10 Minutes With: Margot McKinney
May 8, 2017
Margot McKinney and beautiful jewelry go together like the ocean and waves. She crafts colorful masterpieces that combine her appreciation for fine design with the natural beauty of her native Australia’s flora and signature stones. We sat down with the queen of gems to talk all things bijoux.
Neiman Marcus: What does jewelry mean to you? Why did you choose this art form?
Margot McKinney: Let’s put it this way—I think my closest friends wouldn’t recognize me without jewelry, as I feel naked without a pair of earrings, a cuff, and my Australian South Sea pearls. Jewelry designing chose me rather than the other way around.
NM: Tell us about the brand’s heritage.
MM: I am fortunate to be the fourth generation in our 133-year-old family business. I am aware of this heritage with everything I do.
NM: Who is the Margot McKinney woman this season?
MM: She is confident with her own style and never sticks to a certain fashion house to create her look.
NM: Describe your most recent collection in three words.
MM: Colorful, bold, and one-of-a-kind.
NM: Where do you draw inspiration from?
MM: I draw a lot of inspiration from beach holidays. The crashing of waves breaking onto the shore and the sound of the breeze through the palm trees is a scene that often comes to my mind while designing.
NM: Do you have a favorite material or stone you like to work with?
MM: I have two favorites that both emanate from Australia—the South Sea pearl and the opal. Baroque pearls exude such character, and opals are such enigmatic gems.
NM: When you picture all of your designs, is there a particular piece that stands out?
MM: I have so many favorites! There is a particular opal ring I love—whenever I see it being worn it makes me swoon, as the gem is absolutely perfect.
NM: How long does it take to perfect a design?
MM: Sometimes this happens almost immediately, and sometimes it can take months or even years to find the right gems. I always come back to a design after a few days to look at it with fresh eyes and make sure everything is perfect and in balance.
NM: What jewelry do you wear on a daily basis?
MM: My new 20.19ct cushion-cut diamond ring and a string of Australian baroque South Sea pearls that took ten years to collect!
NM: What is the one piece of jewelry every woman should own?
MM: A strand of Australian South Sea pearls. They take you everywhere with great style and are very flattering.
NM: What does your ideal workplace look like?
MM: I often design in my study at home. My desk has a hot-pink, gold-tooled top and is positioned towards a white, shuttered window that looks onto my magnolia trees. It’s a sanctuary year-round, and the view is simply magnificent when the trees are in bloom.
NM: If you weren’t a jewelry designer, is there another career you would have pursued?
MM: I can’t think of what it might be. I think I would always find a way to travel the world to find extraordinary gems and meet wonderful people who share my passion for one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry.