Jennifer Heebner, the woman behind the JCK Style 360


Jennifer Heebner’s blog Style 360 might be one of the most widely-read jewelry industry blogs. I am sure we have all enjoyed her sense of humor and the variety of her topics. My curiosity led me to peek into her world; here is a small snapshot of Jennifer’s world.

Josette: Your bio summarizes it all; journalist, brand ambassador, market expert, and new product specialist for the fine jewelry industry.

What do you like the most about your job?

Jennifer: There are too many aspects to choose just one! I like keeping retailers abreast of the newest jewelry and trends for their stores and learning what their customers want, as well as interviewing designers and seeing their newest collections. I am especially happy when I find out that a retailer has connected with a designer who was featured on my Style 360 blog on That lets me know that I’m truly serving the interests of my readers. It’s also a great privilege to visit international shows like Baselworld in Switzerland and the sources of gems and jewelry—such as the Jewelmer golden pearl farms in the Philippines and Carrera y Carrera headquarters in Madrid—so I can let retailers know what might interest them if they can’t reach those places themselves. There are so many different aspects of my job—daily writing deadlines, market visits, trade shows, interviews, photo shoots—that I am always super busy and never get bored, that’s for sure!

Josette: Your blog is a platform to talk about trends, styles, new collections and designers. You attend national and international trade shows on a very regular basis. What are the most influential trends you are predicting for 2015?

Jennifer: To determine trends for the year ahead, I study the three Rs—Real Life, Red Carpet, and Runways. This means I consider what I’ve seen at trade shows (are designers using lots of pink gold, or has a new opal find led to an influx of opals in the market?), on the red carpet at major events, and on the fashion runways because the necklines and colors of clothing that designers use will impact the accessories that consumers wear. While my comprehensive annual trend forecast—12 Trends: The Annual List of What to Buy, Stock, and Sell in the Year Ahead—will publish online this year on Monday, Dec. 29, I can give you a little peek into my predictions: yellow gold, statement necklaces, and the color red per Pantone’s Color of 2015: Marsala.

Josette: A lot of us designers have opened flagship stores and built them to reflect our sense of style and design. Do you see this as becoming a trend?

Jennifer: This is an ongoing movement in industry. I noticed it upwards of 10 years ago when Single Stone opened their store on Mission Street in San Marino, Calif. Roberto Coin and David Yurman have been opening stores for even longer, and I remember when Tiffany & Co. stopped wholesaling their merchandise to retailers about 15 years ago so they could focus on opening more of their own stores. I think people are talking more about it lately because we’ve seen a new flurry of vendors, including Zina (and of course, Mark Patterson!), open shops.

Josette: I always like to ask this question: how did you get your start in the jewelry industry?

Jennifer: I moved into the jewelry category through my writing nearly 17 years ago. I took an editorial position at JCK magazine, and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made. So, I grew to love the category and product—not that it was all that difficult to appreciate—through writing, and now I enjoy my niche as a jewelry writer. More recently, I’ve branched out into consulting to help designers develop their lines, as well as writing for stores and designers to help them get their messages and stories out. Next, I’d love to connect more with consumers and help them build their fine jewelry collections and love of jewelry, in general.

Thank you Jennifer, It is an honor to have you on my blog and to share your knowledge with my followers.




Sunny S. Bond


I have been following you for a while and I am enamored with the path that you have taken. You have a great educational background and you are lucky to have started honing your craft at a very young age. I can only imagine how much experience you are getting and how much more you will have in a few years.

To me, you are part of what I call the “Gold Girls” – an exciting new generation of smart and talented women making their name in the jewelry industry along with Gem Gossip, Jewels du Jour, ByGoldGirl, and diamonds in the library.

Josette: As a consultant to the jewelry industry, what has been your most interesting assignment so far?

Sunny: I swear, I learn something new about Jewelry every single day, and I don’t think that will ever change. Working at an auction house was my dream for years, and it felt amazing to be living it.

Seeing the best of the best of anything is exhilarating, whether that’s at an auction preview, from a dealer, store, or in a museum.  I really feel that these treasures we wear everyday carry our energy and history.  Seeing a piece that has been worn and loved feels special and different then anything else.

