Alum’s ‘Gem Gossip’ Blog Draws Thousands of Instagram Followers
September 2, 2015
It’s a simple request − and it’s got jewelers 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 jewelry and the people who create and sell it. She shares jewelry trends, antique and period jewelry, celebrity jewelry and designer interviews in Gem Gossip, and indulges in unabashed admiration for her favorite 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’ favorite 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 jewelry directory” has her crisscrossing the United States in search of jewelers and designers to profile.
Miele is welcomed everywhere, from family-owned retail shops in Pittsburgh to Stephen Webster’s London design studio.
“I love traveling the world and reporting on jewelry,” she says. “There are so many amazing stores and designers out there. I want to give everyone their spotlight and show jewelry lovers what they do best.”
As popular as Gem Gossip is, it may seem surprising that the blog was Miele’s first professional foray into the world of jewelry.
Miele hails from a small town in upstate New York, where the jewelry stores were limited to shopping mall chains. “And I have absolutely no family background in the industry,” she laughs. “My mom doesn’t even wear much jewelry, as much as I try to get her to like it.”
But her grandparents brought Miele and her sister pieces of jewelry after regular trips home to Italy throughout the girls’ childhood. “That’s what spurred my interest in jewelry,” 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 jewelry, which I had always wanted to pursue,” she says.
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 labor 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 gemology 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 program 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 favorite 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 has stayed in touch with several classmates since graduation, sometimes collaborating with them on jewelry 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 jewelry bloggers who can say they have not only a love for jewelry, but a diploma like a GG,” she says. “It gives my writing more credibility. Yes, I love jewelry 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.