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GemGossip’s Best Jewelry Shopping Advice

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Nashville-based gemologist and passionate jewelry enthusiast Danielle Miele is better known as Gem Gossip, the name of her blog and social media feeds that serve as live streaming love letters to fine jewelry. Danielle is especially passionate about vintage and antique jewelry, and uses her platform to share that enthusiasm with social media savvy jewelry lovers around the world.

Brilliant Earth carries an expansive selection of vintage jewelry, so we were excited to ask Danielle a few questions. Read on to learn about her favorite antique jewelry, how she chose her engagement ring (she’s a newlywed), and what advice she gives to people starting jewelry collections.

The rings pictured throughout the interview are some of her top picks from our current collection of vintage rings. Click on the photos to learn more!

How did you become interested in gemology?

I’ve always loved gems, and my first memory ever involves me asking my mom to get the “D” Encyclopedia down from the top shelf of our family’s bookshelf. I would open it up to the “diamonds” page and stare at the pictures. As I got older, like Middle School age, I had a rock and mineral collection and was always reading about them. It wasn’t until five years of college, after earning a master’s degree in science education, that I realized I wanted to focus on my passion for gems and jewelry professionally.

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What do you look for in a piece of vintage jewelry–what draws you to particular pieces?

I’ve formally appraised jewelry for the past five years, continually seeing new pieces each and every day, so I’ve become a bit jaded to certain design elements.  I like pieces that are truly unique; “weird” or “funky” are usually words used to describe my favorite pieces. If I feel like I’ve never seen something like it before, it will most likely draw me to it!

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What are your favorite eras or styles?

I love Victorian sentimental rings, Edwardian diamond cocktail rings and fun, chunky gold pieces from the 60s and 70s. I’m on the hunt for a carved man-on-the-moon moonstone ring, as I’ve owned two in the past, but have since sold them hoping to find something more unique. I also collect date rings, which are usually old class rings.

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What are your favorite pieces in your personal collection?

Tough question, but I would have to say all the rings I wore on my wedding day last month, as each is incredibly sentimental in its own way. {You can read the details and see the photos on her blog.} Photographing my pieces a few days before my wedding is one of my favorite memories.  I love photographing jewelry.

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How did you choose your engagement ring? I assume you wanted to choose it yourself!

I definitely was the one to choose my engagement ring–as most would think, I’m pretty picky about rings, especially one I have to wear everyday! When I worked as head appraiser at a local antique jewelry store my engagement ring was brought in one day by an older man who was selling quite an interesting ring collection. It’s a two-stone bypass setting ring {pictured above} and at the time, I just thought it was a really pretty ring and didn’t think much of it. It sat in the engagement ring case for about two years…I tried selling it several times, but any time I mentioned the color of the diamonds, which are L/M color, noses would turn up, followed by a, “no thanks!” When I finally was ready to look for an engagement ring for myself, that ring was the first I had in mind. It has been mine ever since!

Why do you like the L/M color of your engagement ring diamonds, even though some people prefer whiter color grades?

If it’s beautiful to your eyes, that’s all that should matter, not a color grade.  My particular diamonds are old European cuts and they have an allure and sparkle unlike any round brilliant I’ve ever seen!


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What do you see as the next trends in vintage jewelry?

Victorian rings are incredibly popular, not only because of their age and their sentimental factor, but their price points are really reasonable. An Art Deco engagement ring will continue to be popular and is really such an investment piece! I think one thing that is really happening right now is antique jewelry is becoming an investment–things I’ve purchased five years ago are worth more today and will continue to go up.  Antique jewelry is becoming more and more covetable, so there’s just not as much antique jewelry available as there was 10 years ago.

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What are your top pieces of advice for women purchasing vintage jewelry, or for couples looking for a vintage engagement ring?

I would say to school yourself first and foremost! There are a lot of resources out there, like my blog for example. Learn what styles you gravitate toward and get a feel for pricing and market values through online boutiques, websites and eBay. Start small and work your way up to bigger pieces worth more money. Attend Jewelry Camp or other jewelry conferences that happen across the US every year. You’ll learn so much if you are passionate and interested in the subject, and it will be addictive!

My advice in buying an engagement ring would be to try on as many as possible to see what style suits you!  Other pieces of advice include: Don’t be so concerned with clarity and color and getting an “ideal” diamond, and be open to mixing metals when it comes to your wedding band! The engagement ring and wedding band don’t need to match up perfectly.

Final Thoughts

What do you think of Danielle’s story and advice?  Do you read or follow GemGossip?  Let us know on Facebook or Twitter, or in the comments section!

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Comments (1)

explorebeads Says:
April 2nd, 2016 at 2:49 am

Nice collection and thanks for share this this is really helpful.

Jewelry Collection Tips from GemGossip | Brilliant Earth