Josette: How do you describe your work for LoveGold as a contributor?

Sunny: I get to meet some of the most amazing people and see the most incredible gold jewelry out there. My personal focus has always been Antique and Estate jewelry, so to see the immense variety of what’s new and modern and how people are making gold jewelry today, in addition to antique and estate, is incredibly exciting. Not to mention almost everyone I’ve met with and thru LoveGold has a heart of gold, no pun intended.

Josette: Which part of the jewelry industry is your favorite? Appraising? Designing or Redesigning? Buying? Consulting?

Sunny: Creating custom antique engagement rings and special occasion gifts is always the most rewarding. I love to search for settings and pieces that have been forgotten, possibly headed for the melt pile, and give them a new life. It’s the greatest form of recycling. I truly believe that these little treasures we wear on our bodies day after day carry energy, and when you wear an antique piece, you know it has a story, a history, something rich with love. To see something that’s been forgotten, or especially something that I’ve helped create, bring someone new so much joy and happiness is incredibly rewarding.

I also love jewelry history and being a student of it.  Any chance I get to attend a lecture, see a museum exhibit, or read a new jewelry book, I’ll take it!

Josette: Where do you see yourself in a few years?

Sunny: That’s so hard to say, but in Jewelry no doubt! This is and has always been my passion, from the time I was a little girl.  Living in the age of blogging has really brought me closer to a lot of my contemporaries, making me feel part of this amazing community of people with the same passion and interests. It’s always so inspiring to see what my jewelry friends are doing. It’s important to be true to yourself, have your own voice and perspective in everything that you do. I would love to just grow my little spot within the jewelry world and learn more everyday about these amazing little treasures I love so much.

Thank you for allowing me to feature you on my blog.  It has been a pleasure to share your enthusiasm with my followers; you are truly a breath of fresh air. Good luck with everything,  I can’t wait to meet you next time I am in New York!


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Halloween at Mark Patterson

Halloween is my favorite Holiday. I always carved several pumpkins and decorated the yard with spooky creatures. The entrance to our house was always appropriately scary. For years Mark and I made costumes for our kids – one year he shred apart one of his suits so Andrea could look like a zombie and another we made Ryan a giant cowboy hat to look like Yosemite Sam (from Looney Toons). Now our kids are all grown up and continuing the family tradition of creatively coming up with homemade costumes and carving pumpkins.

IMG_1475Ever since we opened our flagship store in Corona del Mar, CA we have enjoyed being part of the community and brought some of our old “tricks” with us – including a day of children painting Halloween scenes on local storefront windows to decorate the town!  Two weeks before Halloween our friend, Amy Senk, the founder of Corona del Mar Today, brings her children and their friends to paint all the storefront windows on our block. Here are some pictures from last year!

I hope you enjoy Halloween as much as we do, have a BOOtiful day!



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The Shine Blogs of INDESIGN and INSTORE Magazines


When Tanya Dukes agreed to an interview for my blog, who knew I would be so lucky to also have the opportunity to interview Trace Shelton, editor in chief at INDESIGN Magazine, and Eileen McClelland, managing editor at INSTORE Magazine. What a treat! My homework became harder as I also had to read and research Trace and Eileen.

I met Tanya very briefly during a Couture show at everybody’s favorite bar “The Tower Suite Bar”, and she had already heard of Mark Patterson Jewelry. I enjoyed meeting Tanya, but after a few drinks and an exhausting trade show we decided to continue the conversation another time and left it at that, until this interview.

I’ve asked many of my clients which trade publication is their favorite, and store owners such as Julie Thom of Von Bargen’s, Colleen Rafferty of Christensen and Rafferty and Steve Dalzell of Dalzell Jewelers all responded with INSTORE and INDESIGN.

Here is Trace Shelton Editor in Chief at INDESIGN Magazine.


Josette: You have succeeded in making INDESIGN one of the top magazines in our industry. How do you explain it?

