With Clarity is one of 10 retailers featured in Internet Retailer Magazine’s Innovation Issue. By 3D printing diamond rings for shoppers to preview their custom designs before ordering, the online engagement ring retailer aims to minimize shoppers’ fear of buying a high-ticket ring sight unseen.

Two diamond engagement rings are nestled in a white box’s cushioned slits for a lucky recipient to have her pick–one round-cut stone set with a white gold pave band and a second oval-cut stone atop a classic yellow gold band.

Internet Retailer Magazine November Innovation IssueTo the naked eye, they appear to be real. The sparkle factor is impressive, the luster is spot on, and each feels like a conventional piece when slipped onto a manicured finger. But they are actually 3D-printed replica rings that online jeweler With Clarity ships to the consumer’s home for a free test drive before he plunks down money for what’s likely to be the most significant jewelry purchase in his lifetime.

The retailer uses a diamond simulant and metal alloy that mimics the look of white gold or platinum to make the sample rings appear nearly identical to the customized engagement ring the shopper designed. The innovative “home preview” facet of With Clarity’s business model–along with its robust educational content on frequently researched diamond topics–helped the startup generate $19.0 million in revenue last year, up from just $3.2 million in 2017.

With sales ballooning 496.2% last year, With Clarity is the second-fastest growing merchant in the first-ever Internet Retailer Next 1000 ranking of mid-market online retailers. And the New York-based, direct-to-consumer company, which launched in 2015 and falls in the No. 1181 spot in the Next 1000, is continuing to gain traction this year. Its first quarter sales were two and a half times greater than the same period in 2018, and in late-May co-founder and CEO Anubh Shah reported 900.0% year-over-year growth. While executives declined to disclose a nine-month, year-to-date growth rate, Shah says the retailer is on pace to generate “meaningful” gains this year.

“Researching and shopping for an engagement ring is extremely daunting, and I think With Clarity has tried to bridge the divide,” he says.


The home preview concept has been in place since the company’s inception, when the retailer was known as Four Mine (it rebranded to With Clarity in spring 2019). The tactic aims to solve an industry-wide problem by eliminating what the retailer has coined “FOBRO,” or the fear of buying rings online, by allowing potential customers to visualize their creation and get acclimated to the look of a ring on their hand over a few days’ time rather than feeling pressured to make a big decision with a sales associate hovering over them, With Clarity’s executives say.

Shah, who abandoned his career in financial services to learn how to cut and polish diamonds in India, says he founded the retailer with the hope of disrupting a portion of the jewelry sector that wasn’t catering to young shoppers. Roughly nine out of 10 millennials who researched engagement rings online bought them offline, according to Shah. He sought to change that.

While ecommerce penetration for rings is now closer to 14.0%, Shah believes there’s still a large, underserved segment of consumers who are generally inclined to buy online and don’t like the high-pressured sales environment of the in-store fine jewelry visit, but end up purchasing from a store because they’re uncomfortable making a high-end purchase sight unseen.

Shah and co-founder and chief marketing officer Slisha Kankariya decided to test an approach that would allow soon-to-be-engaged shoppers to try on ring prototypes at home and reduce return rates for highly customized items that aren’t inherently resellable.


Visitors to WithClarity.com can build their own home preview box with two 3D-printed engagement rings built to spec for them to examine, wear, compare or survey family and friends for three days. Once shoppers are done viewing the pieces, they can use a prepaid label to return the box via FedEx two-day shipping. Home try-on orders are free–including shipping both ways–but shoppers are charged $50 per replica ring if they aren’t returned.

With Clarity’s in-house team designs all of the retailer’s rings, which enables it to control the overall look, stone placement and millimeter-level adjustments, Kankariya says. And because the pieces are computer-modeled, consumers can make tweaks to their final design after testing the 3D-printed prototype, such as tweaking the size or switching from six to four prongs, without impacting the production time or the promised delivery date, which is typically seven to 10 business days.

“With real materials, it can be very expensive to create and literally hand make rings that are customized to the way a customer wants to see them versus a modeling and repeatable process with 3D printing, which is precise, cleaner in finish and faster,” Shah says. “That way, customers can test out design ideas in a way that doesn’t require as much hand labor.”


While a little less than half of With Clarity customers opt to use the home preview option, the retailer’s conversion rate skyrockets when shoppers try on pieces at their leisure.

