Gem.net makes e-commerce move

Venturing where others have repeatedly failed, Gem.net, the Swarovski-backed on-line consumer “magazine” for jewelry enthusiasts, is venturing into e-commerce. In September, the site will offer its own line of fine jewelry for sale online.

The site, which launched in January, has been-until now-a fashion-type magazine, offering celebrity news, gem horoscopes, designer information and jewelry trends. The only e-commerce section of the site was one devoted to body gems-Swarovski’s trendy gemstones that adhere directly to the body.

According to Tom Peterson, Gem.net’s vice president of marketing and business development, this online magazine concept has helped the brand develop loyalty and credibility among customers and, therefore, laid the foundation for launching a collection for sale online.

The concept, though a first for fine jewelry, is not uncommon in the fashion arena, where sites like style.com-which started as an informational site-are branching into e-commerce, selling the products it mentions in the site’s content.

Peterson said that the e-commerce component-supported by a New Jersey-based distribution and customer service center–will launch September 15.

The Gem.net collections are created by an international team of designers led by Italian jewelry designer Paola De Luca. In hopes of avoiding the mistakes of previous pure play fine jewelry e-commerce sites like Adornis.com and Miadora.com, Gem.net’s jewelry is highly targeted to the online, gem.net-interested shopper and presented differently than jewelry on any other e-commerce site. It is, for example, in a moderate pricepoint-ranging from $20 to $6,000, but with many prices in the $200 to $400 range. The designs are predominately Italian in flavor and sophisticated in design, relying heavily on colored gemstones. The pieces are crafted in 18k gold and boast Swarovski and Signity gems and Golay pearls.

Five collections (about 100 pieces) will be launched in September. The display online will focus on the collections, rather than individual pieces or product categories. With this approach, along with the company’s attention to photography and display techniques, Gem.net is hoping to succeed where so many other failed.

“No one needs jewelry,” says De Luca. “It sounds terrible, but it’s true. What people need is romance and a story. Here, you find it.”

Among Gem.net’s plans are things like “virtual” trunk shows, in which the designer is available for live chats with consumers.