About the Piece Collection
As a young girl, Mimi’s curiosity for the bustling city outside her bedroom window inspired hours of daydreams. The Piece collection captures the essence of this experience through its graphic shapes which expand upon each other like building blocks. The signature motif is a dimensional design of three concentric rectangles. It recalls her early childhood window and symbolizes the past, present and future, constantly in motion.
The past, present and future
The Piece collection represents some of my earliest memories growing up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. As a young girl, I spent hours looking outside my bedroom window daydreaming about the bustling city below. My gold and diamond Swing necklace, made of three concentric rectangles that evoke this window, captures the essence of these moments and signifies the past, present and future.
I designed the Piece collection of modern jewelry in 1997 to much acclaim and yet, the simple, minimal designs remain just as popular today. Around the turn of the millennium, I remember people gravitating towards a new style aesthetic, one that didn’t include leaving the house in garish, matronly diamonds. This look was no longer appealing to the modern woman. She wanted stylish, everyday designer jewelry to wear to work.
Following 9/11, it was a somber time when quiet elegance became the norm. During this period, stylists to the biggest stars in Hollywood flocked to my store showroom to pull stackable bracelets and other modern pieces that aligned with this new direction. My jewelry turned up at the Grammys, Oscars and other award shows. One day, Patricia Field, then costume designer for Sex and the City, reached out to me. We worked closely together adding everyday diamonds and sparkling touches to the characters’ wardrobes.
What began as the birth of a modern jewelry collection full of childhood nostalgia and life symbolism quickly evolved into something much more. It became the vision for a new way of wearing and styling designer jewelry. Diamonds could now be many things — dressed up of course, but also minimal in design and yes, casual for everyday jewelry. — XO MIMI
Behind the scenes
The Piece collection took 8 months to realize from sketches on paper to perfectly chiseled gold and diamond jewelry. It's widely recognized that the simplest forms are often the most difficult to produce. There is no room for visible error. The Piece collection’s minimal designs are a case in point.
Noted for its symmetry and clean, architectural lines, the iconic jewel of the Piece collection is the Swing necklace. During research and development, the first challenge was to arrive at the perfect proportion for each concentric frame. Once that was achieved by using the golden ratio, Mimi then fashioned each rectangle with rounded corners. The next mathematical task was to make sure the thickness of each frame would host a consistent diamond size per necklace. The pave setting is an essential component to the overall design. Due to its simplicity, the execution of the diamond work is paramount. Each diamond is hand-selected by the stone expert and measured to ensure uniformity for all necklace sizes. To achieve this, a highly skilled stone setter must ensure that each metal bead in the setting is consistent. It needs to properly cover the edge of each stone. The stones themselves need to be level and not set at an angle. Finally, the setter must ensure that the stones do not overlap. If so, they may easily brake. When the frames are ready, precisely measured chains are attached between them to simulate a swinging effect. This kind of technical work requires patience and a skilled eye. The three-dimensional statement Pyramid ring represents the sequence of life, rising to the top step by step. Despite its clean, minimal design, the pyramid presented numerous mathematical challenges like its sister jewel, the Swing necklace. After months of research and development, the ring was realized. Each tier of the pyramid was perfectly scaled to accommodate uniform pave stonework across the top and profiles of the frames. Only a master jeweler can pierce the azures (the holes for diamond settings) for a 2d setting and solder them without leaving clumps or evidence of a joint. An expert stone technician must then hand-gauge each stone to match the measurements of the setting. As complex as architecture, all the details must fit together seamlessly to give life to the masterpiece. Mimi created a special curved shank for this ring. The aim was to facilitate Fung Shui and allow energy to flow effortlessly around the piece. The square edge of the shank meets the base corners of the pyramid seamlessly, a detail easily unrecognized by an untrained eye.
The Star necklace and earrings reference the view from Mimi's childhood window at bedtime, a dreamy nightscape full of stars. A scintillating, minimal 8-pointed design represents life’s wonders. Weeks of thought went into achieving the Star’s asymmetric arms which represent the yin and yang of life’s balance. Once perfected, each star volume was scaled to the ideal size and weight to be worn as effortless, everyday jewelry. Still, the jeweler had to achieve a seamless connection at the center of the eight beveled spokes. Once the core foundation was established, the polisher finished the piece, all the while maintaining the stars’ perfect symmetry.