I think I somehow met Becky Stone on Pinterest, of all places. An early adopter of the social media platform perfect for showing off (and drooling over) jewels, Stone—née Cole, her moniker then—was positively killin’ the Pinterest game, showing an obvious flair for digital. Once her Diamonds in the Library blog was introduced, it didn’t take long to catch the attention of jewelry lovers and industry players alike, and the rest is, as they say, history. As Stone continues to delight with her unique voice and take on designs new and old, she’s the perfect person to talk to about Instagram Stories, dealing with manicure-shaming trolls (ugh), and, obviously, fabulous jewelry. Read on.
JCK: With nearly 90,000 followers, @diamondsinthelibrary is, without a doubt, a favorite among many jewelry hounds. How did you get your start?
Becky Stone: Five years ago, I was managing a publication of banking regulations for the Federal government and the creative part of my soul was dying. I wanted a side project that I could get excited about, one that would help me remember that writing could be fun. I liked the idea of starting a blog to keep track of my discoveries as I delved deeper into the world of jewelry, but I worried it would be presumptuous of me to launch a website dedicated to a subject that I was only beginning to learn about. I thought I might be better off starting a book blog instead. My entire education had focused on books; I had confidence there.
Eventually, I decided I didn’t need to choose: Why not do both books AND jewelry? That way I’d have one subject where I knew what I was talking about, and one that would lead me towards new discoveries. Because I was only trying to make myself happy, I accidentally gave myself the lasting gift of a blog that is exactly what I want it to be. I’ve tried to stay true to that genuine spirit through the years, even as my audience grew and evolved and I started to feel pressure to be more like one thing or another.
JCK: The angle of Diamonds in the Library is so unique because it combines an array of incredible jewelry—with an emphasis on antique and vintage—with your love for books. Have you noticed, over time, that you’ve dedicated more time to one love over the other? Are you still finding the time to read as many books as, say, three years ago?
Stone: I definitely read as many books as I did three years ago, but I write about them on the blog much less. When I do write about books, they’re more likely to be jewelry books.
I think what it comes down to is that Diamonds in the Library used to be my hobby and now it’s my work. Even when you love your work, you need a hobby. When I read and don’t review the books on my blog, it feels like an escape. When I read with an eventual book review in mind, I still enjoy myself, but it changes the tone of the experience.
To put it another way: I read 178 books in 2016. I wrote full Diamonds in the Library book reviews for 14 of them.
Rings by Margery Hirschey, photo by Becky Stone
JCK: We’ve got to acknowledge your nails—they always look good, and are arguably just as big a part of your Instagram account as the jewelry. Do you have a thought process as to the colors you choose for your manicures, or do you just wing it?
Stone: Haha, thank you! Sometimes I think very carefully about my manicure and sometimes I wing it. I got the idea for my pink ombre Vegas mani this year from a photo I saw on Instagram while waiting in line at the salon five minutes earlier.
JCK: Speaking of manicures: I had someone criticize mine on Instagram, on a photo I posted during JCK Las Vegas. It’s so silly and small, but against my better judgment, it bothered me! Has this ever happened to you, and what’s your advice for dealing with rude people on social media?
Stone: Oh no! I’m sorry, that’s so rude. Please know that that happens to me ALL THE TIME. People love to hate on other people’s nails.
My response to Instagram rudeness tends to vary depending on my mood. My standard reply is, “If you don’t enjoy my content, you’re welcome to unfollow me.” But if they’re extra rude or I’m having a bad day or if they’re the sixteenth person that week to go too far, I can’t guarantee what will happen. For example, the woman who told me that my hand looked like a rake and I should cut off my fingers did not get my standard polite response.
JCK: Same question, different topic: Reposting. Your photos are not only amazing, but you manage to find exceptional jewelry to share—it’s only a matter of time before those pictures are shared by others. What are your feelings about this, and how do you handle reposters who don’t credit you?
Stone: When reposts are done properly, they’re a sincere compliment and an opportunity for exposure. When they’re done poorly, they’re intellectual property theft.
If I’m not properly credited in a repost, I speak up. First, I’ll leave a friendly comment saying something like, “I’m glad you like my photo, but you forgot to credit me in this repost. Please either edit the caption to credit me as the photographer or delete this post.”
