Diamonds are so passé — you need a colorful gemstone in your life. Nicholl Vincent is an emerald expert and gave us the low-down on the green jewels and how to find the perfect one. The former fashion blogger also revealed her cure for her extremely dry skin, her rigorous fitness motto, and some of her favorite beauty products.
Job: Director of Operations, MUZO Emeralds
You just moved to New York City from Florida, how has the transition been for you?
Nicholl Vincent: It has been like a rollercoaster because everything is exciting, but also overwhelming, especially coming from a beach town. I lived in Palm Beach prior to New York, and in Miami prior to that. I moved to Palm Beach from Miami because I thought Miami was too city-like [laughs].
For me there were so many changes all at once. Now I’m in an office all the time, looking presentable instead of in pyjamas, and then there’s the change of weather! My skin and my hair feel completely different. Prior to Miami I was in Memphis and the seasons there are super mild. And before that I was in Colombia where it’s either just hot or cold. So this is my first time experiencing seasons. Today feels really cold and when I say that to people who live here, they just laugh and say “just wait.”
[For the record it was 50 degrees when we spoke].
What you do in your job, and what made you decide to move NYC permanently?
I am the director of operations for MUZO emeralds in the U.S. I worked for an investment company, which purchased a Colombian emerald mine six years ago and they have been working on the mine’s infrastructure since then. We didn’t start selling or cutting emeralds up until three years ago, then we launched as a brand in Baselworld this past year in March.
Colombia is famous for its emeralds correct?
Colombia has the finest Emeralds in the world, and you wouldn’t think so, but the Emerald market is very big. A few years ago, starting in 2008 the diamond market crashed because it is a luxury good during the recession. It was a luxury good that was bought a lot in America but colored stones at the time were not bought in America a lot — they were bought a lot in China and India.
As our economy crashed, their economy went up between 2008 and now. This was until recently when China also sort of collapsed also. That’s when the switch happened with diamonds decreasing in value and colored stones increasing. Since then, colored stones have taken off pretty much. And although they are still not huge in America, a lot of the bigger brands that we work with, Cartier, Tiffany’s, and Van Cleef they use them a lot. They use very fine emeralds.
They are trying to convey the concept to their clients that emeralds are rarer than diamonds are; it’s just a marketing trick and that people need to eventually transition into that. In China, the Middle East and in India it has always been that way. Rubies and sapphires have always been bigger than diamonds.
What do people look for when they are trying to buy an Emerald?
People look for color — that’s why Colombian Emeralds are the finest. It’s because Colombian Emeralds have an element that Brazilian and African emeralds don’t have, which is iron. And that’s what gives them that blueish green, rather than the yellow green that African and Brazilian Emeralds have. I have Emeralds here that are $70 a karat and then I just sold an Emerald two weeks ago for $60,000 a karat, and it was an 11 karat Emerald.
So it’s very subjective pricing. It’s not like with diamonds because diamonds have a chart that determines their worth. But emeralds don’t, the prices are just given by appraisers. So we have a team of appraisers who appraise them in Colombia and then our clients put value on them too.
What do you like about working in the jewellery industry?
I love the relationships that I have made. I have sold to very interesting people, interesting in a good and in a… interesting way. Since it’s a luxury good, it’s not mainstream, it is not something everybody can have. It makes it very special to people. I don’t sell to the end consumers so I never know if it goes into a ring or into earrings, I sell mainly to wholesellers who forward to the big brands. It’s fun walking on Fifth Avenue and seeing — like I just saw a ring in the Cartier window and I know that’s our stone. So that is always neat to see things like that.
Do you ever get attached to an Emerald?
I do! I had this one that I literally didn’t want to see go but I couldn’t afford it. It’s $8,000 a karat and around six karats. I was like, don’t go!
Buyers who have been in this business, it’s usually a family business and they know a lot about emeralds. They always say that every stone has a personality and they are kind of drawn to different things. The French call it a garden. The gardens inside of emeralds, but the real term is inclusions.
Previously you had your own fashion site, The Chiffon Diary, what’s happened with it?
