How many pieces of jewelry do you have in your jewelry box? Ten? Twenty? Thirty?! Well, Danielle Miele has over 240 rings in her collection, from big statement turquoise rings to engraved signet rings.
Rings are her obsession. And for the past 8 years’ you could say rings have shaped her career too. Based in Nashville, Danielle is the woman behind one of the most influential jewelry blog, Gem Gossip.
We have a chat with her about growing up in a small town, taking the plunge to becoming a full-time blogger and her most cherished piece of jewelry.
Jewelry is in her blood
Danielle likes to think that she was born with her love of jewelry already instilled in her. Her grandma on her mom’s side has been an avid collector her whole life; “If you go over to my grandma's house today, you can see all of her collections displayed all around her house, including teapots running along the walls of every room.” And her grandma on her dad's side was born and raised in Italy, and would often give Danielle Italian gold from her trips back home. “I am pretty much a rare mixture of both my grandmas in one; a jewelry loving collector. I don't think a day goes by that I don't think about jewelry.”
Small town girl
Growing up in Western New York, in a small town south of Buffalo, Danielle lived with her family in the same home from the day she was born until eight years ago when they all moved to Tennessee. “The town I grew up in was so small - we only had a jewelry store in the mall and two other shops. I think the lack of jewelry stores led me to look online and start there when I was old enough to buy jewelry. And online has always been my number one go-to when I want to buy, look at or write about/read about jewelry! It was only fitting that I create a space online for my passion.”
"The town I grew up in was so small - we only had a jewelry store in the mall and two other shops."
The sparkle, the allure, the rarity
Like lots of us, Danielle is a self-confessed magpie. But her love and appreciation for jewelry design is much more than surface deep. “I love everything about jewelry. The sparkle, the allure, the rarity. I love learning about designers - their stories, their passion and how it comes together to create their unique lines of jewels.” Her lust for all things sparkly started with antique jewelry; Danielle has always loved hunting for unique treasures that hold a fascinating story, and soon she wanted to know everything she could about them. “The learning came next; I would read anything and everything I could get my hands on about jewelry and then eventually I went to GIA and got my graduate Gemologist degree. For five years I appraised jewelry, with antique jewelry being my specialty.”
An outlet for her passion
Danielle’s enthusiasm for jewels and her endless talk of all things sparkly began to get tedious for those around her, and so she needed to create an outlet for her passion which would connect her with like-minded people. “At the time, I was dating someone who encouraged me to start a blog about jewelry because he was sick of me sending him long hyperlinks in his inbox everyday while he was at work, asking him to "check out this cool ring!". He thought my passion needed an outlet besides him and once I moved to Tennessee, where I knew no one, had no job and no car, I was able to concentrate and channel everything I had into finally exploring my passion for jewelry.”
"I was dating someone who encouraged me to start a blog about jewelry because he was sick of me sending him long hyperlinks in his inbox everyday while he was at work, asking him to "check out this cool ring!""
In 2008, Danielle set up Gem Gossip as a platform to explore and write about jewelry, whilst still working as a jewelry appraiser. “I never thought Gem Gossip would be my career, I started it thinking it would be fun to share my passion for jewelry with others that love jewelry and hoped to maybe personally connect with some people.” Eight years on and Danielle is one of the most influential jewelry bloggers in the world. “The blog that I started is now my career, I've gotten to travel the world and pretty much meet every person I talk to on a daily basis that I've connected with because of Gem Gossip. Some of my best friends have been readers of my blog since the very beginning.”
Taking the plunge from part-time to full-time blogger
Going from part-time to full-time blogger is no impulse decision. “It took a lot of planning, saving and good timing to make the transition from full time appraiser to full time blogger. When my email inbox became unbearable and the offers and ideas were too much to bear as a part-time gig during the nights and weekends, that's when I decided to make the move.”
"Sure, I like to feature rare, unattainable items like big diamonds every now and then, but I mostly focus on what I like and can afford."
Her relatable and approachable nature is one of the reasons Danielle’s blog has been so successful. “I talk and write about jewelry that is attainable, pieces I've purchased in my personal collection and only things I would purchase. Sure, I like to feature rare, unattainable items like big diamonds every now and then, but I mostly focus on what I like and can afford. I also thoroughly enjoy connecting with people who read my blog, so I love carrying on conversations with collectors and helping people find pieces for their collection.”
Life behind the screen
Travelling the world meeting renowned jewelry designers and discovering new collections is a huge perk of the job. “One of my favorite memories was in London visiting Wartski, Stephen Webster and Jessica McCormack, places I could only dream about one-day visiting happened all on the same day!”
"My office is where I spend most of my time, so I decorate it with everything I love to collect, including old gold frames and antique gold mirrors. They cover two entire walls.”
But when she’s not travelling to meet designers or crashing a new city for her #JewelryRoadTrip series, Danielle is working on her blog from her home in Nashville, which she shares with the three stars in her life: her husband and her two Chihuahuas, Chiefy and Frankie. Like most of us, a typical working day for Danielle begins sat at her desk, battling with her overflowing inbox and planning new posts. “I spend a lot of time planning the next photoshoot, getting inspiration and pulling outfit ideas, and also planning the next #JewelryRoadTrip. My office is where I spend most of my time, so I decorate it with everything I love to collect, including old gold frames and antique gold mirrors. They cover two entire walls.”
Her most sentimental piece of jewelry
When we asked Danielle what her most cherished piece of the jewelry was, we had a very strong suspicion it was going to be a ring, but it turned out to be two. “I’m very sentimental when it comes to jewelry, so easily my favorite piece of jewelry I own has a special meaning. My grandparents’ wedding bands are my favorite, each one is inscribed with their initials and their wedding date, October 21, 1956. They were married in Italy, immigrated to America separately and have a beautiful love story. I wore both bands on my wedding day, which I shared with my grandparents, October 21, 2015.”
"The only time that I think Gem Gossip would cease to exist would be if I ever stop loving jewelry and I honestly cannot stop thinking about jewelry even if I try hard, so that will never happen!”
Being vulnerable, selling antiques and her inability to stop thinking about jewelry
Jewelry has been the gateway to so many exciting and memorable opportunities for Danielle, but a defining moment of her journey was when blogging became her career. “The highest point in my career might have to be the day I left my full time appraising job and took the plunge of self-employment. It is one of the scariest and most humbling moments anyone can experience, but it puts you out there and the vulnerability of it is inspiring in itself. I remind myself everyday of that moment.”
In addition to working on her #JewelryRoadTrip project, her ‘Show me your rings’ feature, and continuing to report on new collections from global designers, Danielle makes time to satisfy her love for hunting and hoarding antiques. Her Instagram shop (@shopGEMGOSSIP) is dedicated to selling vintage pieces she finds on her travels. “I have found it very rewarding to sell jewelry, which is something I didn't think a few years ago. I've been putting a lot of time and energy into sourcing amazing antique pieces and selling them. It's fast, easy and changing the way most people buy antique jewelry. I truly love helping others find that perfect piece for their collections and this is a great way to do just that!”
Now approaching 150k followers on Instagram, Danielle’s presence in the online jewelry world doesn’t appear to be faltering and she has no intention of going anywhere. “The only time that I think Gem Gossip would cease to exist would be if I ever stop loving jewelry and I honestly cannot stop thinking about jewelry even if I try hard, so that will never happen!”
Danielle's top picks on Jewelstreet