In The Magazine

Heirlooms of the Future

Thursday, June 30, 2016
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For entrepreneur Chris Del Gatto and wife Veronica Webb Del Gatto, family is everything.

Chris is the founder of DEL GATTO, a new jewelry-buying exchange. Veronica is a model who became the first African-American to land a major cosmetics contract when she signed with Revlon. The couple met through mutual friends years ago, “which is the best way,” adds Chris. “Very quickly, within a week, the kids told us that we should get married,” says Veronica of their now-blended family.

“One of our kids said, ‘I think you should give her a diamond,’” recalls Chris. “I’m like, ‘Really? This is the first time you met.’ And he’s like, ‘I’ve been up to your office. They’re everywhere. You should just give her one of them.’”

Chris has been in the precious stones industry for well over a decade, beginning with his former jewelry buying company Circa. The idea for DEL GATTO, which launched earlier this year, has been about seven years in the making. Back then, Chris connected with Josh and Mara Opperman, founders of IDoNowIDont.com, a jewelry exchange service that, true to its name, allowed people with broken engagements to recover lost expenses from their
engagement rings.

“We thought, what is the 2.0 version of jewelry buying?” says Chris. He discovered that, while many people value family heirlooms, too often the stones sit in safes for the majority of their lifetime.

DEL GATTO changes the dynamics of the jewelry-buying industry by providing two distinct purchasing options—clients are able to ask for estimates, either in person or through text message, and then sell their jewels outright for immediate payment, or they can list a piece on online at IDoNowIDont.com, which now falls under DEL GATTO.

Chris wanted to make people to think about jewelry just as they think about plastic water bottles. “I think ultimately, people will pay more for a diamond that they know is ‘green,’” says Chris.

“A diamond can’t be destroyed, so every diamond that’s ever been mined is still in existence,” says Veronica. “For our kids, who are millennials, it’s like second nature for them to recycle…For us, with the advent of the internet, we’ve learned that smart people upcycle.”

In the spirit of giving back, Chris is making philanthropy easy for his customers. On June 1, DEL GATTO launched its charitable division, whereby the company will collaborate with charities and give a percentage of all purchases back to participating organizations.

The company will also be launching an Ultra division, which will focus on targeted personal outreach to the most significant fine jewelry and diamond owners in the world.

Amidst the growth of the business, the two make time for their family. Together, they have four kids ranging in age from 11 to 16 years old. They’ve spent the past few summers on Fire Island, and will spend this summer in the Hamptons.

“New York is beautiful. And Long Island is really beautiful. It’s amazing to have the freedom to explore all these different parts of it,” says Chris.

There is no typical day at the beach for the family. Like most on the East End, they enjoy pool time and eating out at restaurants. Exercise is a major component of their routine, as is cooking together. And, they have “art breaks” for the kids. “We try to take the kids to a gallery or museum,” says Chris.

Their parenting style is to lead by example. “If you contradict what you say, then you’ve lost all credibility, and kid are just so sharp,” says Chris.

With their kids in mind, they circle back to how they wanted to make it easy for individuals to give back through DEL GATTO, including to kids’ schools. “You don’t have to be a huge corporation to enjoy charitable giving,” says Chris. “Selling watches and jewelry that you no longer wear is such an easy way to contribute.” When someone sells an item that comes to DEL GATTO through a charitable initiative, DEL GATTO writes a check equivalent to 5% of the purchase price in the seller’s name to the charity. The company will also take care of any additional amount the seller wants to donate.

“That’s going to be a really fun part of this business, building the charitable aspect out,” finishes Veronica.

photographs by Ben Fink Shapiro

hair by Andrea E. Wilson

makeup by Linda Lala Elmani


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