I closed it almost two years ago. Well, first, the investment company I work for is very private. Emeralds have a very negative history behind them in terms of drugs, kind of like blood diamonds, in Colombia there was the green war. We want to keep everything above board, very much accounted for. We run all financials and we make sure we know where money is coming from and what those emeralds are doing when they leave us. They kind of told me in a nice way, “we don’t want you sharing everywhere you’re at or everything you do, because we just want to keep it very professional.” So they weren’t like, “shut down your blog,” but they made it pretty obvious.
Prior to that had already stopped posting, so now it’s still there it just hasn’t been updated. I was over it a long time ago anyway, I stopped having time. It was supposed to be fun to begin it, and it was fun, but then I just grew out of it.
What did you learn. What experiences did you take away from it?
Yeah! Absolutely. I learned a lot. I learned to put myself out there and meet people. I think that’s definitely the best part of it, is the people I met through it. Also just learning to hustle and do things on your own and reach out to people and how it eventually it pays off.
Would I do it again? Absolutely but seeing how saturated it is I probably wouldn’t have a blog, I would have whatever the next thing is going to be.
But I got into this phase six years ago, so it wasn’t what it is now. I didn’t get paid for stuff; I wasn’t even given free stuff until a year into blogging when that became a thing. I would legitimately go and buy my own outfits and take pictures of it because I enjoyed it. And then it just became this business but I never wanted it to be that, I wanted it to just be a hobby.
I know you have a unique fitness motto, what is it exactly?
Never skip a Monday, work out three days a week, and don’t skip more than three days. I feel like if you skip a Monday, then you are lazy for the rest of the week. However I think you need to have a rest day and have a cheat day, because otherwise you will just get so fatigued.
I’ve had a lot of phases when it comes to working out. I did Crossfit, I did barre, I did Pilates — literally everything that has ever been out there I’ve done. However, I have never done it for more than three months. I would kind of get excited about it, then just forget about it, but then I would just go on to the next thing.
So early summer five or six months ago, I said I am going to stop doing that and started my own thing.
What’s your own thing?
Weight training, and that’s the only thing I have stuck out because I feel like it’s the only thing I have seen consistent results in. I feel like when you start anything, you see very quick results, because your body just metabolizes into that. I feel stronger through weight training, so that’s why I like it and continue to do it. Now I do it six days a week.
What exactly do you do?
I have a program that I follow; I do 20 minutes of cardio or HIIT, and then I will weight train. But I don’t lift heavy at all, but I will do circuits. I have like my circuits written out for the week, for example today I had an upper body circuit and it was ten minutes on the minute, I would do ten shoulder presses, and then for the rest of the minute do as many push ups till burn out. Then do it on the minute for ten minutes. It’s a killer upper body workout, but it’s quick. I was done in twenty minutes. Because you take a minute to rest in between.
What results have you seen in your body?
I have definitely leaned out. I have lost weight but more than that I have just found that I am stronger, feel better, have more endurance and more consistency. I’m not sore every day. I am giving my legs enough rest before I squat again or I give my arms enough rest before I do presses again, things like that.
What is your beauty routine like?
I live for my vampire facials once every six months. My skin is dry and they have just completely changed my skin. My skin used to be so dry I would go to the dermatologist all the time wondering what was wrong with it. It would get super red. It was just so dry, so I have tried every cream, super expensive ones, cheap ones — all over the place. But I did my first vampire facial a year and a half ago and it was life-changing, my skin has gotten so much more plump and moist. I get the treatment in Colombia.
What other beauty tips do you have?
Besides vampire facials, I put coconut oil on my skin before the gym. I won’t use heavy moisturizer. I started using this Bare Minerals lotion, they sent it to me like a year ago and then I started buying it since. It’s called Butter Drench. It is amazing, it is so thick, and I use that before bed. I also use sunscreen every day.
What make up products do you like to use?
I am not religious about makeup products at all — I like to try anything. I have recently tried Clinique’s 2-in-1 foundation concealer. I like that. That’s what I have been using for the past two months. I always use liquid because my skin is dry, if I use powder it gets even drier. I’m not really a makeup person. I wear makeup every day but I don’t stick to anything in particular. Whatever product is in Sephora’s new marketing campaign, I will try it. I also think Swiss chapstick is the best – Labello. I was reading the label it’s actually Italian, but whatever, in my mind it’s Swiss because I bought it when I travelled there.