Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

Wall Street Luxury Europe has decided to become a partner of Vivid Events and as a result of that we have had the opportunity to speak and exchange some insights about the jewelry industry with Tracey Ellison, better known as “TheDiamondsGirl”, jewelry blogger.

Hi Tracey, can you tell us about your career and how you became the diamond’s girl?

I have always loved jewelry. Ever since I was little, I remember spending a lot of time in front of the windows mesmerized by these incredible and unique pieces. In fact, on special occasions like birthdays I only wanted to receive jewelry, I wasn’t interested in fashion like other girls. In 2014 I opened an Instagram profile to share this passion of mine, just out of fun. With time, I started to get more followers and receive invitations from brands, it all happened on its own, very organically. However, at that time, I also had a stable corporate job, so during the day I was working and during my evenings or leisure time I was developing my channels and pursuing my passion. At a certain point I had to decide whether I wanted to continue in the corporate world or if I wanted to take a leap of faith and pursue this uncertain journey. I chose my passion and here we are.

Currently, there is a high demand for fancy cut diamonds, a shift from the past focus on round brilliant cut as the perfect engagement ring. There is a high demand for fancy cut emerald and pear cuts, as well as oval, cushion, and radiant shapes.

Tracey Ellison a.k.a The Diamond GirlFamous jewelry blogger

In the past jewels were bought only by men as a love gesture towards their beloved ones. Today we live in an era in which women also like to purchase jewels for themselves. Do you prefer to receive a jewel or to buy it yourself?

I totally agree, as you said, nowadays it is okay to buy important and significant jewels, we are confident enough to purchase expensive products for ourselves. Personally, I like both, self-gifts and gifts, they will trigger different emotions. Moreover, the meaning and personal attachment behind each piece will be different. For example, when you treat yourself to something special, it’s often to mark a significant achievement or milestone. Every time you wear that item, you will be reminded of the pride and joy you felt at achieving that milestone. When we speak about jewelry the most important thing is the emotion that it transmits to you. When you wear a jewel it should give you instant pleasure, that’s why I think you should always wear and enjoy them, they are not made to be kept in a box.

What do you think about lab grown diamonds?

Before the pandemic, lab grown diamonds were already becoming a trend and this has continued and grown significantly. Lab grown diamonds are so perfectly made that with the naked eye you are not able to recognize the difference between a natural and a synthetic diamond. But there is a profound difference, one is the result of a miracle by nature and the other is made in laboratories. To me everything has to do with emotions and buying a lab grown diamond is like buying a counterfeit bag or watch: in terms of functionality, it performs the same function of the real branded one and looks the same! But you don’t have the romance, passion, and emotions that the branded item is able to bring along. However, I totally understand that diamonds are not within everyone’s reach, and the mining industry itself has a murky past, so I understand that for multiple reasons someone would choose lab grown diamonds. Personally, I’d rather own something smaller and ethically sourced but made by nature than something bigger made by laboratories.

In your opinion, is there a unique piece that every woman should have? In fashion it would be the black dress but in the jewelry industry?

Diamond stud earrings, no doubt about it. I love earrings, they have the ability to frame the face of a person, they bring brightness to someone’s face by reflecting the natural light. As a matter of fact, diamond stud earrings were my first self-gift. They are so versatile, you can wear them on all occasions, from a Gala night to an everyday outfit.

Which differences have you noticed in terms of tastes and purchases between each nationality and culture?

In general, I think it really goes down to the differences in cultural tastes, jewelry market and safety. For example, Italian artisans mostly work with gold, and they are very innovative in terms of technique and design. Italian masterpieces are considered appealing worldwide, these jewels perfectly reflect Italian culture made of fun and passion. On the other hand, the Middle East market tends to appreciate more important and rare stones like rubies, while Far East customers conversely prefer more delicate, elegant, and feminine pieces. Furthermore, it is interesting to highlight that for the Asian culture symbolism is extremely significant, that’s why some brands create exclusive pieces for specific occasions such as the Chinese New Year. Lastly India is a really developed market, from mining to manufacturing and consumption, the jewelry industry is absolutely valued, and today’s clientele appreciate pieces that can mix the traditional Indian culture with new contemporary and trendy design. Depending on the country, you can encounter different tastes and consumption behaviors, however, global brands like Graff, Cartier, Bulgari, Harry Winston and Van Cleef & Arpels, are coveted worldwide, even if their in-store collections vary from country to country.

Speaking of different countries, what are the jewelry exhibitions that you cannot miss?

Prior to the pandemic I used to spend all my time flying from one country to another to attend all jewelry exhibitions. I love these events; they give you the possibility to interact directly with smaller and bigger companies and see their wonderful pieces. Today, for obvious reasons, we have changed our habits and I’m not traveling as much as I used to. However, my absolute favorites are: Jewellery Arabia in Bahrain, Doha Jewellery & Watches Exhibition in Doha; Haute Jewels and GemGenève in Geneva; JCK and Couture in Las Vegas.

