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SHOW ME YOUR RINGS! LXXXIX

doyleanddoyle carbonandhyde fortheloveofgems nomadgold duvenay marketsquarejewelers for_future_reference victorbarbonejewelry jewelled

{from top to bottom:

Doyle & Doyle stacking up one finger in the most beautiful way possible

Carbon & Hyde mixing diamonds with furry leopard print, yes please

fortheloveofgems spots some great antique finds out and about 

Nomad Gold dressing for success, aka cheering on her team wearing their colors

duvenay keeping it mossy wearing a slew of moss agate rings

Market Square Jewelers always making us drool over their ring selection

For Future Reference doesn't go frozen because Sorellina jewels are heating things up

Victor Barbone is located in NYC and has LOTS of jewels as you can see

jewelled knows how to stack antique in just the right way, are you dying too?!}

 

Five Important Things I Learned from Being a Jewelry Appraiser

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Never in a million years did I ever think I would have a profession such as "jewelry appraiser." It was something that I fell into by chance and I'm grateful/thankful everyday for that--because although I never thought it would be something I would do, there wasn't a day that went by which I didn't learn something new during that time. My mind was like a sponge during the first few months of picking up the skills of jewelry appraising--from measuring, to formulating, comparing and researching--everything came almost naturally for me.  Market values and research were aspects I really enjoyed about the job. Things like checking out auctions results, following market trends, and so on--these are things I still do to this day although I don't appraise jewelry on a regular basis anymore. From the moment I picked up the profession and for five years straight, I appraised piles of 10-25 pieces on a weekly basis--that is, fully written up, documented appraisals for insurance purposes. I've worked with clients of all walks of life, even traveling to rural Illinois to appraise an entire estate of about 100 items.

Being a jewelry appraiser is a fun job and very rewarding, but also has its downfalls. For me, personally, I worked in an office with no windows.  The days were long when you had piles of jewelry to appraise--just you and a microscope. My eyesight has never been the same, but obviously aging will also do that to you. I enjoyed breaking stereotypes of a "typical appraiser." Young women usually aren't the ones getting pulled from the back of a jewelry store when someone has a question about their jewelry. I remember a customer telling me, "wait you're the appraiser?  I was expecting an older man!"

I've been putting together this list for awhile now and wanted to share my top insights/important things I've learned from my five years of being a jewelry appraiser--let's start from the top:

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1. While most appraisals I've done were dealing with happy clients that were getting insurance on their items to hopefully prevent anything bad from happening so they could potentially be covered--I also dealt with the opposite. So many disgruntled clients who were stolen from or lost an item that they deemed "irreplaceable" only to have it vanish. It happens--jewelry gets stolen, jewelry gets lost. I couldn't recommend getting your jewelry appraised enough! I have never heard so many of the same stories of how things got stolen--the caregiver, the plumber, a son/daughter's friend that came over, the list goes on. Bottom line, if you frequently have people coming in/out of your house--your jewelry items need to be insured and hidden.

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2. I've also appraised lots of items that were randomly found by people--whether it was on the ground, inside an old house that was being renovated, or at garage sales in a junk pile--dreams do come true and treasure is still out there!!  My favorite story comes from a lady who was renovating a house that was recently purchased. She was moving an old, tall grandfather clock that was left with the house, when she noticed something behind the pendulum part of the clock. It was a ring box with a solitaire ring inside. She thought for sure it was fake, but sure enough it was an Old European cut diamond that was 1.50 carats and worth $10k!

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3. There are a lot of appraisers out there that aren't doing it right. They think putting a crazy high value on a retail replacement appraisal will make their customer happy because it is nowhere near what they paid for that same item. So, this in turn makes the customer incredibly satisfied, thinking they got a steal of a deal. It is crazy because I honestly can't even find comparables or a way to justify valuing some jewelry items so high. In the end, it doesn't really help anyone because the customer ends up paying higher deductibles on insurance and also when they go to sell their jewelry, they have this clouded value of what they think that item is worth. Find an appraiser that is putting reasonable values on things and not outlandish replacement values.

