World renowned Brisbane jeweller, Margot McKinney, is the proud and passionate designer of what is believed to be the world’s rarest strand of South Sea Pearls, valued at approximately $3.8 million.
The strand was a key feature of Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival on Wednesday 30th August, accentuating a bridal gown designed by bespoke Brisbane couturier, Paul Hunt.
McKinney, a fourth-generation jeweller and internationally recognised precious gem designer, has very aptly named this extraordinarily rare and lustrous piece, ‘Once in a Blue Moon’.
“It could take up to another 10 years for a strand of such high quality and consistency to be produced,” says McKinney. “These are perfectly round, beautifully graded and have spectacular natural colour and lustre.”
The strand comprises 26 pearls of 18-21mm in diameter; a size that is extremely rare and which can only be produced in pristine Australian waters. These particular pearls were grown in East Arnhem Land by fifth-generation pearler and long-time friend of McKinney, Aji Ellies.
Described by Ellies as “an absolutely exquisite, extraordinary and exceptional strand that any pearl farmer would be extremely proud to grow”, Once in a Blue Moon is destined to become a family heirloom.
Brisbane-based Ellies has Australia’s largest single entity sea lease spanning over 400km2 with his farm reputed as being one of the world’s finest locations for growing South Sea Pearls. He speaks passionately of this untouched, tranquil part of Australia and the specialist care required for his 160,000 oysters.
Only one perfectly round pearl, the pearl featured as the pendant on McKinney’s necklace, has exceeded 20mm in diameter in the past two years. This pearl has enabled the set to be completed, being suspended from a stunning detachable tanzanite and diamond pendant.
Accompanying this masterpiece is a set of tanzanite and diamond earrings, which is interchangeable with perfectly matched South Sea pearl drop earrings.
McKinney will be taking Once in a Blue Moon to the highly acclaimed Crystal Charity Ball Neiman Marcus Fashion Parade in Dallas, Texas next month where already it is receiving much attention.