Why Mowing Lawns Led Designer Scott Kay to Bridal Jewelry



The bridal designer found his burn

Ask Scott Kay what he’ll be showing at the LUXURY show, and the reply is, regrettably, vague. But at least it’s colorful: “This is my first year at the LUXURY JCK show. So we are going to turn up the volume, let it rip, and blow your minds!” You might think Kay is a bit of a jokester. (See the line where he admits he’s in his underwear.) But the designer—who says Henry Dunay’s work inspired the “attention to detail, modulation, and form” of everything he creates—is super-serious on the topic of his specialty, wedding jewelry: “I truly love the bridal category,” says Kay. “It’s an honor for a couple to take their vows over something I designed.” Now isn’t that something to get fired up about?!?

Kay’s Signature Accent platinum mounting with 0.29 ct. t.w. diamonds

Age: Ageless

Number of years in the biz: That would help give away my age!

Number of employees you oversee: In one way or another, I work with everyone in the company. We have a very noncorporate atmosphere. We are in the arts and I want everyone to feel they have a direct line to me.

Family and pets: I have the best wife and three young adults in the world. Four dogs: one Doberman, and trying to convince my wife to get a pit bull. Then three little ones, Moe, Larry, and Curly.

Kay with his wife, Regina

Describe your personal style: Adventurous, ­aggressive, sensitive, elegant. I go where my mind and mood tell me to go.

First piece you ever designed: A cobra ring. It’s with my mom.

First bridal piece you ever designed: Platinum ­three-stone engagement ring accented with 18k gold. Everyone looked at me like I had two heads.

Favorite material to work with: Platinum for all my diamond-intense designs

Kay’s Protecting the Cross necklace

Best piece of advice you ever received: “He who can’t forgive, can’t be forgiven.” —Sissy Jones

Worst piece of advice: “You can’t…” I’m the wrong person to say that to.

Jewelry you’re wearing right now: None. I am in my underwear having coffee in the morning. Maybe a breakfast line of casual wear?

Five items on your desk right now: Pad, pencil, ­raisins, coffee cup (coffee with a little skim milk and Sweet’N Low), and my wedding band. No pictures of my family because I’m in a hotel room.

Five songs on your playlist: Anything by Carly Rose Sonenclar; “My Baby You,” Marc Anthony; “Can’t Hide Love,” Earth, Wind & Fire; “Europa,” Carlos Santana; “Jaded,” Aerosmith

Thomas Northcut/Getty Images

First job ever: Mowing lawns. I saw a pipe sticking up out of the lawn and instead of going around it, I went through it. The lawn mower broke. The owner asked me if I saw the pipe sticking up, I said yes, he then fired me. It taught me a lesson about myself. I would rather go through something than around it.

How did you get started designing jewelry? My grades said not to be a doctor, my heart said to do ­something fun, and my creative competitiveness said kick ass. I also kicked a lug nut, made a ring out of it, went to FIT, and I found my burn!

If you weren’t designing jewelry, what would you be doing? Probably still walking around with that lug nut in my pocket

Exercise regimen: Walking to my car

What did you have for breakfast? Coffee and a fruit plate

Drink (daytime/evening): It depends if I need to stand.

First website you check every day (not your own!): I don’t. I can go days without looking at my email! I don’t carry my cellphone with me everywhere I go either. I mostly use it to travel.

How do you unwind? Designing and wandering

Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Superstitious? No! But very respectful of sacred ­element objects and places

Book you’re reading: War and Peace. I started it when I was 16. I am still on the war part.

Preferred news source: Fox when I hate Democrats, CNN when I hate Republicans

Main means of transportation: Going to work? My car. In the office? My feet. At home? Either my Harley or ATVs.

Favorite movies: Saving Private Ryan, Gladiator, ­Defiance, and Lincoln

Who would play you in your life story?  If Denzel Washington were white, or if I were black, Denzel!

Personal motto: “Never compromise!”