And obviously I have to say that I particularly love Vivid Events. Last year was a unique and prestigious experience where selected people of the industry and potential customers were given the possibility to attend, meet jewelry brands, get to know their creations while enjoying a marvelous dinner at a wonderful location in Monaco. To me this was amazing. I must say that Kimberley Williams, (Founder of Vivid Events), did something completely innovative, especially because sometimes entering a jewelry boutique can be intimidating but thanks to this unique concept you can enjoy a beautiful one-of-a-kind evening with incredible people that share the same passion for jewels. When I went in September 2021, it blew me away and exceeded all my expectations, I look forward to attending the next event and recommend everyone to attend!

Selling high jewelry online must be difficult. How has the industry been impacted by the pandemic?

2020 has been a very tough year with retailers temporarily forced to close due to the pandemic, However, as a result, I noticed so much innovation as brands used the situation to try new approaches and stay present. Social media played a major role enabling brands to showcase new collections, and to remain in touch with customers. Surprisingly enough, people bought jewels despite the pandemic because birthdays and other important occasions were still happening and had to be celebrated. Overall, consumers were spending less on travel and fashion…in my opinion, some of that spending was diverted to jewelry due to the longevity that comes with this industry and products. Indeed, in 2021 all jewelers had positive sales and positive results.

How is the diamond industry approaching social media? How can you gain credibility?

Every brand would like to be featured on someone famous’s account, they want celebrities to wear their pieces – especially models and movie stars – and they compete very hard to achieve that, that’s why they work closely with stylers. Then there are us bloggers, we are not wearing pieces on the red carpet, but we are able to show our audience what is available, with the docs on the jewelry item, not the outfit or the hairdo, sharing our expertise and know-how. Brands have started to really appreciate this type of communication because we have a very targeted audience, and we have credibility. It’s a different communication. When I decide to collaborate with a brand, I take into consideration various factors, first the brand must be aligned with my values, my tastes and followers’ tastes, then I look at the quality, design and gem of the jewels because I decided to focus and work only in the very high-end jewelry segment. For instance, my followers know what I think about lab grown diamonds, so they know they won’t find this genre of content on my page. Since I want to stay true to myself, to my authenticity, I really pay attention to which brand I’m collaborating with. If I need to generalize, key factors on social media are consistency, credibility, authenticity, and trust.

Nowadays collaboration is one of the most used marketing strategies in fashion, do you think the jewelry industry will do the same?

We’ve seen Messika jewelry collaborate with both Gigi Hadid and Kate Moss, where they went beyond brand ambassadorship and played a part in the design of the collab collection. Hopefully we will see a lot more in the future!

Conglomerates are taking more and more renowned luxury brands in their portfolio. What do you think about it and what does it mean for the independent and small brands?

As far as I know, renowned brands are happy to be part of a larger conglomerate. However, I do think buying jewelry is a very personal moment, maybe more than any other industry, therefore, I believe customers will support and remain loyal to a brand regardless of ownership. At the end, it all comes down to the relationship you build with your customers and how you treat them. On the other hand, smaller brands cannot spend as much money as conglomerates to build their brand awareness, and to hold massive events with celebrities. It would be a very sad day indeed if the larger companies overshadowed the market to the extent that we lose the creativity and uniqueness of smaller brands, and emerging designers. However, they have other strengths, for instance smaller brands may have better prices, unique pieces, fully personalized service, and they have flexibility that more established brands may not have. Although you encounter two different experiences in a jewelry boutique – depending on the size and how well established a firm is – you will still experience two equally good moments. For instance, when I go to Harrods, I feel like a kid in a candy shop and when I go to a smaller boutique, I really appreciate the level of attention and personalization. I just love being in a jewelry boutique!

Which advice would you give to someone who wants to enter the jewelry industry?

It depends on what they want to do. In general, I would say getting a qualification and studying gems to increase your knowledge. For example, De Beers has really good online courses, Van Cleef & Arpels has a school in Paris and of course there are the GIA courses. Start with education and identify your own style. Additionally, if you can, try to get experience in a boutique at a ground level because you will learn so much about customers, selling, the brand, manufacturing… everything. My first job was in retail! I have highlighted the importance of knowledge because before I was only interested in diamonds but after a trip to Columbia where I got the chance to visit an emerald mine, I started to appreciate emeralds. During the years, my tastes have evolved as TheDiamondsGirl. Now I appreciate all gems, they all have the magic and power to transform an ordinary day into an extraordinary day by making you feel special.

Interview by Trudy Berger