The first home preview iteration was more limited, with only 180 style combinations for customers to select from that featured a one-carat round center with white gold finish. The company didn’t yet have the resources to handle limitless personalization and merely wanted to prove to venture capitalists that the concept worked.

Although the experience wasn’t entirely customized to a shopper’s individual style, 15.0% of consumers who tried home preview in its earlier stages ultimately made a purchase compared with 0.3% of site visitors overall, executives say. Those are the kind of data points that help propel fundraising, and according to funding platform Crunchbase, With Clarity secured nearly $4.8 million in its last round in October 2018, bringing the total funds raised to $6.0 million. Since the beginning of the year, when With Clarity expanded the program to more than 8,000 options to accommodate full customization, the lift in conversion rate has doubled to 30.0% for home preview users.

“Now, you can literally choose ‘I want a rose gold finish in this ring style with an emerald-cut center, and I want it to be one and a half carats,’ and that’s exactly what will show up on your doorstep for you to try out,” Shah says.


Ensuring shoppers are confident with their purchase also helps minimize return rates. According to With Clarity’s industry research, between 10.0% and 20.0% of overall ecommerce purchases are returned, but those figures drop to around 5.0% for the bridal market and roughly 10.0% for other fine jewelry since both are more considered and expensive purchases. With Clarity’s overall return rate is less than 2.0%, Shah says, noting that customers who have completed the home preview program send purchased rings back less than 1.0% of the time. This is good news for the company’s bottom line since With Clarity takes a loss in melting down a customized ring that’s returned for raw materials plus associated labor costs.

The effort to reduce return rates starts with content. With Clarity has long eschewed traditional advertising channels and keyword bidding, instead opting to position its brand as diamond experts and driving traffic to the website organically. With Clarity has invested a “large amount” building out educational content featured in its “Rings 101” section on the site as well as “The W.C. Blog,” Shah says, noting the retailer employs a four-person content strategy team, a photographer and two part-time writers who produce research-based thought leadership articles.

“You’re not buying diamonds every single day, but when that time does come, you need a serious amount of education on it,” he says. “To spend that kind of money–you want to make sure you’re making the right strategic decision, so we’re giving users a ton of resources to consume. The goal is to immerse them as far as we can take them so they start feeling more confident to purchase.”

The Rings 101 page offers an easily digestible tutorial on the four C’s–cut, carat, color and clarity–as well as a snapshot of metal choices and a ring size conversion chart. The “Education” landing page has even more background on topics such as diamond symmetry, polish, pricing and sourcing. But while those informational pages feature evergreen content that doesn’t require regular refreshing, the With Clarity team stays busy churning out other content in what Shah says is a daily effort. Diamonds are scientific in nature and have so many attributes that the possibilities for content are almost infinite, he adds.


With Clarity's unique approach drives massive growth2The W.C. Blog is a space where professionals can explore trends or related research, such as a recent study that debunks a controversial concept of which diamond characteristics affect the level of the stone’s sparkle. Featured articles are written about everything from how to pick a durable engagement ring for an athletic woman or a chef who spends a lot of time working with her hands in the kitchen to the lowdown on pink diamonds and their value. There’s even a story about which hand should don an engagement ring replete with the tradition’s history and pre-wedding, mid-ceremony and post-wedding guidelines for how the jewelry should be worn.

Those articles rank high in search results, which helps the retailer boost brand recognition, Kankariya says.

“Any time you can come up on top on the first page of Google for multiple types of questions that people might have, they start remembering your name,” she says. “Those kinds of almost subliminal efforts help us stand out more than just showing lots and lots of banner ads.”

About half of the site’s traffic comes from efforts that drive organic search, and volume has been growing around 10.0% to 15.0% each month, Kankariya says. Of all marketing initiatives, she is most proud of the team’s ability to build out the organic flow with SEO optimization and gemologist-vetted, in-house content.


“We’re trying to help customers progress through the beginning of their search, which is filled with a lot of overarching doubts and questions,” Kankariya says. “We’re building an ecosystem based on the customer’s mindset so we can provide the nitty gritty on what they need to know: Everything from ‘Should I get a VS2 clarity or VS1?’ to ‘Should I factor in the width of the ring?’

“This content is not fluff–there are a lot of really valuable items there,” she adds. “That just builds up our credibility while we’re contending with a crowded market, and suddenly people start looking to us for advice. And if we can win people’s trust, that’s the biggest home run because trust is the hardest ‘get’ for a new brand.”