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The Instagram Jewelry Community Unifies to Aid In Australia’s Relief Efforts

They’re creating auctions and other events to raise funds.

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WHEN ANTIQUE AND vintage jewelry dealers, jewelry collectors and bloggers on Instagram wanted to help with the devastating Australian bushfires, they began to raise awareness and to create auctions and other events to raise funds. They’re supporting a variety of charities helping the communities and the wildlife affected by the tragic ongoing fires that continue to burn. At first, the auctions were scattered throughout the generous jewelry community on Instagram. But that all changed when Sydney-based Nikki Marshall, whose handle with her sister Michaela is @life.is.short.diamonds, created the hashtag #💎bushfireappeal to unite the relief efforts. Both Nikki and Michaela are jewelry enthusiasts and also journalists – Nikki for a website and Michaela for TV.

Nikki explains how the hashtag came about: “I went into the newsroom in Sydney on Saturday, Jan. 4, during my holiday because we knew it was going to be a terrible day. And it was. I’d had the idea of a fundraising auction for the Red Cross emergency appeal a few days earlier but that night, after 12 hours of being immersed in the horrific stories, I was determined to put something on Instagram for auction immediately. I was staying at my boyfriend’s house so the only thing I had with me was the opal necklace I’d just had made for myself and although I loved it, I was determined to do something immediately.” She continues, “I also know the jewelry community well enough to be certain ours wouldn’t be the only account trying to raise money and I began to think of a hashtag that would create more solidarity and build momentum. I wanted it to be universal and immediately obvious what it meant. “Jewellery/jewelry” was out, because of the differences in how we spell it, and ‘gems’ felt wrong. The diamond emoji seemed like it would be unifying so I went with that.”

And it has brought out the solidarity in this community. There are now 179 posts under the hashtag with auctions from different parts of Australia, the U.S. and the UK antique, and vintage dealers and shops and a few modern jewelry beginning to join in as well.

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@life.is.short.diamonds auctioned off two pieces, the first of which was Nikki’s 23-carat natural crystal pipe Australian opal necklace, with all proceeds going to @redcrossau disaster relief and recovery fund. The bid closed at $579, with another bidder who lost out donating another $300 for this heart-rendering cause.

Another Australian antique dealer from Sydney, @karendeakin.antiques, auctioned an antique Australia brooch, which Karen reported was made in approximately 1900, “in the fervor of patriotism when Australia first became a nation.” Karen said she would match the highest bid, which came in at $1,500, and then Antique dealer Michele Rowan @rowanandrowan from the UK generously added $500. At this point, $3,500 has gone to @wwf_australia to help wildlife hurt in the fires and to rebuild and protect their habitats. Karen talks about the disasters still to come but says, “I am trying to take heart from the fact that so many people around the world are sending help and fighting the good fight.”

Los Angeles-based Tova Wintner Fagan, a designer of precious and fashion jewelry with the handle @tovamalibu, organized a group of auctions from around the U.S. as well as Costa Rica and Vancouver under the hashtag #wecareaus and then the unifying hashtag #💎bushfireappeal. Tova explains, “I reached out to a bunch of women who I have met on IG and who I have supported and who have supported me in the past. I knew we could raise more as a group. Even after we posted a deadline, there were more people reaching out who wanted to donate. The IG jewelry community is an amazing one.” Some of the IGers who donated within this group with proceeds going to @redcrossau included @oremonger, @mauragreen, @georgie_the_magpie, @jessicakagancushman, @sempre_oro_ryn, @julie.mcafee, @lovely.little.rings, @audreysparrowjewelry, @charm.nerd, @thechubbygem, @poppyshop93105 and @manicgrape.

Atlanta-based jewelry designer Samantha Jackson of Heavenly Vices — who is actively involved in the rescue of animals here in the U.S. — put three recast love tokens with diamonds bales from her collection up for auction: the appropriate “Lend A Hand,” “Love” and “Love One Another.” In total she raised $1,700, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to @wireswildliferescue to help wildlife impacted by the bushfires.

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Paula from @prcnyc, a curator of a jewelry concierge service in New York City, auctioned off a modern enamel compass to raise money for the Australian relief fund.

Los Angeles’ @plattboutiquejewelry auctioned off a 2.21-carat natural blue sapphire (no heat or clarity enhancement, with an AGL Gem Report that reveals the gem is from Australia, making it an apropos stone to auction. The $3,000 proceeds of the sale went to aid relief efforts in Australia.

Others in the jewelry community auctioned everything from gemstones to antique rings to modern necklaces. San Francisco’s @thefabnab auctioned quite a few antique and vintage pieces with 100 percent of the proceeds going to @redcrossau.

Tracey of @gems4eva, who has storefronts on Moda Operandi and a website, thejewellerytradingco.com.au, also raised money from different auctions that were split between three charities. Jane Magon the designer whose handle is @janemagoncollections and who resides in Brisbane, said, “I am doing as much at home as possible to raise money and consciousness about the tragedy and sadness due to the bushfires with my friends throughout the world. My husband and I hold a dear appreciation for wildlife. This long necklace, crafted from fine beads and gems started at $300. I will be donating 50% of the proceeds of the auction of this necklace to the Animals Australia Fund. They are Australia’s leading animal protection organization.” This auction will continue until Friday, Jan. 24 — if you haven’t bid on this one yet, you might want to before it ends.

Other dealers, jewelry shops and designers who auctioned off jewelry include @shopauroro, @savannah_glen_estate_jewelry, @madamebrocante and @sarahnehama.

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Bloggers Becky Stone from @diamondsinthelibrary and Danielle Miele from @gemgossip did their part in spreading the word through their Instagram stories as did other collectors and jewelry enthusiasts.

Karen from @karendeakin.antiques posted a quote from @wwf_australia that reads, “We have proved we can achieve amazing things when we come together.”

And the jewelry community on Instagram is proving that. If you want to take part in the auctions and continue raising relief funds, use the hashtag #💎bushfireappeal to continue the momentum.

PHOTO GALLERY (16 IMAGES)

Beth Bernstein is a published author of three books and jewelry and fashion expert with 18+ years experience. A broad knowledge of the history of jewelry and fashion coupled with a background in "the story", writing, trends, design concepts has earned Beth a proven track record.

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