Trace Shelton: I don’t think that “I” succeeded as much as our entire team has worked really hard to make INDESIGN into as much of a must-read for high-end jewelry retailers as INSTORE is.  We have a fantastic team of editors and art directors, both past and present, who have helped build INDESIGN from scratch seven years ago into the award-winning publication that it is today, not to mention our sales team, whose efforts have ensured that our magazine has thrived even as others in the space were closing up shop during the recession.  Whatever measure of success we’ve had lies in our team’s commitment to giving our readers the information they want and need to take their businesses to the next level.  Every year, we get together to take a hard look at the magazine to figure out how to improve on each feature, or if necessary, replace old sections with new features that are more useful to today’s fine jewelry retailers.  We talk about which issues are top of mind for our readers and how we can most effectively address those issues in the next year’s stories.  We’re limited to a certain number of pages, so we have to make every one count.  I think we’ve come up with a pretty good mix of sections that help all of our readers to buy better and sell more effectively in the realm of designer jewelry.

Josette: You wrote and published an interesting article on the power of the edit, what are your feelings regarding Twitter, and do you feel that reporting might one day be diluted by the limits of 140 characters?

Trace Shelton: I think that in many ways, reporting has already been affected by the medium of computer screens.  As information consumers, we now tend to want our information in bites that are easily digested in a few minutes; we don’t read the lengthy articles that used to be the norm for magazines.  Twitter is the perfect example of phenomenon.  Consumers can see the news almost in real time, but not in any depth.  So, they get “sound bite news” without being given a full explanation of whatever is being reported.  The other problem with reporting on Twitter is that because it’s immediate, you have reporters always trying to be first with the news, sometimes without checking their facts first.  And you have people who say things they later regret because it’s so easy to pop something off and hit the return key before fully thinking about the ramifications.  On the positive side, news writers are forced to be less long-winded than maybe they were in the past, and they have to cut to the heart of the matter and write as compellingly as possible in order to be noticed.  That’s one thing we try really hard to do in both INDESIGN and INSTORE, because we know our readers are busy and only have so much time to read trade magazines.  We want to be the ones to whom they give that time.

Eileen McClelland, Managing Editor at INSTORE magazine.


Josette: I love reading your posts, there is a lot of passion in your writing, and you give some of the best information to retailers and designers on various subjects. As a designer I can understand better how to market my jewelry in a store from the information I am reading. How do you go about choosing the subjects of your posts?

Eileen McClelland: Thank you! That’s very good to hear because for some reason, although I write many of the lead stories in INSTORE and a variety of other departments, I think blogging is the toughest part of my job. The idea is to use my reporting for the magazine to come up with blog content, but sometimes I’ll be working on one big project for several weeks and I don’t want to go on and on about it online. And in the case of our August issue, I will be reporting on America’s Coolest Stores for over a month — and that story needs to be kept under wraps until we announce the winners at the end of July. Still, most of my blog ideas do come from retailers whom I’ve interviewed for print articles on any number of topics. I also sit in on as many seminars with consultants and experts as I can at trade shows, both to learn more myself to inform my writing, and to share what I learn specifically with our core audience of retailers. INSTORE strives to provide news that retailers can use — not just theories — so we want our tips and advice to be as specific as they possibly can be. Occasionally I’ll also use my own shopping experiences as inspiration, such as the time I visited three separate independent furniture retailers, told them I needed to buy a dining room table and chairs very soon, gave them all of my contact information and never heard from any of the experienced sales people. I was shocked also because in one of those stores I nearly handed over my credit card, but the sales person failed to close the sale. It’s experiences like that that bring home for me how important it is for store owners to keep aware of what is going on in their businesses, and to make very sure they know exactly what kind of customer experience they are providing. And yes, it’s true that I have become very passionate about retail jewelry stores and the customer experience. And I’m glad to know that it shows.

Tanya Dukes, Senior Editor at INDESIGN and INSTORE..



Josette: You went to law school and worked in a law firm before starting in the luxury market. How did that journey begin?

