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Custom jewelry merchant Gemvara heads for Boston's financial district

Posted by Scott Kirsner  May 9, 2011 03:16 PM

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Gemvara was just a two-person start-up when it first moved into the ground floor of Highland Capital Partners' headquarters on Hayden Avenue in Lexington; the company's two founders were just finishing undergrad degrees at Babson College, and they'd gained admittance into Highland's summer program for young entrepreneurs.

Four years later, the company, which sells customized jewelry, has raised more than $25 million, grown to 50 employees ... and is finally getting ready to move into office space of its own, across from South Station in downtown Boston.

CEO Matt Lauzon confirms that Gemvara has just signed a lease for 15,000 square feet of space on the eighth floor of One Financial Center. (The company's current space in Lexington is about 5,000 square feet, Lauzon says.) Gemvara hopes to move in next month.

Lauzon scouted locations for Gemvara in Boston and Cambridge. "We want to be the top choice for people who want to join a consumer Web company here, and to do that, we felt Boston was the best choice," he says. T3 Advisors helped Lauzon with the search.

Lauzon says that even rumors that the company was about to relocate to the city has helped recruiting. "I've talked to CEOs who've told me, 'I know someone great you should talk to, if it's true that you guys are moving to Boston,'" he says. "Most of our last five hires probably wouldn't have considered working for us in Lexington."

Gemvara has about 30 positions open, and Lauzon says the total headcount will likely hit 100 sometime in 2012.

The company has previously maintained a small office in Downtown Crossing where it handled order fulfillment; that work will soon shift south to New York, where Gemvara plans to open up a 10- or 12-person office in the Diamond District.

Lauzon is one of the co-hosts of next week's Ruby Riot party, geared to making connections among entrepreneurs and people who can help them grow their companies. That event was originally planned as a celebration to mark Gemvara's move to Boston, but has since expanded into a community gathering with sponsors and an expected 500 attendees. Lauzon says Gemvara now plans to hold a separate office-warming shindig next month.

(I first wrote about Gemvara in 2008, when the company was known as Paragon Lake.)

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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