Katerina Perez is the name familiar to many, if not all, avid jewellery enthusiasts. Crowned an ‘award-winning jewellery insider’, Katerina Perez has created a gallery of jewels that enthral with colours, shapes and stones that you might have never heard of.
Born in Soviet Russia in the restorer family, Katerina Perez was a jewellery connoisseur ever since she was a baby. "I still have a picture from the Soviet times, where I’m standing covered in my grandma’s jewels, they seemed like treasures to me at the time”, recalls the jewellery insider with a chuckle. After moving to the UK, Katerina began her professional journey in the luxury retail sector before joining Spanish jewellery brand Tous as a VP. “There I had a chance to discover the most majestic stones, topazes, tourmalines and onixes”. While working in Tiffany, Boghossian and Chaumet, Katerina kept hearing the same two questions from the customers: "how much?" and "how many carats?". Seeing people having such limited tools for evaluating jewellery, she decided to share her knowledge with the world. After all, a single jewellery piece can tell so many stories if it is seen as something more than just a combination of a carat weight and retail price.
“You know, I always go with the flow and never try to force anything”, is the first thing Katerina says to us as we sit down for the long-anticipated interview.
What later would become an exciting career of a jewellery insider started as a mere hobby. “I never thought that it would lead me to become a 'star' of our small jewellery world”, says the blogger with a chuckle. It was nearly impossible for Katerina, as one of the pioneer jewellery bloggers, to book a meeting with high jewellery designers. That privilege used to be available for magazines exclusively. However, as the media landscape changes, the brands are forced to evolve. "I often joke with the brands, I tell them, ‘You understand that we all turned into jewellery bloggers, right?’. Now everyone must know how to show jewellery on the internet, especially on Instagram”. When asked about the, often, transactional relationships print media has with jewellery brands, Katerina frankly responded: "Paid advertising narrows down the opportunities”. Indeed, without the burden of creating actual books of content every month, one might find a whole window of opportunities to uplift smaller, independent creators. "Very often, I choose less known brands and young designers. What matters to me is talent and the brand’s DNA. The size of the company has never been something that interested me. Magazines, of course, write mostly about sponsors, when it comes to jewellery, but that’s understandable since it’s quite difficult for print to stay afloat”, notes Katerina.
Scrolling down @katerina_perez Instagram, one might find themselves lost in the abundance of extraordinary designs and majestic stones. There is Boucheron’s Fenêtre Sur Ciel sitting right next to Lucia Silvestri’s mind-haunting Lady Arabesque necklace for Bvlgari’s high jewellery collection. For Katerina, high jewellery is all about either rare collectable stones, intricate designs or innovations. “Jewellery brand Hemmerle, for example, is famous for using unconventional metals like iron and aluminium. They combine those metals with stunning large stones, resulting in truly mesmerizing pieces.”
If one had the rare opportunity to experience some of the most extraordinary works of art in the jewellery industry, they would struggle not to purchase a necklace or two, or, in the case of Katerina, an earring. "Once upon a time, I was in Basel to visit a couple of friends, they design jewellery for big brands. There I saw this single earring forged from blue titanium and encrusted with blue zircon. They told me to wear it for a bit, but, once I put it on, I couldn’t take it off", laughs Katerina.
Someone with years of industry experience under her belt as Katerina witnessed the birth of some of the biggest jewellery trends. In 2020-2021, though, all the most promising design innovations were stomped by the desperate need for survival. "The cult trend at this time is surviving, believe it or not. Two types of jewellery brands were able to survive the pandemic: fashion jewellery (less than 10,000 euro/piece) and ultra-high-price-point brands. People who want and have the opportunity to invest in the latter will do so regardless." According to the jewellery insider, the fine jewellery brands that didn’t have a chance to appeal to the ultra-rich suffered grave consequences, "People are more reluctant to invest in design, but they are more likely to purchase rare stones. I’ve witnessed the demise of great jewellery brands throughout the pandemic". Cynicism aside, the trends that will reign supreme for seasons to come are rare, colourful stones, geometry and artistic cuts. "Some of the stones worth investing in are Paraiba Tourmalines and Imperial Topazes. Art deco is getting more and more popular. Geometry and architecture will always be en vogue”. When talking about cuts, it seems that even the big names could not resist adding those to their oeuvre, "The established houses like Boucheron and Chanel sometimes approach the cuts artistically. Chanel, for example, recently used old-mine-cut diamonds, while Van Cleef uses briolette-cut stones", says Katerina.
With the market evolving at the rapid pace and customers getting more and more educated, it’s the responsibility of brands, big and small, to make the best use of social media to connect with their audience. A few months ago, Katerina launched her online course titled 'How to Sell Jewellery on Instagram’, a tool designed to enlighten the brand owners and jewellery enthusiasts on using Instagram’s framework to drive sales. As a blog, Katerina’s Jewellery Gallery grew through a series of experiments and exceptionally curated content, and now, the years of experience are distilled into a straightforward educational experience available to everyone everywhere.
Written by Gennady Oreshkin
Images: courtesy of Katerina Perez