Tanya Duke: Like a lot of (now former) lawyers, I was encouraged to go to law school because I showed a talent for writing as a student.  Of course, the reality of a legal career, especially at large corporate firms, often involves lots of 14-hour days sifting through boxes of documents in conference rooms. After my first few years as a junior lawyer I needed a creative outlet and took an evening continuing education class in magazine writing.  I would leave the office in the early evening, run to my class at The New School, then return to work at 9pm to put in a few more hours. It was an exhausting few weeks, but the process of generating ideas for different kinds of outlets, pitching them and then ending up with a published piece was so fascinating, and it revived my enthusiasm for writing. Each week editors from different magazines were guest speakers, and learning about their work planted a seed in my mind for another kind of career. Eventually, I decided to take a leap of faith and resigned from the firm to hunt for a writing job. On the journalism career site Ed2010 I saw a posting for an internship at the magazine at Elite Traveler and applied. I spent seven years there in total. It’s a luxury magazine, so I covered everything from hotels to food, but eventually focused mostly on fashion and jewelry. Before joining INSTORE and INDESIGN I was also Accessories Editor at Brides and a full-time freelance writer, and jewelry has been an important part of all of my editorial jobs.

Josette: As an editor you see a lot of jewelry, what do you focus on when looking at a collection – is it design, craftsmanship, or both?

Tanya Duke: Going on market appointments to see collections or having designers come to my office for deskside meetings is one of the most exciting parts of my job. Design and craftsmanship are inseparable, so I’m looking for both. And since most of what I see is fine jewelry that carries a certain price tag, I definitely have that expense in mind. Consumers have high expectations for fine jewelry, because of its price, and because it’s connected with emotional moments, whether that’s an engagement or a high school graduation. It’s the opposite of disposable fast fashion.

Sometimes designers, especially newcomers, create wonderful, fanciful pieces that are impossible to wear for more than a few minutes at a time because of design problems: the piece is too heavy, it snags, pokes or is otherwise uncomfortable. That’s why I’m constantly trying on pieces. It’s no good to just admire jewelry from a tray. I’d never want to hem in someone’s creativity; but it’s important that a designer’s manufacturing quality keeps pace with his or her imagination. That goes for seemingly simple, minimalist pieces too. In that case, the quality of the little details, like the elegance of a closure or the quality of the finishing stand out even more.

Thank you, Trace, Eileen and Tanya, I appreciate your time and am honored to have you on my blog!



Diamonds in The Library


Becky Cole has a passion for the bling. She researches it, reads about it, admires it and like all bling passionates, she dreams about it. Becky didn’t leave her day job for her passion, instead she spent countless hours at night learning and blogging about jewelry. In a short time her blog Diamonds in The Library is number 4 in’s Top 5 Fine Jewelry Blogs, and number 11 on the Top Antique Jewelry blogs. What an accomplishment!

Josette: “A lady with a love for literature and shiny things discusses books and bling.” What a great tagline that explains so well the name of your blog ‘Diamonds in the Library’! With an educational background in literature, what triggered your love for the “bling”?

Becky:Thank you, Josette! I’m so glad you like the tagline. I actually spent a lot of time wondering – especially in the early days – if it was too wordy or too silly, using the word “bling” instead of something more serious, but I’ve come to be very fond of it. It’s my mission statement and it’s true to my voice.

As for what triggered my love for the “bling,” I think the only answer to that is: jewelry itself. When I was little, I would hoard things like glitter and sequins in old Tic-Tac boxes. I also remember playing with my mom’s earring collection and using the earrings like dolls, making up little stories with them. And growing up in DC meant that I paid frequent childhood visits to the Natural History Museum’s gem and jewelry exhibit; it was my favorite part of every single museum trip.

 My taste for sparkle has grown along with me. Now instead of simply admiring the beauty of jewelry (although I definitely still do that, too) I’m conscious of the staggering amounts of craftsmanship and expertise that go into the creation of each tiny masterpiece, as well as the miracle of the fact that such glorious natural materials even exist in the first place. Add to that the sense of history and mystery inherent in antique jewelry, and there’s no way to resist.

Jewelry is the most fascinating marriage of science, art, and skill, and I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to think about it all day long.

Josette: My curiosity was first piqued when I saw your blog’s name at the bottom of an Art Deco pin on Pinterest. You blog mostly about period jewelry, and many period pieces I have seen on Pinterest have been pinned from your blog. You have a great following that awaits your new posts. What is your favorite topic and how do you pick the subjects of your posts?

Becky: That’s perfect, because my desire to blog actually started with Pinterest. My Pinterest account was the first place I really started keeping track of the jewelry I saw and loved, which awakened a hunger in me to learn more about the pieces I was admiring. I started blogging as a way to further record that knowledge and keep track of the pieces I saw and the observations I made about those pieces.