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4. If there is any type of jewelry that I feel doesn't hold its value over time, it would have to be watches. I know so many people are going to hate me for saying this, including my husband who invests in Rolexes (not smart lol), but it is true. Resale values on watches are usually less than 1/3 of what you paid for it. That is relatively speaking though. And yes, there are some watches that age like fine wine and hold, if not increase, their value.

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5. You're only slightly offending your appraiser when you ask to be present while appraising your jewelry. This was my number one request I would get asked when people would make an appraisal appointment. It was hard to make exceptions for people and allow them to come back into normally-closed-quarters for the public. But at the same time, I could relate and understand where they were coming from. I can't imagine leaving my engagement ring with someone for several days to get appraised. So while it may easily be taken offensively from an appraiser's point of view, looking at it from a concerned client's point of view helps. And yes, I would make exceptions--but no, not everyone does!

 

xoxoGemGossip

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*All above photos are pieces of jewelry I've appraised during my five years as a jewelry appraiser. None of them belong to me.

Book Review: Jewels on Queen by Anne Schofield

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Receiving jewelry books for the holidays is one of my favorite things ever. I usually have some down time in between Christmas and New Year's where I try to organize my life, my goals, get my mind focused, and a lot of this is done without leaving my house for a few days. Rather than feeling cooped up, I actually enjoy this time of year and take a few days off to lose myself into a good jewelry book. This time around I couldn't wait to read Jewels on Queen by Anne Schofield, a gift from my mom. I read the entire book front to back in one sitting and it left me wanting more--so obviously that's when Googling began. But overall, I felt this is such a lovely book.

So what exactly does this book feature? Unlike the title, you may first guess that the book is all about the Queen of England and her jewelry collection. The book actually does not mention the Queen at all--in fact, it is about another "queen," a well-known antique shop located on Queen Street in Australia, Anne Schofield Antiques. This book is amazing because it delves into Anne's collection--things she has purchased, sold and acquired--over the past 50 years of being an antiques dealer. It is like my "Jewelry Collection Stories" only in book form; more in depth and LOTS of pictures.  If you enjoy that type of reading, then you'll love this book as much as I do.

The beginning of Jewels on Queen gives you a little background and insight into Anne's life and how she ended up being an antique jewelry dealer/shop owner. Her story is really unique and I actually related to a few parts that were almost identical to my story. The chapters are broken down into jewelry categories that Anne specialized the most in--like cameos, sentimental jewelry, souvenir jewelry, Art Deco, etc. Every chapter highlights her personal story relating to the topic and shows some really iconic pieces she has come across over her career. Anne has a special story about her visits to London--like visiting Wartski and SJ Phillips. I love the details and revelations about her personal life that she mixes in with the jewelry stories--it's fun and easy reading.

Anne Schofield's Antiques is still open today in Woollahra, Australia. If you can't hop on a plane and visit, I suggest buying this book and learning about Anne and her story from the comfort of your home!  Happy reading!

To purchase your own copy of Jewels on Queen by Anne Schofield, click below:

Jewelry Marketing 101: What's NOT Working

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So you're the creative type...or the type that has a unique eye. You're a jewelry designer, an antique jewelry seller, or someone that has jewelry ready to sell. Jewelry marketing is a whole different realm of what most would consider typical jewelry business tasks. It is something I never thought I would be able to give my opinion on, but I can because I've lived it and found myself in this sector of the business more than I realized. I'm trying to break down my tips into simple steps anyone can take, whether you're a veteran in this business and want to try something new or if you just graduated from a trade school with a jewelry collection on the horizon. So here is my list of ways you can market your brand or your jewelry line, with an emphasis on things that also DON'T work!

1. Photography is everything! Invest in a good camera or better yet, someone that is a photographer with jewelry or product photography as their specialty. If you ask anyone, they will tell you--jewelry is so hard to photograph! And they're right. 

