A girl’s best friend
Diamonds are a luxury. But to think that it is only for a select few will be a mistake. Today, diamonds have become a mass-market luxury. Thanks to players in the e-commerce segment such as Velvetcase and Caratlane buying diamond jewelry has become somewhat easier. Isha Sharma introduces you to the two most renowned players of the e-commerce jewelry market.
A major player in the market that offers diamonds online is Caratlane.com. Since the e-commerce company started in October 2008, the brand has changed the way diamonds and jewellery is bought in India. A piece of rock that can add sparkle to a woman’s eyes is associated with true love and purity. And as true with any luxury item, it comes with a cost that can give you a financial hangover.
However, the best, and the most convenient aspect of Caratlane is that one has the luxury to choose and buy their diamonds through the click of the mouse (or tap of a trackpad). The website offers convenience. To further the convenience aspect, the site also offers ‘try at home’ option wherein someone from Caratlane can come to the customer’s house for her/him to try the product and make the purchase.
From rare, colourful diamonds to solitaires, in the past six years, the diamond company has proved its might, as today there are many who buy their jewellery online, but one of the major challenges that Caratlane faces is maintaining the quality of their diamonds whilst ensuring competitive prices.
One major question that pops to the mind is how Caratlane manages this. The answer lies in technological advancements. Thanks to the techniques used, it has become easier to break the global supply barriers due to which customers from all around the world have access to world-class diamonds from across the globe.
To ensure low prices, Caratlane has tie-ups with 300 to 400 partners across the globe. The site also follows a strict quality check. According to Calvin John, Vice President offline marketing at Caratlane, “We have various tie-ups around the globe to fulfill our sourcing requirements. We also follow stringent quality checks at every step along the manufacturing process. At every post, we do a third party certification for our jewellery. For solitaires we only offer international certification such as GIA, HRD, IGI.” Caratlane is offering solitaires in various shapes. At the site, you can find a 3-carat solitaire for as low as Rs 4 lakh. Caratlane believes in fast fashion, which is why almost all their designs are wearable for everyday use. This concept is central to Caratlane’s design ideology.
Ensuring freshness is another aspect the site is famous for. John says, “Every time a consumer visits our site or stores, they should have something new to desire for. We launch a new collection every three weeks to ensure freshness to our offerings. We believe that the jewellery needs of the urban women are not getting addressed by regular Jewellery stores; neither are they being addressed by the various brands that we see. Mostly brands tend to focus on traditional and bridal jewellery. We understand the emerging jewellery needs of the urban woman and hence offer contemporary and chic jewellery at stunning prices. We are committed to deliver value to them.”
Caratlane also offers consultation to customers. They can consult an expert on how to select their designs, be it wedding rings, bands, pendants, or any other piece of jewellery, one that suits their taste and fits their budget. The brand is also open to customisation of jewellery as well. “The turnaround time could be as low as three days for minor tweaks in existing designs to up to 20 days for a completely new design. It totally depends on the complexity of the design,” clarifies John.
The e-commerce portal sources diamonds directly from vendors and thus eliminates intermediaries, the benefits of which are passed on to the customers in the form of low prices. Even the jewellery designs are created and set by master craftsmen in Caratlane’s own manufacturing facilities, which further reduces the cost.
A diamond is an extremely delicate ensemble and not easy to miss. Be it big or small, the rock easily catches the eye and is always admired. This admiration and the fact that it is not easily available, creates an enigma about the rock that everyone wants to capture. Every designer strives to create a sparkling dialogue between their inspiration and the rock’s individuality.
Velvetcase.com is yet another site that offers the customers what they want. Since its inception in 2012, Velvetcase’s ideology has been to provide bespoke, international designer jewellery and to introduce innovative ways along with cutting-edge techniques for the customers to purchase their favourite designs in the privacy of their homes. The idea is similar to the times when a jeweller used to come to the house with all his best products and make sales, however now, instead of a jeweller, a laptop or a mobile phone is all that is required to choose your wish.
This begs the question why would anyone go to their site instead to a local jeweller? The answer is simple. Apart from providing services round the clock, they offer designs from across the globe. You want to have a bespoke diamond ring for your engagement; these are the guys to go to. Velvetcase has renowned, internationally-acclaimed designers. The site also provides the option to either choose from their ready-to-wear section or customized jewellery to suit your personal style.
Seeking design excellence, integrity, variety and style, Velvetcase has assembled the best in jewellery designs and boasts of designers from the United States of America, Italy and Australia, to name a few. These designers are responsible for curating the best designs for the customers, be it in coloured stones or indulgent diamonds, or even a mix of both.
Kapil Hetamsaria, the CEO and Co-Founder of Velvetcase.com, says that their ideology is simple, “To provide the customers what they want. Every individual has a unique style and we believe in customising a unique design to suit their style.” Their wide range of products starts from Rs. 500 and can go up to any range depending on customisation. Hetamsaria came up with the idea of first-of-its-kind e-commerce hybrid and started it passionately to deliver a completely customised and transparent, fine jewellery buying experience to consumers all around the globe. “Since our founding days, our main focus has been to service our customers to maintain absolute transparency,” he reveals. But how does he make sure the diamonds are of the best quality? “We have a team of trained experts who source diamonds from the most renowned manufacturers and each and every piece of diamond goes through a rigorous quality check before we use it. Every jewellery piece goes to the customer with a certificate from a third party international lab,” he explains.
Getting a piece of luxury is not easy and to make it even more special, Velvetcase claims to source their diamonds from the most reputed manufacturers and miners. However, the first question that jumps to mind after looking at their prices is how Velvetcsse is selling diamonds at such low prices. To answer this, Hetamsaria explains, “We have integrated Rapaport in our system, which is the primary source of diamond prices used by dealers in all the major markets. Over time, we have built strong partnerships with some of the best manufacturers in order to ensure the most competitive price to our customers.” He also points out that Velvetcase is a complete make-to-order and zero online inventory model. “We work with specialised manufacturers and only once we receive an order we start the production for the same. Our overhead expenses are much less than any retailer,” he stresses. The online platform passes on this cost-benefit to their customers. Velvetcase claims to be at least 30% to 35% cheaper than retail prices.
So, how does customisation work? To this Hetamsaria says, “We have a dedicated section on our website wherein a customer can upload any design they wish to get made and our design team interacts with them and customises their design as per their budget. With our disruptive supply chain improvements, we are able to turn round the jewellery from design to an actual product within 5-10 days, maximum.”
Even after customisation, the online store offers 30-day no-questions asked return policy. “We are happy to provide people with an exchange or a full refund. Within 30 days of return, we provide full refund. Otherwise we have a lifetime exchange policy, wherein the customer gets full credit of market value on exchange of any jewellery purchased from Velvetcase,” explains Hetamsaria.