AUrate NEW YORK
AUrate NEW YORK (Est. 2015) (pronounced “orate” like the verb to “tell a story” takes its name from AU, the chemical element in gold and the word ‘rate’ as in its founders commitment to deliver high-rate products and deliver a rate of return on a consumer’s purchase. A relatively recent start-up, Sophie Kahn and Bouchra Ezzahraoui launched AUrate in the middle of the last decade.
It wasn't contemporary, affordable fine jewelry that brought Sophie and Bouchra - longtime friends from grad school – to found AUrate. Instead it was the absence of it. Over their regular brunch one weekend, Sophie complained about her green finger (having worn what she was told was a pure gold ring) and they decided to try a different approach. Hailing from the Netherlands and Morocco respectively, the two combined Sophie's background in fashion and Bouchra's experience in finance to bring transparency and quality to the fine jewelry market.
AUrate is a direct-to-consumer fine jewelry brand offering ethically-sourced and luxurious baubles without the retail markup found at traditional department stores. All jewelry is designed and manufactured in New York. AUrate has partnered with Mastery Charter to donate a book to a child in need with every piece of jewelry sold. The company has had a 300% growth rate in sales since June 2015 with several e-commerce items selling out in only one week.
Whether statement jewelry or fashion staple pieces, all their gold pieces begin with pencil. They start by sketching the details giving each piece the same originality and individuality as the women who purchase them.
Drawing from many muses across NYC, e.g., rings modeled after the arches of the Brooklyn Bridge, earrings inspired by doorknobs, and the never-ending movement of the city — Sophie takes design inspiration from real, everyday life and adds a little shine.
Each of the brand’s pieces is designed and handmade using ethically sourced and sustainably made 14K gold, 18K gold, and 14K gold-plated vermeil. The brand also maintain a rigorous process to ensure that each piece lasts a lifetime. To ensure this, they coat the vermeil with 2.5 microns of 14K gold (instead of the industry standards of 1.5 microns and 10K gold).
They also harvest larger pearls from the South Seas with the highest AAA-grade quality and smaller Akoya style pearls straight from Japan. They source diamonds by handpicking and lab-testing them to ensure ideal cut, color, and at least SI quality clarity.
Last but not least, their seventh generation crafts people work in NYC where Sophie and Bouchra oversee every step of the process. They use only 100% recycled gold able to be repeatedly reused without diminishing in quality and without creating any environmental decay.
Their selection includes Rings (Dainty, Diamond, Stackable, Pinky, Statement, and Wedding Bands), Earrings (Hoop, Huggle, Stud, Ear Jackets, Ear Cuffs, Threader, and Drop), necklaces (Chain, Diamond, Pearl, and Personalized (that are customized gold initial, zodiac and birthstone pendants), Bold Chain and Collar, plus bracelets (Chain, Diamond, Cuff), and anklets.
In addition to selling jewelry online, AUrate also operates two brick-and-mortar stores in New York, with a third under construction in Washington, D.C. It has also introduced Curate, where the company will send up to five recommended pieces to customers which they can try at home without commitment.
In June 2019, the online site, Tech Crunch reported that AUrate announced it had raised $13 million in Series A funding. The article further stated, “The Company’s co-founders Bouchra Ezzahraoui and Sophie Kahn said that AUrate’s prices range from $50 to $3,000, but they’re really aiming for what Ezzahraoui called “this new market sweet spot” of $300 to $500. And while that’s not exactly cheap, she said customers are getting a piece of fine jewelry made from real gold, which would normally be priced at $1,200 or more.”