Don’t Skip Gem Breakfast—This Retailer Is Selling Lots of Engagement Rings



When I heard Catherine Cason speak at a New York City Jewelry Week panel discussion last fall, I absorbed all her comments with interest, but this was the one that really got me listening:

I can sell a $5,000 ring in 30 seconds on Instagram.

I knew the San Francisco–based founder of the media brand and retail site Gem Breakfast (aka @gembreakfastdid not intend to be taken literally, but still, I was curious to know what ring styles were performing well, how much she was selling them for, and how quickly she was moving them.

So I checked in with Cason after the holidays to get a read on all of the above in the hopes of sharing her insights with JCK readers. The 30-seconds thing may have been an exaggeration, but nevertheless Cason has clearly mastered the Instagram retail formula—and she may well have been instrumental in establishing it.

Because when you hear about mountains of engagement ring sales happening via Instagram, you think to yourself, “Really?” Gem Breakfast may well be the consummate example of where such transactions are taking place. As such, Cason has all sorts of valuable millennial intel, much of which supports what we recently reported in the magazine: The allure of the traditional round brilliant diamond solitaire is fading.

Below, Cason unpacks Gem Breakfast’s top three holiday season engagement ring sales—with Valentine’s Day coming up on Feb. 14, now might be a great time for a shift in strategy. As much as it may kill you to buy salt-and-pepper diamonds and their jolie-laide ilk, a word to the wise: You should probably have some in your back pocket.

KITE RUNNER

Emily Gill ring kite shaped diamond engagement ring
Monroe engagement ring with 2.66 ct. rose-cut, kite-shape diamond in 14k yellow gold and enamel, Emily Gill

Price: $5,296
Time to sell: 14 days
Backstory: We have worked with Emily Gill to sell many of her rings in 2018, and this was our largest and most expensive commission from her to date. This is an example of what we call “showcase pieces”—each one is totally unique, and Emily’s insane attention to detail has created a collectors’ frenzy among our clients. Emily had actually finished her final Gem Breakfast piece of the year, but then it sold so quickly—just two days!—that she got inspired to stay up one night and design Monroe for us in time to add it to our holiday edit.
Analysis: We attribute this ring sale to the fact that Emily Gill’s larger showcase pieces have a track record of selling superfast for us—the fastest engagement ring sale was 15 minutes. To drive engagement and excitement for the finished product, we worked with the designer to tease the journey of this ring on Instagram, cross-promoting it with behind-the-scenes videos and photos. 

BLACK MAGIC

Point No Point Sabine engagement ring
Sabine engagement ring with cushion-cut black diamond center stone and white diamond halo (1.75 cts. t.w.) in 14k white gold, Point No Point

Price: $2,995
Time to sell: 7 days
Backstory: The Seattle-based Point No Point studio is one of our top engagement ring vendors, and we bring in small collections of one-of-kind pieces from them a few times a year. They have a great attention to detail in their craftsmanship and are known for attractive price points, which make their products consistently good sellers for us.
Analysis: The majority of what we sell is around this $3,000 sweet spot, and with a total carat weight of 1.75, this ring delivered a lot of value to our customers. And it’s also perfectly on trend with its beautiful deep black center diamond and white diamond halo to add contrast and heft to the ring. Our client saw this ring when we posted it on Instagram Stories, messaged us instantly, and a few minutes later, it was sold.

CHAMPAGNE TOAST

Gem Breakfast bespoke Stella engagement ring
Stella engagement ring with 0.7 ct. champagne diamond in 18k pink gold, Gem Breakfast Bespoke

Price: $2,999
Time to sell: 37 days
Backstory: We created the style based on feedback we received from our followers. People were having trouble finding a classic solitaire style that felt lightweight and modern. For this particular ring, we sourced the stone by asking our followers to choose a favorite from among a few champagne diamonds in an Instagram poll and made the design using the one that won.
Analysis: We knew this engagement ring would sell because it was a response to a demand. Stella has become our signature on-trend super-skinny solitaire setting and is so popular that it’s achieved a cult following. We are currently sold out of our Stellas, but still I’m hearing often from our followers that, “I’m saving for a Stella” or “I’m gonna get a Stella in 2019.”  

Top: Make time for Gem Breakfast—the media brand/retail platform is selling engagement rings like hotcakes. Ring by Emily Gill.

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All That Glitters writer