NEW YORK. In the digital space, I’m not the first person to connect with jewelry lovers, but I hope to help increase exposure for those who mine, make, and sell the gems and pieces we adore. Some of my peers have been doing this for some time, and I’m inspired by their efforts.
For example, Severine Ferrari of Engagement101.com started talking to newly engaged brides—real people without high-profile names or connections—out of a love for the human angle of stories. Ferrari came to jewelry publishing from writing about wedding dresses and eventually found a home in the engagement niche. An engagement, observes the Paris transplant to New York City, is first about connection and a ‘why’ behind the commitment. Sure, the jewelry is pretty, she continues, and couples always talk about engagement rings, but that is not the reason for the union—it’s the love, baby!
To wit, Ferrari posts as many as 10 stories a month on her web-based magazine and one micro-story a day on social media about couples in love and how they got engaged. She talks to them about how they met and how they picked their ring and strives to find a diverse lot—same-sex, well off, on a budget, etc.—of couples.
“We in jewelry love jewelry, of course, but it’s a symbol of love and important to remember how meaningful that proposal moment is for a couple,” she says.
Also important: video stories (subscribe to her YouTube channel here—and mine, too, here!). Ferrari has been making them for 10 years to better share her readers’ tales. Plus, video consistently gets more clicks than photos alone. (Here’s one of her stories, complete with video of a couple who got engaged in New Zealand.) Spoiler alert: you may cry!
“As a publisher, I like to share stories, but it’s also a learning experience for me,” she says. “Data is important but so is talking to people to understand how couples stay together longer, why they do or don’t have kids before marriage, and to understand my audience. If we better understand them, then we can better understand where they go to get their jewelry.”
A blogger in a non-niche segment of jewelry is Catherine Cason, who debuted GemHunt.com just a year and a half ago. Cason isn’t from the jewelry world, either—she’s a beauty consultant—but started writing about it because she couldn’t find jewelry-specific content she enjoyed.
“I wanted to know more about jewelry but felt that a lot of the voices were talking to themselves,” she says.
Instead of that off-putting, barrier-rich approach—in my opinion, a result of the jewelry trade’s own outdated, super formal and technical, and ‘you can’t sit with us’ way—from brands or stores, she took an informal, friendly approach.
“I get excited about jewelry,” she says. “I put each ring on my finger and tell readers how it makes me feel, I tell readers the story that the jewelry is telling me and the emotions it creates instead of just, ‘It’s 1.2 carats—take it or leave it.’”
Jewelry, she continues, means a lot to people, and as I’m also finding, women are willing to talk about it. Every piece has a story, and Cason dismisses the taboo idea that just because something has a high price point, you can’t talk about it. (Of course, many of us who talk to collectors about their jewelry realize the importance of not revealing any information that could compromise subjects’ privacy—like last names, which this site, as well as GemHunt and Engagement101, don’t use.)
According to Cason, some conversations—like one she had with Jocelyn in February this year—prove that talking about your jewelry can be cathartic. (Read her story, but the Cliff Notes version is that the subject was robbed and online friends donated pieces to rebuild her collection.) “It was very emotional,” notes Cason about the story filed on her Diamond Blog under ‘Real Women, Real Jewelry’ on her site.
Finally, there’s Jackie Cohen of My Story Jewelry, whose line of customizable nontraditional mother’s jewelry was created to celebrate her own story of adopting daughter Julia. Once other women started asking her about pieces, she learned their stories, and it snowballed into a riveting collection of empowering tales that she now shares on My Story Mondays on her website.
“When you open up to people, they open up back to you,” she explains.
The stories—often acquired at in-store trunk shows—are inspiring and offer hope and encouragement to other women through the lens of another female’s own personal triumph. Her first one, published in the fall of 2016, shared the story of Jenny, who left her husband on July 29, 2004, but also met her soulmate and future husband on the same date later in the day. With that newfound love and support, they had a child, and she accomplished great career success. Cohen now publishes about two stories a month, which have become popular among her fans.
“I meet the most amazing people—women who have lost children, survived breast cancer, written children’s books—and these awesome people need an outlet to be heard,” she continues.
The jewelry hook? All these remarkable tales result from either outreach to Cohen, whose family has been in the jewelry industry for decades, or meeting with her about her jewelry. That’s the power that fine jewelry possesses—the ability to connect people who otherwise might not ever meet simply by admiring a glittering accessory.
Do you have a jewelry story to tell? I’d love to hear it. Please reach out to me at Jennifer@jenniferheebner.com or weigh in with a comment below.
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