The origin of my blog – as a way to keep track of remarkable pieces (and books) – remains part of how I choose my subject matter today. It’s a mix of pieces that strike my fancy, pieces that are noteworthy and interesting to discuss, and pieces that I think my readers will love. I also like to feature jewelry stores and shows, as well as designers and brands that I think are exceptional.

My original love is antique and estate jewelry, as you mentioned, but I’ve also been featuring more and more contemporary designs and brands. There are so many fabulous jewelry minds out there creating right now, today, and I want to help share that beauty with the jewelry-loving public and support those innovators who deserve to have their work seen.

I also recently launched a series I’m calling “Treat Yo’self” (a Parks and Rec reference) that’s dedicated to jewelry under $300. Because it’s fun to admire auction record-breaking Chaumet tiaras and mind boggling museum pieces, but sometimes you want to see something pretty and decide to make it your own without needing to sell a kidney.

Josette: You have enrolled at GIA to become a Graduate Gemologist, to further your knowledge and education. How far would you like to take your blog once you become a G.G.?

Becky: I’d have a long way to go to become a G.G.; I’m starting out just with GIA’s Distance Learning classes. I don’t talk about it much on the blog, but I do have a full time job on top of blogging, reading, and admiring jewelry. Adding classes to that – especially now that I’m planning my wedding – is a pretty serious time commitment. I’m hoping to start my second online course soon, but it takes some forethought to fit it into my schedule. I certainly plan on pursuing further GIA education, but it’s going to be more of a tortoise’s pace than a hare’s.

It’s been just about two years since I started my blog, and I can tell you without hesitation that it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I’m so grateful that the jewelry industry has opened its doors and invited me into its glittering world. I’m already expanding into doing some freelance content creation for jewelry stores, and I’m really enjoying it.

I’m not sure exactly what the future has in store for me and for Diamonds in the Library, but I can’t wait to find out.

Becky your journey has just begun and I can’t imagine how awesome it will be. Thank you for allowing me to feature you on my blog and to introduce to all my followers!

Becky in a Coronet diamonds necklaceBecky in Oscar Heyman and Omi PriveThyreos Vassiliki tiara

Wood Firing Clay Sculptures

photoEvery year I take a 2 week hiatus from designing jewelry with my husband Mark and go wood fire my sculptures and some of my wares. Those wood firings have taken me from Peters Valley, NJ to Flagstaff, AZ by way of Las Vegas, NV. Over the years I have enjoyed each one of these firings, I have met countless artists, students who like me are hooked to a technique that is at the very root of civilization.

This was my second year wood firing at Northern State Arizona University in Flagstaff. Last year when I first pulled in the parking lot of the ceramic complex I couldn’t contain myself at the amount of wood kilns the school has. I was so happy to have made the 6.5 hours drive from California to fire my work with a car loaded with big sculptures.

I had a great learning experience, always very creative with some wonderful artists. The firing is a beautiful and long process. It is one of the oldest technique known to fire wares and sculptures.

My favorite part is when I peek into the kiln before opening it and see the bed of ash. I can’t tell you how awesome the results are, and how different they can be just by placing pieces in different parts of the kiln.

As a jeweler, and a potter I feel no different from the craftsmen who have always been around working with their hands. There is something about the pleasure of making something that can be very satisfying.Flagstaff_workshop046IMG_2048IMG_2050 IMG_2076 Flagstaff_workshop067 IMG_2092photoIMG_2145photophoto

Erika Winters


I never thought that my curiosity about jewelry blogs would have taken me so far. I have met and read and interviewed so many interesting people, all from different backgrounds with the same confluence – jewelry. After all, the art of adornment goes back to the prehistoric man when shell beads were made to be used as a personal ornament.

Erika’s journey into the world of jewelry is fascinating. It was triggered by her future husband’s proposal; she became enamored with the symbolism of the ring and desired to learn more about all of it – and the rest, as they say, is history.

Josette: You have been an editor at Price Scope for almost five years. I am a big fan of your forum; I think it’s a great platform for the consumer and Mark Patterson has been featured and debated there a few times. Have you ever participated in a forum discussion as an arbitrator? Have you ever been prompted to write a blog post on any discussions in your forum?

Erika: First, thanks for visiting the forum! Pricescope is a unique site in that we bring together jewelers and consumers for active discussions on our forum. Our aim is to facilitate this dialogue but without any promotion from jewelers, so our members can speak freely and share their purchases and advice. We have a great forum moderator who keeps discussions in check. We don’t censor conversations, but we do keep things civil and encourage “polite” discussion. Do discussions get heated? Absolutely! Our Pricescope members are passionate about jewelry, and passion is a good thing! But “family friendly” language is encouraged, and personal insults or attacks are a no-no. It’s a forum, so debate is par for the course—and it can be both educational and entertaining!

About 4 years ago, I launched the Pricescope Jewelry Blog ( to diversify and deliver topical content to our community members. (Pricescope garners roughly 500,000 unique visitors per month.)  My official title is director of communications, but I also manage all educational and contributor content (outside of the forum) and write the blog. I cover jewelry shows and love doing designer features. I also do a weekly blog pulled right from the forum called “Jewel of the Week” to showcase our posters’ jewelry pieces. I also love to examine trends on Pricescope vs. larger market jewelry trends. Pricescope consumers represent a niche “prosumer” group, so they really know what they want. And that includes engagement rings, as many women on Pricescope are selecting their own designs, and some are contributing to the purchase. So some of my blog posts examine the social factors that affect jewelry purchases and how people wear their jewels—like this one: Women – Do You Take Off Your Engagement or Wedding Rings to Advance Your Career?

Josette: We could say that theater, dance drawing and photography are all intertwined and that we can draw inspiration from each one. Did your career in the performing arts influence the way you design jewelry and what prompted you to design a bridal collection?

My career in theatre and dance absolutely influences my jewelry designs. A colleague described my engagement rings as like “a ballerina in mid twirl.” That was so lovely, as the rings have presence but also have this airy and light quality. Dance and dancers will always inspire me, as they embody precise movements with supple organic forms.

I designed my first bridal collection ( after a colleague asked if I’d like to design a line for her new online store. It’s funny, after getting my G.G. in 2008, I wanted to design more than anything, but I needed to learn. So I worked in retail, and then I started writing about jewelry and studying design in earnest over the next several years. So when my colleague approached me about designing, I was ready to go. I needed that push—that impetus—to foray into design. I designed my first collection of 12 engagement rings in about 3 weeks in November 2013. We launched the first four designs in February of 2014, and 8 have been produced so far.

Josette: Photography plays a big role in what you do, you take pictures of your own jewelry and others. How and why did you get started?

Erika: I do all of the photography for my bridal line. And I’ve shot retailer and designers’ jewelry for my blog and for their websites. Much like with designing, when I’m shooting jewelry I’m in my element—I can shoot for hours and it feels like no time has passed at all. I have an obsession with light and capturing diamonds, gemstones, and metal in multiple lighting environments. I also love a challenge and love to shoot in not-so-ideal lighting situations—like at the jewelry shows. At JCK and Couture, for example, I move from booth to booth and have about 20 minutes tops to shoot multiple pieces in some of the worst lighting imaginable. Every booth has different lighting! I don’t see it as a negative, though, as I love to find creative ways to bring jewels to life. I try to offer a different perspective on jewelry photography—that showcases the pieces naturally—without the usual white background and high contrast.

My work in theatre influences my photography as well—it’s all about the light, the presence, and the movement that you can feel, though the images are static. I’m self-taught. I’ve worked to develop a style over the last seven years. I started by shooting my own personal pieces. I’m always trying new things. It’s a process, and the discovery is the best part.


Josette: Looking at what you have accomplished so far where do you see yourself in a few years?

Erika: I see myself designing more collections and continuing to shoot jewelry. I’m in the initial developmental stage for a new (non bridal) line, and I’m starting to do custom design work. I love writing about jewelry too. I’ve always done creative work, and so it will continue  to evolve.

Thank you, Erika, for sharing your story. Through your work, I can see how much you love what you do.

Erika Winters Designs Thea Halo Engagement Ring


Photo © Erika Winters