The Jewelry Loupe celebrated its eighth anniversary last week. Almost simultaneously, a celebrity magazine is hitting newsstands in Bulgaria with a feature on “top jewelry bloggers” that includes yours truly and the amazing Danielle Miele of Gem Gossip. Somehow, as I close in on a decade of jewelry blogging, this seems like the perfect marker for the long, strange trip it’s been.
OK! is a celebrity lifestyle magazine based in the UK, in case you didn’t know, with 30 million readers worldwide and spinoffs in 20 different countries. (I looked it up.) The one in Bulgaria is spotlighting jewelry in the November issue. You’d have to travel to Bulgaria to pick up a copy though – and even if you did, you wouldn’t be able to read it. So, in honor of my blog’s birthday, I’m giving you a sneak peek and translation, with permission from the editor.
One thing I have always loved about self publishing on the web is the global reach. By the end of its first year, the Loupe was being read in nearly 70 languages. Today, after English, it’s translated primarily to Russian, followed by French, German, Chinese, and Spanish – in that order.
Earlier this year, this blog inspired contact from an editor at Vogue Ukraine – another country I’ve never seen. I’ve explored Poland and Greece and, last year, spent a couple weeks in Eastern Europe (Prague-Vienna-Budapest) but I’ve never been to Bulgaria. It delights me that today, in a country I’ve never seen, people are leafing through the pages of OK!, checking out the lives of the rich and famous, and finding… this.
Me and my hand, playing in the grass with some jewels and sharing a magazine spread with Margot Robbie. La la la. I laughed when I saw this. I thought it was awesome! But… well, life is funny, right? Like waking up and finding out your name is Kam Makkapmu in an alternate universe. (I’ve already given myself a Bulgarian nickname.)
First, let’s zoom in on those jewels I’m wearing, which may look familiar from recent posts: the boulder opal “Wonder Woman” bracelet by Michael Endlich and a ring by Anil K. Mehta for AG Gems of Paraiba tourmaline with rubies and diamonds.
And now, I’ll turn the table and, for the first time on this blog, take over the A in Q&A. A rough translation of the published interview:
OK! Editor: Describe yourself. What is your education and how did you get into this career?
I live in Philadelphia now but have lived many places. I have a degree in journalism but was earning a paycheck writing for a newspaper by the time I was 15. I took over as editor of a jewelry trade magazine a couple decades ago and have been covering jewelry for a living ever since. Jewelry is the perfect microcosm for everything I find interesting, from ancient civilization to supply and demand, functional art, fashion.
What part of your daily life is dedicated to jewelry and covering the topic on different web platforms?
Jewelry represents the bulk of my work and 90% of my social media, so it’s always in my face. A good chunk of my day is spent looking at and talking about jewelry, reading and writing about jewelry and, when I’m not home, trying on and photographing jewelry.
How would you describe the jewel of your dreams?
I’m drawn to handcrafted jewelry designed around unusual gemstones, but I most love jewelry that comes apart and transforms into multiple pieces. Van Cleef & Arpels did this really well in its mid-century heyday but I find amazing multi-use pieces by contemporary jewelers all the time. I’m impressed by the engineering and imagination behind these but also like that it makes jewelry more like fashion – something you can adapt and change to suit an outfit or your mood.
The jewel, worn by a celebrity, that impressed you the most?
That vintage Zip necklace Margot Robbie wore to the Oscars in 2015. I didn’t know who she was until she showed up in that 1950s Van Cleef signature. Robie wore one with a sapphire beaded tassel and a simple black dress that kept the spotlight on her jewels – as one should. I would have been even more impressed if she’d zipped it up and worn it as a bracelet to the after party.
Your favorite piece of jewelry to wear is…
A pair of granulated gold hoops designed by Carolyn Tyler and made by goldsmiths in Bali. They have that luscious sheen of high-karat gold and go with everything. I like that you have to look close to appreciate the detail and I’m impressed by anyone who does. They have an amazingly effective clip closure that’s easy to open but never opens accidently, so I keep them permanently in my ears when I travel. They’ve been all over the world with me.
Fashion blogging is a full industry now, why did you decide to choose jewelry as the primary subject of your blogging career?
When I launched The Jewelry Loupe in 2009, everybody I knew was like, you’re blogging about what? But it was a natural extension of how I was spending my time, I had amazing insider access as a long-time magazine freelancer specializing in the field, and I was sitting on a huge archive of material and contacts. I knew exactly what I wanted to do: use jewels as a visual lure, a window into this fascinating world. I wanted to tell a backstory so compelling it would intrigue even people who weren’t jewelry fanatics.
What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Check social media – Instagram, Facebook and Twitter first – and then email. I do this on my iPad before I get out of bed.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Travel to places I’ve never been, spend time in nature, and use my body – preferably all at once.
Do you go outside without wearing jewelry and if so when does this happen?
Never. I feel naked without something in my earlobes and on my fingers.
A jewel, in a few words, is…
…an extension of the wearer. Adorning the body is a primal human instinct.
Jewels pictured were from the AGTA Spectrum preview and appeared on my Instagram. Bracelet was designed by Michael Endlich for Pavé Fine Jewels and featured here. The ring is by Anil K. Mehta for AG Gems and featured here. My head shot is by Laurie Beck of Beck Photography.