Good photos may be a key aspect to showing off jewelry and that isn't groundbreaking news. But what I'm about to say next might be: don't use photos that are highly photoshopped or unrealistic. As a consumer, we want to see the actual piece of jewelry in a real setting--make it relatable, attainable. I don't want to see an overphotoshopped model wearing jewelry in a posed setting with a fake smile. I want to see real women wearing jewelry in their everyday lives. Editorial shoots are cool, but just don't overphotoshop.

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2. Social media platforms are SO important. Set yours up to look professional, concise and engaging. You want someone to look at your page and become interested. Grab their attention. Something that is quite popular right now is having a condensed, clean look that all flows together. Basically, a uniform and on-brand look. Every picture fits with your brand and is professionally executed. 

This sounds all good, but I'm actually going to tell you the opposite.  I like when jewelry brands mix things up, keep me on my toes and post photos that are off-the-cusp. Keep me INTERESTED. Uniform branding is often BORING. For example, here's what not to do: first post is a high res image of a ring, next photo is a quote, next photo is the jewelry worn on a model, next image is a bunch of flowers, and then it repeats without missing a step. Nothing random ever thrown in the mix. Don't do that!

I've asked Brooke of Arrow & Anchor Antiques, which boasts nearly 18k followers on Instagram with only 550 posts ever, what her opinion on the matter is...she says,"I am hesitant to have a uniform branding for my company. My aesthetic is my brand and it's all over the place.  I dig that. It may not appeal to the masses, but is that really my target audience? I'm selling one-of-a-kind vintage and antique pieces that might be better sold in an intimate setting like a trunk show or private sale."

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3. My third tip piggy backs off the second in terms of being a marketing ploy that is exemplified on Instagram. BE PERSONAL. I love when designers put themselves into their Instagram posts and by that, I don't mean post lots of selfies. You've put your heart and soul into your designs, why don't you do that with your Instagram posts. If you look at it from an artistic point of view you won't be as intimidated to put yourself out there. 

Again, with any of my tips, there's another side to what I just said. Sometimes being too personal is not a good thing and can turn people away. You've got to have a good balance of your work and your personal side to make it complete.

Here's a list for those who like lists:

YES: share your office space, share a family photo, a funny throwback of yourself as a child, have a cute pet? share!, do you have other interests or hobbies--we'd love to see

NO: never drink and Instagram--drunk photos are the worst and unprofessional, if you get in one of those moods, Instagram Stories is a place where you can drunkenly post some debauchery but don't go overboard. I'm all about the freedom of expression and that includes freely voicing your political opinion. However, I feel that doing so in subtle ways often harbors a better outcome than an in-your-face rant. 

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4. Utilize your resources. So many jewelry designers are already featured in some really great stores and boutiques, but they are constantly searching for more stores or bigger/better. Work with what you have and to its fullest capacity! What I mean by this is to make sure you're benefiting as much as possible from being featured at the stores you're already signed with. Be sure you're present on their social media and a part of their marketing strategies.  If you're in five stores, that should mean your marketing is five times greater than just yourself. 

The wrong strategy would be to get into a store and not pay attention to its growth since your focus becomes landing other stores.

5. Collaborate and advertise right. Try new forms of advertising--like maybe cancel your Yellow Pages ad or local newspaper spot. It is 2017 and social media has proven to be highly successful in terms of advertising, so if you're still resisting acknowledging it as a valid form of advertising, wake up!

Choosing people to collaborate is a great way to foster relationships with others and tap into their audience. Collaborating should be beneficial for both, so deciding on who to team up with may be tricky. Please do your research! Whether it is a blogger, influencer, social media expert, brand ambassador...whatever they may call themselves, it doesn't matter their title--their numbers matter. BUT DIG DEEPER. Big numbers can often lie. 

Yes, that's right. There are increasingly more and more pages who are buying followers and likes. It is sad because doing so is not fair to those who don't want any part of this, as it effects everyone. It is even more sad because there are people that are soliciting money from designers and companies for posting on Instagram--and they are the ones with fake likes and fake followers. That's what bothers me the most. The lies and deceit that are happening (in plain sight, at least for me) and designers are still "blinded by the numbers."

