- The Clear Cut is a diamond service that sells tailor-made jewelry online, communicating with customers over Instagram direct messages.
- The company’s founders are hoping to evolve their direct-to-consumer business into the next Tiffany & Co. for the millennial-set.
The next terrain for jewelry sellers isn’t the airy showrooms of luxury department stores — it’s Instagram. This is the belief of Oliva Landau, a fourth generation jeweler and gemologist who comes from a long line of diamond cutters and dealers.
“Selling diamonds is in my blood,” the 27-year-old told Business Insider.
Landau is a GIA-graduated gemologist who was selling engagement rings at Tiffany’s when her friends began asking her advice on making their own engagement ring purchases.
“They were confused and overwhelmed by the thousands of options to choose from,” said Landau. “They were going into retail stores and feeling that they were getting ripped off.”
Soon, Landau was using her access to wholesale jewelers to help her friends select diamonds and create their own tailor-made designs at a competitive price. Realizing that her friends weren’t the only ones mystified by the process of buying an engagement ring, Landau created a blog and an Instagram account, both centered on buying precious stones.
Requests began pouring in, said Landau. Not only were her readers seeking out advice on what sort of stones to purchase, but they too, wanted bespoke jewelry designs like the ones Landau had landed her friends. Landau realized that she may have inadvertently stumbled upon the beginnings of a business.
Landau’s boyfriend Kyle Simon, a Columbia business school graduate who previously worked in Sierra Leone’s fair trade diamond industry, suggested that together, they create their own company selling custom diamond jewelry over the internet.
Their business, , is an evolution of Landau’s original blog and Instagram account and provides what Landau describes as a “concierge service” for purchasing diamonds. The company, which recently graduated from NYC’s Techstars incubator program, is currently raising funding.
To date, the duo’s biggest sell has been a $70,000 diamond, sold over a text message exchange.
The couple corresponds with their customers over Instagram DMs and text messaging, which they say appeals to their millennial-focused market.
“We’re very big on communication,” said Simon. “We usually hop on a ten minute phone call to start off the process. Having someone DM you is a friendly, familiar way of communicating.”
Simon and Landau said that the diamond industry hasn’t been improved upon for decades and that there’s few options available for people hoping to purchase custom jewelry in places like rural southern states and portions of the midwest.
“A lot of the country is in a diamond desert,” said Landau. Alabama, she said, is among the top states to use The Clear Cut’s services.
“People are looking for a private jewelry experience, but they don’t want to overpay for it,” Simon said.
The median selling point on The Clear Cut is around $10,000 for an engagement ring. Landau said that the $10,000 ring is typically offered at around a $30,000 value at a luxury retailer.
Among the service’s fast-growing trends are requests for custom-lookalike rings modeled after those worn by celebrities like Meghan Markle, Cardi B, and Paris Hilton.
And while a large portion of the couple’s business is focused on engagement rings, they see this purchase as only the beginning for what could be a potentially lifelong relationships with their customers.
“Engagement rings are the gateway drug,” said Simon. “If you can provide this service early on, then you can grow with your customers when it comes to making jewelry for other important life events.”