Back in July 2008, we wrote about a company called Paragon Lake that had raised $5.8 million to put kiosks in jewelery stores to help you design custom jewelry. Earlier this year, the company got a new name (it’s now called Gemvara), its CEO departed (it’s now being led by founder Matt Lauzon), and it has a new business model: it’s now a consumer facing site that allows users to create their own custom jewelery from the comfort of their home. Today, the company is announcing that it has raised another $5.2 million in Series B funding. The new round was led by Highland Capital Partners and Canaan Partners, who both led Gemvara’s Series A round.
The new site allows customers to choose from a variety of jewelry designs submitted by artists and designers. Customers can customize each of these designs using one of 7 metals and 16 gemstones (and the number of options is growing), and the piece is manufactured ‘just-in-time’. The artists who designed each piece receive a commission every time one of their works is sold, which generally ranges between 1-10% (and is usually around 5%).
Lauzon says that the company will still support the nearly fifty jewelers who have Gemvara’s kiosks already in their stores, but that Gemvara has shifted its focus to its consumer-facing site because it sees a bigger opportunity there. The Boston-based company now has 22 employees. Other online jewelers include Blue Nile, Ice.com, and Amazon.