World of Wonder: Margot McKinney

Her bold jewellery designs feature in the collections of discerning buyers around the world and now Brisbane’s Margot McKinney OAM is unlocking her archives and revealing the family story behind her brand for Museum of Brisbane (MoB).

With a lifetime dedicated to luxury, Australian jewellery designer Margot McKinney’s (OAM), extraordinary work and history is being celebrated in an exhibition at Museum of Brisbane running until 6 November 2022.

Showcasing the timeless elegance and some of the world’s rarest gems, World of Wonder: Margot McKinney features four areas of focus: Family History, World of Pearls, World of Opals and World of Colour.

For five generations, the McKinney family name has been synonymous with luxury jewels. Margot has elevated the family name to soaring new heights through her own jewellery brand and flagship store in Brisbane and internationally through her stockists in the prestigious Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman stores in the USA.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said Margot McKinney was a home grown success story, bringing local designs by local artists using locally-sourced materials to the world stage. “This exhibit will be a fantastic opportunity to see five generations of craftsmanship and spectacular rare jewellery up close,” he said.

“McKinney jewellery is internationally-renowned for its bold colours that reflect natural environments from around the world and people who visit the Museum of Brisbane will hear some of the fascinating stories that have inspired this incredible local family business,” said the Lord Mayor.

MoB Director/CEO, Renai Grace said the partnership between Museum of Brisbane and Margot McKinney OAM was a rare opportunity to showcase a selection of Margot’s creations alongside five generations of history and storytelling.

World of Wonder: Margot McKinney will blend never-before-seen, intimate family archives with opulence in a multi-faceted exhibition of breathtaking proportions,” she said.

From the coral reef in our own backyard to the rich palette of colours found on Tanzania, this exhibition will be a mesmerising celebration of the complex and profoundly beautiful environments and materials that have inspired Margot’s designs such as opulent opals, lustrous pearls and rare, exotic gems like the intensely blue tanzanite, lilac amethyst and pink tourmaline.

Margot’s dedication to her craft knows no limits. It’s not unusual for Margot to wait 10 years to complete the perfect collection of jewels to incorporate into one bespoke piece. She has a hands-on role in selecting the gems, working directly with world-leading pearl farmers, miners and cutters, ensuring quality and sustainability.

Margot said the exhibition will share many stories that have contributed to the family business over its 138-year history.

“I am deeply honoured for my work and the history of our family business to be the subject of the Museum of Brisbane’s World of Wonder: Margot McKinney exhibition in 2022,” she said. “The exhibition will show the rich tapestry of our 5th generation family business over our long history.”

With a practice that is rooted deeply in nurturing long-term relationships with suppliers, Margot has worked with leading pearl farmers, opal minders, diamond merchants and gem-cutters from across the globe to secure the rare and precious materials that have been the centrepiece of her designs, making her one-of-a-kind pieces so coveted amongst her international clients.

Journey to a treasure trove of memories and mastery and let Margot’s designs and inspiration transport you to a world of wonder.

World of Wonder: Margot McKinney is the fourth exhibition in MoB’s identity series that celebrates creative greats who call Brisbane home, including Mao’s Last Dancer the Exhibition: A Portrait of Li Cunxin, a spotlight on designers Pamela Easton and Lydia Pearson for Pattern & Print: Easton Pearson Archive, and High Rotation.

World of Wonder: Margot McKinney
Museum of Brisbane, Level 3 – Brisbane City Hall, 64 Adelaide Street, Brisbane
Exhibition: 18 June – 6 November 2022
Entry fees apply

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Margot McKinney – photo by Claudia Baxter