The next step is a DM, which will still be polite, but a little more insistent. If comments and DMs are ignored, I submit a formal Copyright Infringement Report to Instagram.
As long as you credit me in your repost—clearly, with text like “Photo by @DiamondsintheLibrary”—and tag my account so that anyone who likes the reposted photo has the option of following the tag through to my profile, I’ll be a happy camper.
Opal necklace via Pat Saling, photo by Becky Stone
JCK: Everyone has a different definition of success when it comes to social media: What is yours?
Stone: Big numbers are nice, but I think true social media success is when you connect with your ideal audience and consistently produce content that delights them. One of my recent videos from JCK LUXURY went viral, which was thrilling, but I actually get more satisfaction when 50 of my regular readers get really excited in my comment section than when 100,000 or so strangers double tap a photo.
JCK: What is your favorite social media platform and why?
Stone: My favorite thing right now is Instagram stories. I sometimes feel a lot of pressure to post only the best things in the perfect way on my main Instagram page, and that gets tiring. I find myself using Insta Stories to share silly little things from my day, make puns, [and] reveal my makeup-free face even when I have a big zit (I had an impressive post-Vegas chin monster). Stories are a fun, low-key way to interact with my audience—the impermanence makes it feel less important to get everything right.
Opal peacock necklace by Robert Pelliccia, photo by Becky Stone
JCK: First site you check in the morning?
Stone: Instagram! But I’m trying to get in the habit of waiting until after breakfast to open it up, in order to give myself a little quiet time before I plug back into the digital world.
JCK: Your feelings on Pinterest: Do you use it? If yes, in what capacity?
Stone: I’ve actually been pinning jewelry on Pinterest longer than I’ve been blogging about jewelry. Pinterest was sort of my gateway drug into the world of learning about jewelry online. It’s how my first readers found me.
I spend less time on Pinterest than I used to, but I still put in a fair amount of effort to keep it up-to-date. That’s partly because my website gets a lot of traffic from Pinterest, and partly because I find it very satisfying to organize things. And that’s what Pinterest is, at its core: a way to organize information.
JCK: Snapchat or Instagram Stories?
Stone: I used to put more public content on Snapchat, but now it’s mostly a tool for sharing silly moments with my IRL nearest and dearest. And we’ve already talked about my passion for Insta Stories.
JCK: What are your five favorite Instagram accounts to follow—jewelry or non?
Stone: I’m going to go with nonjewelry, to keep things fresh!
@advancedstyle: If you’re not familiar with this one, you should follow it right now. It makes me think that I can’t wait to be older so that I can wear whatever I want, and then I remember that I don’t have to wait.
@haikuhijinks: This is my mom’s IG dedicated to her parrot, Haiku. Haiku used to chase me around the house trying to bite my toes, but we’re on much better terms these days.
@dailymini: This is a whole Instagram account dedicated to miniature things. I love it to a degree that I cannot fully explain.
@bookriot: Book Riot is my book nerd home. The Book Riot IG is great for book recs, readerly events, and general awesomeness.
@Potcakeplacek9rescue: Mr. DitL (Editor’s note: That’s mister Diamonds in the Library, for those of you not familiar with the blog lingo) and I visited Potcake Place on our honeymoon. They have a program that lets visitors adopt a puppy for the afternoon. We spent a day at the beach with a sweetheart named Thelma, and I originally followed the account so that I could make sure Thelma found a forever home (she did!). I’m allergic to dogs, so I can never adopt one myself, but I love ogling the puppies.
Rings from Lowther Antiques, photo by Becky Stone
JCK: Social media pet peeve?
Stone: Sharing other people’s images without giving credit. DON’T DO IT.
Also, I also think it’s polite to wait at least 24 hours after a great photo goes up on IG before you repost it. When you repost right away, you divert attention from the original post. If an image is going to go viral, let it do so on the page of the person who created it before you borrow it.
JCK: And finally, for a virtual “cheers:” Your favorite cocktail?
Stone: Bourbon on the rocks, please! Angel’s Envy, Basil Hayden, and Blanton’s are a few of my favorites.