When it comes to knowing the fine jewellery scene, Beanie Major, founder of In Detail – the website that prides itself on luxury storytelling – is more than clued up.
We caught up with Beanie to get the details on her background story, find out how she views the jewellery industry in a fast-paced digital world and discover the designer brands she’s fallen head over heels for.
When and why did you launch In Detail? What’s the concept?
I launched In Detail three and a half years ago when I spotted a gap online. I realised that I had never actually bought a piece of jewellery that I hadn’t had the opportunity to try on or seen someone else wearing, and I think that is such a tactile thing.
I had worked in retail for Tiffany & Co. in Harrods and Shaun Leane in Selfridges so spent a lot of time with customers and I saw how important it was for people to try pieces on with what they were wearing – it’s definitely about personal style. I wanted to create a platform where I could mimic that and make it digital so the idea was to put jewellery into the context of people’s lifestyles – so, for example, go into interesting people’s jewellery boxes, find out what role certain pieces plays in their lives and incorporate that with beautiful imagery.
For me, it’s all about the stories that people can relate to rather than pushing people to buy jewellery. It’s about helping people to discover brands and think about the jewellery they wear because every piece of jewellery has a story and it’s so much more personal than any other form of adornment. Well, maybe it’s up there with tattoos.
You trained as a jewellery designer in Edinburgh, do you still design?
Yes I did, though the last time I actually designed was when I worked for Shaun Leane. I absolutely loved it but now I have exposure to the entire jewellery industry. I never saw myself having my own jewellery brand, and actually, In Detail is a brand in its own right.
I was much more interested in working for other people and that was the route I was taking but then I started In Detail, which was a real passion project, and that took over so I got a little sidetracked.
For you, what defines fine jewellery?
Good question, I don’t think you can anymore because the boundaries between jewellery categories are blurring so much now. You’ve got high end couture fashion brands creating costume jewels, you’ve got young designers working in 9 carat gold and semi-precious materials calling it fine – there are just so many.
I think that’s just the way the industry is going and that’s really exciting for me because since launching the site I have mixed young emerging designers with established Bond Street brands. For me that is how people should style their jewellery. The industry has previously had clearly defined categories and that’s now changing in the same way that people mix high street and designer fashion.
What is it that makes emerging fine jewellery brands stand out?
It’s a gut feeling, when an email lands in my inbox it takes me two seconds to know if a brand is going to stand out and that is exactly it.
Of course there are overlaps, it’s a hugely saturated market but for me it’s when a jeweller takes key influences and really creates something of their own.
What says luxury to you?
Craftsmanship, beautiful materials, the way that a brand projects its messaging.
Instagram is so important now because the people behind brands have such a huge opportunity to connect with customers directly. With luxury it’s in the way that brands curate content.
What items of jewellery sell best online in your experience?
I think that earrings are an easy sell because more than anywhere else on the body one size fits all.
People do have hang ups about jewellery, just like they do with clothes, but earrings are much easier to buy – you have cuffs, hoops and studs to suit all.
My personal obsession is rings and earrings – the way you can stack and style them to create your own look. Rings are very popular on social media because they are easy to photograph.
How important is digital to fine jewellery storytelling? What is the future?
I think three years ago when I was starting out the industry hadn’t really embraced online but it’s come on so much since then. Jewellery wasn’t even really being sold online, Net-a-Porter didn’t have a fine jewellery edit – it was just a completely different landscape and that’s all changed dramatically.
Social media is now huge and it’s a very exciting time for fine jewellery. With luxury as a whole people use digital as a research tool, as a way of discovering a brand and if they want to go into the bricks and mortar store.I think the more high-end the brand the more someone will always want to go into a store to try on.
Beauty is similar in a way because people had always wanted to try on and feel the product before buying but now there has been a dramatic change in the way people purchase online and I think jewellery will continue to follow suit.
It’s about giving people that information and showing them how a brand might fit into their lifestyle, and encouraging them to want to discover more themselves.
Which jewellery brands and influencers do you follow on Instagram and why?
Brands are too hard to name as there are so many, but in terms of Instagram I would have to say…
Top Notch Faceting – a very awesome guy making gemstones fun, accessible and cool.
What’s on your Christmas wish list?
I am very obsessed with Yvonne Leon for her ear candy. There is 100% a diamond ear cuff on my wish list.
I also love hoop earrings, they are like a classic pair of black heels, and I can always find a hoop-shaped hole in my jewellery collection that needs filling. The hoop is the oldest form of jewellery ever to be discovered, it is the first human adornment so it’s completely timeless.
Rose, yellow or white gold?
Yellow for me please, though I do love diamonds in a white metal for a more dramatic evening look.
What’s the story behind the jewellery you wear every day?
The jewellery I wear is created by some of the most exciting emerging brands in the industry. I’m obsessed with mixing and matching rings and earrings – I love how personal it is and that no other person will have the same combination of jewellery as you.
I have a ring by Beirut designer Dina Kamal that I never take off, we met when I was launching In Detail and formed a really good friendship and I just love her jewellery.
Do you have any heirlooms?
I have a beautiful gold and enamel charm bracelet that was first given to my grandmother when she was a child. They don’t make charm bracelets like that any more – the craftsmanship is outstanding.
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