Looking to expand internationally, Gemporia has just launched in Israel this August. The channel is currently available to stream online at Gemporia.com or via the Gemporia app. We caught up with Steve Bennett to find out how this all started.
“I wasn’t particularly academic at school, but I always loved geology, which triggered a fascination with all things natural. Years later, my passion for Mother Nature's minerals and gemstones was rekindled by the opportunity to start crafting our own jewellery to sell on our TV channel.”
Steve’s passion for the natural world made one early business decision very easy - Gemporia would only ever sell natural gemstones created in the earth, and never lab-created synthetics and fakes. Steve and his family had built several successful companies founded on excellent customer service and real value for money, so the next step was to find a way of sourcing gemstones at much lower prices than usual.
“We figured out that the traditional supply chain for gemstones, which had remained virtually unchanged for centuries, often saw upwards of 10 intermediate steps between the miner and the jewellery shop. At each one of these steps, somebody was taking their cut and adding a premium to the goods. With Gemporia we wanted to cut out many, if not all, of these steps so we could offer our customers stunning natural gemstones in gold and silver at a fraction of the price they were used to seeing in jewellery shop windows.”
Going directly to the source would be no easy task. There was only one thing for it - Steve got on a plane.
“I adore travelling, and I am the luckiest guy on the planet. Nothing quite matches the excitement of trekking to remote locations and digging for nature’s treasures.”
Steve quickly established connections with mine owners, gem hunters and dealers, and also with a jewellery crafting workshop. Gemporia had everything it needed to get on the air, which it did to a rapturous reception in October 2004. But it wasn’t just innovations in the supply chain that brought down the prices. The reverse auction format of the channel allowed for even more reductions in the price customers would pay.
“Unlike jewellery stores, which sell a respectable but relatively small number of items a day, we had a big TV audience and were able to sell hundreds of pieces of jewellery every hour. We keep the number of pieces in each design low because we believe jewellery should be special and never mass produced or run of the mill. But if Gemporia can sell 30 of one piece in as little as three minutes, we don’t need to make anywhere near as much on each piece. Not having any bricks and mortar stores with high running costs helps too.”
Throughout the 20th century, jewellers came to focus mostly on Diamonds as marketing efforts declined for the more colourful of Mother Nature’s treasures. Sadly, many once-revered stones fell out of popular use.
“Many people thought that Diamonds were the only gem worth investing in, and maybe some collectors were also aware of stones like Sapphire, Emerald, Ruby, Amethyst and Garnet. At launch, we were offering stones like Rubellite, Alexandrite and Tanzanite, deliciously colourful stones with fascinating stories behind them. Our audience fell in love with the sheer choice we were offering, and ever since we’ve made it part of our ethos to bring as many rare treasures as we can to our collectors.”
Gemporia celebrates its 14th birthday later this year and is always looking to reach as many jewellery fans as possible. The ability to now deliver to Israel is the next step on this exciting gemstone journey.
“I couldn’t be more pleased that we can now deliver our jewellery to Israel. Myself and the whole team here at Gemporia can’t wait to meet and speak with new customers through our interactive shows, and we hope you enjoy discovering and learning about a whole world of beautiful, colourful treasures.”
Gemporia TV is available to stream 24 hours a day via www.gemporia.com and via the Gemporia app – just search ‘Gemporia’ in your app store.