Margot McKinney’s bounty of baroque pearls

Baroque pearls have fascinated us for centuries, but what exactly are they? And how do you wear them today? Meet Margot McKinney, fourth generation Australian jeweller who is not only an expert in pearl jewellery, but also is showing us new ways to wear them. As a designer one of the highlights of my life was to be invited to the pearl farm in Gove, being in a little room above where the pearls were being harvested, watching each of them come out of the shell, I was amassing bowl after bowl after bowl, and after day three I thought ‘this is too much of a decision, I think i’ll just buy them all’. My mind then turned to the exciting part of designing the jewellery, when several months past that, and I had the most exciting, fabulous collection of baroque pearl jewellery I’ve ever thought of. Named for the baroque period which is known for its ornamentation and extravagance, baroque pearls, unlike perfectly spherical ones, are irregular shaped. The thing about baroque pearls is that each one has its own personality, each of them is different, and I can tell you that out of 85,000 pearls, I can keep picking up the same one and I remember when it was harvested. Our ancestors treasured baroque pearls, in fact two of the most famous pearls are irregular shapes. One of them is the Canning Jewel at the V&A museum, or Elizabeth Taylor’s La Peregrina pearl that sold for $11.8 million dollars in 2011. A strand of pearls is not just a strand of pearls anymore, it’s for modern women, with their own style and their own confidence. Having heard Margot’s fascinating story about these pearls that literally have come from farmer to designer, I have a much deeper appreciation of the journey and I hope you do too. If you want to know all that’s happening in the world of jewellery and watches, visit my website at


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