December 2011

IMAGE: XY FACTOR Jock Rocks

Geologically inspired jewelry from Kimberly McDonald takes a leap across gender lines   by ADAM TSCHORN

  • From top: Macramé bracelet with diamond bezel-set geode in 18K gold and black rhodium finish; <br>hemp macramé bracelet with bezel-set geode in 18K gold and black rhodium finish
  • From top: Geode and black-diamond lapel pin in 18K gold; diamond-slice lapel pin in 18K gold
  • Macramé bracelet with hand-cast, 18K gold geode encrusted in white diamonds

In the three years since she launched her collection at New York’s Bergdorf Goodman, Kimberly McDonald’s pieces, made with chunky gems, mollusk-like mineral pieces and reclaimed precious metals, have turned up on Halle Berry, Sarah Jessica Parker and Michelle Obama.

Now McDonald has turned her attention to crafting jewelry for men, and the result is a line of one-of-a-kind tie tacks, tie bars, cuff links, pendant necklaces and pins that strike the imperfectly perfect balance between rough-hewn luxe and rock-star swagger.

The jeweler has actually been making pieces for men ever since she realized that her geode stud earrings were being repurposed into cuff links. “Men are getting more comfortable with people noticing what they’re wearing—and having a conversation about it,” she says.

As a talking point, a short course in geology might come in handy. The eye-catching inaugural collection—carried locally at Neiman Marcus and priced from $2,500 to $15,000—incorporates geodes as well as recycled and unfinished raw emeralds, conflict-free diamonds and sushi-like slices of reclaimed yellow and pink gold and black rhodium.

The pieces include a masculine take on the macramé friendship bracelet—oblong rocks wrapped in silk or hemp threads and set in recycled gold—tie bars featuring a quartet of tiny geodes that resemble crystal-filled clamshells, cuff links made of a milky turquoise-colored stone called chrysocolla druze and elegant tuxedo studs of translucent, pale lavender stones known as chalce-dony.

One standout piece is a wafer of laser-cut diamond with a cloudy cast reminiscent of petrified cigarette smoke. Inspired by its skull-shape outline, McDonald set it in crossbones, creating a Jolly Roger pin equally suited to rough-and-ready Captain Jack Sparrow or his Johnny Depp alter ego.

Although most of the pieces—men’s and women’s—are strictly one of a kind by their nature, McDonald says she actually ended up making a lot of partner pieces. “That’s where I’ll cut a geode in half and make two matching bracelets,” she says. “One for her and one for him.” The sets start at $3,800—a small price to pay for a unique expression of a rock-solid relationship.