Exclusive: ‘Sultan of Bling’ Gerald Ratner to launch online jewellery store in India

Gerald Ratner, known famously for the “Rattner effect” which nearly destroyed a billion dollar business he built up, is in India, to open an online jewellery shop in partnership with an Indian manufacturer and exporter, NBW has learned.GeraldOnline

Ratner is currently in Mumbai and is about to launch his online jewellery store Geraldonline for the Indian market in a few days. A whois search of Geraldonline.in shows that the domain was recently bought by a Mumbai based services company which lists a leading Online Jewellery Marketplace as its client.

The IT services company, Iksula, is doing the technology development and marketing for the online store.

The famous British businessman, took over as the CEO of the family chain in the 80s and took it from 130 stores with sales of £13m, to a public company with 2,500 stores and sales of over £1.2bn. However, following a public gaffe, Ratner had to quit the company. In 1991 at a function, he made fun of his own company’s products jokingly and the Ratner group lost nearly £ 500 million as angry customers stayed away from the Jeweler, leading the firm to near collapse. Ratner found the entrepreneur in him again and started a health club which was later acquired.GeraldOnline 1

In 2003, he partnered with SB&T International, an Indian jewellery export and manufacturing company to distribute the exporters products in Britain online. After launch, the Indian store will redirect to Geraldonline.in. SB&T manufactures diamond jewellery in Mumbai.

There are a handful of online Jewellery retailers in India. Rocket Internet backed 21Diamonds launched a do-it-yourself jewellery store in India in June last year.  The platform enables users to choose the design/stone/metal – and you get a customized ring which will be manufactured at its production facility.

Venture Capital firm Accel, Silicon Valley Bank and angel investor K Ganesh have invested $5 million in online jeweller Bluestone last year. In May 2011, e-commerce portal Yebhi acquired StylishYou.in, a fashion jewellery e-tail company.

According to eBay India’s census guide of 2011, a piece of jewellery is sold every 4 minutes. This is likely to have gone up many folds this year as the number of online buyers have gone up significantly from last year.