3 Things That Should Be on Your Radar This Week

1. Coronet Diamonds ups the social media ante

Last August, I wrote about Coronet Diamonds’ savvy, social media-centric approach to selling diamond jewelry to self-purchasing women. I was impressed by how the company had placed the goal of sharing images of its jewelry front and center, to seemingly great effect. On Friday, I had lunch with Shawn Feinblum, Coronet’s vice president of sales and marketing, and his dedicated team of marketers, and they gave me a glimpse of their new branding campaign—debuting today—making clear that Coronet is upping the ante once again.

Dubbed “Love U More,” the campaign combines photography and 15-second video clips (optimized for sharing on Instagram)—shot by the father-and-son photography duo Moshe and Eddie Brakha, aka BrakhaX2—in a targeted effort to reach a younger, more fashion-driven audience.

The nine images—sassy, sexy, and stylish—depict a gorgeous group of 20-something girls enjoying a night out. But there’s a twist: “We never feature the eyes,” says Eddie Brakha. “We want the centerpiece to be the jewelry. A lot of times, we see advertising with a beautiful face and you say, ‘That is not me.’ But with this campaign, you’re immediately drawn to the center of the image—the jewelry.”

Photo courtesy of Coronet Diamonds

Photo courtesy of Coronet Diamonds

To ensure that women around the country can purchase that jewelry, Coronet has based its wholesale strategy on a clicks-to-bricks model that drives traffic from its website to retail stores carrying the line (its accounts number 56, for the time being, including Reed’s Jewelers in Wilmington, N.C.; Rogers Jewelry in Modesto, Calif.; and Moody’s Jewelry in Tulsa, Okla.).

Now for the fun part—getting the word out. Feinblum and team have planned a robust social media attack, using Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook to push a popular array of pieces—the $2,150 Rhea earrings, for example—to their legion of followers. If you don’t believe me, check out @CoronetDiamonds on Instagram, where the brand boasts 13,000 followers (!).

That number is likely to go up this week, thanks to a social media contest Feinblum has devised for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. In an email, he explained the parameters:

“You and a friend can win $1,000 each on Coronetdiamonds.com by telling us how unique your friend is and why she rocks! Simply tag your friend and #LoveUmore to be entered. Multiple entries are encouraged, most creative wins!!!

Example @VictoriaG #LoveUmore because you eat breakfast for lunch!”

“Again,” Feinblum wrote. “It’s about a social conversation!”

It’s refreshing to see a jewelry company with a conventional heritage—the Coronet brand is manufactured by Hong Kong’s Aaron Shum Jewelry and distributed in the United States by Los Angeles–based Carl K. Gumpert—leading the charge in social. But it’s even more refreshing to see them do it in a way that embraces everything millennials are looking for in a jewelry brand—affordability, accessibility, and fashion—without alienating its best clients, the retailers.

2. Victoire de Castellane’s art-jewelry exhibition at New York City’s Gagosian Gallery

Read an interview with Victoire de Castellane, the inimitable Paris-based creative director of Dior Haute Joaillerie, and you’ll no doubt come away thinking she’s a cool chick with a fierce talent. To understand just how cool and fierce, venture to Manhattan’s Upper East Side this week or next and take a stroll around the Gagosian Gallery, where de Castellane is showing a series of independent jeweled artworks collectively labeled Precious objects. They include pieces from a 2011 exhibition dubbed Fleurs d’exces as well as brand new work that forms a series called animalvegetablemineral.

A compelling statement on jewelry’s worthiness as art, the 2014 collection takes up where de Castellane left off in 2011, when she showed the irreverent, elaborate, technically masterful series of jewels in Fleurs d’excès at Gagosian Paris. Whereas that exhibition used ornate lacquer and gem-set flower jewels to tell the story of 10 women, each under the influence of a distinct, mind-bending substance, animalvegetablemineral feels at once tamer and more ambitious.

The 20 or so pieces in the current exhibition, which concludes April 6, are stunning, wearable works of art anchored by the finest gemstones in the marketplace (limited to diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and the designer’s favorite gem, opals). But de Castellane has done them one better by pairing them with monumental faceted silver pedestals.

“Thinking through the paradox of wearable jewels, which when not worn are hidden away from view, de Castellane has conceived rings, bracelets, and necklaces as components of small tabletop sculptures for perpetual contemplation,” according to the exhibition press release.

If you’re in the city, and you’d like to see one of the most talented and singular artists working in the medium of jewelry today, run, don’t walk, to Gagosian. You won’t regret it. (I myself am headed there on April 4, catching it in the nick of time on my swing through New York post-Basel, which leads me to my next item…)

3. Baselworld+

If spring has sprung, it must be time for Baselworld, the luxury watch and jewelry fair that takes over the Basel convention center in Switzerland every March or April. My annual pilgrimage begins Wednesday morning, March 26, when I fly from L.A. to Zurich, putting me at the show Thursday afternoon, where I’ll kick off four ritualistic days of ogling watches, seeing old friends, and eating white asparagus.

It’s no secret that lots of long-time diamond and jewelry exhibitors have left the show in recent years, pushed out by Baselworld’s increasingly exorbitant booth fees (which have given the impression that organizers would like to divest their show of any companies that aren’t global watch and jewelry brands). So it should come as no surprise that a couple of satellite shows have sprung up to accommodate the exodus.

The first of these is the Diamond Show, which takes over Basel’s iconic Markthalle building, located near the Basel SBB train station, starting Thursday, March 27. Owned and operated by the Rapaport Group, the show will be open on Thursday and Friday, March 27 and 28, as well as Sunday and Monday, March 30 and 31, to the trade, as well as private collectors and investors. (The show will close on Saturday, March 29, in observance of the Jewish Sabbath.)

With some 60 exhibitors, all of them major diamond manufacturers focused on loose diamonds and jewelry, the show is poised to set an intriguing single-story precedent, and I’m excited to pay a visit. It’ll be my first stop in Basel—not the least because my dear friend Alissa Goren is the show director.

Also entering the Basel fray is UBM, the organizer of the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair. For the first time, the company is staging a European jewelry fair, this one in Freiburg, Germany, from April 1 to 4, overlapping with Baselworld, which concludes April 3. The two cities are separated by 45-minute drive, and several members of the JCK team—including senior editor Jennifer Heebner and publisher Mark Smelzer—will make the journey.

It’s hard to know what impact these shows will have on the behemoth that is Baselworld. But the fact that they’re happening at all suggests a healthy marketplace driven by competition to reach retail buyers. May the best show(s) win!

This blog was updated Mar. 31 to reflect the full title of Victoire de Castellane’s current exhibition at New York City’s Gagosian Gallery.