The moment you meet Meredith Marks, the real estate developer-turned-jewelry designer and star of Bravo’s Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, it’s clear that the Chicago-native was born to standout. Known for her calm demeanor and sleek yet playful style (think: a mix of tailored suits, bold colors, fun textures and layers of her very own jewelry designs), Meredith‘s penchant for creativity and fondness for jewelry began at an early age; to this day, she claims it has shaped who she is and how she engages with the world around her.
Now in its fourth season, Real Housewives of Salt Lake City holds a devoted fandom that other series have taken years to amass, thanks in much part to Meredith‘s one-liners, enviable wardrobe and ability to keep a cool head in nearly any situation. It’s no wonder she’s a fan favorite.
Here, Only Natural Diamonds caught up with the busy designer and entrepreneur at her Park City boutique to discuss her love for diamonds, celebrities who wear her jewelry, and the importance of passing diamond jewelry down to her children.
OND: What was the first piece of jewelry you designed for yourself and for the Meredith Marks jewelry collection?
Meredith Marks: The first pieces that I designed for myself—aside from my engagement ring—were my South Sea pearl and diamond earrings. They were a gift from my husband, but I designed them. The first piece that I designed for my collection were my Mary teardrop earrings. They’re diamonds and rose gold. I started my collection at the height of the recession, and at the time, people were not spending a lot of money. I incorporated a lot of negative space into my early designs to try to give more of a statement to them.
OND: Rihanna and Courtney Cox are fans of Meredith Marks jewelry. What was it like seeing a celebrity where your designs for the first time?
MM: Chelsea Handler was one of the first celebrities to wear my jewelry. She has a lot of pieces and has been an incredible supporter. I was absolutely thrilled to see her in my jewelry. It’s fun and exciting when you see someone who you’ve seen on television wearing your jewelry, especially seeing them excited about it and wanting to be a part of what you’re creating.
MM: I love Park City. It’s one of my favorite places and it’s a very peaceful place. It’s a resort town, a ski town. I like the idea of having stores in resort towns, both from a security standpoint, and also because you’re really on the off schedule of most major retailers that are in cities. People are relaxed when they’re on vacation, and it’s a great time for someone to buy a piece of jewelry, so it works out.
OND:What is a piece of diamond jewelry you think every woman should have in her collection?
MM: Every woman needs diamond stud earrings. I think that’s just an important go-to. I very rarely wear diamond studs anymore because I like to have bigger pieces and I like hanging earrings, but I think they are a staple. I’ve definitely had points in my life where I go back to the studs, whether it’s a pavé, or a single diamond.
OND:What are your go-to pieces of jewelry to wear every day?
MM: I define everyday pieces a little bit differently than most people. I don’t have a problem wearing a lot of jewelry on a day-to-day basis. I wear the Stardust cuff and bangle that are out of my collection, the Becca ring (all rose cut diamonds) and my engagement ring that I designed even though it’s not a part of my collection. I love my Bulgari watch because it’s like a bracelet. Bulgari is definitely one of my favorite jewelry designers. I probably wear a little bit more statement jewelry than the average person on a day-to-day basis, but I’m a jewelry designer and I love diamonds.
OND:Which pieces from your personal collection mean the most to you?
MM: I would have to say these two rings they were a gift from my father to my mother when they were married. They were subsequently divorced, but they were my mother’s married initials. She gave them to me, and I lost my father earlier this year, so this is definitely a very important piece to me sentimentally.
I also have a gift from my mother which is an emerald ring set with pavé diamonds. It’s a Tiffany & Co. piece, and it was something that she gave to me for a birthday present. It was a big birthday, and I absolutely love it. I don’t wear it all the time because emeralds are soft, and I don’t want to crack it. But I do love it very much. It’s beautiful.
OND:Which pieces of jewelry are you the most excited to pass down to your children?
MM: The most significant heirloom pieces that I would want to pass down to my children would be the pieces that were gifted to me, like the initial rings my father gave my mother. I definitely want those going to my children. And of course, my first gift from my husband would be one that I want would want to go to my children as well. I would also want them to have my original designs that I did. That would be special.