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Highland Capital Partners

Custom Jewelry Startup Gemvara Raises $25M In Oversubscribed Series D Round

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Gemvara, a Boston-based custom jewelry site we’ve written about in the past, just announced that it has closed a $25 million Series D funding round. This oversubscribed round was led by Norwest Venture Partners and also includes funds from all existing investors, including Highland Capital Partners, Canaan Partners and Balderton Capital. The company says that it plans to use this new influx of cash to “enhance all aspects of the customer shopping experience and continue to drive innovation that will bring the jewelry industry to the cutting edge of commerce.” Gemvara previously raised a total of $20.2 million, including a large $15 million Series C round led by Balderton Capital.

In its earliest incarnation, Gemvara once sold its jewelry through in-store kiosks at partner jewelers, but it abandoned this approach in 2010 and went online-only. The company now provides shoppers with about 1.5 million unique design options based on 1,500 designs that can be customized with 26 different gemstones and 8 precious metals. The final designs are the assembled in the U.S., “using just-in-time manufacturing to produce unique, made-to-order designs.” On its site, the company doesn’t use any photographs. Instead, users see computer-generated renderings of what their custom designs will look like.

Gemvara doesn’t disclose its revenue numbers, but as former TechCrunch editor Erick Schonfeld reported last October, the company was on track to triple its revenues from “several million” in 2010. In today’s announcement, Gemvara investor Sergio Monsalve of Norwest Venture partners notes that his company is participating in this round because he thinks Gemvara is “at the epicenter of three e-commerce megatrends that we have been watching closely– the emergence of personalization, the rapid growth of Pinterest as a ‘wishlist’ aggregator and the rising adoption of the iPad as a visual shopping platform.”

According to Gemvara CEO and founder Matt Lauzon, this new investment will accelerate his company’s “mission of having more loyal customers than any other jeweler.” He also told us that the company plans to use this new round of funding to introduce new products and categories, as well as improve Gemvara’s rendering technology and expand its customization abilities. In addition, Gemvara also plans to use this money for potential acquisitions and to establish new partnerships.

Last year, Gemvara managed to aqui-hire former Zappas and Gilt user experience “guru” Brian Kalma when it bought his one-man startup Snipwits.