A massive diamond engagement ring was the grand prize in jeweler Michael Hill’s recent contest, “The Ultimate Engagement Ring—Search for the World’s Best Couple.” The 22.25 ct. princess-cut stone is set in platinum with a soft half-round shank that sweeps up the sides and splits at the shoulders to form four claw-like prongs, with an additional 1 ct. t.w. melee accents.
Michael Hill is a 31-year-old New Zealand–based brand operating 250 stores in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, including nine in Chicago, its U.S. headquarters, and 30 in Canada. (The company is aiming to reach 1,000, chief executive officer Hill told JCK.) The contest was intended to renew awareness about the chain, which has shuttered stores in recent years.
Michael Hill’s 22-plus
carat “Ultimate Engagement Ring”The jeweler hosted a late-fall launch event at New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza, where reality star Kim Kardashian modeled the ring. Single or married couples in any country where Hill has a store were eligible. At my22ct.com, participants earned public votes by competing in online challenges like posting photos, disclosing pet names, and stating why they were the “world’s best couple.” Then a panel of judges picked one winner from a group of six finalists; the lucky couple was whisked off to the Windy City to receive the ring. The judges’ criteria: romantic stories of love and compatibility.
Scott Mikolay’s 18k gold necklace with white South Seas pearl and ruby accent; $1,790
Scott Mikolay may be an American by birth, but he transforms into something of an Anglophile (and a brooding one at that) once he hits his studio. Nearly every piece in his eponymous fine jewelry collection is inspired by the English Renaissance—in particular, the Tudors, Catherine of Aragon, and Anne Boleyn. While there’s nary a decapitation reference to be found, the Chappaqua, N.Y.–based designer—who is particularly renowned for his bridal designs—is most intrigued by the idea of these women as 16th-century fashion icons. “What really inspires me about that time is that a jeweler would work for months on a single piece for royalty,” he explains.
Aragon collection 10-mm-wide Crown rings with 0.60 cts. t.w. diamonds; $3,790; Scott Mikolay, Chappaqua, N.Y.; 914-238-2223; scottmikolay.com
Gory histories aside, Mikolay maintains that consumers—to whom he sells in his own flagship store, Desires by Mikolay, which also features the work of other designers like Miguel Ases—appreciate the regal styling. The crowns, he says, “remind them of a time past, but still represent a modern fashion sensibility.”
Remember Anne Boleyn’s “B” necklace, featuring the letter in gold on a strand of pearls? Mikolay’s line has a similar version in 18k gold chain and one 10- to 13-millimeter white South Seas pearl with a lone ruby—because of Boleyn’s affinity for them, not due to…you know—trailing down the back. (In 18k gold, his line starts at $990 retail; in silver, $195.) “My pieces are designed with a 360-degree sensibility, so no matter from which angle you are looking at the piece, you see special details and effects.”
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