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Gem Gossip: On The Rocks at Barneys

Danielle Miele of Gem Gossip is the ultimate jewelry aficionado. When we consider who ushered in jewelry as a trend on social media, this Nashville-based lady is top of mind. She launched her blog in 2008 without any formal jewelry experience, and since, it has become an encyclopedic destination for the industry and vintage jewel fans alike. Trust us: her knowledge, especially of stones, surpasses even some of the most seasoned experts and editors.

In addition to her blog, Danielle is a graduate gemologist and appraiser of vintage and estate jewelry. Over the past ten plus years, Danielle has built an esteemed following and covetable collection. A pioneer in the space, she has cultivated a dynamic and bold sense of style that perfectly matches the colorful statement pieces in her repertoire.

We were thrilled to play host to the sweet Southerner on her first trip to Barneys. Perusing the fine jewelry section and Co-op and over cocktails at Freds, we learned that IRL Gem Gossip shines just as bright as on screen. -Jenna Wise for The Stone Set

Tell us about your love of collecting jewelry and journey to running Gem Gossip.
I’ve always loved jewelry—I think I was born with this love. I went from buying rings off QVC at the age of nine to reading about gemstones for fun while in high school. I never thought I could turn this passion into a career, so I went the safe route when attending college and studied elementary education. It wasn’t until a move to Nashville that shook up everything I’ve ever known, bringing me to a town I where I knew no one, with no job and no car, to finally catapult me into my love for jewelry. That’s when I started my blog Gem Gossip, as a way to share my love and hold myself accountable to new things I was learning about vintage and antique jewelry.

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What are your favorite stones/gems and pieces of jewelry? What are the elusive pieces you’re forever hunting for?
I actually don’t wear the same jewelry every day—to me, that’s like wearing the same outfit two days in a row. Instead, I choose my jewels based on what outfit I’m wearing, my mood or what I’m doing that day. I just open my jewelry box and whatever I gravitate toward is usually what I’ll wear. Some days I can come up with some pretty unique ring combinations and I document it all on my Instagram page.

I’m forever hunting for vintage Native American jewelry done in yellow gold, charms for my charm collection and opals that captivate me. Whether I’m shopping at an antique shop in a small town or a big jewelry show in Vegas or Miami, the thrill of the hunt is my favorite part of collecting.

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What are you wearing and why are you drawn to each piece?
For jewelry, I mostly am drawn to cool colors like greens and blues. I absolutely love emeralds and I think Judy Geib and Irene Neuwirth have a knack for showcasing this earthy gemstone in the best way possible. I had to include a vintage piece in my jewel picks and Mahnaz Collection continually curates some of the best out there. This necklace is such a statement-maker. And opals are my favorite gemstone—if you ever heard or thought that they bring you bad luck if you wear them and they are not your birthstone, I’m here to tell you otherwise!

I love texture when it comes to clothing and accessories. Feathers are everything to me—these pants are so good! Sheer tops are usually my go-to when shopping…I think they are timeless and can be worn throughout the year.

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How does living in Nashville influence your personal style?
Nashville is pretty laid-back and I think that infiltrates every aspect of life, including style. I’ve had a pair of vintage snakeskin booties even before I lived in Nashville, so I feel like I’ve always had a little country in me. For the record, I don’t own a cowboy hat but I am known to rock a bolo tie.

What was your first time at Barneys like?
You know in the Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy wakes up after the tornado and her world is in color…and it is beautiful and magical? That’s how I felt when walking into Barneys on Madison Avenue for the first time. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, so seeing eight floors of the most luxurious clothing, shoes, bags, sunglasses and jewelry seemed unreal to me. Freds is simply iconic and in a perfect world, I would eat lunch there everyday.

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What jewelry and clothing is on your fall/winter must-have list?
I buy a new coat every fall/winter and I really look forward to that purchase. This year I’m going with a velvet hunter green puffy coat. As for jewelry, layering necklaces continues to be a trend that I’m actually into, so adding a unique chain or chunky choker is what I’ll be doing.

Describe your dream vacation.
My dream vacation would revolve around jewelry, so whether that is pearl diving in Tahiti or jewelry shop hopping in Ponte Vecchio, Italy, jewelry has to somehow be involved.

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Share something about yourself that people wouldn’t know.
I competed in beauty pageants growing up. My mom and I traveled all across the Northeast and I loved every minute of it. I learned valuable lessons on confidence, self-esteem and hard work. I would make up my own routines and practice, while my mom designed and made my outfits and costumes I wore by hand. I even designed my own dress when I was older.

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What have you learned running your own business?
I think I learn something new each day, so that’s a tough question to answer! I guess in general, I would say practicing gratitude on a daily basis. Anytime I feel like I’m losing motivation or need a boost, I like to remember the early days of Gem Gossip—how I started, why I started and when I had seven views on my website and I was SO happy about that!

Complete the sentence: Diamonds are a ____________.
“Diamonds are a rare phenomena.” I’ve been working with Real is Rare and the Diamond Producers Association and learning lots of interesting facts about diamonds, like how every gem-quality diamond ever polished in the world would not even fill a double-decker bus. That’s crazy to me.

Photography by Emerald Carroll for The Stone Set

This story is in partnership with Barneys New York.

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