So how can you as a jewelry designer tell if certain influencers or bloggers are buying followers/likes? I've noticed these on accounts that I believe are doing just that:

 

  • If they are increasing their number of followers WAY TOO QUICKLY, like within a matter of a few months. Especially if they haven't had the account for more than a few years.
  •  If you click on their "followers" and many of their followers are names that are in different languages. Also if these "followers" are following a ton of people but they themselves have no followers. These are called DUMMY accounts and are created by companies who sell followers/likes.
  •  If people post an Instagram photo and they get comments like "get followers" in weird writing within seconds of posting photo. I've seen this frequently and I'm not 100% sure if this is true, but I think the more followers people buy, the more spammy comments they get. It's like opening up a can of worms. 
  •  Look at the average number of likes per photo on an account.  If there are photos that have thousands of likes on one picture...and then 300 likes on another, that's a red flag.  Sure this happens to people that don't buy followers, but if you've been following a "fishy" account, you will see the dramatic difference and what I mean by this. My account for example does fluctuate with likes, but has a somewhat consistent average. Yes, I've had the random 4-7 photos out of 5900 photos I've ever posted in my entire Instagram career to go viral, but that is a different story (and yes, I have no idea how those photos went viral).

 

I will leave you with this quote I tweeted out a few days ago, "It's not rocket science. Big diamonds get lots of likes. But do you have a brand? A personality? A passion?" 

 

 

xoxoGemGossip

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Weekday Wardrobe: Accessorizing Rings & Clutches

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Lately I've been all about wearing my newest addition to my necklace collection--this 14k yellow gold thick collar that I picked up from Arrow & Anchor Antiques. We did a trunk show together and of course, ended up buying something from her gorgeous selection. When you're a jewelry lover (addict?) you tend to do that.

I've also been sorting through my vintage clutch collection, mostly which came from eBay and antique shops from my travels. Getting them out and pairing them up with different rings has been a fun thing to do, especially over the holidays. Wearing festive attire usually isn't my thing, but I want to add something fun and different to what I normally wear when I attend holiday parties, so having these clutches is perfect for my style. I thought it would be cool to incorporate them into my Weekday Wardrobe post for this month since I promised more of these posts. Hope you enjoy!

Weekday Wardrobe | Gem Gossip

Day One:

Navy blue enameled shield conversion ring (used to be a stick pin) -- enamel refinished by Platt Boutique Jewelry

18k yellow gold Lapis ring from Sarah's Vintage & Estate Jewelry -- enamel and side stone repair by Platt Boutique Jewelry

14k yellow gold linked rings created by myself using scrap gold items and bracelet safety chains 

Weekday Wardrobe | Gem Gossip

Day Two:

Victorian trio opal ring found at Brimfield in 2014

Retro flower ring with diamond, my first ever Ruby Lane purchase back in 2008 (still one of my favorites)

Opal flower cluster ring found at Nashville's first ever Big Flea

Weekday Wardrobe | Gem Gossip

Day Three:

14k yellow gold Victorian thimble ring found at the Nashville flea market

14k yellow gold boulder opal ring specially made by BCE Jewelry for me :)

14k yellow gold Gemini Twins enamel ring found on eBay

Weekday Wardrobe | Gem Gossip

Day Four:

Star sapphire and enamel antique ring found from OakGem at the Miami Antique Show in 2015

Victorian dendritic agate ring found at Joden Jewelry

Victorian turquoise and diamond ring found at the Vegas Antique Show in 2013

Weekday Wardrobe | Gem Gossip

Day Five:

Edwardian diamond ring found on eBay

Platinum and diamond ring found from Hampton Estate Auction (my Christmas present from Matt this year)

14k white gold three stone diamond ring from eBay (one of my very first purchases off eBay, it originally had a ruby in the center)

 

xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? Check out my past Weekday Wardrobe posts