New jewelry e-tailer Pietra launched Aug. 21. The website sells ready-to-wear jewelry and gives customers the option to work with a designer on a custom piece.
New York—There’s a new fine jewelry platform online.

A New York-based company called Pietra launched its website, PietraStudio.com, Aug. 21. The site sells ready-to-wear jewelry as well as custom designs.

Consumers looking to create their own pieces of jewelry will have access to a network of more than 100 jewelry designers via Pietra, from local jewelers to larger companies, like Stephen Webster, and independent designers, such as Brent Neale.

Pietra connects customers with the creative teams at jewelry brands who oversee custom design.

In a statement announcing the site’s launch, CEO and co-founder Ronak Trivedi, a former Uber product manager, said he started Pietra because he wants everyone to “know a guy” when making a jewelry purchase.

“You want a connection with the designer and to understand the story behind the piece,” he said.

“Pietra was created for those of us who don’t ‘know a guy’ but still want the authentic, artisan and deeply personal experience of collaborating with a jeweler.”

In his blog, Trivedi pinpointed shifts in the luxury market, noting what the next generation of luxury shoppers is looking for when making a purchase.

“People want personalized experiences and to feel a part of the creative process. Mass produced off-the-shelf items just aren’t that appealing anymore,” he wrote.

Trivedi said the next generation will expect online experiences to be better than in-person experiences.

“From discovering a new brand on Instagram, to connecting with personal shoppers on WhatsApp, the new luxury consumer expects technology to enhance and not just enable,” he wrote.

Pietra’s custom-design portal caters to customers who know exactly what they want, as well as those who need a little inspiration, the company said in its statement.

Customers with an idea in mind can look through a catalog of designers and reach out directly.

Those who need some assistance can work with a Pietra concierge, who uses a survey to connect customers to a designer whose aesthetic fits matches theirs.

Customers can choose the style and materials, set a budget, and upload photos of designs they like. Material options include natural and lab-grown diamonds plus other gemstones such as rubies, pearls and garnets.

Customers can speak to multiple jewelers at once to talk about collaborating on the design and the pricing.

Those placing custom orders will pay the full amount to Pietra at the time of purchase. The jeweler will receive 35 percent to begin work on the piece and the remainder once it’s delivered to the customer.

Pietra charges designers 30 percent commission on the sale of ready-to-wear pieces and takes a 10 percent commission on custom pieces. There is no listing fee.

Jewelers and designers interested in listing on the site can submit an application via Pietra’s website, but there is a waiting list, the company said.

The company said it vets applicants, setting up in-person interviews to determine if the jeweler or designer is a good fit for the site. If the company is unable to meet with an international designer, which Pietra says is “rare,” a phone interview is conducted.

Pietra looks at several determining factors, including a jeweler’s experience, which it considers “the most important factor,” according to its website.

The company also looks through reviews across online platforms, checking a jeweler’s star ratings and comments left by customers, and contacts past customers to get feedback on their experience.

Jewelers who want to list their services on Pietra will be asked to provide two professional references, such as fellow jewelers, designers, bench workers or other business associates.

Lastly, the company consults with its advisory board, comprised of “jewelry industry experts” involved in manufacturing, stone sourcing, jewelry, retail buying and gemology.

CEO Trivedi is a former Uber product manager behind UberPool, the service that allows customers to share rides, while Chief Technology Officer Pan Pan served as a senior engineering manager at Uber.

COO Jaden Levitt founded Wells Levitt, a startup services firm that worked with Glossier.

Chief Brand Officer Ashley Bryan is the former chief marketing officer at Moda Operandi.

The company also has notable backers, including venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (which also put money into the clothing rental subscription service that’s trying to buy Lord & Taylor); Greenbay Ventures, which has backed Lyft and Dropbox; Third Kind Venture Capital; and Abstract Ventures.

There are some famous backers in the mix as well including Will Smith through The Dreamers Fund, Robert Downey Jr. through Downey Ventures, music producer Scooter Braun, model Joan Smalls, and entrepreneur Michael Ovitz.

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