JCK Asks…Mimi So

Her body of work is a wonderland

When we visited Mimi So during jewelry market week in Las Vegas, she presented, among other delicacies, a tray full of crazy-colorful bead necklaces from her Mimi’s Wonderland collection: strand upon strand of red spinel, African tsavorite, blue chalcedony, tanzanite, Colombian emerald, and faceted citrine—dotted with freshwater pearls and whimsical pavé diamond butterflies and bees. “It’s like a candy store, isn’t it?” she smiled. Our sweet tooth sufficiently sated, we resolved to learn more about the New York City–based designer. —Melissa Rose Bernardo

Age: Next.

Number of years in the biz: 17

Number of employees you oversee: 12

Family and pets: Chester, our puppy toy poodle; one girl and boy—both have an attitude.

Mimi and family


Describe your personal style: Effortless and comfortable.

First piece you ever designed: I was very young and love flowers, so Anzia was the first floral motif I used in a piece of jewelry.

The single piece of jewelry you’re most proud of: Our signature Piece Square Swing necklace derived from the shape of my window living in New York City, representing the past, present, and future.

Favorite (or current favorite) gemstone: My current favorite is like the current boyfriend—it would be the exotic boulder opals from Australia. I find them to be mysterious and intriguing. They have a character and personality of their own, almost like mood swings: bright moods radiating at times spurts of intensity of highs and lows and sexy with delicate lines or bold tones. 

If you were a customer, what would you buy from Mimi’s Wonderland? If I were the customer, I would buy the stackable rings: the Bird, the Butterfly and Lady Bug, the diamond Twig band, and the Bumble Bee—I feel like I have a garden party on my finger. Definitely a diamond Twig necklace, layering it with one of the colorful bead strands—preferably the opal strands—and a pair of the Stinger drop pavé earrings. The pieces are effortless; layering the different styles gives it a depth and fluidness that is stylish and wearable. 

What’s in your bag??Everything—candy and jewelry, more candy…more jewelry! 

Best piece of advice you ever received: “Listen to yourself.”

Worst piece of advice: “Ask your husband.” (Joking! Hee-hee.)

First job ever: Babysitting.


Piece Square Swing necklace

How did you get started designing jewelry? I wanted to wear what I envisioned.

If you weren’t designing jewelry, what would you be doing? Touring like a rock star!

Jewelry you’re wearing right now: My wedding band and right-hand Jackson ring.

Five items on your desk right now: Sketchbook, iPhone, fashion magazines, colored pencils, mail.

Five songs on your playlist: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Queen; “Crawl,” Kings of Leon; “Hello,” Adele; “Diamonds,” Rihanna; “Lay Me Down,” Sam Smith.

Exercise regimen: Running to catch my plane every time! Lift, run, sprint, lift, run, sprint, and again…

What did you have for breakfast? Iced cappuccino.

Guilty pleasure: Chocolate.

Drink (daytime/evening): Coke Zero/Coke Zero.

First website you check every day (not your own!): Haha. I don’t check my own site! BusinessofFashion.

Scent: Cut fresh flowers.

How do you unwind? Delicious meal that someone else is cooking.

One must-visit New York City spot: Central Park.

Central Park

Book you’re reading: The Pocket Dalai Lama.

Book you’ve been meaning to get to: Still looking…

Preferred news source: News televised.

Main means of transportation: My feet.

Favorite movie: Spectre


Who would play you in your life story? Marion Cotillard.

Personal motto: “Stay true to your beliefs.” 

Top: Wonderland Lady Bug and Butterfly ring, Wonderland Bee and tassel earrings, Wonderland Pow Orchid ring