It won’t take chemistry students long to discover the nature of 7879’s business. The London-based start-up makes jewelry made from investment-grade gold bars and responsibly mined platinum – the name comes from the atomic numbers of the precious metals. in the periodic table.
It’s a branding move that signals the company’s sales pitch – buying their jewellery, crafted from pure metals, is as much investing in the value of these elements as it is making a fashion statement. “Customers have changed – they’re looking for something different,” says Sach Kukadia, co-founder of the company with Ben Flowers.
The idea is deceptively simple. For years, investors have been encouraged to buy precious metals as a tangible store of value, particularly during periods of high inflation. But that usually means buying coins or bars from gold dealers and leaving those purchases gathering dust in a vault somewhere. What if, Kukadia and Flowers reasoned, you could make the same investment, but in the form of jewelry you love to own and wear.
It’s a well-established concept in countries like India, where families often hold a substantial part of their wealth in jewelry. But if you buy jewelry in the West, you have no idea of its value: a significant part of the purchase price will be tied to the brand value of the manufacturer or retailer, the piece may well include more than just the chosen precious metal – stones, for example – and the only way to realize your investment is to sell on a second-hand market, where you are at the mercy of buyer demand.
That’s where 7879 comes in. Their jewelry is pure, so as long as you know your piece’s weight and the current gold or platinum price, you can track its value. And, crucially, the company guarantees to buy it back at the time of its choosing and at a price that reflects the prevailing market price. “The idea is that your jewelry is an asset that’s sweating for you, whether you’re wearing it or not,” says Flowers. Items sold back to him are melted down and reshaped as new jewelry items, ready to be sold to the next customer.
“Customers buy jewelry as an emotional purchase,” says Kukadia, who knows a thing or two about the fashion industry, having founded the top-performing SecretSales.com. “But often the value is in the brand rather than the underlying product, so we set out to provide more clarity.”
To drive home the point, he points to a recent social media video in which a prominent influencer was shocked to discover that the market value of the metal in the £1,000 designer ring she bought was just £100. of the same price as 7879 would consist of metal with a value six or seven times higher, explains Kukadia.
That’s not exactly the same thing as £1,000 worth of precious metals, of course. The difference comes from the “manufacturing fee” built into the price of the 7879. This covers the jewelry designer’s payment and other company costs; customers also pay a small transaction fee if they want to sell their part back to 7879.
Still, the company states these fees up front, so customers know exactly what they’re getting for their investment. And what they’re not doing is shelling out huge sums for a brand that has no intrinsic value of its own.
In practice, explains Kukadia, the data suggest that customers are buying from the company for several reasons. As a generalization, older customers are more interested in the investment value of jewelry; younger shoppers are more focused on wearing the piece. But all customers get the same value proposition: the opportunity to invest in precious metals in the form of wearable jewelry that can be resold to the company for the market price of its gold or platinum.
Customers seem to understand. The company started operating a year ago and in April it was discovered by Selfridges, which presented the 7879 line in its Shopping the Future campaign. Since then, sales have grown rapidly, to around £1.5 million in its first year of marketing.
Kukadia and Flowers believe that they can double that number over the next 12 months, through plans to internationalize the business and launch new products. “At a time of significant economic uncertainty, we believe that selling jewelry transparently – not just in terms of prices, but also in terms of quality – is the key to paving the way for a sustainable future,” says Kukadia.
Flowers, in turn, points to another benefit. “Gold and platinum in their purest forms are antimicrobial and hypoallergenic, making our jewelry perfectly positioned in a post-pandemic high hygiene world,” he says. It’s a new discourse for an old investment, but one that resonates now.