Moissanite gemstone maker Charles & Colvard reported a net loss in the first quarter despite sales increasing 40 percent to $4.2 million.
The Morrisville company reported a net loss of $376,000, or 2 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $236,000, or 1 cent per share, in the first quarter of 2011.
Operating expenses increased 53 percent in the quarter, driven mostly by increased marketing costs.
The company said it has also added personnel to support its effort to sell finished jewelry products directly to consumers at its website www.moissanite.com.
Charles & Colvard initiated a series of marketing and branding initiatives last year that have helped boost sales of its finished jewelry.
The company's largest customer is Jewelry Television. In a release, CEO Randy McCullough said sales of finished jewelry accounted for all of the company's revenue increase in the first quarter.
"We expect our finished jewelry business to continue to grow, and in addition, our ability to produce jewelry supports all of our customer direct initiatives," he said.
Charles & Colvard's stock, which closed at $4.42 on Friday, is up 70 percent this year.