New York-based brand AUrate is elevating the art of fine jewelry curation with an accessible twist.
Besides the jewelry itself – well-made, skin highlighting pieces, delicately designed in 14ct and 18ct gold – what perhaps impresses most about AUrate is its ethos: a direct-to-consumer practice offering ethically sourced diamonds and mother-of-pearl at realistic prices. Giving back forms the backbone of the business and Moroccan-born co founder’s Bouchra Ezzahraoui’s personal mission – whether to customers, the environment, the conflict-free mines where its diamonds are sourced, or to children in need.
What was your first jewelry piece?
I was exposed to jewelry at an early age. My first piece was a gift from my grandmother at my birth. It’s a yellow gold hamsa bracelet that I still wear. In our culture, the hamsa symbolizes great energy. I believe in the law of attracting good energy around you however you want to express it, through a piece of jewelry, meditation, a sweater, or a nice candle.
Where did the idea for AUrate come from?
I met Sophie Kahn, my business partner and co-founder of AUrate, at Princeton University. We were studying finance and both went into corporate jobs. I was a derivatives trader at Goldman Sachs in New York while Sophie was at Marc Jacobs. A few years later, a weekend brunch turned into a big discussion on why modern fine jewelry was so inaccessible, intimidating, and uninspiring. That’s when AUrate was born.
Originally published in the March 2019 issue of Vogue Arabia
What do each of you bring to the brand?
We share the same vision but bring different yet complementary skills to the table. I started my career as a trader in a risk-taking and male-dominated environment. This taught me how to negotiate the tough way. Sophie spent time on the consulting side and retail marketing, which brought more fashion expertise to AUrate. I’m Moroccan and I love adding special editions inspired by the region’s craftsmanship. Sophie is Dutch, and her background brings minimalist design.
You use ethically sourced stones. Why is this important to you?
Creating collections with ethically sourced products should be the norm. Today’s customers want it all: a great product, a great story, and a socially responsible brand to interact with. Being ethically sourced is beyond necessary. AUrate is in the business of democratizing gold through an accessible customer experience and education.
How does AUrate give back?
We want our customers to feel empowered and beautiful inside and out. One in four American children grows up without learning how to read adequately. We want to rub out this statistic one book at a time and have partnered with schools in the US to donate books to children in need for every piece of jewelry sold. Our celebrity fans, including Kerry Washington, Sophia Bush, and Charlize Theron, are engaged and care about real-world problems. The jewelry speaks for itself and the story behind it makes it even more appealing.
What inspires you?
Our jewelry is inspired by our women and the real world around us. You will find bits of architecture, art, fashion, and, most importantly, our customers’ feedback. We take an algorithmic approach when merchandizing, as well as a designer’s.
What’s your vision for AUrate?
We want to be the go-to brand for Middle Eastern women’s everyday jewelry. The market is fragmented and dominated by the legacy players. Our job is to shake things up by focusing on empowering the customer and making the process of buying fine jewelry more accessible and inclusive. Auratenewyork.com