Where can you find the most beautiful jewelry you can imagine? Where do you look to find a master craftsman who designs and creates breathtaking wearable art? Where can you find a jeweler you can really trust to appraise, re-design, and repair your precious jewelry on the premises? The answer is “Desires By Mikolay,” in Chappaqua.
At a time when so many businesses are closing shop, this one has just expanded. Business couldn’t be better, and the obvious reason is the combination of a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” atmosphere combined with small town hospitality; online orders are burgeoning, too. And oh lordy, that fabulous jewelry.
As I walked into the gleaming, modern showroom, my eye was immediately caught by a ruby necklace ($62,990) showcased on the facing wall. Bedecked with 77.94 carats of the luscious red gems, and 5.2 carats of diamonds, this is a creation fit for a queen. As I stood there staring, mouth agape, I realized that my tough-critic reputation was about to be damaged forever. I prayed to St. Elizabeth (Taylor) for strength.
The genius behind this incredible handcrafted piece is Scott Mikolay. I learned that it took almost two years from inception to finish for Mikolay to realize his vision for the ruby necklace, which was museum inspired. That’s highly unusual in this fast-food world of it doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be quick.
Gaze into Mikolay’s penetrating blue eyes, and it quickly becomes evident that he’s sincere about creating heirloom pieces that will last for generations. He prefers working in eighteen karat gold, but sometimes incorporates twenty- four karat into his designs. The son of a master jeweler, he apprenticed with his father, starting at age thirteen. Crafting out of this world jewelry is a passion that borders on obsession; he often works seventy to eighty hours a week, and has since he opened the store in 2004, at the age of twenty-four.
Asked where he gets the ideas for his designs, he thoughtfully replies, “I’m inspired by the work of the English Renaissance. During this period, roughly between 1650- 1750, there was a real pride in workmanship; they were dedicated to building the best pieces possible.” Asked his goal for the store, he answers, “We want customers to have a good experience; we are committed to always offering a quality product.” What impresses me about Mikolay is that while he creates jewelry that’s unsurpassed for flash and glamour, he himself is a quiet, unassuming man. He lets his work speak for itself.
And he’s bold in his choice of materials. In addition to precious stones, he also creates with more unusual gems, including the rutilated quarts he’s fashioned into a gallery quality necklace ($33,400, above). This piece is going to be featured on the cover of a Mikolay catalogue, and it’s easy to see why. Highly visual, it’s made of 300.31 carats of quartz, and 1.97 carats of diamonds. It is, in a word, hypnotic.
Scott’s wife, Tara, sets the tone for the store, answering all questions graciously and knowledgably; making sure that clients have a cup of cappuccino, a bottle of Pellegrino, even on occasion, a glass of wine. Tara points out that in addition to Scott’s spectacular jewelry for which the shop is justifiably famous, there are also items by other designers, and gifts well within almost everyone’s budget.
There are nesting candles ($32), their delightful scent redolent of grapefruit or bamboo. A set of French crystal ($250-$500) would make an elegant wedding gift. Gossamer Chan Lun cashmere silk blend scarves ($190-$245) are used as wraps when chic ladies go out on the town. There are bracelets in stainless steel ($150- $250), set with diamonds and other jewels, the height of sophisticated bling.
Because of demand, more gift items for men have been added. Along with exclusive Hermes watches ($2700- $3100) comes the convenience of being able to bring them back for repairs; anyone who’s owned these collector’s items knows you can’t take them just anywhere.
The Mikolays are used to being of service to celebrities and one-percenters. There’s even a private space for conferring with those who request privacy when buying. Is your man a rock star at heart? Grammy award winner Rob Thomas favors the leather wrapped bracelets ($195- $495, above) which are festooned with gems; these can be customized.
I found that Scott and I share an appreciation for tourmaline, a captivating gemstone that is underused in the jewelry world. I may never recover from getting up close and personal with the red carpet bracelet ($17,275) he’s created out of 33.95 carats of green tourmaline and 4.86 carats of diamonds. It’s a full inch in width, and glam to the max.
At the end of the day, nothing beats diamonds; dripping, cascading, flawlessly cut, and perfectly set. My husband had to drag me away from a mind numbingly gorgeous set of black, gray, and white diamonds (opening photo). The necklace ($27,990), earrings ($16,990), and bracelet ($19,980) can, of course, be purchased separately, by why would anyone break up such a delightful family?
Before I left, I asked Scott if there were something he had not yet created, something still in the planning stages. “As a matter of fact,” he told me, “ I have a pair of very rare watermelon tourmaline wings. Will they become jewelry? Maybe. Right now, I’m thinking they could be sculpture, maybe something for the home.” Scott has spent countless hours studying and thinking about them. Whatever he decides, when they’re finished, they’ll be completely unique and enchanting.
Scott and Tara Mikolay have built their business based on the highest standards for quality and trust, yet they haven’t lost their sense of fun. On the wall is a picture of a pug who’s wearing $100,000 in gems. And yes, somebody bought that necklace.
“We want people to leave sparkling,” Tara told me as I departed. When she smiled, her warm hazel eyes reminded me of topaz.
Desires By Mikolay
55 King Street
Chappaqua, NY 10514
Please note: all prices are subject to change.
Photos by John Warner
Michall Jeffers and her husband, photographer John Warner, enjoy chronicling their shopping expeditions together in her words and his images. Michall writes extensively, both in print and online; jewelry is her preferred drug of choice. Her eponymous cable TV show is syndicated throughout the tri-state area, and features celebrity interviews, reviews, and commentary. www.michalljeffers.com