If you follow any industry blogs, I’d put money on Gem Gossip being at the top of your list. Graduate gemologist Danielle Miele has been running it since 2008, and you could say that she’s a—if not the—pioneer jewelry blogger. With an obvious passion for the craft, Miele is the OG in her field, starting a movement in how we show off our jewelry (#showmeyourrings, anyone?). And, not least of all, her actual, real hard-core knowledge of jewelry makes her a reliable source for coveting jewels as much as learning about them. I’ve been an admirer of Danielle’s from the moment I set foot in the industry—coincidentally also in 2008, with my first job out of college at a vintage jewelry store. So I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s a complete honor to have her featured in this week’s edition of Social Life. With nearly 150,000 Instagram followers, 22,300 followers on Twitter, and a fanbase that will only continue to grow, who better to learn from than her? Without further ado: Danielle Miele of Gem Gossip.
One of @gemgossip’s many #showmeyourrings shots
I’ve been following Gem Gossip for years (since my retail days!), and #showmeyourrings has long been a favorite feature of mine on your site. In the age of Instagram, everyone and their mother is piling them on. Are you overwhelmed with the response your hashtag has gained?
Danielle Miele: [Laughs] I hope everyone’s mother is piling them on! And thank you for following along all these years! “Piling it all on” has kind of been my style mantra (and decorating mantra) since I can remember, so it is cool to have it strike a chord with so many people. I think the last I checked, the hashtag has surpassed 200,000 posts! It is still a place where I go to discover new designers and collectors—thankfully, for the most part, the hashtag is not abused. What I mean by that is, sometimes people will use that hashtag and the picture is of some bracelets or necklaces—or even worse, not jewelry at all. But in general, it usually is of rings and is used correctly! Funny how I started the project in 2010 and could only find four examples of this type of photo online at the time. Now there are thousands!
Speaking of #showmeyourrings: What is your favorite style of Instagram post (flat lay, jewelry on you, photos with your face in them, etc.)? Do you find one typically performs better than another?
Miele: I like a good mix! Whether the jewelry is worn or in a jewelry box, maybe on a display—just as long as the photo is crisp, clear, vibrant, and eye-catching. Of course, many would agree, when jewelry is worn it brings it to life. So the #showmeyourrings type of photos are always going to be my favorite and always perform the best for me, just because my audience knows me for that, and that’s why they’re following in the first place!
Imitation: flattery or frustration?
Miele: This is definitely an issue for me lately, as it has always been, growing up with two younger sisters! To inspire someone makes me very proud, and when someone gives you the credit for doing so, even better. But when someone straight-up copies, it is hurtful. I’m a naturally creative person, so I’m constantly thinking of new concepts for Gem Gossip. In the end, I have bigger fish to fry and could care less about the copycats.
Do you have personal accounts that you keep separate from Gem Gossip (for family, friends, etc?).
Miele: Yes, I most definitely do! I have a private account that’s only for close friends and family. I follow mostly fashion bloggers on there that inspire me, as I feel the fashion industry is always several steps ahead of the game. I also follow friends from home, family members, Chihuahua accounts, and, of course, every meme account I can get my hands on.
What is your favorite social media platform to use for Gem Gossip? How about for personal use?
Miele: Oh my god, I’m obsessed with Twitter. I always have been, always will be. The majority of who I follow on Twitter are obviously jewelry people, but no one really uses it anymore, so I mostly see all the comedians in my newsfeed, which I profusely follow. Snarky one-liners are my favorite—so much comedy gold in 140 characters. Laughing is my favorite thing to do.
Generally speaking, I love Instagram, and that’s how I reach the majority of my audience. I also have a love-hate relationship with Facebook, and it truly shows in my history of utilizing it on a business level. I went for years without having an account for Gem Gossip on Facebook, and I’m just now getting acquainted with how to use it differently than what I’m already doing on other platforms. I think it is important to have each platform be a little different.
First social media site you check in the morning?
Miele: Emails, then Instagram.
Which is better: Snapchat or Instagram Stories?
Miele: Instagram Stories for the win! No matter how much I tried to promote my Snapchat, my audience was slow to follow. It meant [they would have] to download a whole new app they were unfamiliar with and follow separately. I love the concept that both Snapchat and Instagram Stories can create for followers: letting them into your world for a few seconds at a time. When I used to use Snapchat, at my height of it I would get around 400 views—very small compared to my Instagram audience of 147,000. But the Snapchat filters keep me coming back to that app, and I don’t think I will ever delete it!
Two of Miele’s biggest loves: fabulous rings and her Chihuahua Chiefy
Tell me a social media success story.
Miele: The positives that have come out of Instagram are pretty incredible. I’ve sold over a hundred pieces of my own jewelry solely through the app; I’ve connected with lifelong friends; found people to hire, like photographers and assistants; helped jewelry designers tap into my audience every time I featured them; and so on. My favorite story isn’t measured on how many likes it got or followers gained, but connecting with someone who started collecting antique jewelry because of me. Her collection is pretty insane and her taste is impeccable. Most recently, she needed to sell quite a few pieces because of a family emergency, and I met up with her in California and bought several of her pieces. Connecting with people like that makes everything worth it!
Five favorite jewelry-related accounts to follow on Instagram, go.
Miele: Oh gosh, only five?! @bellflowerbay is one of my first friends I ever made through having my blog; we go on jewelry-related trips every year. @levi_higgs is my favorite New Yorker and I love what he does at David Webb. @lenoredailey is the most personable and sweet antique jewelry dealer you will ever meet and her Instagram is the same way. @crystalariumla is a gem and crystal store in West Hollywood and it feeds the gem lover in me. And @janetaylorjewelry has one of the best feeds for new designer jewelry, because I love all the color and the pictures are always so well-thought-out.
Okay, five favorite non-jewelry-related accounts to follow (surprise me!).
Miele: @beigecardigan for funny memes. @yeyush_the_chihuahua—I follow lots of chihuahuas (because I own two myself) and these two rescues are the cutest. @lallo25, the account of Alessandro Michele, Gucci’s creative director (obsessed with him). @whole30recipes if you’re hungry—I’m always hungry. And @design.indetail, a globe-trotter who takes photos of door knockers and doorknobs (oh my god, it’s amazing).
Social media pet peeve?
Miele: When people message me and ask me to like and comment on their photos! Instagram is fun for me, and when people start demanding likes and comments, that doesn’t make it fun anymore. Besides, I should like things because I genuinely like something—not because someone told me to.
If you could offer one piece of advice to anyone just getting into the social media arena—from budding jewelry designer to seasoned pro and even the casual user— what would it be?
Miele: Interact with accounts you admire or are in your same field! I can’t tell you how many people say they are too intimidated by interacting or posting photos. The whole point of Instagram is to connect with others and feel a sense of community. Developing your aesthetic and fine-tuning your photos comes second. Don’t worry about that part—just interact and have fun!
Finally, just for fun: What’s your favorite meme?
Miele: I love memes. I’ll leave you with one that I made myself: