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McKay Designs

At McKay Designs, our goal is to create classic, refined and beautifully handcrafted jewelry. Using traditional techniques, we keep an eye on the subtleties of design to create works of art that will be treasured generation after generation. Bruce McKay – goldsmith, jewelry designer and graduate gemologist – endows the best of his custom pieces with an aura of intimacy that can only be achieved though close collaboration with his client. Jewelry is meant to be worn, to be felt and seen … a piece that illuminates its wearer.

Working closely with customers from the start to finish of a project, McKay creates in gold, white gold, platinum and silver, embellishing with sparkling diamonds, precious gems and beckoning stones. The result is an extensive portfolio of exquisite heirloom pieces: gemstone rings, gold bands, wedding sets, pendants, bracelets, brooch pins, earrings, cuff links and chains. Bruce designs for both men and women and uses sapphires, diamonds, emeralds, rubies, the enchanting Oregon sunstone, and many other dazzling gems and stones. The studio also re-fashions family heirlooms, working with existing gems or providing new gems and metals. We operate a full gem lab for crafting personal jewelry and for the appraisal of jewelry and loose gems. In addition, McKay Designs produces unique corporate gifts – commemorative, jewelry-size reproductions of company logos in gold, silver and platinum. A wide variety of items can be made, including belt buckles, lapel pins, rings, pendants, tie tacks, cufflinks and earrings.

McKay Designs is also the home of Colorgem, a gemstone sales and distribution company offering a wide range of carefully selected gems, including the unique Oregon sunstone, also known as labradorite. McKay Designs is a top-selling distributor of Oregon Sunstone and can provide a large selection of hues, sizes and cuts.

Located in downtown Portland, Oregon, McKay Designs maintains low overhead to keep pricing competitive.

About Bruce

Bruce McKay found his passion for design early in life, and after more than 30 years, easily says, "I still love my work."

Creating art has always been a part of Bruce. "As early as I can remember, I was sculpting materials into shapes, and was encouraged by my family to pursue my interest in art."

A turning point came in a high school art class when his teacher introduced him to jewelry making. Within a week, he says, "I told my instructor that this is what I would be doing for the rest of my life." That certainty continued during his four years at the University of Oregon, which he spent ensconced in the metal smithing studio under the tutelage of Professor Max Nixon, eventually earning a bachelor’s degree in art.

Bruce finds reward in both the art of jewelry making and in helping his clients. "To me, the greatest joy is helping a customer design a personal, one-of-a-kind piece that brings the wearer a lifetime of meaning and pleasure. I enjoy sitting down with my clients, getting to know the person and bouncing ideas back and forth," he says. Recently, he has been creating pieces that layer gold and platinum and says the interplay of the two metals gives an exciting sense of movement and energy.

When Bruce is creating for himself, with no particular client in mind, he draws inspiration from nature for his jewelry, using flowers, animals and plants. "I like to observe and then find my own way of presenting these forms," he says. For example, he turned his effort to a hibiscus, creating a gold brooch pin centered with tiny white pearls.

He is past president of the Creative Metal Arts Guild of Oregon, providing leadership within his profession. Bruce is also a graduate gemologist, which means that he is an expert at evaluating the integrity, grade, polish and cut of a stone.

Bruce continues to celebrate his craft and the special connections he has with his customers. "I love making jewelry that has special meaning. There is something very creative about making jewelry that people are going to wear for the rest of their lives," he says. "Whether I am working with pieces that are heirlooms or new, I try to respect the piece, the person and the special occasion."