If walking through Manhattan’s diamond district gives you anxiety, or if you’re not based in New York City, two women are working to bring the fine jewelry industry directly to you — wherever you may be.
AUrate was founded by Sophie Kahn and Bouchra Ezzahraoui to empower other women to shop in a market that has historically catered to men. In 2016, after two successful pop-ups, the two launched AUrate’s first by-appointment showroom in Manhattan with the promise to make gold jewelry more accessible.
Prior to launching AUrate, Kahn and Ezzahraoui had careers in consulting and finance, respectively. They tell Refinery29 that working in two fields dominated by men helped them realize that it’s easiest to evoke change by working hard and leading by example — which is exactly why they decided to open their own company. What wasn’t easy, however, was finding a diamond dealer that would take a chance on two women. “Our current partners were simply intrigued by this new way of doing things and decided to take the risk of working with us since inception,” they said. “We’ve grown a lot since then and proved that they took the right risk!”
Kahn tells Refinery29 that AUrate is about offering a fresh perspective to the jewelry industry. Its rings, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces needed to be honestly priced but also ethically-sourced; AUrate’s gold is recycled. The brand’s diamonds are all sourced in New York and have all gone through the Kimberley Process, a certification in established in 2000 to keep “conflict diamonds” off the market. Plus, for every piece of jewelry sold, AUrate will give a book to a child in need.
On Tuesday, in its latest move to disrupt the jewelry industry, the brand launched Curate By AUrate, a direct-to-consumer service for customers who want to work with a stylist and try real pieces from the collection at home before committing to a purchase. But this isn’t a subscription service: Customers will fill out a survey and a stylist will handpick five items specifically for them. After seven days, customers will send back what they don’t want and pay for what they do — a first for the fine jewelry industry.
Curate is the pioneer in streamlining a direct conversation with its customers, and we have a feeling this is the future of fine jewelry shopping. Click ahead to see a sample of AUrate's offering: Prices start at $50 for studs, with the most expensive item on the site being a diamond pendant, which retails for $1,800.