Margot McKinney’s designs revolve around rare and desirable gemstones. Her career literally sparkles, with her work attracting international recognition.

Margot was born and raised in Toowoomba, schooled at Fairholme and her McKinney family name is synonymous with fine jewellery. She’s one of the fourth generation of McKinneys to carry on the family legacy which included the family’s much famed Toowoomba store, McKinney’s Jewellery, that closed a decade ago. This year, the McKinneys are celebrating their 130th anniversary. These days, Margot’s bold statement making jewellery is worn by many of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful women, largely due to an exclusive partnership forged with luxury US department chain, Neiman Marcus. Margot’s designs are stocked in Neiman Marcus Houston, Atlanta, San Francisco, Palm Beach and Dallas stores. The partnership came about during a visit to Neiman Marcus Dallas about six years ago and a chance meeting with the chain’s head jewellery buyer.

Paraiba tourmaline, kunzite, amethysts, sapphires, spinel, diamonds, South Sea pearls and even the ever underrated Australian opals are just some of the gemstones that form the basis for Margot’s haute one-off design pieces. There is a certain magic and romance to the design and craftsmanship processes. Intensity of colour and size are her first calling points in selecting a gemstone to work with and from there, she lets the gem “speak to her” and dictate what she does with it. Iridescent violets, turquoise, blues, greens and reds form just a sample of the colour palate that Margot works with in choosing her precious stones and then combining them for maximum chromatic effect. Style and versatility are at the forefront of her show-stopping designs whether it be a cuff, ring, necklace or earring. Every piece is stunningly theatrical. Every piece exudes the utmost glamour.

Margot spends almost half the year travelling both sourcing gemstones and for sales missions; the Swiss jewellery fair is one of the most important precious stone buying events on her annual calendar. Her worldly travels to exotic locations are also important to her creativity. Margot relishes moments like walking into renowned restaurants around the globe only to see clients wearing her one-of-a-kind pieces. Similarly, she recently was told one of her clients bravely opted to wear one of her necklaces to an invitation only Bvlgari event for their best customers from around the world. US model Karlie Kloss is also known to wear Margot McKinney pieces, while back in Australia many famous faces are also seen donning her designs including Rebecca Gibney, Paula Abdul and many others at the recent Logies.

Margot McKinney’s success is such that her jewellery is regularly seen gracing the pages of Vogue and other international magazines. In 2012, she was awarded the Prix de Marie Claire for Australia’s Best Fine Jewellery Designer and the International Opal Jewellery Design Award. Margot’s Australian based boutique is located in Brisbane’s Emporium in Fortitude Valley.

Words by Andra Bite Images by Margot McKinney