11 Questions with Jewelry News Network’s Anthony DeMarco

Anthony DeMarco jewelry blogger journalist
As the founder and editor-in-chief of the Jewelry News Network, Anthony DeMarco has reported on the finer things in life for more than a decade. A contributor to VO+ and Forbes, DeMarco offers readers a rare peek into the luxury jewelry sector. From auction news to upcoming gemological conferences to specialist interviews, DeMarco possesses the connections that clearly illustrate his expertise in the field. Jaume Labro was fortunate enough to speak at length with Anthony DeMarco, and learned some surprising insights, thanks to his unique vantage point.

When was your first introduction to luxury jewelry?

It’s difficult to say. When I first started Jewelry News Network in 2010, I made a decision that I was going to cover the luxury side of the industry. I had worked as a senior editor for a jewelry trade magazine for nine years prior. My first notable luxury jewelry experience was covering the December 2011 “Collection of Elizabeth Taylor” auctions at Christie’s New York. My insider stories before, during, and after the landmark sales for Forbes.com and Jewelry News Network received international attention. I covered the auctions live on Twitter and the size of the audience increased and the reactions were incredible. After that, people knew who I was. It was quite an experience. It was star-studded, full of good stories, and it seemed every sale broke a new record. Since then, I’ve been privileged to meet interesting people and experience wonderful things throughout the past seven years.

What inspires your work the most?

It’s a lot of little things. The high-quality use of materials, craftsmanship, design, concept, interviewing people who really have a good understanding of what they do (and why they do it), and being able to really understand a concept and relate it to others. I like to share great stories and my experiences covering these stories. I like to share great stories and my experiences covering these stories. Click To Tweet

You began your career reporting on architecture and design. How do these sectors influence your writing today?

I actually began my career as a newspaper reporter. This has allowed me to quickly understand the most important aspects of a story and to write it and post it just as fast. This has been very advantageous to me with breaking news stories on the internet and social media, where the first person with the story often gets the best response. With my design and architecture background, I first learned that great, innovative design can actually make the world a better place. Second, in relation to jewelry, it provided a solid understanding of what “great design” is. Characteristics such as spacing, balance, and whether it’s wearable are important when making a product. Great design also includes structural integrity, ensuring that what you make won’t fall apart easily. My understanding of architecture and design has not only improved my work performance, but it has improved my life.

What surprised you the most about covering luxury jewelry?

From the very beginning, I was surprised at how easily I was able to gain access into the luxury jewelry and watch world. Also, the amount of freelance work I received from my blog, Jewelry News Network. To this day, my blog is the source of about 90 percent of the freelance work I receive.

What has changed in the field since you first began Jewelry News Network?

When I first started Jewelry News Network, there were few blogs covering jewelry. Now, there are a lot, but the most important change is social media in general (and Instagram in particular). There are a lot of beautiful women taking pictures of themselves wearing beautiful jewels and earning a fantastic living doing it!

What publications would you suggest our readers read to stay up to date on the latest in trends?

You may find this surprising but I don’t read a lot about trends. In the jewelry industry, however, I would seek out Rachael Taylor, who writes for a number of publications. She’s great at dissecting trends. I would also recommend the blogs of my friends, Katerina Perez, as well as Marion Fasel, and her blog, The Adventurine. I would certainly recommend to bookmark Vanessa Friedman, the Style editor of the New York Times. It’s more important to use your time reading to acquire knowledge about the arts, design, business, entertainment, culture, and even more mundane subjects such as politics. For this, I would recommend The Financial Times, The New Yorker, The Economist, and magazines like Vanity Fair. I read things relating to art criticism because it makes me a better writer and broadens my knowledge of my job.
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What are some of the biggest challenges facing the jewelry industry today?

It depends on what part of the industry you’re talking about. In high-end jewelry, most of the people I know appear comfortable with their audience go develop one-of-a-kind creations. In luxury jewelry there’s a need for money to be spread throughout the economy to ensure that there are more people aspiring to buy high-quality, well-designed fine jewelry. I think the issues are the same for fine fashion jewelry. The issue with mass-produced jewelry is that it’s not as solid in design. It’s typically made cheaply, unattractively, and made without much thought (other than cost). There was a time when manufactured jewels were of good quality, but now margins reign supreme. Just because you’re not rich, however, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have nice things. People are concerned that millennials are not as interested in jewels and that’s true. However, jewelry designers have to make things that people want. The diamond industry has a myriad of challenges, and distribution has changed. The Kimberley Process is a political tool (and doesn’t do enough to stop the flow of conflict diamonds). It’s an industry that continues to live in secrecy at a time where people have access to information at the speed of light. I think the industry faces real challenges when it comes to their relationship with consumers. I think the industry faces real challenges when it comes to their relationship with consumers. Click To Tweet

Have you seen a move towards more environmentally-sustainable business practices? Is this important to this industry?

Yes, of course it’s important. There are plenty of stories written about sustainable practices but not a lot of real action. Among the big players, there’s the Responsible Jewellery Council and CIBJO, but not a lot of funds or manpower are being extended by these organizations. They are largely marketing tools for large companies, rather than solutions for the human and environmental impact the jewelry industry has. On the luxury end, Livia Firth – who is extremely accomplished –is doing good work for Eco-Age. However, only international brands have the resources to work with her. The best work in this area is being done on the grassroots level. Last year’s Portland Jewelry Symposium dedicated its conference on sustainable sourcing, bringing in a number of speakers from designers to miners.

What three qualities are most important in a piece of jewelry?

Jewelry craftsmanship and design
The design, craftsmanship, and the story. There are other things as well, like the materials and how they are used, but if you have the first three things down, you’re well on your way to getting my attention.

What are common misconceptions people have about luxury jewelry?

That’s a difficult question to answer, but I think many people don’t understand the artistry and cultural significance that luxury jewels have. While you have to be wealthy to buy most luxury jewels, you don’t have to be wealthy to appreciate them and understand the art, design, and cultural significance behind many pieces. From a business end, people don’t understand how difficult it is to be in the luxury jewelry business. The upfront costs for materials alone are astronomical!

What is your favorite gemstone? What feelings does it evoke in you?

Paraiba tourmaline, particularly the aqua blue hues that –when faceted properly –can sparkle like the sunlight dancing on ocean waves.