Web-only retailer Sparkle Cut uses micro-cutting technology to give lower-grade diamonds more sparkle.

When it comes to diamond rings, Sparkle Cut knows women care about two things: size and sparkle.

The digitally native, vertically integrated startup launched in November 2018 with a focus on diamonds that sparkle. The color and clarity of a diamond sometimes cannot be detected with the human eye but greatly impacts the value and cost of the diamond, CEO Jo Lawson says. So, a shopper may pay a lot of money for a high grade of diamond in terms of color and clarity but may have to sacrifice on size and sparkle to save money. Sparkle Cut wants to change that, Lawson says.

 

CEO Jo Lawson

CEO Jo Lawson

SparkleCut.com purchases GIA and IGI certified, ethically sourced and mined diamonds that may have a lower grade of color or clarity. (Gemological Institute of America Inc. and International Gemological Institute are gem certification agencies.) The retailer then uses its patent-pending technology to makes several micro-cuts on the diamond that reflect more light within it to give the diamond more sparkle. The cuts are 1/50th the diameter of a human hair. The result is a diamond that has much more sparkle and looks more expensive than a diamond of its grade, Lawson says.

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The cuts do not change the carat, weight or certification of the diamond, Lawson says. After the cutting process, Sparkle Cut submits its diamonds to GemEx Systems Inc., which is a U.S.-based company that certifies the sparkle of a diamond to confirm that the retailer does add sparkle to the diamond.

Sparkle Cut then resells the diamond at a higher price because it added more sparkle to the diamond. Lawson says the price is still less than what a shopper would pay for a diamond with that much sparkle without the retailer’s finishing cuts.

The retailer is trying to strike the right balance between luxury—with large, sparkly diamonds—and accessibility—with more affordable price points. Similarly, it’s also trying to balance nature, with naturally mined diamonds, and science, by using its cutting technology.

Because the retailer just launched a few months ago and diamond rings are a considered purchase, sales are just getting started. “We’re doing what we would expect at this stage in the game,” says Lawson without revealing more.

sparkle cut diamondsRight now, Sparkle Cut is focused on building up trust as a brand, such as by soliciting product reviews from customers. It also wants to better emphasize that it requires a signature upon delivery so shoppers feel comfortable purchasing something so expensive that’s shipped to their home.

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“How do we make sure that people can sense that we are real company and can deliver on all the promises that we have?” says Lawson regarding the retailer’s challenges.

Besides being a new retailer, Sparkle Cut also has the challenge of all web-only merchants: getting shoppers to purchase a product—an expensive product—that they can’t touch beforehand. To do that, Sparkle Cut is now building up its video content to better showcase its products and tell the story of  its cutting process.

The retailer plans to use parts of the videos as ads, such as on social media, to drive shoppers back to its site. The retailer advertises in the usual social media spots, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

“We’re targeting millennials, and this is where they read and where they play,” she says. Social media is a large component to Sparkle Cut’s marketing strategy and generates the “lions share” of its traffic, Lawson say.

“One of the challenges in this space is that it’s a crowded space and there is a lot of noise,” Lawson says.

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To stand out, Sparkle Cut likes to speak with a “more provocative and more playful” voice, and more like a friend than a business, she says. This makes the brand more accessible to a millennial persona, she says.

For example, one of its marketing ads talk about how size matters, or an ad about “The Big D.”

“The beauty of being a digitally native internet retailer is that you test often, you isolate things that are working and aren’t working and then you pivot,” Lawson says.

For example, Sparkle Cut may have six or 10 different ads that it tests outs and then goes with the top-three performing ones. It also tests which ads perform better with men or women.

SparkleCut.com has about 1,500 SKUs, Lawson says. Right now, Sparkle Cut only sells round-cut diamonds because that is what it has perfected its micro-cutting technology with. It is working on expanding the technology to work with other diamond cuts, such as cushion or princess-cut diamonds.

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The retailer has raised multi-millions of dollars, Lawson says without revealing more.

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