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My Life and Sanity Files

Dianna Rae Hits High Points with Diamond Sales

Coming to Louisiana, she knew she had to be different.




Dianna Rae High Diana Rae Jewelry, Lafayette, LA

Diana Rae High owns Dianna Rae Jewelery in Lafayette, LA, a light, bright and airy destination store, which opened in 2015. Every bit of the store’s interior is custom made to reflect her focus on custom jewelry. Moving from Iowa, she knew she had to create a different style of store to compete in a new city. “If I had opened up with everything that could be found at my competitors’ stores, no one would have come here,” she says. In 2016, Dianna Rae Jewelry was named one of America’s Coolest Stores and the story was published in April 2017.

Online Extra: Q&A with Dianna Rae High

What have you been up to since the 2016 America’s Coolest Stores award?

Our former website wasn’t mobile friendly, so we worked with Jennifer Shaheen from Technology Therapy to create a new website last year. Eighty percent of our website traffic now is mobile. We had left off a few things at the time; we didn’t do a shopping cart or allow access to video. But now we’re ready about a year later to go to Phase 2 and add extra things. There’s not a lot of e-commerce; we do sell on Etsy. But people pre-shop; we do have a lot of web traffic and people often come in with a picture on their phone and say, `I want this!’ Very seldom do they come in to the store having had no previous contact with us.

What else is new online?

We’ve started to put a little more emphasis on video. Facebook continues to say their algorithms are boosting video posts over text-based posts. I’ve been doing more personal videos; a lot of live from Tucson videos. And I introduce new pieces personally on video.

And how have sales been this year, so far?

I sold the biggest diamond I’ve ever sold! An 8 carat. My jeweler said it was the biggest diamond he ever set. We’d been putting our heads together, thinking how can we get more men into our stores. Every second Saturday there’s a car show called Cars and Coffee in town that goes to different locations. So we partnered with Cars and Coffee and started hosting them in an empty lot next to our building.  We’ve had up to 60 cars, Porsches, Lamborghinis, Ferraris. We open the store early and most of the time they’re outside at the car show and some of them come in and look at the jewelry store. A man, who has a high-end car, came to the car show and said to his wife, “I think we should go check these people out.” And the 8 carat diamond sale came from that. So we’ve broken down that barrier and we have more men coming into the store.

What was the significance to them of buying an 8-carat diamond ring?

They had an 8-carat diamond before that they had purchased as an estate piece years ago and it was stolen. And we re-created the piece from the pictures. It was a big celebration for us, we don’t sell that size of a diamond.

Have you made any other enviable sales lately?

We sold a beautiful blue diamond!

We’re really bringing customer awareness to natural color diamonds. We’ve been helping customers become aware of them. You can’t just put it in the case and expect it to sell. You have to tell people about it. Most people have no idea of their value and rarity.

We joined the National Color Diamond Association and had two trunk shows, most recently with Rio Diamonds from New York. He sent us millions of dollars of natural color diamonds and one was a blue diamond. I put it on our Facebook page and we had pictures of yellow and pink and blue diamonds in the invitations we sent out. A customer who’s a regular customer called me and said I love blue diamonds. Do you have any for this show?

And I told her we had a little half-carat blue diamond in for this trunk show. And she says, “That’s beautiful, but I want a 2 carat.” (They’re like half a million dollars.) So Rio Diamonds sent me a bunch of pictures and pricing of blue diamonds they had in stock and I sent her the pictures and she picked out one that she wanted. At this point, I’m still skeptical. But she bought it! So in one week, on Tuesday I sold the biggest diamond I’d ever sold and on Wednesday I sold the most expensive diamond I’d ever sold.

How has your increased visibility as one of America’s Coolest Stores helped your business?

People more and more every day want to have their jewelry customized or completely custom. I often need access to weird things. I have to source things. Just this week a customer, whose husband is a geologist, for their 40th anniversary wanted to give him a ruby, a mineral ruby specimen. I was able to contact some people I met in Tucson, and when your name is a little bit more known, they are more willing to work with you, more willing to memo you.

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Wilkerson Testimonials

To Generate Funds for a Jeweler’s Move and Remodel, Wilkerson More Than Delivered

Even successful jewelers need a little extra cash to fund expansion plans—especially when there’s inventory on hand that’s ripe for liquidation. For Beaumont, Texas-based jeweler Michael Price, co-owner of Mathews Jewelers, it was the perfect time to call Wilkerson. Price talked to other jewelers as well as vendors for advice during the selection process and decided to go with Wilkerson. And he wasn’t disappointed. When it comes to paying for the move and expansion, Price says the road ahead is clear. “When we close on the next two stores, there’s no worries about finances.”

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She doesn’t wait for chances, she goes for it!




Alexis Kletjian

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Jewelry designer Alexis Kletjian launched her first collection in 2011 and began selling her gold creations directly to collectors. Her first trade show was the New Designer Gallery at JA New York, where she was awarded the prestigious Mort Abelson New Designer of the Year Award in 2016. She opened her retail gallery in Kennett Square, PA, in September 2017, where her location became a destination for custom fine jewelry and heirloom redesign in an inviting, no-pressure environment.

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Jillian Hornik
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She hates the concept of birthstones because they limit people’s creativity.




Casey Gallant Stephen Gallant Jewelers, Orleans, MA

Casey has spent nearly 20 years working with her father, Steve, at the store he opened 42 years ago on Cape Cod. She earned her G.G. from GIA Carlsbad in 2001, was named one of the “40 Under 40” by Cape & Plymouth Business in 2013, and serves on the Next Generation Advisory Board for the Independent Jewelers Organization.

What is your geographical history? 

I was born and raised on Cape Cod with short stints in Virginia, Spain and California. 

How did you get into the business? 

As a daughter of a jeweler I took the indirect route: I went to college to become Indiana Jones, graduated with a degree in Spanish film before finally going to GIA Carlsbad. 

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

I love to be in or on the water (salt please) or up in the mountains of New Hampshire. 

What is your favorite color? 


What are your hidden talents? 

I am an amateur photographer, semi-pro craft beer enthusiast and a passionate cook. 

Tell us your pet peeve about jewelry. 

I hate the concept of birthstones because it limits people’s creativity. Forget the rules! Wear it if you like it. 

Describe your personal jewelry style. 

I like my jewelry like my personality – big and bold! 

What is your biggest challenge at work? 

Earning customers’ trust, but it is absolutely the most rewarding part of my job. 

5 things on my desk: 

A mug of Ron Swanson as Mona Lisa, a bobblehead of Dougal Mackenzie, coffee, edge reports and my loupe .

3 things on my to-do-list: 

Schedule social media posts, work on my “one-of-a-kind collection, take a vacation. 

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