• Melissa Wolfgang Amenc

JEWEL CHATS: THE CONNECTION WE NEVER KNEW WE NEEDED

Opaque, secretive, impenetrable; a few words I have often heard used to describe the jewellery industry and what often seems like an inaccessible network of people buying and selling mostly inaccessible things. Then the pandemic hit, and our world - which was already inching towards a more digital existence - began spinning on its axis. See, we’re all used to travelling and doing trade shows to do business and when that came to a grinding halt, we had to figure out new ways to buy and sell. One of these ways was through chats created on Whatsapp. One of the more successful ones, JewelChats was created by Benjamin Sberro and his partner Hugo Fouterman of Odeon Collection in New York. After seeing the success of these groups, Anup Jogani of Jogani Los Angeles quickly saw the potential to take it further with the creation of a social network for the industry. Thus, Jewel Chats the App was born.

Between being quarantined and not being able to travel, I think it’s safe to say that we felt pretty disconnected from one another as an industry. We don’t always realise quite how strong the “social” dynamic can be when we work because in our minds, we’re doing our jobs, albeit passionately. But let’s not forget how much human interaction our industry calls for: frequent if not constant conversation, countless hours spent with clients and colleagues, not to mention worldwide trade shows, during the show and later for dinners, drinks and shenanigans. Overnight all of that went away, and it stung for those of us who had come to depend on not only the interaction but the business that came with it. This is why there was so much room for Jewel Chats; their whole ethos is connection. The concept was born out of a desire to stay connected to friends, clients, and colleagues at the start of the pandemic. Not only did it provide a way to stay connected to each other, but also our business.

The Jewel Chats App is a secure and private platform allowing you to quickly post items for sale with pictures, videos, and text, as well as search and purchase other posted items for sale. With a fairly strict criteria for the quality of their members - each must provide 3-5 references - then going through a reference check themselves before being approved enables the App to provide a reference check service. We all know how useful that is to anyone new in the industry or trading digitally with someone they may not know. Educational content and events are posted weekly, and several new member-dedicated services are in the works. Members are encouraged to contribute (content posts must be submitted for approval) and engage with others. Make a new friend, a new client, or learn something. The goal is to create a safe and easy platform for trading, to share and learn from colleagues in the industry. The priority is for people to feel they are in a safe environment in which they can conduct business with vetted peers.

"As with all new programs, there were some technical challenges and getting people to transition from WhatsApp to a more organised platform. But with patience and some guidelines, we’ve seen continued growth on the App and continual evolution down the road."

Most notable is that Jewel Chats is not, for the time being, charging any fees to be a part of their platform.

Get the Jewel Chats App here