Last week, I attended an event hosted by Blue Nile celebrating the launch of their new Bella Vaughan engagement ring collection at one of their new Webrooms in Garden City, NY. They invited me to meet the designers, try on a few of their new pieces, and learn more about the webroom concept. You can bet I asked a ton of questions!
Today, I’ll give you the inside scoop on what I learned about brand events from a blogger’s perspective, Blue Nile as a company, and their new Bella Vaughan collection.
June is also the month of our wedding anniversary, so I thought it would be fitting to add my personal engagement story at the very end.
This is not a sponsored post (although if Blue Nile wants to send me some diamonds, I’d be happy to accept them!). I am simply sharing my experience at their brand event because I know you’ll be interested to hear what I learned. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, after all!
I’ve divided this post into two parts: The Blue Nile Event and The Backstory. For those of you who are interested in reading about my personal engagement story, scroll on down to Part 2.
What is Blue Nile?
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Blue Nile, let me introduce you. Blue Nile is the largest online diamond retailer–yes, the largest. They offer an extensive collection of both loose diamonds and jewelry to suit your individual needs. They offer designs from Monique Lhuillier, Truly Zac Posen, and Colin Cowie, and will even create custom pieces to meet your exact specifications.
1. The Blue Nile Event
I was really excited to attend the Blue Nile Event because I knew it would be a great opportunity learn more about jewelry design. But beyond that, I was really excited to attend my first event as a blogger.
I made sure to wear something classic that would work well with diamonds on my hand. I brought my camera in a large purse because I didn’t want to look like paparazzi; subtle is more my style. My handsome husband accompanied me, and when we arrived, we were greeted by the sweetest PR manager, Amanda, who invited us to enjoy the refreshments and answered my questions about the initiation of the Blue Nile webroom (we’ll get to her responses in a bit).
The event was intimate with a lovely food spread, jewelry display, and raffle. A screen dedicated to the Blue Nile Instagram feed (and #BlueNileSparkle ) hung behind the jewelry counter, displaying happy couples, and gorgeous engagement rings.
The designers LoriAnn Vaughan-Biggers and Rotem Fartook interacted with guests and answered questions about their new Bella Vaughan jewelry line (you can shop the collection here). Guests tried on pieces from the collection and took a lot of pictures sporting their gorgeous bling.
Q&A with Jewelry Designer, LoriAnn Vaughan
I had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with jewelry designer LoriAnn Vaughan, during the event and asked her several questions about her inspiration for this engagement ring collection and how she started designing jewelry. Here’s what I learned:
- LoriAnn started out in the financial sector and occasionally worked with jeweler, Rotem Fartook, to design a few pieces for herself. Friends would ask about her jewelry and upon learning that she designed them, requested that she design them a piece for an upcoming anniversary or birthday. She continued to design jewelry with Rotem and eventually took the leap into full-time jewelry design.
- Her pieces encapsulate timeless beauty and wearable sophistication. She wants her pieces to look beautiful from all angles so many feature details on the band and gallery, not just from above.
- She explained that the value of her pieces through Blue Nile is exceptional; similar pieces by other designers would be priced for thousands of dollars more.
The Blue Nile Webroom
I had a few questions about how the webroom concept came about, so after doing a little research on the Blue Nile website, I asked their PR manager about it at the event. She explained that since most people want to see what they are buying in person, Blue Nile sought to put potential shoppers at ease.
To address concerns about purchasing a diamond online, Blue Nile decided to launch webrooms around the country so shoppers can see and try on their items. Webrooms offer a no-pressure experience since their salespeople do not earn commission. Kiosks are available in the webrooms so that customers can browse the online collection, view additional options for designs, and ultimately make their purchase.
These webrooms also limit price inflation because they require less overhead than traditional jewelry stores, allowing them to pass the savings onto the customer.
Before leaving, Amanda, Blue Nile’s PR manager, presented me with a swag bag filled with goodies from both Blue Nile and other great brands, including an NYX makeup kit and gifts from the Art of Shaving, and Sephora. This was the icing on the cake for me, because I had already had a great experience interacting with the jewelry designers (I’ve secretly always wanted to get involved in this field), but now they were sending me home with parting gifts, too!
Final thoughts on the Blue Nile event
Overall, the event was a great experience for me, especially as a fairly new blogger, to learn about how brand events are run, and what to expect from them. I really enjoyed meeting LoriAnn and Rotem and am so thankful that they were open to my questions. They reinforced the notion that if you believe in something you can absolutely make it happen. And so, my entrepreneurial spirit lives on!
2. The backstory: My history with Blue Nile
My history with Blue Nile began in 2007 when my husband and I were making plans to get engaged. We wanted to be practical in our planning, since we set out to host our wedding and buy a home all at once (yes, it was an undertaking, but well worth it!), and we knew that investing in an engagement ring would require some additional saving.
While my husband spent many hours researching diamonds, speaking to jewelers, and getting advice from his married friends (what a good egg!), I took to Blue Nile’s website.
I had first come across Blue Nile through a basic Google search. Even though buying an engagement ring was primarily in his hands, I wanted to learn more about the process (maybe it’s my type A personality?). I had done some browsing to see what styles I liked best, and a quick internet search revealed that Blue Nile was a great resource. I had yet to learn how valuable they would be in our engagement process.
Not only does Blue Nile have a beautiful and extensive collection, they also offer diamond education on their website that is accessible to anyone just starting their diamond-buying journey, which was certainly me at the time.
I learned all about the 4 Cs (carat, cut, color, and clarity) and started to understand how diamonds are priced.
My untraditional engagement preparation
This diamond research opened up my conversation with my boyfriend (who later became my husband) about what we were looking for in terms of quality and price. This may be an untraditional approach to engagement practices, but I felt that it was better to talk about these things than to expect him to navigate my expectations on his own. What if he thought I wanted a Kardashian-sized diamond and took out a loan to pay for it? Ok, that might be a major exaggeration, but getting engaged was the beginning of our financial future together and I wanted to have some input on this first step.
Thankfully, he was open to the discussion, but then expressed that he preferred to handle the rest of the process on his own. His desire to take these first steps with me but still leave an element of surprise was a wonderful beginning to our story.
We finally got engaged in June of 2008 on a Long Island beach one afternoon after a scenic stroll on the boardwalk. He got down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. Few moments in life can compare.
The ring he picked didn’t come from Blue Nile, but a lot of the education that went into its selection certainly did.
If you want to learn more about diamond selection, check out the Blue Nile website–it has a wealth of information and buying guides that are not specific to their company, but rather will give you everything you need to know to make an informed diamond purchase.
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