RockHer Haute Jewels is meeting the future generation with the first AI-based virtual gemologist, Rosi. Situated in Los Angeles, the luxury brand had collaborated with IBM Watson to enhance customer experience and offer them high-end diamond rings. With the world’s best designers, craftsmen and diamond experts, RockHer is changing the way you purchase diamond jewelry. Their compliance with ethical sourcing and the use of recycled metals have also grabbed attention worldwide.
Let’s meet the CEO and founder of RockHer Haute Jewels, Jim Vernon. He is an esteemed member of the Diamond Club West Cost, Inc. since 1984 and has brought in many changes in the jewelry-making industry. On that note…
- You have been in this industry for a long time. What made you choose diamond jewelry-making business?
Jim Vernon: I have been in this industry for over 34 years, in fact, I was raised in the Diamond Industry, my father, Frank Vernon, started Frank Vernon Fine Gems and Jewelry, I have been infatuated with diamonds ever since.
- How did RockHer Haute Jewels come about? I am intrigued to know the background story.
Jim Vernon: I had been servicing Private VIP clientele my entire life, making custom jewelry, finding rare stones, and helping people with custom engagement rings. One day through a mutual acquaintance I was introduced to Adam Stein, Adam was looking to purchase an engagement ring but Adam is one of those people who really want to understand everything, he’s a genius, and much to my dismay really didn’t like the diamond choices I offered, he said I lacked the data to ensure he was getting the best deal. He respected my experience and he thought the diamonds were pretty but something was amiss for him. I sort of challenged him to come up with a better way! That’s what started our friendship and started the path that became RockHer and more importantly our Diamond AI ROSI. Adam is a nanotech guy purifying water using nanomagnets and such; he’s really a little-known hero when it comes to water purification. So in a way only Adam can explain he just walked off and came back 3 months later and said “I want to interview you and all your colleagues, everyone you know, who knows how to buy diamonds, and, I am going to make an algorithm using the latest tech to pick better diamonds than you in about 1 millisecond”. That’s exactly what he did much to my surprise! I was shocked and as I continued to work with Adam the diamond picks became better and better, the computer could analyze a million stones and started saving us an inordinate amount of time spend on finding diamonds for clients. When the computer out picked me, (I spend my entire adult life understanding diamonds and how clients think) I knew we had something we really needed to bring to the customers, we could not keep this tech for ourselves.
- Please tell us a little bit about how RockHer makes these magnificent beauties…
Jim Vernon: We take a drastically different approach than other Online Jewelers and extremely different than other retailers. We make each and every order from scratch. When you place an order on our site you not only pick the ring style you love but the center diamond as well. From that point, our team of CAD designers start from scratch and computer customize that ring to both the center stone size and the finger size. We make sure each ring is proportionate in its original design, and that each piece has balance. From there our amazing 3d printers print that one of a kind model just for the client. Then we create a mold of that one of a kind piece and we use a well-known process called lost casting to fashion that mold out of gold or platinum. From there the diamonds are all hand set under a microscope to ensure a perfect fit and our team of polishers and finishers finalize the piece. From there it’s off the to the QC department where each one of the pieces is inspected for 20 different parameters, once the piece passes QC it can be shipped. This method varies greatly from others who manufacture in a one size fits all method and stretch and or cut the rings to make their shipping timeframes smaller, this leads to poorly made jewelry.
- “RockHer only uses recycled gold and platinum.” Can you please elaborate on this?
Jim Vernon: Tracing precious metals back to their source to confirm they have been mined responsibly is too difficult, so, we have decided to work only with recycled gold and platinum.
- What are some of the advancements or changes the diamond jewelry industry is going through these days?
Jim Vernon: Massive change, massive consumer habit shifts, and an influx of manmade diamonds are all overwhelming the industry. We have decided to remain true to the origin of engagement rings and diamond romance, we only use natural diamonds, and these diamonds are billions of years old and really represent the longevity of the love for all eternity two people may be lucky enough to share.
- How different is the customer’s approach from when you had started in this business?
Jim Vernon: We initially started by just really focusing on our diamond AI, but we later realized that the diamond was only one piece of the puzzle, granted, a very important part in terms of dollars for the clients but bottom line they needed help with the ring itself. We found that customers were tired of going to retailers and simply picking a ring off the shelf, almost feels anti climatic to them; they want something special made just for them. We changed the sites focus to made to order engagement rings, everything is custom made just for the client, and the AI ROSI really helps them find the best diamond. We will be launching ROSI with a ring builder soon so she can assist you with finding the best ring for your budget, we do have over 5k styles so it can be overwhelming.
- In a world where people are becoming more and more budget conscious and at the same time look at high-quality, how does RockHer as a luxury brand operate?
Jim Vernon: We use the latest tech to accomplish this feat, from 3D printers, to AI, to the latest CRM technology, Rockher is lean, and we pride ourselves on having the highest quality jewelry in the business, plus, when your factory is next door we get to really make sure the team is being over ambitious on quality.
- What more can you tell about ROSI? How does it function and what has been the reaction or feedback of your customers?
Jim Vernon: The customer’s love ROSI, almost 90% of the users query ROSI, only about 10% go right to the regular manual diamond search, the reason is the users need help. ROSI also has a fabulous compare function, she can compare any GIA certified diamond found online to what RockHercurrently has in inventory, and she will give you a real answer on which stone is the better deal.
In terms of how ROSI works, obviously most of it is proprietary, however, users need to know that we have a direct backend API to the GIA, the foremost lab in the world for grading diamonds, and we pull a lot of data to ensure ROSI’s results are spot on. A lot of other sites simple don’t have authorization to even be connected to the GIA. In terms of how she grades, we deploy a little machine learning market prediction plus over 30 different diamond specifications per stone to determine the best value. ROSI calculates approximately over 1M computations per query to find the user the best diamond for their budget. We also use query information to change the preferences of ROSI, so as time progresses she will understand what users want more and more.
- As you have already implemented AI and created a virtual gemologist, what do you think about the changes AI is bringing in customer experience?
Jim Vernon: Bottom line, we try not to get lost in the weeds of AI or ML where one is simply pushing the limits of that tech, that is not our forte, what we simply want is the user to have the simplest experience getting a real unbiased diamond pick for their budget. Tech that helps the customer is what we are about.
- Lastly, what is your ideal diamond ring and to whom would you like to present it?
Jim Vernon: That is too tough a question to answer; in reality, my ideal diamond ring is whatever makes the client happiest….each and every client is treated with equal love no matter their budget, that’s what makes Rockher.com great.