, having developed this process into the Gem Privé business, McCarthy aims to "democratise the fine jewellery industry" by harnessing the voice of the consumer. Only the designs that win approval from visitors to Gem Privé.com will be produced and sold.

McCarthy hopes that, by providing a risk-free platform for designers to test the market, Gem Privé should lower the barriers of entry for a new wave of designers looking to turn their creativity into a career.

Gem Privé is working with a network of manufacturers that use a made-to-order system, meaning they only produce a design when there’s demand; thus making it an inventory-light business concept. By using crowd-sourcing the site aims to reduce waste and with it gain valuable feedback from the online community about the designs offered.

The site also strives to give global designers an equal opportunity, and hopes to support designers in emerging markets where the money earned from royalties could be life-changing.

Gem Privé launched its first fine jewellery design contest through an app on its Facebook page on November 1, asking entrants to create CAD designs inspired by the word ‘fold’, specifically a pendant using yellow gold and black diamonds. The winning design which receives the most public votes and pre-oders, dubbed the People’s Choice, will be announced in early 2014.
 

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