The first time I met jewelry influencer Liza Urla, founder of the Gemologue blog and popular Instagram feed, she was wearing a custom-made headdress covered in pearls that ascended into a fetching funnel shape above her face and wrapped around the sides and back of her head, affecting what might have passed for the world’s most elegant scuba suit.
The globe-trotting influencer, brand consultant, writer, and model loves a statement—both in the flesh and in the beautiful jewelry she curates for her website and multiple social media pages, which collectively have garnered her a hefty fan following (her Instagram alone has 135,000 followers).
And now Urla, who began her mini-empire by documenting fine jewelry in street-style photos, has released a book, Gemologue: Street Jewellery Styles & Styling Tips, that gathers hundreds of fun street-style, studio, and candid photos Urla’s both snapped and starred in for Gemologue over the past nine years.
The thick paperback tome, published by ACC Art Books, is almost completely composed of photos that are presented full-bleed (printed all the way to the edges). Those are juxtaposed with a handful of tips from Urla, laid out in small text chunks on otherwise blank white pages.
One such tip reads: “Even if you wear delicate and subtle jewellery on a daily basis, do give chunky jewellery a chance. Just one bigger piece can add a layer of playfulness to your jewellery style and make your presence more noticeable.”
Another counsels: “Organize your jewellery. Invest in a quality jewellery box with lots of little open compartments, which will help you organize jewellery in the most efficient way.”
All in all, the book is a stylish showcase of fine jewelry ranging from the entry-level to the exclusive—styled and worn in creative ways.
We caught up with Urla over email to chat about why she wanted to transfer her digital persona to paperback.
JCK: What made you want to do a book of your street-style photos and looks?
Liza Urla: Back in 2009, jewelry designers did not allow people to photograph their pieces, as the digital world was still unchartered territory for them. In a way, Gemologue started as a beautiful anthology of jewelry street-style images, as I could not photograph jewelry brands directly. Gemologue: Street Jewellery Styles & Styling Tips captures the jewelry journey I have been sharing with my community over all these years. It is a unique book, because it is the only book in the world right now solely about jewelry street style. When I started my blog, it was also the only blog focusing on jewelry street style rather than fashion. Over time I have accumulated thousands of photos—so it [felt] natural that I publish this book!
What’s been the feedback from readers so far?
I’ve had great feedback about the book, with people saying that this is the only book that shows how to wear jewelry, how to mix pieces in a modern way.
How did you choose and edit the photos?
I selected photos that have been taken for Gemologue over the last nine years. The main objective of the book is to appeal to a young audience through eye-catching and inspirational photographs, so that they find their jewelry style and do not perceive jewelry as boring or unnecessary.
We live in a world where jewelry competes with experiences such as traveling and other luxury products such as bags, shoes, and gadgets. With this in mind, I selected photos that would appeal to a younger crowd, as well as to jewelry lovers or knowledgeable jewelry collectors. I have also picked photos that show different jewelry styles, from antique to gothic.
In order to put together my book, I went through my jewelry photography archives dating all the way back to 2009. It brought back so many wonderful memories from trips I was fortunate to take around the world—from South America, the Middle East, and all the way to Asia. For the first time since starting Gemologue almost 10 years ago, I was able to present to my followers and jewelry lovers around the world with something tangible and made with love.