Long before Instagram Shop was even a mere thought, the concept of dropping a few thousand dollars on a luxury item via social media seemed far-fetched. Why would you trust someone you don’t know to sell you a diamond ring or an emerald necklace without being able to try it on or even inspect those stones in-person? Now, it seems so run-of-the-mill that shoppers don’t even think twice about acquiring a sparkling new bauble via DM.
It’s all about antique and vintage jewelry.
And we’re not just talking about brand new gems. Take, for example, Ella Potts who runs @themoonstoned, an antique and vintage jewelry destination. She can post a bejeweled vintage tiara — like something out of a real life Disney movie — that costs north of $20K on Instagram stories and reveal to her followers that it’s been sold in less than an hour. And naturally she does the same for simple Victorian rings and stunning charms, too.
There are certainly a few reasons why shoppers might be more inclined now more than ever to use social media to discover their next diamond-studded purchase. For one, the experience of buying jewelry has become much democratized for the casual shopper, as fine jewelry is no longer attainable for only the super rich. With the advent of the demi-fine category, which is the category that falls between cheap costume jewelry and super expensive fine jewels, treating yourself to a quality new bauble doesn’t have to be quite a massive investment. Not to mention, perusing from the comfort of your own iPhone allows for easy research into whether 14K or 18K gold is better, how that ring actually looks stacked on a finger and if that tennis bracelet can be found elsewhere for a lower price. In fact, 30% of consumers said they purchased more jewelry during the pandemic than before, according to a study shared by JCK Online, and 41% of those surveyed admitted that they wanted jewelry that could be shown off during a video call.
So, as you might’ve expected, plenty of direct-to-consumer darlings have established their place as the IG destination for trendy jewels crafted from recycled gold and dotted ethically sourced diamonds. Mejuri is the most notable of that bunch, with just over 1 million followers and a feed that’s heavily reliant on user generated content mixed in with puppy memes and professional pics of celebs in their designs. If you were wondering if this brand is the Glossier of the demi-fine jewelry world, you’d be 100% correct.
And don’t forget about engagement rings…
The Clear Cut is another internet-forward jewelry brand, best-known for their engagement rings, founded in 2018 by the now-married duo, Olivia Landau and Kyle Simon. Their approach to selling jewelry via DM, FaceTime, Zoom and iMessage was way ahead of the curve, as they were interfacing with customers around the globe long before Covid made that form of selling a necessity. They landed on the Forbes 30 under 30 in 2020 for this approach and maintain that 70 to 80% of their clients still don’t even see their order until it’s totally complete—and in their hands.
But it’s not just how brands are selling on the web that are leading to followers—and, of course, sales. Despite everyone who works at Instagram claiming that no one actually looks at the grid, developing a signature aesthetic has helped plenty of brands in this category take off, including Ring Concierge. Head to their IG to devour what can only be described as jewelry porn. We’re talking about multiple gumball-sized engagement rings stacked on one finger. Or a wrist encircled with no less than 10 diamond-encrusted bracelets. Prefer to see tangles of multi-colored tennis necklaces layered with dainty chain designs? Or perhaps earlobes that are absolutely littered with studs and hoops and ear cuffs? The celeb-beloved brand, The Last Line, has just what you’re looking for.. Want hyper delicate jewels with a fine dusting of diamonds and a definite Brooklyn vibe? Head to Catbird, the Williamsburg mainstay for twee engagement rings.
Designers turned influencers turned IG shops.
However, the queen of rainbow jewelry—and also sharing her lavish lifestyle with her followers—is Stephanie Gottlieb. The jewelry designer and business owner not only puts her jewels on display for all 411K followers to devour, she’s become the face of her brand while racking up partnerships with the likes of Venus et Fleur and Vivrelle, plus collabs with sparkly shoe brand Mystique, knitwear label Carolyn Rowan and a beachwear range with Pitusa.
The reason for Gottlieb’s success surely includes tactics like embracing Reels to show off new collections and using her Hamptons house and her various envious closets (and drool-worthy office) as backdrops for showing off her current favorite gems. But there’s also the fact that she takes the time to answer questions from her followers to educate them on why they should opt for a certified versus a non certified diamond or why certain settings allow a stone to appear more sparkly than others.
It’s really that dedication to a very visual education that makes Instagram such a destination for jewelry shoppers, wherever they are in their purchasing journey and whatever their budget might be. A fave of many is Will’s Notebook, an account created by Will Kahn, contributing editor at Town & Country mag. Just as his handle suggests, Kahn places stunning gems on a notebook and scrawls out notes on each piece. He might be rounding up the jewels that would make a great gift for a 30th birthday or digging deep on just one standout piece, highlighting its most notable features and adding a little background on its inspiration. The Adventurine, an online mag created by former InStyle editor Marion Fasel offers the same insider look at jaw-dropping gems, though mostly of the purely aspirational sort with a nod to the megawatt styles worn on the red carpet.
But perhaps one of the most fun corners of jewelry Instagram is the section where antique and vintage hunters put their wares up for display. While previous generations might’ve had to go on an actual hunt to find the perfect victorian-era brooch, they can now just tap through The Moonstoned’s IG stories on any given Wednesday. And those looking for ‘80s and ‘90s gold chunky rings with diamonds that cost around $1K can check out Noah Noah Shop’s IG Lives. Gem Gossip is a literal hidden gem for a really diverse collection of charms, tiny rings (as in, they’re made for small fingers) and other finds that usually won’t break the bank. Most of these sellers will give first dibs to whatever follower sends their address and payment through, while others are totally ok with figuring out a layaway payment plan. In a way, it modernizes a totally old fashioned way of shopping.Let’s Talk