Charles & Colvard is the sole global producer of moissanite, an exceptionally pure gemstone comprised of the world’s second hardest substance, silicon carbide. Moissanite was originally discovered in Arizona’s Meteor Crater and is highly-prized for its scintillating brilliance (or the amount of light reflected from the “crown” to the eye, here being massive due to a refractive index in the 2.65 to 2.69 range), adamantine luster (diamond-like quantity/quality of reflected light from the surface), and fire (the tendency of the gem to split light into its spectrum of colors), all of which surpass that of the finest diamond.
The company actively produces Charles & Colvard Created Moissanite® The Most Brilliant Jewel in the World® for rapidly expanding end markets across the jewelry landscape via a patent-protected process (which was even recently upheld by the USPTO after an ex parte re-examination) of growing raw silicon carbide crystals into the kinds and shapes of gem-quality stones most desired for jewelry. Growing functional gem-stone sized moissanite, which naturally occurs only in very small crystals, is a feat that took decades of research to perfect. Every gemstone that leaves the facility passes through the hands of the company’s master cutters who polish and facet the stones to precisely calculated specifications (taking science into the realm of art), ensuring that every single jewel passes muster with CTHR’s exacting standards for clarity, color, and cut (with a 5mm laser inscription on the girdle of each gem to verify these quality control measures).
The cream of the crop from this process end up in the company’s signature, Forever Brilliant® brand of premium moissanite stones (with a hardness of 9.25 these stones will remain gorgeous for generations and each one comes with both a certificate of authenticity and a limited lifetime warranty), which sparkle with a noticeably brighter, near colorless shade of white that is up to four grades whiter than the standard moissanite. The level of visual appeal is immediately apparent as this high-quality moissanite is 10% more brilliant than diamond, and after CTHR master cutters have done their work, the end result is a gemstone more beautiful than the best diamonds at a tenth of the cost. The icy color of this stone complements platinum settings superbly and can catch the light of a candle flame from across the room, as the facets explode with a multihued rainbow of brilliance – something made possible by CTHR’s proprietary two-stage enhancement process that ends with a purification of the crystal lattice work itself.
The strategic advantage of being the sole global source for moissanite puts CTHR in the enviable position of being able to pursue an efficient brand identity vector, emphasizing superior gem quality/affordability on the one hand (especially compared to the diamond industry) and its trend-setting designs, as well as retail venues/brands on the other. The company recently overhauled the website for the first of their two retail jewelry divisions, Moissanite.com, an e-commerce portal designed to enhance market traction while educating consumers about the beauty/value of the Charles & Colvard Created Moissanite gems (as well as the stunning jewelry into which they are incorporated).
The second, highly visible retail venue for CTHR is Lulu Avenue™, which focuses on branded direct sales/e-commerce of elegant jewelry designs, leaning heavily on the company’s continued work with top jewelry designers throughout the industry to bring the hottest, in-trend offerings to consumers. Lulu Avenue is also the only direct sales-based jewelry trunk show operator around, bringing special sales of merchandise directly to select venues and retail locations, adding a key channel for CTHR that really shows in the bottom line. This also engages target market cohesion as customers are invited to host their own jewelry trunk shows and earn free top-of-the-line jewelry, with the company even going so far as to offer a chance to join forces and become a Lulu Avenue Independent Style Advisor. The company has done a great job putting Charles & Colvard Created Moissanite on the map with this kind of market engagement innovation and it really comes through in the latest financial data.
The recent report (Oct 25) of a 75% jump in Q3 2012 (ended Sept 30) net sales when compared with the same period in 2011 (up to $5.1M from $2.9M) , spurred on by strong results from investment in the consumer-direct business segments, showed clear top-line revenue growth. The first three quarters of the year were up 60% over the same period in 2011. The company also reported $11.9M in cash and investments with no long-term debt, strong indicators on the back of positive cash flow from operations totaling $689k in Q3 ($2.1M year-to-date). Finished jewelry sales alone jumped 147% to $4M (from $1.6M), showing solid end-market contacts are established for the growing gem after market.
CEO of CTHR, Randy N. McCullough, emphasized leveraging the investments made in the Lulu Avenue and Moissanite.com channels to create future recurring revenue, profitability, and shareholder growth metrics, as well as the exciting financial results from expansion of the company’s “powerful collection of brands.” The exclusive services/licensing agreement announced earlier (Oct 22) in the same week with JudeFrances Jewelry, to design custom fashion and moissanite pieces for Lulu Avenue, further shows CTHR’s prowess when it comes to charming today’s most coveted designers who can add vital trend-setting work and cache value to the overall commercial pipeline.
Strong response from the industry at the JCK jewelry trade show (biggest industry trade show in the U.S.) in Las Vegas to the Forever Brilliant launch in Q2 2012 boosted wholesale gemstone sales considerably, accounting for 25% of loose stone sales volume (Created Moissanite representing the remainder). Loose gemstone sales were up on the whole some 43% to roughly $10.3M (from $7.2M).
A product born of ancient stardust today finds its way into the hands of millions through CTHR’s ingenious technology and marketing. Whether it is as loose stones destined for other designs or incorporated into the company’s own aesthetic marvels, moissanite is gaining serious ground in its category as an affordable diamond alternative with superior evocation of the qualities most sought after in such gemstones.
For more information on Charles & Colvard, visit www.CharlesAndColvard.com
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