Alum’s ‘Gem Gossip’ Blog Draws Thousands of Instagram Followers

Danielle Miele is the GIA alumna behind the popular jewellery and style blog, Gem Gossip. Here, she models pieces from Vada Jewelry in Austin, Texas. Photo courtesy of Gem Gossip
“Show me your rings.”

It’s a simple request − and it’s got jewellers and designers around the country lining up to show off their best pieces for Danielle Miele, the GIA alumna behind the exuberant style blog, Gem Gossip.

It probably doesn’t hurt that Miele, a GIA GG based in Nashville, has more than 55,000 followers on Instagram. But equally compelling is the blogger’s sheer enthusiasm for showcasing beautiful jewellery and the people who create and sell it. She shares jewellery trends, antique and period jewellery, celebrity jewellery and designer interviews in Gem Gossip, and indulges in unabashed admiration for her favourite pieces in the ongoing “Show Me Your Rings” feature.

“First and foremost, I’m a ring collector,” says Miele, who is photographed for the series wearing designers’ favourite pieces on nearly every finger. “I love rings.”

She’s also something of a globe-trotter, and fortunately, blogging doesn’t keep her tucked behind a computer. Gem Gossip’s #JewelryRoadTrip project – an evolving “state-by-state jewellery directory” has her criss-crossing the United States in search of jewellers and designers to profile.

Miele is welcomed everywhere, from family-owned retail shops in Pittsburgh to Stephen Webster’s London design studio.

“I love travelling the world and reporting on jewellery,” she says. “There are so many amazing stores and designers out there. I want to give everyone their spotlight and show jewellery lovers what they do best.”

Miele, often accompanied and photographed by fiancé Matthew LaBonte, travels the United States building her #JewelryRoadTrip directory. Photo courtesy of Gem Gossip
As popular as Gem Gossip is, it may seem surprising that the blog was Miele’s first professional foray into the world of jewellery.

Miele hails from a small town in northern New York State, where the jewellery stores were limited to shopping centre chains. “And I have absolutely no family background in the industry,” she laughs. “My mum doesn’t even wear much jewellery, as much as I try to get her to like it.”

But her grandparents brought Miele and her sister pieces of jewellery after regular trips home to Italy throughout the girls’ childhood. “That’s what spurred my interest in jewellery,” she says.

Miele’s entire family decided several years ago that it was time for a fresh start and new environment, and moved to Nashville, Tennessee. There was no job awaiting her, but Miele – who had already earned a bachelor’s degree in childhood education and a master’s degree in science education – created her own opportunity.

“I began my new life in a new city by starting the blog and following my passion for gems and jewellery, which I had always wanted to pursue,” she says.

Miele with Stephen Webster in 2014, in the designer’s London studio. Photo courtesy of Gem Gossip
Not long after she launched Gem Gossip, local antique store owner Michael Walton, GG, noticed her work and reached out with a job offer. Stunned that her labour of love could lead to a paying job, Miele accepted.

“I started out creating their website and doing all their photography − and my boss kept giving me more and more responsibilities,” she says. “I went from helping him type up piles of appraisals, to him teaching me how to measure stones, to learning how to evaluate diamonds. Before I knew it, I was doing all of the appraisals, with his guidance.”

It soon became apparent to them both that Miele needed to take the next step in her education and career by earning a gemmology diploma. On her first visit to the Carlsbad campus, that instinct was confirmed.

“As soon as I walked through those doors, I got an overwhelming feeling of, ‘This is where I belong,’” says Miele, who studied through both the Distance Education programme at home and Lab classes on campus. She was so excited, she shared what she saw at GIA in her blog.

“GIA was the best experience,” she says. “My favourite parts were completing my Lab classes in Carlsbad – the entire campus is a dream and the staff is so friendly that you never want to leave. I loved it so much that instead of taking my 20-stone test locally with a proctor, I took a week off from work to take the exam on campus and was kind of sad when I passed on the second try.”

Miele visits Doyle & Doyle in New York City, where she co-curated a month-long exhibition of antique pieces at the store, centred on the theme “Sentimental Rings”. Photo courtesy of Gem Gossip
Miele has stayed in touch with several classmates since graduation, sometimes collaborating with them on jewellery projects. In addition to the professional network she’s built through the Institute, she appreciates the confidence it’s given her.

“There aren’t too many jewellery bloggers who can say they have not only a love for jewellery, but a diploma like a GG,” she says. “It gives my writing more credibility. Yes, I love jewellery and am passionate about it, but I also know it professionally and on many different levels.”

Miele left her job as an antiques appraiser earlier this year to work on Gem Gossip full-time, and recommends that potential students in all phases of their careers consider studying at GIA.

“A GIA education is very versatile because it’s a great way to begin or enhance a career,” she says. “It doesn’t matter where you are in the industry or even if you’re in a totally different field, GIA is always a good idea.”

Jaime Kautsky, a contributing writer, is a GIA Diamonds Graduate and GIA Accredited Jewelry Professional and was an associate editor of The Loupe magazine.