IMG_3922Bebe Bakhshi and Tracey Ellison are the force behind ChampagneGem and TheDiamondsGirl. Two jewelry enthusiasts with a thirst for sharing their love for diamonds and high end jewelry that have made them today’s top jewelry influencers. Following them on Instagram is a journey into the realm of big and beautiful diamonds. They have traveled the globe seeking beautiful jewelry, sharing it with their followers and inspiring others to explore. I met both of them a few weeks ago at the Couture Show in Las Vegas, Bebe has come all the way from Melbourne where she now resides and Tracey from Miami.

Josette: How and when did you develop your interest in jewelry?

Bebe: For me it all started when I was a little girl, I have always admired my mother’s diamond jewellery. Every time she put them on was a magical moment for me, especially I liked how her diamonds would shine and sparkle as she walked or tilted her head…Over the years I developed a very personal interest to know more about diamonds and I have to admit  that diamonds are still my first and foremost choice, and they never cease to amaze me! (Maybe because I am an April baby too…we are born to love diamonds ;-))

Tracey: Growing up in South Africa, a school visit to the Big Hole in Kimberly (one of the worlds largest man dug diamond excavation sites in the world) sparked a lifetime fascination with this precious gift from nature. It’s never subsided, and even today, when my friends ask me if I ever get tired of looking at diamonds and jewelry the answer is always “No!”.

Josette: How did you meet each other?

Tracey: Online, via Instagram of course! ? . I had always admired Bebe’s Instagram page, and saw it as an elegant, classy page that inspired me daily. Bebe was also a fountain of knowledge about the jewelry industry, and I would often direct message her for advice in the early days. We shared a similar sense of humor, and a common love of high end, classic diamond jewelry, and became business partners, founding ChampagneDiamonds together, a year before we ever met! Sounds like a classic story!

Bebe: A true yet crazy story! The admiration from the beginning was vice versa I have always admired Tracey’s taste in high jewellery and still do! Usually she is the one who points out a special piece for me to notice! My eyes by nature look for diamonds therefore sometimes I miss out on some incredible gemstones but thanks to having the best partner in bling, she has my back and redirects my attention. Establishing a company when we have never met before was only possible by trusting each other and 3 years later here we are travelling the world together…totally as seen in the movies!

Josette: How do you engage with your followers and find the best ways to give them content?

Tracey: I engage by trying to respond to comments, and direct messages, although it’s not always possible, especially when traveling. I only share pieces that I personally love and would wear. Sometimes it appeals greatly to my followers, other times less so, and that’s ok, we all have different taste, it would be a boring world if that were not the case! I have also worked hard on improving the content – I now have my nails done professionally, take better images (practice makes perfect!) and mostly only share original content that I have personally captured.

Bebe: I try to reply to comments and answer the questions to the best of my knowledge as well as replying to emails and direct messages. It is not always possible to reply especially when travelling. I have to admit that the best part of my day is when I sit down and read the comments, the love and support that comes from each one of my followers is a boost of energy to create the best content I can. Most of the time the content is original, captured by me on my iPhone from the pieces I personally love and adore. I think over the past year or so there has been a huge difference in quality of content as now I know more and more about the lighting, angles and all the factors that take part in taking a photo or video. I have been learning everyday to make it as perfect as possible and my followers have been very patient with me while I am trying to get better and better at what I love to do.

Josette: Favorite place you have traveled in seeking the best jewels?

Bebe: That’s a very hard question…this journey without cities and jewels that I have found in each wouldn’t be the same! From Hong Kong to Bahrain to Basel and Geneva, New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, Monaco, Doha and Dubai they all have a very special place in my heart and all I can say is that I can’t wait to go back to all of them again and again! And yet I am looking forward to visit many other countries and cities in months to come! But one thing is definite, nothing can come close to Middle Eastern hospitality and our gracious hosts in Bahrain and Qatar showed me the best time and jewels I could ever ask for!

Tracey: There are many, but I would say Doha, Qatar, because of the incredibly warm welcome we received from all Qatari’s, but especially from the Al Fardan family. Next would be Hong Kong – the energy and pulse of the city always captivates me!

Josette: What are you looking forward in your career as a social media influencer?

Bebe: For me next step is to learn more in depth about manufacturing diamonds, from the source to the final stages of cutting and polishing and being able to share such information and interesting stories on my platforms! Visiting a diamond mine would be a dream come true and absolutely on top of my list, for me diamonds in the rough state are the most fascinating and purest form of a diamond.

Tracey: Continued access to the worlds finest jewelry never gets tiresome for me, and I am looking forward to visiting new countries (India, Bahrain, Dubai) in pursuit of the worlds finest jewels! I am also keen to do more stories that go back to the source – how emeralds are mined in Columbia, how diamonds are cut in Israel, that type of thing!

I was very excited to meet you both while exhibiting at the Couture Show and was overwhelmed by your kindness. Hope to see you again at the next trade show.