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Jewelry Firm with Unique Business Model Raises $5M, Will Open Physical Stores

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It rolls out new products weekly.

Direct-to-consumer jewelry brand Mejuri has closed a $5 million financing round led by London-based venture firm Felix Capital.

Launched in 2015, Mejuri was founded by Noura Sakkijha and Maj Masad with the goal to create a brand for millennial women. Prior to this round, Mejuri had raised only $1 million in funding, according to a press release from the company. Still, the brand has sold 150,000 pieces of jewelry in the past year alone.

“We’ve done a lot with little, and we consider this efficiency and attention to spend to be one of our biggest strengths,” said CEO Sakkijha, who serves as CEO. “I am inspired by entrepreneurs like Katrina Lake, who took Stitch Fix to its initial public offering with only $40 million in funding. It’s a great example to help entrepreneurs realize that they can achieve substantial growth without seeking large amounts of capital prematurely.”

Also participating in the new Series A round were Real Ventures, Incite Ventures, BDC Capital Women in Technology Fund and Dash Ventures.

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The company refreshes its collections regularly and pioneered the “drop model” in the traditional fine jewelry industry, according to the release. Instead of large seasonal releases, Mejuri introduces new products contextualized with a new narrative every Monday.

“The frequent drops also keep the company in constant communication with its community to challenge the long-established belief that fine jewelry is an occasional purchase,” according to the release. “Mejuri’s key strategy has been to continuously engage customers and micro-influencers to establish direct one-on-one conversations through social media, email, and SMS.”

With the Series A funding, Mejuri aims to further its relationships online and connect with more customers in-person.

“We’re thrilled to have more capital to extend our brand to physical stores over the next few quarters,” Sakkijha said. “We’ve recently opened our first location in Toronto, with the next one being planned in New York City, and have been excited to connect with our customers and have them experience the brand IRL. I’m looking forward to meeting more of our customers in person.”

Sasha Astafyeva, principal at Felix, said: “Mejuri is a brand we have been watching for some time – their mastery of the digital space has engendered their impressive success to date and we are very happy to be able to support them to take the next step in their growth. We are proud to have worked with the likes of Farfetch, The Business of Fashion and goop since their early days so have high hopes for Mejuri.”

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Jewelry Wholesaler Files for Bankruptcy

It has millions in outstanding debt.

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Tara Jewels LLC, a wholesaler based in New York, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Its parent company, Tara Jewels Holdings, Rapaport News reports.

Each company lists between $10 million and $50 million in outstanding debt.

In its June 21 filing, Tara Jewels states that it has between $500,000 and $1 million in assets. Tara Jewels Holdings states that it has up to $50,000 in assets.

The companies are part of Tara Jewels Ltd., which is based in India.

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Tara Jewels Holdings established its first U.S. diamond and gemstone wholesale jewelry division in 2006 by partnering with M. Fabrikant & Sons Inc. to form Fabrikant-Tara International.

The case was filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Read more at Rapaport News

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NFL Player Awarded $6.1M in Jewelry Fraud Lawsuit

The jeweler says he’ll appeal.

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Drew Brees, quarterback for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, has won $6.1 million in damages from a jeweler he claims sold him diamonds at grossly inflated prices.

Drew Brees

In a jury trial in San Diego, Drees said he bought $15 million in diamonds from Vahid Moradi and CJ Charles Jewelers over a four-year period ending in 2016, The Advocate reports. He said he’d become friends with Moradi and trusted him completely.

Brees said he and his wife, Brittany, were then told by an appraiser that they’ve overpaid by about $7 million.

The Breeses alleged fraud and breach of contract, as well as violation of California business law, according to The Advocate.

Moradi and his lawyer, Kevin Rooney, said they plan to appeal the jury’s decision. They said they “passionately disagree” with the verdict.

Moradi said he sold jewelry to the Breeses at a normal retail markup.

Read more at The Advocate

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Online Diamond Seller Files for Bankruptcy

Dozens of individuals and businesses are reportedly owed money.

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Enchanted Diamonds, a Manhattan-based diamond dealer, has filed for bankruptcy, the New York Daily News reports.

The company, which sells its products online, owes $1.8 million, according to the newspaper.

Much of the debt is to customers who claim they paid the company and didn’t receive their gems.

A filing in federal bankruptcy court indicates that the firm owes money to dozens of individuals and business entities across the U.S. and in other regions, including Asia.

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More than 50 customers are “pursuing restitution through a law firm hired by Rare Carat, an online aggregator for jewelers,” according to the Daily News.

Joshua Niamehr, president of Enchanted Gems, did not respond to a request for comment on Friday, according to the newspaper.

Read more at the New York Daily News

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