Jewelry designer Margot McKinney models her smashing creations: three separate strands of rare Tahitian Keshi pearls embellished with an amethyst pendant wrapped in wreaths of tanzanite, peridot and tourmaline stones. (Photo by Johnny Than)
The model wears Margot McKinney's Arcoiris necklace, a $2.3 million piece made from the rarest of Paraiba tourmalines. (Photo by Johnny Than)
Neiman Marcus vice president and GM Stephen Brunelle, jewelry designer Margot McKinney, jewelry model (Photo by Johnny Than)
The jewelry model wears Margot McKinney's 'Constellation' necklace, a confection of Australian Lightening Ridge opals and diamonds. (Photo by Johnny Than)
Australian South Sea pearls set the stage for this suite by Margot McKinney. (Photo by Johnny Than)
Margot McKinney jewels are handled exclusively by Neiman Marcus. (Photo by Johnny Than)
Naturally-colored pearls make a statement in Margot McKinney designs. (Photo by Johnny Than)
Margot McKinney, Stephen Brunelle and Joan Marshak, Neiman Marcus fine jewelry manager (Photo by Johnny Than)
A rainbow collection of gem stones work together in this stunning necklace by Margot McKinney. (Photo by Johnny Than)
The fabulous Margot McKinney is back, bedazzling the Neiman Marcus fine jewelry department with a treasure trove of her extraordinary designs. Yet, “dazzling” seems inadequate in describing the pieces that will be on display through Saturday in Houston, as the Aussie greets collectors, friends and new BBFs.
McKinney, with her gentle Australian accent, personal charm and fascinating stories behind her designs, easily captivates any audience. Case in point, Wednesday morning when she entertained an intimate clutch of sophisticates over mimosas and jaw-dropping jewels.
Let’s begin with what the erudite blonde was wearing — three separate strands of rare Tahitian Keshi pearls embellished with a deliciously massive amethyst pendant wrapped in wreaths of tanzanite, peridot and tourmaline stones.
“We jokingly call it ‘Margot Pavé’ because pavé is usually really, really tiny. And everybody knows that I love really, really big gems,” she says of the surrounding stones.
Of the pearls themselves, she notes, “Sometimes when the pearl farmer is opening the oyster to find a pearl that he knows is there, there will be one of these naturally occurring pearls as well. So they’re really miracles of nature and to have enough pearls to make into a suite of these three strands is quite special.”
Bonus: Due to the clasp design, the pearl strands can be worn in three’s as a collar or in medium or long length.
Adding to her personal presentation, this statement-jewels diva wore the necklace with earrings hanging to her shoulders that begin with heart-shaped peridots at the top and descend with kunzite and rubellite tourmalines. And again these come apart.
“So you can wear just the heart top or you could wear the pear-shaped drop from the heart or any of the connections in between. So it’s not just one pair of earrings,” McKinney says.
While every piece that McKinney was wearing was grandiose in scale, there was nothing gauche about her assemblage. She is a woman who can carry off this look with class. And as she noted in her discussion with guests, the Margot McKinney woman is one who walks into a room with great confidence and perhaps, not so incidentally, stops traffic with her bejeweled demeanor.
While the vitrines at Neiman Marcus were filled with McKinney’s glorious earrings, necklaces, cuffs and rings, she included a particularly special piece in her treasure trove, one that she considers, and rightly so, a “museum-quality” collection of rare Paraiba tourmalines woven into a magnificent necklace.
“Paraiba is the rarest form of tourmaline. And this is a collection, all from one mine in Mozambique. It’s the very last of the mine,” she says. “It took me 10 years to collect every color of the rainbow that we find Paraiba tourmaline in. And it’s all from one mine, an irreplaceable piece. It took incredible patience to create this piece of jewelry.”
Because the delicate piece includes all the colors of this particular tourmaline, she has named the piece Arcoiris, which in Portuguese, the national language of Mozambique, means rainbow. As magnificent as it is, this collector’s piece is not for the faint of pocketbook. Cost: $2.3 million.
Asked by brunch host and Neiman Marcus GM Stephen Brunelle to describe her designs, McKinney answers, “Modern with a classical twist.” Her creations, she adds, enjoy a timelessness because always-fashionable jewelry is “all about rarity and uniqueness.” Both of which exemplify her work.
In fact, she disdains the concept of “collections,” saying, “I don’t do collections. I create things when I find the gems. I get beautiful surprises all throughout the year when lovely pieces come out of the workroom.”
Read more about Margot McKinney’s rise in the jewelry design business here.